Do this one yoga posture every day
The one yoga pose that I recommend you do every day is going to be a surprise for a lot of people. BKS Iyengar said everyone should do downfacing dog every day, but controversially (maybe), I disagree.
The one yoga posture you should do every single day is
sit (or lie) on the floor.
Were you surprised?
Why is that so important?
I had a feeling you might ask. This is why I think sitting (or lying down) on the floor is such an important skill, particularly as you get older.
Builds (inner) strength
Sitting on the floor without the support of a chair back or wall means you’re relying on and building your internal muscular support system. We almost always outsource support by leaning on something else.
Sitting down on a chair uses only a limited range of movements. We often drop into a chair and then rock forward using momentum to get up again. Getting down and then sitting on the floor means you’ll need to move your joints in wider range of ways. Your joints love love love variety. Sitting in different ways (cross legs, legs to once side, legs stretched out, kneeling) will give your body even more kinds of movements. That’s true if you sit in different ways on a chair or even on different chairs.
Builds leg strength
Legs need to work to take you safely down to the floor and back up. Strong legs are associated with healthy brain function as you age. Read the leg strength blog.
It might save your life
We all trip and we can all fall down. Healthy ageing is about how your recover your balance when you can and how you get up from the ground when you can’t. You won’t know you’re going to need to get up until it’s too late. Don’t make that the time you fall to be the first time you check if you still have the strength to make the journey back to sitting or standing.
You might live longer
Look up the sit rise test. It showed that people who could get down to the floor and back up with the least external help were also all round healthier, less likely to fall and more likely to live longer than their less able counterparts.
'...varying up your body position allows you to spread more movement over more parts of your body, and when you vary your sitting positions on the floor, you’ve got all that extra getting up and down to do throughout the day. You use the large muscles of your body to carry you to and from the floor—something human muscles have always had to do until very recently.' ~ Katy Bowman
How to build floor sitting into your everyday life?
Make it a practice that fits into your regular habits so it’s more likely you’ll stick to your new routine.
Things you can do on the floor
Dry your hair
Do your make up
Work on your laptop (a la Carrie in SATC) – you might want to put your laptop on a box or stool to be at the right height
Watch TV or YouTube
Clean your teeth
Wait for the kettle to boil
Finding getting to the floor is tricky?
Use props – cushions, blocks, blankets to make it more comfortable
Use a chair seat to help you get down and back up until you’re stronger
Don’t stay longer than you’re comfortable – little and often is best
Don't go down to the floor - sit away from your chair back for a while insetad
Sit down slowly into a chair (without using your hands if you can) and get up slowly from your chair by pressing into your feet and engaging your legs, rather than rocking yourself forwards or using your hands.
Change it up
Find different ways to get down to the floor and back up each time for a wider variety of movements
Get up and down a few times and build up to more repetitions
Use less support – for example don’t use your hands
Add your own suggestions in the comments below!