Sitting Indian Style: 11 Things You Should Know

No matter what we do, we are not able to escape sedentary behavior. Whether it’s for work, study or entertainment, we have to sit down on a chair in front of a screen all day long. 

That’s why ergonomics and the process of maintaining a good posture have become such buzzwords nowadays. You’ll find quick fixes to bad posture and back pain everywhere around the internet. 

A lot of marketers will advertise high-end, premium office/gaming chairs to you. What if we told you there was a natural way of sitting that would save you from all these troubles. 

That posture is known as the Indian sitting style. This position refers to the posture you get when you sit down on the floor with your legs crossed. It improves your posture and also enhances your concentration

Some people are quite wary about the Indian sitting style. And some are huge fans of it. 

That’s why in this article, I will be discussing the effectiveness of sitting in the Indian style. I will also discuss 11 exciting things that you might not have known about the Indian sitting style. So, without any further ado, let’s dive right in!

1. Sitting Indian Style Origin: 

Generally speaking, sitting Indian style refers to the sitting style/position that involves sitting down while crossing both of the legs in front of you. It’s comparable to the “Easy Pose” that’s widely used in yoga and meditation. 

Now that does not mean that people didn’t sit down crossed legged before the term “Indian Style” was coined. People have been sitting like that for thousands of years. In ancient India, this position was known as the “Lotus Position”. 

This position allows you to have the flexibility to keep your knees on the ground and to stay in a stable position for an extended period of time. It’s no wonder this position is so widely used in yoga. 

Legend has it that this term was first coined by the very first settlers of North America. And the “Indian” in “Indian Style” does not refer to India as the country. It’s actually a reference to the native/indigenous Americans. 

There isn’t any concrete record of the origin of the etymology of the phrase. It’s also not likely that this sitting style will be exclusive to a particular group of people.

It seems like the obvious choice of sitting position if someone does not have access to a chair. 

In some Eastern European countries, this sitting style is known as the “Turkish Style”. So suffice to say, we don’t have any concrete proof of the origin of the term.

Regardless of how the term had originated in the first place, this sitting position is quite comfortable and it lets a person stay seated for a long period of time. 

2. Is Sitting Indian Style Bad for You? 

Sitting in Indian style can be bad for your health, if you are holding the particular position for prolonged hours. But if you occasionally sit in Indian style or for short periods then it’s fine.

However, things are not always that simple. We spend so many hours each day sitting down (roughly  6-7 hours on average) that its negative health effects have become quite prominent  in our lives. 

We spend our time sitting in cars and other vehicles while commuting, sitting in front of our computers and even entertaining tasks like gaming and watching Netflix shows requires sitting. 

Now, whether sitting in a particular position causes harm to your health or not depends on whether you were able to sit  in that position correctly and how long you spent in that position. 

From a biomechanical point of view, sitting in the “Indian Style” (cross-legged) does not harm you in any way. In fact, it actually has several health benefits to boot. 

For instance, sitting in the “Indian Style” promotes muscle development, provides flexibility to your knees, ankles, and hips. Furthermore, it does not restrict your movements while sitting. 

So, it’s safe to say, sitting in the “Indian Style” won’t cause any harm to your health. 

3. Is Sitting in Indian Style Offensive? 

Indian sitting style itself cannot be offensive in any way. It’s a natural sitting style that’s not exactly specific to a particular group of people. 

The Indian style of sitting or sitting down on the floor while cross-legged is probably the most popular and obvious sitting style in the world. And, it would be absurd to think that sitting in this position is offensive to anybody.

However, if you consider the term itself, then it gets a little tricky. Although politically correct people might tell you that calling it the “Indian Style” is offensive to the native Americans.

However, you should consider the fact that this style of sitting has been around for more than five thousand years.

Most people prefer the more politically correct term for the Indian style, which is “Crisscross Applesauce”. This term helps create a less prejudiced view of the sitting style. 

Nonetheless, this term does not have to be offensive. We can use it without having to misrepresent other cultures.

4. Is Sitting in Indian Style Beneficial?  

It’s scientifically proven that the natural method of sitting in Indian is quite beneficial to your health. In fact, experts have suggested that eating while in this position is the right way to have your meals. 

Sitting in the Indian style refers to the way of sitting that involves crossing your legs. In yoga, this position is known as sukhasana.

It’s a good indication that sitting in this style is beneficial to your health if it’s widely used in yoga, right?

This posture helps you stay fit and healthy. It automatically corrects your body posture and keeps your back straight. It pushes the shoulders back and expands your spine. 

This position keeps all the areas of your body that are prone to getting frequent aches in the right posture. 

5. Sitting Indian Style Benefits: 

As discussed in the above section, there is a myriad of benefits of sitting in the Indian style. And now it’s finally time for us to go through those advantages one by one. Let’s begin:

  1. Relaxes Your Mind: The best part about sitting in the Indian style/Sukhasana is that you’re not only sitting down and relaxing your body, you’re also doing yoga simultaneously. It relaxes your spine and calms the mind. 
  2. Makes your body strong and flexible: While sitting in this position, the muscles on your stomach and lower back stretches that reduce the strain on those areas. It makes your body stronger and more flexible. 
  3. Boosts Weight Loss: Did you know that sitting in the Indian style can also help you lose weight? It’s true, and many doctors recommend it. 
  4. Improves Posture: As we’ve mentioned before, this sitting style improves your body posture. 
  5. Improves Blood-Flow: It can also make your heart stronger by improving blood circulation throughout your body. 
  6. Improves Digestion Indirectly: If you sit down on the floor with your legs crossed, it keeps your abdomen and lowers back in its natural position. Which in turn helps the digestive enzymes to flow better, thus, improving digestion. 
  7. Reduces Other Effects of Sitting: Sitting down on the floor while eating is pretty common in various parts of Asia because it’s a more natural way to sit. The Indian style saves you from all the bad effects of sitting on office chairs/couches. 

6. Is Sitting Down Cross-Legged on the Floor Bad for You?

Sitting cross-legged on the floor is not bad for you if you are not sitting in that position for prolonged hours. After sitting for prolonged hours, you might feel numbness in your lower limbs. 

Sitting down on the floor while cross-legged won’t cause any medical emergencies. So, you can relax for now.

Despite that, it can cause your blood pressure to increase significantly if your posture is not correct. Furthermore, sitting in the same position for a long time is detrimental to your health.  

It also causes discomfort and pain while you sit for prolonged hours. And that’s why we suggest you change your sitting posture from time to time while sitting. 

7. Can Sitting Indian Style Cause Knee Problems?

Sitting in Indian style for prolonged hours can harm the ligaments around the knees and can cause knee pain in the long run. This sitting style requires the knees to stay in a bending position. That’s not the natural position for human knees.

Although it’s true that sitting cross-legged (Indian Style) has many benefits and it keeps you comfortable, humans are not designed to sit for long periods of time. That is especially true if you’re sitting cross-legged.

Sitting down with your knees crossed/bent under your body stretches the muscles and ligaments surrounding your knee to their limit. It’ll increase the pressure on the joints of your knee and cause swelling and pain. 

In order to avoid that, you must make sure you don’t sit in that exact position for too long.

Recommended Article: Can My Office Chair Cause Knee Pain?

8. Can Sitting Indian Style Cause Nerve Damage?

It has been reported that sitting down with your legs crossed can make you feel numb on the legs for quite some time. It might even lead to long-term numbness in your legs. 

Furthermore, sitting down in the Indian style for a long time will eventually lead to back pain and high blood pressure.

The potential consequences of sitting in that position for an extended period are immense, and it may even involve nerve damage. 

However, the good news is that all of that can be easily avoided. You just have to stay seated for a moderate amount of time and do some physical activity every so often. 

9. Is Sitting Indian Style While Pregnant Bad?

There is no need to worry! Even if you might want to adjust your sitting position from time to time if you’re pregnant, sitting in the Indian style will not cause any harm to your baby. That is also true even when you sit down cross-legged. 

That being said, we suggest you always try to sit in a position that makes you feel as comfortable as possible. That is because back pain, muscle strains, and cramps are quite common during pregnancy. 

10. Is Sitting Indian Style Bad for Sciatica?

Sitting in Indian style is not particularly bad for sciatica if you sit for a short time. Sitting in any position for prolonged hours can cause less blood circulation, spine imbalance and muscle flexibility issues which can lead to sciatica.

So, you should always take frequent breaks while sitting for long hours. It promotes better blood circulation and flexes your muscles.

11. What is the Healthiest Sitting Position? 

Here are the requirements that you need to fulfill in order to make sure you’re sitting in the healthiest sitting position: 

  1. First, find a comfortable chair to sit on and place it at the ideal distance from the desk.
  2. Your feet have to be kept flat on the ground. Keep them on the floor or on your footrest. 
  3. Do not cross your ankles or knees. 
  4. There should be a small gap between your chair and the back of your knees. 
  5. Keep your knees lower than your hips. 
  6. And don’t forget to relax your shoulders.

Also, if you want to improve your sitting experience, the you might find this article helpful: 12 Best Office Chair Accessories to Improve your Sitting Experience

Final Thoughts  

Although appearance-wise, the Indian style may seem like a modern, hip style of sitting or something that’s specific to yoga or meditation, this style has been around for millennia. 

This simple posture is remarkably effective, and it’s the best method of staving off the fatigue that’s associated with sitting on chairs. 

In spite of having some demerits, the advantages and health benefits of this style of sitting make it definitely worth trying out. We highly recommend you give it a shot.

Thanks for reading! If you have a minute check out my article on, Is Sitting for 8 Hours a Day Bad?

Asif Iqbal

Hi, I’m one of the creators of I spent hundreds of hours researching on Office Chairs. This is the site where I share everything I learned about office chairs.