your work is a pain in the back (not uncommon for
sitting jobs), you can relieve the problem with this simple
have overly rigid ideas about how they should sit in a chair.
Think about all the different ways children move their bodies
in relationship to a chair. In this exercise, you will learn
to develop more flexible ideas about how to relate to a chair,
which will create a much more flexible body.
near the front of your chair, place
the palm of your right hand on your
lower back and the palm of your left
hand on the top of your head. Make sure both
of your feet are solidly on the floor
with your feet and knees well apart.
your lower back into your right hand
by rolling your pelvis on the chair
and then roll your pelvis until you
reel your back hollow into an arch. As you do this, observe
the change in the height level of
your head. Rest with your arms down. Are you sitting more
on your right side?
Awareness Advice: If it is too difficult to put the palm
of your hand on your back, put the back of
your hand there. Your only effort should be in sensing the,
movement. Use your right fingertips to feel the vertebrae
as well as feeling the muscles with your hand.
the same action with the
palm of your left hand on
your lower back and the palm
of your right hand on your head. Which side is easier?
Rest. Observe your sitting posture.
- Sit on
the right side of your chair
so that the right side of
your pelvis is unsupported
and only your left side remains on the chair. Put your
right hand on your waistline as you would in a casual
way with your fingers spread toward your stomach and
your thumb in the back. Lower and raise the right side
of your pelvis so that it goes below the level of the
chair and up. Can you feel the right side of your waistline
lengthening and shortening? If you put your left hand
on top of your head at the same time, can you feel the
connection between the movement of your pelvis and your
entire spine and neck? Rest sitting back in your chair.
Advice: Make sure your feet and legs are fairly
wide apart and observe how your right leg
assists the right side of your pelvis by pushing the heel
into the floor. You might want to experiment by lifting the
right heel from the floor as you lower the right side of
on the other
side by having only your right buttock on the chair,
with your left hand on your waist and your right
hand on the top of your head. Make sure that your
legs are wide apart. Is this side more or less fluid
than the other side? Rest sitting back in your chair.
the back of your chair. Lean
your folded arms on the top
of the back of the chair
with your pelvis near the front of the chair. Roll
your pelvis forward to hollow
your back, and backwards to curve it. Try it with your
head resting on your arms as well. Can you also rock
your pelvis from side to side here, pushing through one
foot while lifting one side of the pelvis and then the
other? Can you do this with your head at rest on your
arms as well?
- Put your
hands on your knees and put
your chest against the back
of the chair with your head
looking down and your eyes closed. Can you roll your
pelvis forwards pushing your belly out towards the back
of the chair and then backwards, holding it in as your
spine curves away from your chair. Let your belly push
forwards and backwards in harmony with the movement of
your spine and pelvis until it becomes easy to feel how
your breathing can assist the motion. Rest leaning on
the back of your chair.
Awareness Advice: For
many people with difficulties in their middle or lower
back, it is much easier to sit facing the back of a chair
because of the support it can provide and the requirement
of opening the hips. This lesson or any of the movements
in it could be useful to perform whenever stress accumulates from the seated position.
Frank Wildman PhD, is founder and director of the Feldenkrais Movement Institute in Berkeley, California. For more information on Feldenkrais or to order The Busy Person's Guide to Easier Movement, see Books & Tapes or
call (800) 342-3424.
Excerpted from Strive Magazine.