Health By Sitting On The Floor

Benefits from daily habit of sitting on the floor

Would you believe it that sitting on the floor for 15 to 30 minutes a day can make you feel more recharged and even increase your life-span? Well, the habit of sitting cross-legged on the floor is one of the ten healthy habits recommended in a new book titled 'Built to Move'.

Across India, people sit cross-legged on the floor for breakfast, lunch, and especially during services at temples. Traditional seating in India also revolved around a mat on the floor for academics as well as for business and leisure.

Yup, the new generation may find it hard to believe that people worked without a table & chair and 'sahaj-asana' Yoga position is not just a yoga posture but used to be a way of daily life for businessmen and household work.

It is a type of activity which is critical for mobility. Where all elements of your body converge with better, effortless movement getting enabled.

All the hidden signs of aging such as sore back, hunching of shoulders, neck ache, bad postures in cubicles, etc can be dealt with through regular, daily practice of sitting on the floor.

The researchers are giving this same advice to military elites and Olympic athletes they work with as well as to people who haven’t run a lap since high school.

We Karatekas are also aware of a slightly different sitting position called 'Seiza' where legs are folded underneath the body, the tops of the feet on the floor, and the buttocks resting on the heels. (It's a variation of kneeling). In Japanese culture Seiza is the most respectful way to sit.

Many new students find it difficult to sit for long period in 'seiza and same is the case for urban students of yoga -- sahaj-asana where 'sahaj' literally translates to 'easy' -- is not so easy a posture for city-folks -- young as well as the middle-aged.

So why exactly is sitting on the floor important? It relieves the body from its usual typical poor postures while sitting on a chair or couch or car, for many hours, on a daily basis. Western method of table and chair forces your upper thigh bones, pelvis, and hip joints to suffer, making it harder for you to keep your torso stable. The human body then compensates with long muscles in the back and in the legs to keep your upper body from moving in various directions.

Your spine is thus strained and creates discomfort. In Yoga, we are told the importance and significance of the spine. An erect spine is a unique gift exclusive to mankind on this planet.

By sitting on the floor, you can allow the lower-body to be in a more suitable, natural position. People in India as well as in other nations in Asia, sit on the floor for writing letters, studying, preparing ingredients for cooking, waiting for a bus, for eating at home, etc. Its practical and helps your body do more with less effort / strain.

The other major reason for sitting on the floor is to develop the capability to get up again. For a 2014 study published in European Journal of Preventive Cardiology, researchers gave 2,002 men and women, ages fifty-one to eighty a Sit-and-Rise Test to assess their ability to get up from the floor. They checked to note if they needed to grab something for support or put their hand on the floor to push themselves back up.

Six years later they checked the health of those participants to find that an inability to get up and down off the floor without any sort of assistance meant increased risk of death. Those who could do it, lived longer as per the statistics.

Simply put, the ability to do this simple task shows overall well-being and better muscular capabilities. Meaning, your body is stable, supple, and efficient. They are traits to avoid pain, feel more vigorous, and increased participation in human endeavors. 

So try these two things now:
* self-administer the Sit-and-Rise Test to check your current status
* practice sitting on the floor or learn it, then make it a daily habit irrespective of whether you do any yoga / meditation or not.

You can simply sit cross-legged on the floor with your laptop or handheld gizmo of choice. The sitting and getting up will become a natural muscle memory and you will soon enjoy doing it often for leisure rather than as an exercise. Your body will be more at ease and your daily office work will no longer feel constrained.

Try it today and gradually increase the time sitting on the floor to at least 30 minutes a day. All you need is a clean floor and your willingness to invest time & effort for your own good health.

Refer the book available at Amazon:

Title: 'Built to Move: The Ten Essential Habits to Help You Move Freely and Live Fully'
Authors: Kelly Starrett & Juliet Starrett

ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 0593534808
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-0593534809
Published by Knopf, 336 pages

Also refer article by the authors of the book at:

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Let us know how you fared on the Sit-and-Rise Test by email to