Most of us have an idea or heard of sitting while cross-legged, but Seiza may be a new and unfamiliar form of sitting. This article discusses what is Seiza, how it is done, why many people seem to benefit from practicing the ritual, and the cultural significance of sitting this way.
What is seiza?
Sitting seiza is a Japanese way of sitting that is on the floor with the legs folded in towards the body. This form of sitting is said to be comfortable for the majority of people and has been linked with a host of health benefits, such as reducing stress, promoting healthy circulation, and aiding in weight loss.
Additionally, seiza has been traditionally used as a way to prepare oneself mentally and spiritually for an event or meeting.
There are many different styles of seiza, so it is important to find one that is most comfortable for you. If you are new to this ritual, then it may be helpful to try out a few different styles to see which one feels best. Additionally, keeping your feet flat on the floor when seated helps keep the hips strong and aligned.
Importance of Seiza
The regular practice of sitting in seiza – with the thighs parallel to the floor and the sitter’s heels hanging off the edge of a bench or chair – has long been associated with Japan and its culture. Here are 3 reasons why seiza is so important:
1-) It aids in digestion
Sitting in seiza helps to improve digestion by helping to place pressure on the stomach and intestines, which can stimulate smooth muscle function and help move food through the system more quickly.
2-) It relieves pain
Sitting in seiza can significantly relieve pain from conditions such as menstrual cramps, sciatica, carpal tunnel, lumbago, gastritis, and pancreatitis. Sitting in seiza also helped me get relief from my back pain when I developed facet joint syndrome (pain and swelling around one of my spine’s joints).
3-) It strengthens muscles
Sitting in seiza stretches muscles throughout your body while you are resting, which can help to promote overall strength and health. This is especially important for those who are active throughout their day but find themselves struggling to stay flexible later in the evening or at night due to a lack of time or energy.
How to Sit right in Seiza (Proper posture) ?
If you’re in the habit of sitting at a desk all day, or if you suffer from back pain, there’s a good chance you’re sitting wrong.
That’s because most chairs are designed to let you sit with your hip and shoulder stuck out, which not only causes pain but also tightens your chest and neck. The traditional Japanese way of sitting, seiza, is the perfect antidote to both problems.
Seiza is a seated position that puts your bottom flat on the floor and your spine straight. Not only does it relieve back pain, but it also relieves tension in your neck and chest muscles, which can lead to headaches and other issues.
To do seiza correctly, make sure you have a firm surface beneath you — either floor cushions or even some bricks — and keep your shoulders square to the ground.
If you find it difficult to sit in seiza for long periods of time, try using a chair with an adjustable seat that lets you tilt backwards until you find a comfortable position.
Benefits of Seiza
The benefits of Seiza, or sitting in Japanese style, are numerous.
- According to the Japan Soto Zen School of Zen Buddhism, Seiza “is a way to sit that encourages good posture and circulation.
- Sitting in Seiza allows you to use all your muscles evenly. It also helps improve balance, concentration and digestion” (Moore). In addition to its health benefits, Seiza is also said to have a calming effect on the mind and body.
- Sitting in Seiza promotes relaxation because it tones down the nervous system. It also increases respiration and circulation, helping rid the body of toxins and improve overall fitness.
- While sitting in Seiza may be more difficult at first, it can ultimately lead to increased flexibility, strength and endurance because it strengthens the back, legs and core muscles. Finally, Seiza is an excellent way to connect with others by giving everyone in the room a fair chance to be seated.
What are the common mistakes people make with seiza and how to fix them?
The Japanese posture known as seiza is one of the most revered styles of sitting in the world. It has a host of benefits that make it ideal for both relaxation and productivity. However, there are a few common mistakes people make with seiza, which can affect its effectiveness. Here are few tips on how to fix them:
-Sitting Too Straight
Sitting too straight can cause long-term neck and back pain, due to the compressed cervical spine position. Instead, try to recline your hips slightly and tilt your head forward so that you can see below your collarbones. This will help relieve tension throughout your spine and promote healthy spinal alignment.
-Avoid Cross-Legged Situations
Cross-legged seating positions are known to cause lower back pain, especially if you are unable to straighten your legs fully. When possible, sit with your legs together or stretch them out in front of you before sitting down.
If this is not possible, try using a cushion or bolster under your thighs to provide support. In fact, many Japanese people still refer to seiza as zashikiwase (“dwelling place of the Comfort Tablet”), because it was designed to provide relief from chronic back pain!
Do Not Try To Pull Yourself Up Since This Can Cause Neck Pain And Muscle Tension
When sitting in seiza, do not attempt to pull yourself up by pulling on your arms or hands – this will only lead to muscle tension in the body.
Sitting for long periods of time can be tiring and cause you to feel restless. Luckily, there is a way to enjoy sitting without feeling exhausted or like you’re in a prison: the seiza Japanese style of sitting.
Here, we discussed the benefits of this seated posture and teach you how to achieve it. Once you know What is Seiza and how to sit in seiza, you’ll be able to comfortably sit for extended periods of time without getting tired or uncomfortable. So what are you waiting for? Let’s start practicing!