Sitting Cross-legged on the Floor While Eating

During our recent excursions to various Ashrams in Vrindavan and religious temples in Nepal, free food was served while sitting in cross-legged on the floor, a position that proved to be challenging for me to practice.

According to the Yoga Journal, “sitting cross-legged posture, like Sukhasana, is an important part of yoga practice and is commonly used for breathing and meditation practices. It requires flexibility in the back thighs, back of the pelvis, and inner thighs, as well as external rotation of the hip joints. These are all very strong muscles that can take a long time to stretch. Whether you sit in a simple cross-legged posture, developing the flexibility to sit easily is a gradual process.”

Though some advocate that the cross-legged or Sukhasana position has health benefits by inducing better digestion, enhanced blood circulation and distribution, improving body postures, and other benefits.

Adam Taylor, a Professor and Director of the Clinical Anatomy Learning Centre, Lancaster University, suggests that cross-legged posture for a long time has negative effects on your body.

Most of the research suggests crossing at the knees is worse than the ankles. Indeed, sitting this way can cause an increase in your blood pressure due to the pooling of blood in the veins and your heart having to work against this. And this can increase the risk of damage to your blood vessels, which is why when you get your blood pressure taken you should have your feet flat on the floor.

Sitting with the legs crossed for a long time increases the likelihood of scoliosis (abnormal alignment of the spine) and other deformities. It can also cause greater trochanteric pain syndrome, a common and painful condition that affects the outer side of the hip and thigh.

Adam Taylor Professor and Director of the Clinical Anatomy Learning Centre, Lancaster University (The Conversation)

Others argue that sitting on the floor cross-legged is “critical to mobility—the harmonious convergence of all the elements in your body that allow you to move freely and effortlessly”.

If you are like me and like to learn more about this Indian ancient custom of eating food, you will appreciate the following list of resources related to sitting cross-legged posture, which may prove to be helpful to you.

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