In Part 1 I introduced the concept of awareness while at the computer, in particular that of the space around us. Now I want to expand on that to include awareness of how and where we balance, something we may not typically think about when we sit working at the computer. If, however, we do not use our body in a balanced way, we compensate with extra tension to hold our body up. This is true even if we have collapsed our body into a slump – what you might think of as a more relaxed posture.
But how can we be balanced, if we don’t really know what part of the body we should be balancing on? When sitting, the appropriate balancing points (weight-bearing points) are the sit bones (or sitting bones or sitz bones) – the correct anatomical term is the ischael tuberosity – the two bony protuberances at the base of the pelvis.
Get to Know Your Sit Bones!
It’s important to be able to locate these in your own body. After all, if you can’t do that, how can you hope to balance on them? So let’s find them:
- Sit toward the middle of your chair
- Put your hands under your bottom (buttocks)! The sit bones are big and bony and you can feel them, right through the most “cushy” part!
- Shift your weight around so that you are more or less balanced over them, so the bones are “pointing” down into your seat. Notice that there is some play – that you can rock back and forth a little as you rest on them.
If we balance on the right part of our skeleton for the job, our muscles don’t need to work so hard to keep us upright.
Now, see what happens when you don’t balance on them:
With your hands under your sit bones slowly let yourself curl in a slump. As you do so notice your sit bones slide forward. Instead of resting on them, you are now resting on the part of your spine! You might also notice what’s happened to your entire back and your head. What may feel more relaxed actually contains lots of compression and tension.
- Come back to that more balanced place, still with your hands underneath your sit bones. This time “sit up straight” by arching your back and pulling your chest up (what is often mistakenly thought of as good posture). You’ll notice you’re not really on your sit bones anymore – they’re now pointing back a little, and instead you are using your legs to hold you up, AND a lot of tension! Likely your whole back (including your neck) is rigid and tense, and you’re probably holding your breath, too! No wonder we can’t maintain this for long – nor should we!
Knowing where to balance helps us use our skeletal structure to support us, and in turn means we don’t need extra muscular tension to hold ourselves upright. As I continue with this series we will consider many other things, but having a more accurate understanding and awareness of our sit bones as we work at the computer is a crucial piece of the puzzle.
Did you follow along as you read this blog and locate your sit bones for yourself? Do you balance on your sit bones while you work at the computer? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.