Message Boards Message Boards

Miscellaneous

Is sitting cross-legged bad for your knees?

Toggle
I'm 28 and my knees are starting to hurt a tiny bit in daily life, while walking. Totally tolerable, but concerned that it will probably only get worse from here. I sit "Burmese style".

Does sitting cross-legged do permanent damage to your knees? I know it often hurts a bit while sitting, especially if sitting for a long time, but does it predispose you to developing osteoarthritis? Is there a particular way of sitting cross-legged that reduces this risk, or should I just start sitting in a chair?

Thank you for your replies.

RE: Is sitting cross-legged bad for your knees?
Answer
7/31/19 9:53 PM as a reply to David.
I've worried about the same thing since I started meditating. I read a lot about this and here's what I picked up.

Ultimately it all depends on your anatomy. No one can give you a complete answer without taking an x ray of your hip socket, so it's best to try and listen to what you body tells you. Most people can sit burmese and be fine, but you may have an unusually shaped hip socket that makes it harder.

The fact that you still feel the pain after you get off the cushion is not a good sign, so you may want to sit in a chair for now. But if you want to sit on the floor, there are tons of stretches you can do. One really good one is to sit in a chair, and place one foot on the opposite knee so that your hip rotates, like this: https://i.ytimg.com/vi/GZmYPhxcWxQ/maxresdefault.jpg You can look up tons of others on youtube. I started doing this maybe a week ago and have been surprised at the results I've gotten in such a short period of time.

When your hips are more flexible, less pressure will be put on you knees and ankles and you may be able to sit on the floor without knee pain.

You can also try using a higher cushion.

RE: Is sitting cross-legged bad for your knees?
Answer
8/1/19 4:32 AM as a reply to Katz Videos.
Good advice.

Yes, sitting in a posture that is not good for your particular body can mess up knees, hips, back, neck, etc.

If you think your meditaiton posture is hurting you, play around with it until it isn't. Lots of options. Also, walking, standing, and reclining practice are highly underestimated, so definitely consider adding those into your practice, as they are quite valid, useful, helpful, and potentially just as powerful as sitting if not more so in some circumstances and for some people.

Yes, some sort of skillful, mindful stretching is also recommended, particularly if you do a lot of sitting, or really even if you don't.

Best wishes!

RE: Is sitting cross-legged bad for your knees?
Answer
8/1/19 1:07 PM as a reply to David.
David:
I'm 28 and my knees are starting to hurt a tiny bit in daily life, while walking. Totally tolerable, but concerned that it will probably only get worse from here. I sit "Burmese style".

Does sitting cross-legged do permanent damage to your knees? I know it often hurts a bit while sitting, especially if sitting for a long time, but does it predispose you to developing osteoarthritis? Is there a particular way of sitting cross-legged that reduces this risk, or should I just start sitting in a chair?

Thank you for your replies.

aloha david,

   Over the course of a lot of sitting, I can now sit comfortably cross-legged for most or all of a 45 minute session. In earlier days sitting I would sit cross-legged for twenty minutes or so, and then extend my legs, just staying comfortable and trying not to disturb my flow of meditation. As I practiced I got better at sitting cross-legged.

   I don't think suffering any sort of additional pain helps sitting. I also don't think sitting cross-legged will permanently hurt your body unless you really abuse the posture.

    Just keep at it without overdoing anything and you will be fine.

terry

RE: Is sitting cross-legged bad for your knees?
Answer
8/2/19 4:13 AM as a reply to David.
I have been reading on this topic for a while. There are many types of cross-legged sitting postures. The most common among meditation practitioners is padmasana aka lotus pose. Then there is half lotus and the simple cross-legged pose where your feet are under the opposite thighs. There is also the Burmese pose but I don't know much about that. It appears that if your hips and knees are not flexible then lotus pose can be bad for your knees but I recently met a yoga teacher who said it is good for the ligaments of your legs. Generally they say keep at it until it stops hurting but I would recommend doing some stretching especially the stretches which involves hips, knees and ankles. Rock the baby pose is highly effective. If after a week it still hurts then it would be best to try some other pose.

RE: Is sitting cross-legged bad for your knees?
Answer
8/2/19 7:12 AM as a reply to Gaurav.
Gaurav:
...Generally they say keep at it until it stops hurting...
Most certainly do NOT do that with lotus pose unless you want a torn meniscus. I don't think any qualified yoga or meditation teacher would recommend that. Lotus is actually pretty rare to see in the west. I've only seen a couple long time practitioners do it (people with 20+ years of practice).

RE: Is sitting cross-legged bad for your knees?
Answer
8/2/19 7:25 AM as a reply to Katz Videos.
It all just dissolves into sensations anyway. What posture would you adopt floating in orbit?

RE: Is sitting cross-legged bad for your knees?
Answer
8/3/19 9:12 AM as a reply to David.
Thanks for the responses, everyone.

RE: Is sitting cross-legged bad for your knees?
Answer
10/5/19 12:28 AM as a reply to David.
http://zenmontpellier.net/eng/lotus/lotuseng.html
this link is great.  Do these exercises and don't push yourself too agressively.