Why do we sit?
My recent journey, the inevitable journey every Antipodean has to make to visit family in the northern hemisphere involves very long hours of sitting in the plane. Up to at least two ten hour stretches usually.
5 important facts about sitting.
Fact #1 – Sitting is a whole YOU affair.
When you sit on a chair, you are the sum of a mental, emotional, psychological being AND a total of physical, motional, vocal and mechanical-ness. In short, you are all of these, even when you are just sitting!
Fact #2 – Did you know that originally the chair was a symbol of power and Highness?
Images shown on hieroglyphic tablets display pharaohs and their queens seated. While the court officials and ‘lesser’ individuals either sat or grovelled on the floor. Hence the name ‘chairman’ was born to indicate upper rank. Other lesser mortals sat on stones or benches.
Now sitting is an accepted fact. So what’s wrong in it?
Fact #3 – What is the best chair to sit on?
I once had a student who came to me with excruciating back pain. I really felt for her since I had been through her journey myself. One lesson she happily said that she had just bought herself the most expensive reclining chair she could find so that she could sit comfortably. She described a very expensive semi-reclining, very heavily padded armchair. She was describing a virtual bed. I am happy to report she now knows how to sit on any chair and still be comfortable.
The moral of this tale is; no ergonomic chair will get you out of your habitual way of sitting.
Fact #4 – You have natural postural muscles specifically designed to support your sitting.
There is much misconception about how to sit better, how to ‘hold yourself better’, how to activate the core muscles and so on. Here are some examples for getting to grips on postural ease.
Fact #5 – When sitting in any sedentary activity, of prime importance is how you sit…when you sit!
Long before the advent of a chair, humans squatted. Back problems were limited to accidental injury, because the mechanical use (of the skeleton) adhered to the natural design. As seen in a small child.
To sum up these facts then…how to sit best comes down to your awareness of muscle tension and allowing yourself to release it. I remember a moment in my Alexander training when I had assistance from a visiting trainer. I was surprised to sense the tension physically leave my body as my torso lengthened and my arms and legs let go to sitting effortlessly.
Essentially this is a learning process, not an exercise of will as in exercising. But when you commit to it, the results in terms of stress release are worth it. What the initial stages of my training showed me highlighted my need to be more aware through daily activities. I trained!
Want to learn more………..
New course details – http://www.alexandertechnique.co.nz/transform-your-posture-class/