What if it hurts just to sit?

In Longevity Breathing Yoga, one of the basic principles is that all the postures derive from physical, mental and emotional relaxation – we talk about practicing without strain – but what if it hurts just to sit?

This question is a common one. Many of us feel pain or strain just sitting in a neutral beginning posture. Here are some suggestions if you find yourself in this predicament:

  • In the cross-legged posture, try adding pillows under your knees, and/or under your rear-end; often just a bit more propping provides relief of back tension, or tension in the legs and hips
  • in the sitting position, close your eyes and see if you can “let-go” and relax your whole body just a bit more before you begin
  • spend a little time before you practice laying on the floor with your knees up and pay attention to your breathing; let your whole body relax as much as it can in that moment, then move into the sitting cross-legged position
  • If sitting cross-legged on the floor feels too difficult, try sitting in a chair with your pelvis toward the front end of the chair and your ankles crossed
  • as you sit and feel your breathing, see if you can let your breath soak into the areas of tension like water soaks into the soil as you water a potted plant

Remember that it’s important not to push through tension, or push yourself to get into a position that’s too difficult. Try playing with these suggestions and see if you notice a difference.