I am 185cm tall and not so flexible. I sometimes have to sit for prolonged periods of time (~1 hour or more) on the floor to use a low table, e.g. to eat or use a computer. It typically hurts my legs and back. How can I sit ergonomically on the floor when using a low table?

  • Try doing yoga to improve your flexibility. Can you sit cross-legged on the floor for a few minutes without discomfort? You should be able to. May 25, 2015 at 16:50
  • @FaheemMitha Sitting cross-legged gives me upper pain and lower back. May 25, 2015 at 17:15
  • 1
    This may be related to loss of flexibility. The problem with this is that if parts of body don't flex properly, they can put additional stress on other parts of your body. It can be worse for taller people. I recommend trying out a yoga or pilates class. They are similar. The more difficult you find such a class, the more you need it. May 25, 2015 at 17:17

1 Answer 1


There are a few tricks which can make the cross-legged position comfortable:

  1. Sitting more "crossy" - if you are not flexible enough to align your heels one in front of another, cross your ankles or even cross your shins.
  2. Elevate the hips above your knees (by using a cushion, blanket or yoga-block)
  3. Support your knees (again using cushions or something similar).

These "tricks" come from yoga practitioners:

If you choose to sit cross-legged, it is important to have your knees level with or below your hips. If you are having difficulty maintaining an erect spine while sitting cross-legged, begin by sitting on the edge of a cushion, bolster, or rolled blanket. For additional support, place rolled blankets or bolsters under your knees. (You may find that with the knees supported, the inner groins relax and that when you take the supports away, your knees drop further easily.)

You can see this demonstration video

Apart from this, when you feel physical strain, a good idea is to make a break and stand up for a few minutes. This doesn't apply just to sitting on the floor, by the way, because sitting for a long time (regardless of the position) is connected with health risks and some experts recommend a break from sitting every 30 minutes.

I don't have references for this part: the pain you are feeling might be caused by low flexibility (especially in the hips), but also week abdominal and paravertebral muscles (both of which are important for a good, straight-back posture). Working on these issues over time might help, but, as with any exercise program, you need to be aware of your general health and whether you have any specific health issues, so that you can exercise safely.

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