What’s Sitting Got to Do With How You Feel!

What’s sitting got to do with how you feel? Think about how long in any given day you sit. Now think about how you sit, are you collapsed into a chair, rounding your spine and pressing back on your Sacrum? How easy is it for you to come to stand from the chair? Do you use momentum, throwing yourself forward, do you push down with your hands to stand up? Do you even know what you do? Is holding your breathe so familiar you don’t even notice it? What about the place you stand your feet, are they behind your pelvis or underneath your knees? Might you have knee issues and hold your breathe with just the thought of moving your legs or coming to stand?

From my dear colleague in Germany from, “Feldenkrais Zeit”, Rodger Russell shares that there is a new saying, that “Sitting is the new smoking”! Well let’s think about this. Smoking is a pattern that many become so familiar with, without realizing how addictive it is and how it becomes a habit. Think about how often someone lights up a cigarette and still has one burning in the ashtray, or maybe they just finished one only to start another. One often feels benefit from smoking as you sometimes hear one say it calms them down, allows them to quiet and think, but it also is problematic when it becomes a compulsion. Now what does this have to do with the idea of sitting? Think about it, we sit because it’s comfortable, to rest, to relax but we also are sitting endless hours a day in front of computer screens, holding SmartPhones to connect with the world, driving or being driven… We start to focus more on what we are involved with and forget that we are sitting and using more muscle than feeling our skeleton as support. A result is that we are shortening, slouching, and therefore our muscles are contracting. Our inner organs are continuously getting unhealthy pressure, our breathing becomes compromised and many other issues arise from this as we are sitting in chairs for endless hours any given day. We also give ourselves over to the less than optimal support of a chair. We buy ergonomic chairs only to find they don’t really do what they say they will and these hours and hours every day are killing us. We have so habituated to sitting in chairs versus sitting on the floor as many Eastern countries did, that we lose our ability to feel the slouching and muscular tonus that arises as a by-product of this habit. When we slouch, lean back on our Sacrum more often than not, we are creating havoc in our spine and feel the discomfort throughout our entire spine and also in our pelvis, hips and often trigger Sciatic pain. You needed trust me but rather recognize how the entire medical community has been writing about this problem that doesn’t seem to improve.

Dr Moshe Feldenkrais (1904 – 1984) expounded on this idea of good posture when sitting and communicated that “organic sitting posture” is the ability for one to move in all cardinal directions effortlessly. That means we can move forward, back, right and left as well as up and down with a smooth, easy, efficient way instead of using momentum and force, holding our breathe and tensing as we too often notice. What we tend to do is to dissociate from what we are doing, too obsessed in something else. We call this multitasking but at what cost.

What happens when you limit your beliefs and overlook that you can create another possibility? You can and will enable a more comfortable back, pelvis, hips and knees as well as your neck and head that sit atop your spine. What if you get curious, move gently and notice where you look, how you breathe. How limiting are your choices in how you move, do you have many possibilities that improve this function of not only sitting but coming to stand effortlessly? You can begin to find other potentials to move more efficiently but you need to change what you are doing. Doing the same thing over and over again will only (at best) improve what you are doing or make things harder and create more deterioration of tissues. So if you are doing something that creates resistance, discomfort, holding your breathe, than you are only getting better at disorganizing yourself. It’s not that sitting is bad, but more How you are doing it. Little bits you can find a path that enables your nervous system to feel resilient and a newer pattern can develop where you notice more ease, comfort and availability. You can learn other, more optimal ways to sit, playing as you sit, mindful as to where you sit in your pelvis in comparison to your spine. You can begin to feel and therefore recognize in a felt sense how to sit in an upright fashion. It is possible to feel your skeleton that supports us with the least amount of muscular effort. Save the muscular effort for more productive actions instead of pushing, forcing and straining to achieve a simple enough task that we learned as little ones. How to remember what you’ve forgotten and likely has been pushed far into the recesses of your brain. Good thing is, that sense of ease is still stored within your brain. Question is how do you bring it to the surface to refresh and renew how you do the function of sitting and coming to stand. It’s easy, seek out a Feldenkrais practitioner and follow the path of learning how to adapt yourself in finding more efficiency and comfort in a daily function that you do and will continue to do for the rest of your life.

Imagine coming to stand feeling taller, lighter and easier aligning through your bones and joints. Movement gets easier, life gets better! You move better, you feel better, you think clearer and life improves. Isn’t life worth making better, finding easier ways to live? For me it’s unthinkable to plod along doing the same thing day in day out without looking for variations and variety. For more information find a Feldenkrais Practitioner in your area or contact the Feldenkrais Guild of North America to learn more at www.Feldenkrais.com. There are Feldenkrais Guilds throughout the world so get curious and begin to make your life even better than you thought was possible!

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