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Sitting Cross-legged?

Bryan2010-07-04 13:37:11 +0000 #1
Hello everyone. My name is Bryan and I am new to these forums and new to the practice of yoga.

I love the practice of yoga; the peace of body that it brings. However, I feel I have reached a major sticking point in my practice. I cannot sit cross-legged. To even attempt sitting this way brings excrutiating pain to my inner groin area.

This, for some reason, has brought about immense frustration in my life. Everyone around me seems to be able to sit this way with no trouble at all. In fact, between family and friends, I can find no one else who has this trouble. It has always bothered me, but never as much as now that I have started the practice of an art which somewhat requires this ability.

I guess I am looking for people like me who also have delt with and overcome this problem. People have told me it is one of those things that you are either able to do or you are not able to do. I find this response a bit unsettling: it seems as though I am suffering from a flexibility issue that, in time, can be overcome.

Does anyone have any tips/specific stretches or exercises I might do in order to find this position?


InnerAthlete2010-07-04 13:50:18 +0000 #2
Hello Bryan,

Before I get into this too deeply, understand it is not all that important to the practice that you sit cross-legged. But since you are disturbed by it then it manifests as an issue. Yoga does not care if you sit that way or another way. Just so we are clear moving forward.

There are three factors within the issue you broach.

The first in an anatomical issue, the second is energetics and emotions, and the third is diet and lifestyle.

Different bodies have different ranges of motion and different blocks to that motion. It may purely be an anatomical issue with short muscles or the lack of engagement of other muscles. As a teacher I value applied anatomy so I don't want to get too wrapped up in this mover or that stabilizer. That is for a teacher who can see you in a variety of asanas and assess you after such a seeing.

Of course the pelvis represents the creative force and a student that presents pelvic issues may have some work to do in that regard. We write the story of our lives to the journal pages of the body. And since the story of our lives comes with both joy and trauma, both get etched. Again, this is for that student to crack into with a teacher once a trust relationship has been built.

Finally there is the matter of what the student is putting in to their body and how they are living. I'm always fascinated by students who say they're keyboarding 10 hours a day and wonder why they have wrist issues. Likewise those who sit for 10 hours then wonder why they have back issues. The lifestyle must support the well being. From a nutrition standpoint there are certain foods which do not support optimum tissue health - those can include refined sugar, caffeine, alcohol, some dairy, and U.S. wheat. Hydration may also be an issue.

Please consider turning to the person you've selected as a teacher. Surely that person is highly and thoroughly trained, knows these things, and can direct you more directly.



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