There Are Many Healthy Ways To Sit But FitOldDog Doesn’t Think That Sitting In Chairs Is One Of Them


Wake up and stop falling prey to the conditioning of the media and society around you. It’s only those people who are awake that live in a state of constant amazement.

Quote number 4, from ‘100 Quotations To Make You Think,‘ by Wolfgang Riebe.

Hi folks,

FitOldDog sitting cross-legged.

FitOldDog sitting cross-legged. You can tell that I still have tight hip flexors. Photo kindly by Passing Peggy.

I learned a lot during my brief two years studying Bruce Lee’s martial arts style, Jeet Kune Do. His movies were a bit much, but watching ‘Return of the Dragon‘ followed by ‘A Fistful of Yen‘ makes for great entertainment. Maybe he was so-so as a movie star, but boy, he was the real deal when it came to martial arts. I read all of his books, and one statement he made stuck in my head, which was to make exercise part of your life, not something that you do from time to time at the gym or at the track. For instance, don’t ride if you can walk, and don’t use the elevator if you can take the stairs. By the way, here is a great TED talk on the incorporation of exercise into your life and it’s effect on longevity. Take a look! If you build exercise into your daily life you will really benefit, and when you do go for a workout your performance will improve. I think that this logic applies equally to how you sit.

FitOldDog sitting on his shins

FitOldDog sitting on his shins. This position is more comfortable than it looks, as it is stable and can be good for meditation (remember Mr. Miyagi meditating in The Karate Kid). Photo by Passing Polly.

There are many ways to sit, but in the west we are societally conditioned to sit in chairs. But chairs limit your range of motion, induce an essentially frozen or immobile position, and they cut of the blood supply to, and your lymphatic drainage from, your lower legs. Watch people squirming around in meetings held with rows of hard chairs, or even soft chairs for that matter. I would like to suggest that you could benefit from the exploration of sitting approaches that do not involve chairs, but if you must have a chair try a balance or stability ball, or sit cross-legged on the chair, as I am currently doing in McDonald’s where I am enjoying their excellent coffee and free internet connection on my way to the Lake Placid Ironman.

There appears to be an almost infinite number of ways to sit, and in this post I demonstrate three of my favorites, (1) cross-legged, for which I alternate leg position right and left for symmetry, (2) on my shins, which provides a great stretch to the anterior tibial muscles, and can be very relaxing as it provides great comfort to the lower back if you maintain good posture, and (3) on my haunches, which is how I like to eat and read sometimes when I stop to eat at rest stops on the road.

FitOldDog sitting on his haunches.

This is a very comfortable position if you are limber enough, and your hands are free to eat and handle tools, but it draws the strangest looks – Oh! Yes! Remember to contract your perineal muscles or it will encourage hemorrhoids.

One thing that I have noticed is that people give me very odd looks when I sit in these positions, especially when I am on my haunches, which must be one of the oldest eating positions, probably employed by our hunter gatherer ancestors. It is comfortable, and your hands are free to handle food and tools, whilst you are not sitting on the ground. When it comes to exercise, this position also provides a great calf stretch, which can be modified by swaying around. I sure enjoyed sitting on my haunches during my breakfast this morning, which included farm-fresh tomatoes, eggs and whole wheat bread, with some hoop cheese. A while later, a passerby, Polly, gave me a bit of an odd look, and said, “Doesn’t that hurt on the hard gravel,” (I was sitting on my shins), but it didn’t as I was relaxed and used to sitting like this way. Then I said, “Would you take a few photos for me, they would be ideal for my daily blog post?” Polly kindly said, “Sure!” I wasn’t thinking about my blog at the time, but the subject just came along, like it almost always does.

Now, both safe exercise for better health and blogging are woven into my life, and great fun they are, too!

-k @FitOldDog



  1. That’s Easy Pose, Rock Pose and squatting. I bet you can’t do the Bound Lotus.

  2. No, I can’t do the full lotus or any kind of lotus, as my hip flexors are too tight. -k

  3. Yogamaybe says

    Do you think the abdominal aortic aneurysm had anything to do with sitting this way. I don’t but who knows. After 40 years of on again off again yoga and stretching I still need a winch and harness to make full lotus but half is doable now. If I were more dedicated perhaps full would be too. Don’t know.


    • Hi Paul, I agree, the AAA probably had nothing to do with the way I sit, which varies considerably. When it comes to full Lotus – best of luck. I think that genetics play a role, and maybe malnutrition could help, especially during childhood, making for loose, floppy joints, perhaps. I can do half, but not full, but as a kid I could put one foot behind my head. Did I suffer from malnutrition? Yep! Mild Rickets!! I was born during World War II, during active bombing in Bristol, and we were on rationing for the first 10 years of my young life. War is terrible for kids. Don’t sweat the Full Lotus, there are much more fun things to do. I think so anyway. Thanks for the comment. I often wonder if anyone reads my rambling thoughts. Cheers, kevin

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Disclaimer: As a veterinarian, I do not provide medical advice for human animals. If you undertake or modify an exercise program, consult your medical advisors before doing so. Undertaking activities pursued by the author does not mean that he endorses your undertaking such activities, which is clearly your decision and responsibility. Be careful and sensible, please.