The world’s premier network for those seeking to share and discuss high-impact,high results, super practical information for the developmentof superiorphysical performance.
Results 1 to 9 of 9
  1. #1
    Trident is offline Junior Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Posts
    28

    Default A perhaps not so common training goal: sustaining a cross legged sitting position

    My first post here so let me start with a big hello! Very excited to read and learn from all you guys!

    Let me get right to it. I love physical exercise! My adolescence was more about video games but over the past 8 years I have done martial arts (kung fu and kickboxing), rock climbing, running, Mountainbiking, Yoga, weight training, swimming... A whole bunch of stuff. Performing each one made me terribly aware of the deficiencies that have accumulated in a body that grew to be 6'6" in front of a computer screen with a joint ready more often than not...
    This has led to shoulder injuries during excessively hard climbing moves, neck and shoulder problems through boxing, weak lower limbs to perform well on runs... Yoga helped but not as much as my first month of convict conditioning! I am in Nepal right now with NO gear which helps focusing and developing perfect form on step 1.
    As much as I love physical training though, I'd say my big field of interest now is mind training. The specific practices I do require a lot of cross legged sitting and it's an ordeal for my body. The big six are working all those areas while helping the joints as well! The big problem areas are shoulder and lower back... I simply cannot keep it upright for more than 5 to 10 minutes. And I want to be able to sit for hours for purposes I'd gladly explain if it helps coming up with tips.
    Also, I'd like to ease my knees into the lotus posture (both feet on the other legs thigh). Any thoughts?

    Sorry for the extensive writing, just thought I'd share where I think my problem stems from.

    Cheers.

  2. #2
    LChristopher RKC is offline Senior Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    Santa Cruz, CA
    Posts
    277
    Blog Entries
    32

    Default

    Remember that what you train is what you'll improve in. Unless there is a specific physical problem that would make it otherwise, simply spending more time in this posture could be enough to become accustom to doing it for a longer and longer time. Don't expect hours straight away, but in time it probably will happen by itself.

    Now to speed the process I'd specifically work on the lotus posture, doing a little flexibility work to improve your ability to get into it. This would also help with sitting in the easier postures.

    Also this could be something to grease the groove in. The more time in these positions the easier they'll be able to do for longer periods of time. Hope that helps.
    Logan Christopher
    [URL="http://www.legendarystrength.com"]Legendary Strength[/URL]
    [URL="http://www.kettlebelljuggling.com"]Free Kettlebell Juggling Videos[/URL]

  3. #3
    DTris is offline Senior Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Dayton, OH
    Posts
    856

    Default

    Honestly, if you didn't sit on the floor much growing up it may be difficult to get into a full lotus. A half lotus should be doable though.

    First you should do hip flexibility and mobility work. This will help.
    Second you should also work on ankle, knee, and spine flexibility and work on fixing any imbalances in your hip flexors and other hip or spine problems. You are most likely rounding the upper back and curving the lower back too much because your hip flexors aren't relaxing in the position.
    Alignment is key, so you want to sit in your position then focus on lengthening the spine. Pull the crown of the head up and slightly tuck the chin. You should feel the lower back and shoulder area of the spine straightening out slightly. Pull in your stomach a little bit to relieve pressure on the lower back. When you get the spine straight you want to bend forward and back rocking slowly. Feel for the position that is most comfortable and requires the least effort. Most people tend to lean back when sitting at first and they do not realize it.

    As for your legs and hips. If your knees are off the floor in the position you sit in use rolled up towels or something similar to take the pressure off. They should be just thick enough that the pressure is comfortable but the position is near your limit. You can sit on something raised a couple inches off the ground to give your feet and hips more room too. Same applies as for the knees. Over time you should try to lessen the amount of support.

    Good luck!

  4. #4
    Steve Freides is offline Senior Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Posts
    7,649

    Default

    To the OP: First, you can mediate in other positions, e.g., sitting in a chair or standing up. No, it's not exactly the same, but it's still fine.

    I recommend, if you don't have them already, the now-classic combination of Relax Into Stretch and Super Joints. Or, although I haven't seen it yet, Jon Engum's "Flexible Steel," which I'm sure is excellent - I'm just waiting for the print version.

    Your lower back tires sitting cross-legged in all likelihood because your hip and hamstrings are flexible enough to allow your back to be straight. Try the kettlebell windmill, also the yoga pigeon pose, also toe touches, also pistol squats.
    -S-

  5. #5
    kimjansson is offline Senior Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    Denmark
    Posts
    154

    Default

    hi not to be a "bully" but there is a reason for sitting down when you meditate. when you get very deep into meditation you will thin out the EGO part of yourself, and that isvery closely related to the body. which means that you will tumble over. in a full lotus a monk can actually fall asleep without falling
    jmo Kim

  6. #6
    Trident is offline Junior Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Posts
    28

    Default

    4 years ago, my knees were a good 7 inches off the floor. At that time I went into a retreat that did take care of a bulk of flexibility issues but it never improved that much since then which is why I look for input.

    Very sound advice. I have been starting to make lotus seat specific stretches again which do help a lot. DTris, thank you very much for reminding me ofmthe roles of the abs. I know that the deep ones account for much of the back posture but for some reason I havn't applied that so thanks :-)

    I found the squat exercises from CC have created a lot more balance and stabikity in my entire lower limb. Muscles and joints that is. Good to see that that will help.

    Something else though: I have noticed that daily stretching may give the specific areas too much strain? If I do it too much the joints feel sore and tired and giving them a rest, as with muscles, yields some benefit and improvement. Is there any golden rule pertaining to stretch intensity and frequency anybody could fill me in on?

    Very interesting to see other people here into meditation practice btw.

  7. #7
    Steve Freides is offline Senior Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Posts
    7,649

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Trident View Post
    Something else though: I have noticed that daily stretching may give the specific areas too much strain? If I do it too much the joints feel sore and tired and giving them a rest, as with muscles, yields some benefit and improvement. Is there any golden rule pertaining to stretch intensity and frequency anybody could fill me in on?
    It's like most other things - if you keep the intensity low to moderate then you can keep the frequency high - or vice versa, just not both.

    The usual recommendation for hard flexibility work, e.g., contract-release protocols (PNF), is 2-3 times per week.

    For daily work, think of joint mobility and keeping the range of motion you have rather than trying to improve it.

    Edit - One more thought on schedule. What has worked for me - for years, now - is practicing joint mobility every morning and practicing stretching 2-3 times per week late in the day, often in the evenings at 9 or 10 PM when my day is done.

    It's also worth mentioning that, if you make progress at flexibility, the daily joint mobility work will help you keep it, often to the point where you can, e.g., retain a split even if you only work on splits once every few weeks or once a month - but you have to get there first.

    Hope that helps.

    End Edit

    Just my opinion, your mileage may vary.
    Last edited by Steve Freides; 10-05-2012 at 05:43 AM.
    -S-

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Minnesota
    Posts
    58

    Default

    Hi,

    Well wow. I guess I have to respond to this one because sitting cross legged comfortably is a persistent back and forth for me, I grew up on video/computer games, I'm 6'6" and I've been to Nepal on a meditation retreat before.... Can't say the same about the joints at the ready though

    I have no way of knowing how advanced you are and all that but I'll just lay into my best suggestions - please don't do anything unless you feel prepared for it. Do assisted style squats as a hip stretch - prying at the bottom for a few moments and then ascending, repeating often. Do pigeon stretch often - master being able to shimmy your hips around occasionally while in the stretch and reach far back with that back foot - gains with that back foot and an upright torso in pigeon are going to be more valuable than slumping your body forward. Also, sit cross legged for brief periods with the intent to shimmy your hips around and stretch your torso forward as well as over each knee (this is where you should train a bit of flexion, not pigeon in my opinion) with very slow and precise movement - try lifting your hips up and placing them further back to eek out a little extra hip neutrality/anterior pelvic tilt. You should do these sorts of thing as a warmup to sitting for about 10 minutes (which sounds ridiculous but it is a must).

    All of this will sort of buy you time in the posture but it won't exactly improve your sitting posture unless you do it all often. If you can't move your torso as a unit with your hips while in the cross-legged posture (i.e. your back is rounded) then you need to sit on something. If you can't lean forward, back and side to side with a straight back when observed in a mirror or on video then you do not have enough play for the height of the object you are sitting on. All that can happen is your body fatiguing and slouching backwards - the goal of my suggestions is to have a little more play forward with good posture so that sitting neutral will not be so hard. Also, keep in mind that you likely have very long legs which will probably cause your femurs to take a steeper angle at the hips while cross-legged meaning that you actually have to be more flexible than an average person to sit cross-legged on the floor.

    For your shoulder and back problems I think you're just going to need to get stronger. CC should take care of that, emphasize supine rows imo to develop your lats and also work on good squatting posture. Learn how to do RKC style TGU's.

    As for lotus haven't been able to sit lotus since I was a kid so I will let other people largely handle that question. I can say that attaining it may require you to lose a certain amount of your accumulated athleticism in your lower body while you work to gain that flexibility. You just cant be playing sports, lifting weights, sprinting or what have you and still work towards it so maybe now while you are away from everything is a good time. To get that goal it will have to be lazer-like focus and not a whole lot else (i.e. cut out most of your lower body training program with the exception of doing some grease the groove, low-rep squat variants or something). Once you can do it routinely then you can start to implement things again that put a huge tax on your lower body but good luck doing it all at once!

    Best of luck,

    Tim
    Last edited by Timothy Spencer; 10-05-2012 at 09:06 AM.

  9. #9
    Trident is offline Junior Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Posts
    28

    Default

    Haha what a lucky coincidence :-)
    I wasn't aware of the pigeon pose. It looks very conducive to my goal however. I'll make sure to integrate that in my yoga routine!

    Maybe a bit of further information: I do use a meditation pillow. Perhaps 3 - 4 inches off the floor. Sitting on it, I can bring my forehead to the floor in front of me. The stretch is a wonderful sensation and the ensuing lack of strain in the back really allows for the best part of my session because it allows to maintain my practice well!

    I am not running at the moment (here in Kathmandu that would do more bad than good because of the dust and the pollution). But light lower body exercise allows for a bit of relief from the cross legged sitting. I went from beginner standard of step 1 to progression standard in 3,5 weeks, so maybe that was a bit too fast. I am definately going to try to maintain training and get in the lotus seat. I am a med student so I have a lot of time until the schedule clears up to have time for a retreat again. But one part of my practice is an extreme physical challenge and I need to prepare for that as well.

    The tips I have received from you all have been really useful. I'll be integrating the pigeon pose and make more room for dedicated stretching sessions 2-3 times a week!

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
Free Course
Close