Dynamic Sitting allows you to rest in your chair without sinking into it like a sack of potatoes.
Why is it Difficult to Sit Well for Long Periods?
- We’re used to making too much effort in the ordinary actions of our day,
- We use the wrong muscles to support ourselves
- Our muscles tire.
We’re constantly in situations where we need to sit for longish periods, perhaps at computers, or in meetings or seminars. It’s important that we know what to do in order to keep comfortable during those never ending sessions.
In this activity we’re using thinking to sit with less effort.
Think of this as Dynamic Sitting, where you are allowing yourself to rest in the chair, but not collapsing into it like a sack of potatoes.
Do not do this if you have a back problem, or any other problem that makes ii difficult for you to sit for any length of time.
You can use the talk through option to guide yourself through this procedure too. The best way to do it is to read through the instructions first and then use the talk through to guide yourself through the procedure.
What You’ll Need:
- A chair with a firm flat seat, an upright back, and no arms. An ordinary wooden chair with no upholstery works well for this. If you can’t find a chair without upholstery, then try to find one with firm, rather than soft padding. If you can’t get a suitable chair, an ordinary stool will do fine. Whatever you’re using, a chair or a stool, you should be able to rest your feet comfortably on the floor.Please note that chairs with seats that dip in the middle, or have a backward slope, are unsuitable for this work.
- A quiet place where you won’t be disturbed
- About 15 – 20 minutes during which you won’t be disturbed.
What You Do: Stage 1
- Sit upright in the chair, not leaning back, with your hands resting quietly in your lap.
- Pay attention to the contact you’re making with the chair. You should feel two points of bone on which you’re balanced. These are your sit bones – the bones on which you balance when you’re sitting upright. If you can’t feel them, sit on your hands, palms upward. You will feel the bones digging into your palms. Once you’ve felt them, take your hands away, and you should be able to feel the contact of those bones with the chair.
- Be aware of balancing on the sit bones, and think of gently lengthening up from them.
- Ask your neck muscles to soften a little, so they’re not pulling your head down onto your spine.
- Allow your shoulders to relax.
- Ask the lower back to let go of tension but don’t allow yourself to slump.
Keep your thinking very very gentle and do NOT make actual movements in response to any of it.
You want release to happen naturally from the inside out, not be imposed from the outside in.
- Now actually let yourself go and slump, as much as you can without hurting yourself. Notice what that does to your back. It rounds out into a nice C shape, doesn’t it? For some of you, this position might seem comfortably familiar.
- Notice what’s happened to your balance on your sit bones. Are you still on them? You’ll find you’re not; you’ve rolled so that you are behind them.
- Very gently, roll forward so that you’re once more balanced on the sit bones, and notice what that’s done to your back. Go in and out of a slump a couple of times so that you can observe what happens when you make these changes.
The sit bones are useful as an aid to thinking accurately. However, just sitting on them is no guarantee of effortless sitting. You can be sitting right on them, but still be as tight as a drum.
This is where you can use thinking to ensure that you’re sitting well. Let’s go over that again –
- Think of gently lengthening up from your sit bones.
- Ask your neck to free up.
- Ask your shoulders to relax.
- Ask the lower back to let go.
Keep your thinking very very gentle. Do NOT make actual movements in response to any of your thoughts of release.
Your position AND your thinking together make the difference in your sitting.
When you’re sitting in this way, using your thinking to encourage release in your muscles, you’re improving your USE i.e. the way your muscles organise themselves to do what you want them to do.
How You Use This:
Practise this kind of sitting any time you find yourself sitting in a chair with a firm seat, but each time, for a few minutes only. This is hard work for your muscles; you need to give them time to rest.
Be kind to yourself, and work at this in short spells of a few minutes only.
Just sitting well gives your back muscles the kind of exercise they need in order to get strong and toned.
If you’d like to explore this further, go on to More About Sitting.
Other Activities You Can Try
- Go through What the Alexander Technique Is Not. This will give you a clear idea of how exactly the Alexander Technique can help you.
- Check out Thinking Well to give you a sense of how strongly our thinking influences our muscles.
- You can also opt for lessons. At the moment, I’m only offering the online option. You can go to Online Learning for details and decide what works best for you.
- Prefer an introductory lesson straightaway? Contact me to book a lesson – online, of course!
Sitting is a matter of constantly renewing your balance. (Carolyn Nicholls)