5 Reasons to Sit on the Floor or a Meditation Cushion

Humans are meant to sit on the ground. Our evolved anatomy is best suited for active sitting, not lounging. While chairs and couches are comfy, they disrupt our natural posture. Sitting on unsupportive surfaces can be the cause for decreased core strength and flexibility.  When you need to sit, it’s a good idea to sit on something that helps you improve your posture by engaging muscles and encouraging hip flexibility.

Here are 5 of the many reasons to return to the practice of sitting on the floor. Learn how meditation cushions like mello{be} make this a lot easier.

Reason #1 – Chairs can be bad for you

Regular and extended use of chairs is a relatively new practice for humans. For most of our existence, we’ve sat on the ground and in the squat position. Now, the 40-60 hour work-week puts us in chairs for most of our waking hours.  Hunched over a computer screen we compress our spinal discs, weaken our core, back, and neck muscles. Prolonged sitting also tightens the hip flexors.

When we come home to relax we slouch and slump and fall into couches. This type of sitting weakens our core, leading to pain in the back, shoulders, hips, and neck. We now slouch both when we sit and when we stand, which weakens the muscles in the torso and contributes to chronic pain.

Meditation cushions are good because they return us to a more natural position. You can sit cross legged, in a squat and/or with legs outstretched.  Sitting without relying on anything other than the cushion beneath you makes you use your muscles and skeleton to hold you up. This practice is called active sitting. This is a good article on the benefits of sitting on the floor.

Reason #2 – Improve your posture

A cushion that is designed to be supportive can encourage the pelvis to tilt forward a little and open up the hips. This helps the spine remain in the slight “S” curve that it’s meant to be in without a lot of effort. It also encourages the body to relax  the shoulders, so your posture is upright and comfortable.

Sitting on the floor naturally engages your core and back, which strengthens your muscles. While uncomfortable at first, sitting like this will build your stamina over time and gradually improve your posture. You’ll find yourself standing taller, slouching less, and experiencing less pain. People will definitely notice your new posture.

Side note: it’s a lot easier to build this posture when you feel comfortable, so try focusing on your posture while sitting on a meditation cushion.

Reason #3 – Build strength and flexibility

Sitting on the floor also engages your abdominal muscles and hip joints, which can greatly improve your flexibility. It’s like getting a small workout each time you sit down. Enjoy a tighter core, looser hips, and a stronger back just from your daily dose of sitting. You can also move around the floor doing “Bear Crawls and Crab Walks” instead of getting up to find the remote. https://goo.gl/images/UoWmGV

As you get up and down from sitting on the floor you are engaging many muscle groups. Try doing it without pushing up from the floor with your hands. Although you may have to place yourself near a chair or couch to help you get up and down at first, after some practice you will get better. 

Reason #4 – Improve your longevity

Being able to get up and down from the floor also improves balance. If you can do this, you most likely have strong and flexible legs, a healthy core, and good balance. As you age, you’ll avoid falls and strains, which are common reasons for hospitalization and decreased quality of life. Of course sitting on the floor alone won’t make you live longer, but it’s a simple way to improve your strength and flexibility and an easy adjustment to make to improve your health. 

Reason #5 – Connect your mind and body

Sitting on the floor not only engages your muscles, it also brings awareness to your mind and body by changing your perspective and position. The crosslegged position with a straight spine and open relaxed shoulders automatically sets the nervous system to a calm, self-aware mode. This encourages an open resting state while the body is in active sitting mode.

There’s a reason most mediators sit on the floor or on meditation cushions.

This position even puts you closer to children, animals, and nature. It’s a win-win.

Please remember

Sitting on the floor may take some getting used to. You are using new muscles, so if you find it difficult, give yourself time. Begin by sitting on a supportive cushion for a few minutes at a time, and gradually increase as your strength and flexibility grow. You’ll eventually find that sitting on the floor (especially with a meditation cushion) with your chest out and shoulders back is naturally a more comfortable position.

If you want an extra boost to your comfort and posture, check out a mello{be} meditation cushion. Designed to straighten your back, open your hips, and relax your knees, they’ll do wonders for your floor-sitting journey.