The news is out : Sitting is the new smoking. It has been determined that too much sitting creates many disastrous outcomes : back pain, pelvic instability, less circulation and ( here’s the big one ) brain health decline. If that doesn’t get you out of your chair and walking around , I’m not sure what will.
With all that being said and true the harsh facts of our modern day life is that we must sit in chairs, on high toilets and in our cars. We can improve the situation by what I am naming Conscious Sitting. Learning to dissect the seated posture and pay attention to the parts so that the whole comes together in a full body participation. Let’s first think about a typical seated posture that we see on the bus or at cafe’s or in the office…Or better yet in the High school with Smart Phones. This is a dumping, a collapse and one is just hanging into their connective tissue and relying little on any tissue activation or motivation in the up direction. That exact posture over many years leads to our common and chronic complaints : forward head posture, shoulder instability, lower back, sacrum , hip and pelvic pain…Not to mention pelvic organ support problems such as incontinence and organ prolapse. Ok, now that I have scared the chair right out from under you, what can we do to sit better?
In this first Installment we will focus on the feet and the importance of sensing them reach into the earth as we sit. The feet along with our Sit bones in the seated posture are our most important grounding forces.
- Massage and open the feet. I hope you are into this suggestion. If not you could skip it but it will be so much better if you take the time to love up on your feet. We are going to keep this simple. Use you knuckles to press into and smooth out the bottom of your feet. Take your time, pause, breath and try to melt some of the gravel you knock into. Next, pull the toes ( slow, steady and sensual) and massage the webbing between the toes.
- Get on the floor. You got to give your feet pressure and deep dorsiflexion to keep the juices flowing. You could go into a full squat. Or what might be easier for a lot of us is the Toe Sitting Posture. Pad the knees, put a pillow between the behind and your heels and place your fingertips or hands on a low table to help with balance. Extend the toes under ( so the toe pads and sole of the foot are getting a mighty stretch) and sit on your heels or that pillow. Try to stay in this position and Relax for 1 minute…Or much less if you are just beginning this practice. To rest , unfold the feet ( tops of the feet press into the floor) and sit on the heels or the pillow.
- Now have a seat at your desk. Make sure the chair has a firm surface so that you can sense the position of your pelvis. Please have bare feet and a hard floor if possible. Just for laughs, go into your most unconscious slump ( we all do it , right ?) Just simply send energy from the feet into the floor and feel how that simple action rolls the pelvis forward and frees the sacrum and tail. Finess this by first softening the soles of the feet and feeling complete contact. Start to progressively reach energy from the feet into the floor. I like to talk about this as Working on the Dimmer Switch ( as opposed to the Light switch) You are building the light little by little and it does not have to go up all the way and many times we don’t want it to go up all the way. You want to do just enough to accomplish the task at hand. When you find your right amount of reach into the floor the next layer to complete the circuit is to feel the floor reach back into your feet and up into your spine. This is a Call and Response. You are communicating and dancing with the floor. This play and awareness keeps posture dynamic.
I hope these tips give you something to ponder and practice. Look out for Sit Well Part 2. We will be talking legs and pelvis!