Seiza: The art of sitting on Tatami mats
In Japan, it is a formal, polite way to sit on Japanese tatami floors. The meaning of seiza is "Proper Sitting". For both genders, the formal way of sitting is kneeling (seiza). If you are not used to sitting in seiza-style then you may become uncomfortable after a few minutes. Men usually sit cross-legged, while women sit with both legs to one side, in casual situations. The practice of sitting in the seiza position, as a result, has also become a fundamental posture in Japanese Budo (武道) that reflects a practitioner's. Many sitting positions are there and one of these sitting styles is known as "Agura" (胡坐) where a person sits with their legs crossed and relaxed.
This position was normally used during informal situations or by someone of higher authority. Subordinates, consequently, were required to sit in the seiza position because it demonstrated respect and allowed the subordinate to stand up quickly to perform tasks ordered by their superior. Hence, the seiza position is not intended to be relaxed. In ritual situations such as Buddhist ceremonies where participants convey their respect and manners the seiza position was also commonly used. In Japan, The development of the tea ceremony also required participants to sit in the seiza position which furthers its popularity. This is practiced because of the recognition that the tea ceremony is a ritual itself and demanded respect from its participants. The correct posture is defined to have neatly-folded legs and an erect spine, in a historical context. In this position, the feet must be neatly tucked in place, underneath the body. People are not allowed to participate in formal gatherings without practicing Seiza, in the olden days. It has been around for the longest time is an interesting thing about seiza, however, it was not always addressed as a proper need.
The people already knew the correct sitting position, but it was not bound by set formal standards, in ancient times. With only the highest of regards, The Japanese consider Seiza, as it represents two important values in Japanese culture: courtesy and apology. Japanese believe that Seiza is an essential tool to channel those specific values. Proper courtesy is the main core of Seiza. Seiza upholds in Japanese culture is that it serves as a symbol of apology is another important representation. To perform seiza is both a simple and hard task. One must place his or her knees on the floor, In order to sit in a Seiza position. The buttocks must be rested directly on top of the feet, after doing such. The buttocks are supported by the heel and sole of the feet since the tops of the feet are facing down. To perform seiza is quite easy, and it would not take rigorous training nor years of practice to execute the position. To cope with the pain that Seiza brings can be difficult. For periods of up to 30 minutes, many Japanese people find seiza comfortable. While doing arts such as shodo (calligraphy) and ikebana (flower arranging), Seiza is also the traditional way of sitting, though with the increasing use of western-style furniture it is not always necessary nowadays. For traditional performing arts such as kabuki and sumo, many theatres still have audience seating sections where the spectators sit in seiza. It is a posture used in the dojo for zazen (seated meditation). Over the knees, the body weight is distributed and buttocks whilst the spine is in a neutral position.
Sitting in this position the major points to note are weight distribution and alignment of the body. With this position, some beginners might have problems as it demands good flexibility in the knees and hips. As they are not used to sitting straight (as a result of long periods of slouching), some might experience tiredness in the back. In the neck and shoulders, many people hold tension, they might find it difficult to relax in seiza. There are already some leeways made for practicing Seiza since the traditions are no longer as strict. Older people are often exempted from Seiza is the most important rule of Seiza. People of old age have weaker knees and bone joints - making Seiza-sitting position much more difficult and painful. Skirts and dresses wearing ladies may also want to maintain the Seiza position instead. Who does not prefer to sit in a Seiza position those may opt for Agura, which is an alternative sitting position in Japanese culture. However, this is not always allowed to substitute Seiza, more so in extremely formal situations. Seiza is still considered to be the most formal and courteous is the bottom line. Seiza is commonly performed in two ways. It is begun from the position of Musubi Dachi in both. To practice Seiza too much can be disadvantageous to one's knees, as it can cause terrible knee pain.