Sitting with ease on the floor can be extremely difficult for many people. Years of sitting in chairs, poor posture, injuries, tight hip flexors, knee issues along with other contributing factors can make Sukasana, or Easy Pose, anything but easy.
But sitting on the floor has many benefits, and is well worthwhile the time it takes to make the posture comfortable and accessible. Sukhasana helps open the hips, sides of legs, knees and ankles. It lengthens the spine and strengthens the belly. It’s a peaceful and grounding posture for use during periods of meditation, centering or even working at your Dharma Desk.
So here are some tips to make your experience as enjoyable as possible…
Set up your space with a large folded blanket or zabuton (large square cushion) to sit on. This provides support for the ankles and can make sitting for long periods much more comfortable. If you can sit down on the floor criss-cross apple sauce without any problem, fantastic! But most people will need another smaller cushion (like a zafu), smaller folded blanket or foam yoga block underneath the sitting (or sitz) bones to help the knees fall below the hips. Lifting the pelvis by sitting on something allows you to come into a neutral position and align the spine properly. So where exactly are those sitz bones anyway? Take your right hand and reach behind you and slide your hand under your fleshy part of your buttocks and pull the flesh out and way from your center. Then do the same for the left butt cheek. Now, once both sides are out of the way. Viola! The sitz bones!
Stay in the middle of your center. What does that mean? Well, neither too far forward, nor too far back. You can rock forwards and back to embody this action until you find your center. Play around the thickness of your lift if it is too high. Once you find the right height, it will become very comfortable.
The contraindications of this posture would be if you have had a prior knee injury, then you want to be extremely mindful of the tension/pain factor. Check with your physician and make sure they give you the ok to sit like this if you are unsure. Remember always the No. 1 rule: no pain.
In our next newsletter we will explore some of the finer details of sitting in this pose, so that you can sit with ease for longer periods of time. For the meantime, try this setup and notice your breath and how your body responds. Start with just a few minutes and day and slowly build up. Before you know it, sitting on the floor will become a new favourite!