Sitting for comfort and ease

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Sitting is an important part of everyday life. We can all get into the habit of sitting badly. Prolonged or poor sitting has been shown to have health risks: including reducing circulation in legs and torso, and neck problems often with associated headaches. Health benefits from sitting well include: avoiding compressing internal organs and learning to use the skeleton to support us so that, simply put, the muscles are not overworking.  

For many people it’s not that they sit too much or in a bad position, rather its that they sit too still. There is a lot of research and information available about what constitutes ergonomically appropriate chairs and work stations in the office space. We have options for changing the environment in which we sit, especially the working environment. 

We can’t take THE perfect chair with us everywhere in life. There is no perfect chair for all situations. We need to learn to use our skeleton to support us in sitting and to adapt to the chair, any chair (also think couch, stool etc).

Despite constant societal messaging we’ve grown up with that sitting up straight equates to sitting with a straight back, easy well-supported sitting is not about sitting with a straight back. We all have natural curves in our spine (lower back/lumbar arch and neck/cervical arch). We want healthy curves, with our skeleton supporting us, so that the muscles, ligaments and disks don’t get so tired or strained easily and become vulnerable to pain or injury. 

Good posture is not a fixed position; rather one in which we can move around easily. Good sitting includes position, posture and movement. It avoids lumbar or thoracic spine leaning into the back of a chair. We are not taught how to support ourselves in sitting through our skeleton. From a young age, the default often becomes that we slump in sitting, and to want back support to lean against. We need to learn how to better manage OURSELVES in sitting, regardless of the chair. You can support yourself with maximum ease and efficiency through the skeleton, so that you can then better focus and potentially enjoy the task at hand. 

We want load distribution, allowing for better ease, comfort, and greater effortless balance. We can do this through adapting the way we sit; adapting our self-use. The Feldenkrais Method teaches ways to use our skeleton to support us in sitting. Improving load distribution allows you to feel more secure and balanced. You can learn to let go of unnecessary habitual tension and find comfort in any chair. Sitting can become easy - not painful!

Try these:

  • Notice your habits: Observe yourself in sitting. Are you feet flat on the floor? Are your legs crossed? Are your ankles crossed? Are you feel stable, supported, comfortable?  

  • Basic sitting upright in a chair: Slightly squat to lower yourself to sit at the front of the chair. Bend forward from the hips (try hands in creases at front of your hip joints, then squash your hands as lean forward), then maintaining this posture, slide your tail back until your pelvis is firmly against the back of the chair. Straighten up, feeling only the very base of your spine supported by the chair. 

Like to learn more about how you can find greater ease and comfort in sitting? Join us at my upcoming workshop: Manage Easy Sitting: Find Comfort in Sitting at Work or Home. You can find more information and register at https://www.movetovitality.com.au/workshops-1/manage-easy-sitting.