Since our bodies don't come with an owners manual, we tend to defer to it's agenda, which is to exert the least amount of effort as possible. This is actually pretty efficient in the short term, as it conserves energy, however, it is often deleterious in the long term. Hence back pain.
So here we go- learning how to sit. It may seem silly, but most of us have never actually learned how to do this properly. As usual, I am going to try and break this down into as few steps as possible. The sixth step is is for extra credit, and focuses on breathing.
1. Find your SIT Bones and create a Triangular Base
- Stand up
- Lift your arms up over head
- Arch your back
- Stick your butt out
- Keeping your butt sticking out, sit back down
2. Find your Pelvic Bowl and keep it from spilling
- Place your hands on your hips
- Notice that your pelvis makes a cylindrical shape (meet your Pelvic Bowl)
- Notice that when you sit on your SIT Bones, your Pelvic Bowl is upright, and if it were full to the brim with water, no water would leak out from the front or back of the bowl (because you aren't tipping the bowl)
- Your spine should have the feeling that is extending up out of the center of your pelvic bowl
- Your low back should be gently (not forcefully) arcing forward (picture the front of a bow and arrow)
- The ribcage is also a cylindrical shape and can be thought of as the ribcage bowl. In this case, the bowl of the ribcage should be stacked over the bowl of the pelvis. It's a balancing act, similar to building blocks or stacking rocks.
5. Create an HOURGLASS!
- WITHOUT changing the shape of the spine
- Pull the front of the belly in and up (you can actually lift your belly button up)
- Pull the sides of the waist in toward the spine (think- away from the shirt)
- Gently hug the back muscles in and up toward the spine
- At this point you should feel like an HOURGLASS- wide base, wide top, narrow middle that hugs in on all sides
6. You get Brownie Points for BREATHING
- Imagine that you can put a stopper in the middle of the hour glass
- Now pull the breath into the top of the hourglass only
- Feel the bowl of the ribcage fill out on all sides- front to back and side to side
- Feel the belly being strong and supportive, don't lose the stopper, we don't want to fill the belly- only the ribcage.
- This strengthens the ABS and the back, relieving tension in the shoulders, neck and ribs.
- Take some colored tape and use it to place three small X's on the base of your chair that form a triangle, this is where your sits bones and perineum should be. This will remind you to sit on your triangular base every time you sit down.
- Print out an image of an hourglass and keep it taped to your monitor, reminding you to sit up properly.