Supported Crossed-Legs Pose, also known as Supported Cross Legged Forward Fold Pose, is a relaxing seated pose, similar to the Supported Seated-Angle Pose, except that the legs are comfortably crossed at the ankles in a relaxed tailor position.
Everyone’s body is unique in structure and flexibility, so there is no one-size-fits-all guideline for sitting with legs crossed. However, there are some common leg variations that you can use as a base to get comfortable.
The most manageable way to sit cross-legged for the most people is in really Easy Pose, with the feet resting just below the knees or calves (the way kids usually learn to sit “Indian style” on the floor). If this creates tension in your hips, it’s best to allow the feet to rest a little further away from the body rather than closer to the waist.
Another option is to cross the feet at the ankles or calves so that both shins are on the floor, facing each other. Although similar to the Easy Pose, this leg variation is different enough that it is known as Siddhasana.
Benefits of Supported Crossed-Legs Pose
Supported Crossed-Legs Pose is similar to Supported Seated Angle Pose, which provides additional benefits to the lower abdomen.
In the Seated Angle Pose, the breath is felt more in the upper lungs. In Supported Crossed-Legs Pose, the breath moves differently, and awareness is brought to the lower abdomen.
Since most of us keep tension in the abdomen, this yoga pose helps to release it below the level of the navel. In addition, this yoga pose cools and relaxes your digestive and reproductive organs, kidneys, and liver.
Supported Crossed-Legs Pose Practice Guide
In yoga, it’s taught that keeping the pose as symmetrical as possible benefits the nervous system. This sitting posture is traditionally used to stretch your legs.
It recommends that even very flexible individuals practice this supported variation of the Easy Pose to increase relaxation. You don’t need to work out aggressively to reap the physical benefits of the pose.
In Supported Crossed-Legs Pose, practice first with the right ankle on top of the left ankle and then reverse the cross for the same amount of time. In doing so, the hemispheres of the brain receive an equal amount of input from the nerves that interpret our spatial position. The brain translates this response as quietness.
Sit on the floor with a chair in front of you. Be careful that the chair does not slip. If it does, put it on a nonskid mat. Cross the feet at the ankles. If you can maintain the natural inward curve of the lumbar spine located at waist level, you can move on. If lower back spasms occur, sit on the corner of one or more single-fold blankets. This will raise the pelvis and tilt it forward to create an inward lumbar curve.
If you know that you can lean forward easily, you can practice this pose with the seat of the chair in front of you. If you don’t lean forward easily, place 1 or more single-fold blankets to raise the height of the seat, or turn the chair so that its back is toward you. These changes will allow you to come forward as you maintain the natural curvature of the spine.
Come forward, fold the arms and rest them on the chair. Adjust the chair so that you can actually lean on it. If you lean forward easily, you may prefer to hold the chair further away from you. Whatever the distance, make sure the lower back is lengthened.
Now rest the forehead on the sides, or turn the head to one side. When you rest the forehead on the bent arms, the neck should not bend. If it does, it means that the chin is moving up and out. To fix this, pull the chin back and in a bit. You can also add more prop height below the forehead. Close the eyes.
Breathe in and out and enjoy the peace. Allow the weight of the head to relax completely. Breathe into the back, as you slowly round it. Feel like all the problems are rolling in from the top of the head and down the back. Be present in the here and now.
Practice the Supported Crossed-Legs Pose (Supported Cross Legged Forward Fold Pose) for 3 to 5 minutes. Remember to come up, reverse the cross of the ankles, and repeat the pose for the same amount of time with the opposite ankle on top. To finish, slowly come up and lean back on hands to relax your lower back. If you feel any pain in the back, then lie down on the floor comfortably for a few minutes on the seat of the chair.
Precautions and contraindications
You should never feel aching or aching in your back. If you do, come out of the pose and raise the height of the prop. If this adjustment fails to relieve the discomfort, avoid this yoga pose for now.
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