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Why Cant I Sit Criss-Cross? | Chiropractor Explains Sit Cross, Sitting Cross and Crossed Positions

As a child, I always wondered why I couldn’t sit criss-cross like the other kids in my class. It wasn’t until much later that I learned the real reason: it’s bad for your back. Sitting criss-crossed may seem more comfortable, but it puts a lot of stress on your spine. So if you’re looking to protect your back, ditch the criss-cross and sit up straight instead!

As a general rule, the inability to sit criss-cross is due to a lack of flexibility, strength, and balance. This is because the body’s natural positioning wants distance between ankle and knee joints which makes for an uncomfortable position when trying this pose in everyday life.

sitting with crossed legs

What Is the “Criss-Cross” Position?

The criss-cross position is a posture recommended by ergonomists for sitting in chairs. This position involves crossing the ankles and placing the feet on the floor with the knees at a 90-degree angle. The advantage of this position is that it helps distribute your weight evenly, reducing pressure on the spine and improving blood circulation. Additionally, this position helps keep the pelvis in alignment, which can alleviate lower back pain. When sitting in a chair for long periods, it is essential to take breaks and move around frequently. However, the criss-cross position can be a good option for those who need to sit for extended periods.

If you’re struggling with back pain, I wrote an article on how to manage your pain and why you should do these important steps and I encourage you to read it!

Why Sit in a Criss-Cross Position?

One of the reasons people sit criss-cross is that it helps them think more clearly. When you sit with your legs crossed, it forces you to take up less space and to sit more upright. This position opens up your chest and lungs, which allows you to take deeper breaths. This increases the flow of oxygen to your brain, helping you to think more clearly and crab better.

Additionally, sitting criss-cross can help to improve your posture and alignment. When your spine is aligned correctly, it helps to reduce pain and tension in the back and neck muscles. As a result, sitting criss-cross is a comfortable and effective way to improve your thinking power and overall health.

criss cross sitting yoga

The Health Benefits of Sitting in a Criss-Cross Position

For many of us, sitting in a criss-cross position is something we do without giving it much thought. However, this simple act can have several health benefits. For starters, sitting in a criss-cross position helps to improve our posture by aligning our spine and hips.

Additionally, it can help increase blood flow and circulation and relieve tension in the muscles and joints. Further, sitting in a criss-cross position can also aid in digestion by helping to massage the internal organs. And finally, this position can also help boost cognitive functioning by increasing oxygen flow to the brain. So next time you find yourself sitting on the floor, be sure to take a moment to sit in a criss-cross position. Who knew such a simple act could be so good for you?

How to Sit Comfortably: My Best Tips and Suggestions

To cater to your comfort requirements effectively, concentrate on different aspects, including chair adjustment. Several methods can be applied, like incorporating an ergonomic cushion and lumbar support. These enhancements ease strain on your back and legs, promoting better posture and comfort during extended periods of sitting. Also, confirm your feet are flat on the floor and allow enough space between your chair and desk. By following these guidelines, any ordinary hard chair can be converted into a comfortable ergonomic retreat that fosters long-term health and well-being. I explain the concept of my ergonomic design on a TV show HERE

posture before and after seat wedge

Ergonomic Comfort

Using an ergonomic seat wedge (above) helps in aligning your spine and fostering balance. This expertly crafted natural latex cushion contributes to fortifying core muscles while alleviating tension in areas like the shoulders and neck. Furthermore, maintaining an upright position is less taxing on your hips and knees, as it engages more muscle groups simultaneously compared to leaning back against a soft surface. This upright posture helps prevent stress-inducing habits that people may unknowingly adopt while working.

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How to Sit in a Criss-Cross Position Correctly

Sitting in a criss-cross position is the most comfortable way to sit for many people. However, if you don’t do it correctly, it can put unnecessary strain on your back and spine.

Here’s how to sit in a criss-cross position correctly:

  • Start by sitting on the ground with your legs extended in front of you.
  • Next, cross your right leg over your left leg, ensuring that your ankles are crossed.
  • Place your hands on the ground behind you for support.
  • Lean back slightly and rest your head against your hands.

If you do it correctly, sitting in a criss-cross position should be comfortable and not strain your back or spine. If you find it uncomfortable, make sure that you are not crossing your legs too tightly and that you are leaning back far enough. With a bit of practice, you should be able to find the perfect position for you.

The Dangers of Not Sitting in a Criss-Cross Position Correctly

A common assumption is that the best way to sit in a criss-cross position is with both feet tucked under the legs. However, this can lead to several problems. First of all, it can put pressure on the lower back and hips, leading to pain and discomfort. Secondly, it can restrict blood flow to the legs, causing them to feel numb and tingly. Finally, it can cause the muscles in the legs to become weak and tight.

The correct way to sit in a criss-cross position is with one foot resting on top of the other leg so that the weight is evenly distributed. This position will help avoid pain and discomfort and ensure that the muscles in the legs stay strong and healthy.

If you are into super easy and inexpensive alternatives to office chairs, I wrote a fantastic article on how and why you should consider these options for back pain and I encourage you to read it!








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What Muscle Lets You Sit Criss Cross?

The muscles that let you sit criss-cross are the iliopsoas and the rectus femoris. The iliopsoas is a muscle that runs from your hip to your lower back, and the rectus femoris is a muscle that runs from your hip to your knee. These muscles work together to allow you to sit with your legs crossed.

How Do I Loosen My Hip Flexors?

Your hip flexors are a group of muscles that connect your pelvis to your thigh bone. These muscles allow you to lift your leg up and down, and bring your knees toward your chest. If these muscles become tight, they can cause pain in your lower back, hip, or groin. To loosen your hip flexors, you can do stretches or massage. You can also use a foam roller to release any tightness.

I’ve written a complete hands-on review about why your stomach is flat until you sit down and here are some of the shocking issues that I ran into in this post!

What Are the Benefits of Stretching the Hip Flexors?

Stretching the hip flexors can help to relieve pain in the lower back, hip, or groin. It can also increase your range of motion and improve your flexibility. Additionally, stretching the hip flexors can help to prevent injuries.

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Why Can’t I Do the Butterfly Stretch?

If you can’t do the butterfly stretch, it may be because your hip flexors are tight. Try doing some stretches or massage to loosen up the muscles. You can also use a foam roller to release any tightness.

I’ve written a complete hands-on review about the best sitting position for sciatica, and here is what I tested best with my sciatica patients.

How Do You Get Rid of Knee Pain from Sitting Cross-Legged?

Knee pain from sitting cross-legged is often caused by tight muscles that connect your pelvis to your thigh bone. To get rid of knee pain, you can do stretches or massage to loosen up the muscles. You can also use a foam roller to release any tightness.

Crossed Legs and the Pelvic Floor: Why Can’t I Sit Indian Style

When you can’t sit cross-legged, it often links to tightness in the back pelvic floor muscles. This tightness can pull your tail bone under and make it challenging to maintain an upright posture during this cross-legged position. Crossed leg sitting may also be difficult if your hips are tight, limiting your ability to comfortably flex and externally rotate your hips.

Tailor Sitting and Hinge Health: How to Sit Cross Legged Comfortably

If you’re finding it tough to sit cross-legged, often known as ‘tailor sitting’, physical therapists might recommend hinge health exercises. Hinge Health is a digital platform that guides you through personalized exercises that can help alleviate discomfort and promote flexibility. For example, if you have tight hips, they could guide you to do yoga trapeze workouts, which are known for helping increase hip flexibility and glute strength.

Maintaining a Straight Back while Sitting Cross Legged

Sometimes, maintaining a straight back while sitting cross-legged doesn’t come naturally. You might feel as if your back is rounding, and you can’t sit up straight. This is often due to tightness in the back and pelvic floor muscles. Incorporating yoga and specific flexibility exercises can aid in loosening these muscles. Remember, your ‘happy place’ should be a position where you’re relaxed and comfortable, not straining or struggling.

Techniques for Dealing with Groin Pain when Sitting Cross Legged

Groin pain when sitting crisscrossed is a common complaint and can make you feel like you just don’t want to sit that way. Health physical therapists suggest this could be due to insufficient flexibility or muscular imbalances in the hip and pelvic regions. A yoga routine focusing on the pelvic area can help, as well as exercises to stretch and strengthen your glutes.

Cross Legged Sitting and Hip Pain: The Role of Pelvic Floor and Blood Pressure

Sitting cross-legged shouldn’t cause hip pain. If it does, you may want to consider that it could be a sign of tightness in the pelvic floor muscles, or in some cases, it might relate to blood pressure changes when sitting. Ensuring you have the proper posture can help – keep your front foot close to your left knee and the other foot in a comfortable position. In this way, you’ll allow your blood flow not to be obstructed and ease the potential pressure on your hip. If the pain persists, it won’t harm to consult a healthcare professional.


People are designed to move. Our hunter-gatherer ancestors spent their days moving, and our bodies have evolved to need regular movement for optimal health. Sitting in a chair all day is not what our bodies are meant to do. In fact, research has shown that sitting for long periods can be harmful to our health. So why do so many people sit at their desks all day? It’s because most jobs require us to sit in front of a computer screen. But there are ways to counteract the adverse effects of sitting all day such as this video I made on a TV show HERE

**As a service to our readers, Axial Chairs provides access to our library of archived content. Please note the date of the last review or update on all articles. No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinicians.

Medical Disclaimer: This website is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of a qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

Product Disclaimer: The seat cushion is designed by a chiropractor, but results may vary and are not guaranteed. The product is not intended to diagnose, treat, or cure any medical condition.


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Dr Lawrence Woods DC

Dr Lawrence Woods DC


My goal is to create the highest quality ergonomic office chairs and accessories for unmatched comfort.

With 30 years of spinal healthcare experience in Ireland as a chiropractor, I learned the value of high-quality sitting for living a happy and healthy life.

I have a Chiropractic Degree from Life Chiropractic College West and I am NBCE Physiotherapy certified.


Dr Lawrence Woods

My goal is to create the highest quality ergonomic office chairs and accessories for unmatched comfort. With 30 years of spinal healthcare experience as a chiropractor, I learned the value of high-quality sleep for living a happy and healthy life. I have a Chiropractic Degree from Life Chiropractic College West and am NBCE Physiotherapy certified.

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