Improve my floor time
March 7, 2023 5:29 PM   Subscribe

I like sitting on the floor, but can't comfortably do so for as long as I'd like. I'd ideally like to be able to sit tailor fashion/criss-cross-applesauce style without support but it hurts my back after a while. Other than just more practice, are there stretches or exercises that would help me be able to sit comfortably for longer?
posted by darchildre to Health & Fitness (6 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
Very probably core strengthening is mainly what you need. Proper unsupported back alignment is hard to maintain without it. So if you have core exercises you like, keep them up, and if you don't, experiment and find out what works for you.
posted by EvaDestruction at 5:56 PM on March 7, 2023 [2 favorites]

Have you tried using cushions or bolsters to gradually work on lowering down to floor sitting level? I am also trying to floor sit more but can't manage straight to the floor for more than a few minutes. But if I use a zafu pillow/yoga block/cushion, I can manage to get more time before my joints and muscles start yelling at me. Here's a blog post and a podcast by my favorite biomechanist, Katy Bowman (learned about her right here on MeFi!) about floor sitting - maybe there will be useful info for you. I'll be watching this thread with interest for myself as well!
posted by carlypennylane at 6:30 PM on March 7, 2023 [5 favorites]

I came in to recommend Katy Bowman's resources. Here are some more.
posted by TrixieRamble at 6:39 PM on March 7, 2023 [2 favorites]

I have a friend who is naturally extremely thin and bony. She is active and strong but sitting on hard surfaces hurts her so much more quickly than me or most of our friends. (She also gets cold super duper easily.) Don’t discount how your unique anatomy might cause you discomfort in ways that aren’t talked about too often. Much of the movement and slow yoga practices I’ve done or investigated recommend using different kinds of supports and cushions to help customize things for the individual’s body.

When I’ve done some of this with my thin friend, she uses a softer cushion under her hips and butt, while I use rolled up towels and blocks to help align my shoulders and chest on the floor so my breasts don’t interfere with certain forms. Humans invented stools and cushions really early for good reason. Every body is unique and it’s amazing that we can customize our environment for individual comfort. One thing that helps my back when I’m doing work on the ground is to have my legs out with a gentle bend at the knees, supported by a rolled up towel underneath them. This lets me shift my balance and use different parts of my butt for sitting without straining my back. I also naturally have really flexible hips so my knees can go flat on the ground to either side when my legs are folded, so that creates a very stable large area to distribute my weight. My thin friend puts thin cushions under her knees to sit the same way for similar lengths of time.
posted by Mizu at 9:39 PM on March 7, 2023 [2 favorites]

This is pretty much what yoga was invented for (readying the body [and mind] for extended meditation). Basic yoga poses, done properly, will help. Westerners tend to have issues with tight hips and hamstrings, weak core and inflexible backs.

Downward dog, cat-cow, standing forward fold, etc etc.
posted by vunder at 9:45 PM on March 7, 2023 [3 favorites]

Try sitting on a yoga block (one of the ones about 2" high, not the big cork brick ones) and almost hang off it at the front. That can align your spine and make sitting cross-legged more comfortable.
posted by essexjan at 3:04 AM on March 8, 2023

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