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Is Sitting Cross-Legged Useful?

Is Sitting Cross-Legged Useful?

Sitting cross-legged aka the lotus pose or padmasan in yoga practice is an ancient tradition in India. This position has been used in meditation, while eating meals, and other simple activities.  However, over the years, chairs and sofas have changed the way we sit. Even some of the yogasanas have been somewhat altered to suit our chair-sitting habits. 

A recent study published says that crossing your arms helps to reduce pain by sending confusing signals to the brain. Wonder if the same would apply to our legs as well.

There must be something good coming out of sitting cross-legged. This is why our ancestors did it. The possible health benefits were believed to be that:

  1. It reduces the chances of developing arthritis as we age. 
  2. It provides physical stability and therefore makes it easier to meditate. 
  3. Breathing becomes slow and steady and this can aid in reducing muscular tension and blood pressure. 
  4. It is also believed that since blood flow to the legs decreases, there is more blood flowing around the abdomen region and this helps to improve digestion.
  5. The pressure of the heels pressing against the abdomen helps to improve digestion.
  6. Since the spine is kept erect while sitting cross-legged, circulation is improved and the nervous system is strengthened.
  7. Flow of vital energy is believed to be good and internalized.

But, if you're attempting the lotus pose for the first time, do it gently. If you cannot get into that position immediately, try sitting with one leg folded for a few days and then try the full pose. Get help from a yoga expert to guide you into the final pose without injury.