Sitting at our computer in an upright, yet relaxed and open, posture is important – not only for our well-being, but for our productivity, creativity, confidence and even our mood. In this series we’re looking at how to achieve that. So far we’ve considered awareness, which is actually a theme running throughout, balance, our sit bones, and what we do with our head and neck as a means to achieving that. But let’s not forget about our legs and feet.
Where are your legs and feet right now?
Take a moment right now and notice where your legs are, and where your feet are. Were you, in fact, aware of them, before I drew them to your attention? Are your legs crossed perhaps, or do you have one or both of them tucked under you? Maybe just your toes are touching the floor, rather than your whole feet, or maybe you’ve wrapped your leg around the leg of your chair.
Or maybe you’re wondering, “What have my legs and feet got to do with the way I work at the computer anyway?”
In my opinion, and it’s a basic premise of the Alexander Technique (the basis of the BodyIntelligence approach), our body functions as a whole – and what we do with one part affects the rest, however remote it is from the perceived activity in hand.
There’s no one right position
I would also like to be clear that there is no one right position to be in, even at the computer! Our body is at its best when it’s not being fixed or held in any way. When we think of ourselves as movable, breathable, open, flexible and flowing, it goes a long way to changing the quality of whatever position we might be in.
That said, there are some positions – or anatomical relationships – that are not as likely to cause problems, and are more likely to promote upright, open and easy poise while we work.
Sit with your legs uncrossed and both feet just resting lightly on the floor. Think of the legs releasing out of the hip joint away from the torso as you balance on your sit bones. Notice the contact of your feet with the floor beneath them.
In fact, you may have noticed that by sitting on your sit bones this may have just happened as a knock-on effect.
In the same way that imbalances and tensions in the body in one area cause compensatory imbalances and tensions in another, coordinating factors like resting on your sit bones, and allowing your head to balance at the top of your spine (rather than jutting out toward the screen) may have indirectly caused a better situation for your legs and feet.
And conversely, uncrossing your legs or unwrapping them from the chair legs so that your feet rest flat on the floor, may have indirectly lead you to rest on your sit bones… Learning to let go of tension in the legs can also be of great benefit to anyone with back problems.
Ditch the heels while you’re working at your desk and give your feet a break. Your feet will have room to move and let go, and gain the benefit of direct contact with the ground!
In some ways the legs and feet can be perhaps the hardest to stay aware of as we work at the computer – maybe because they are the most “remote” from where the action is! What habits do you have with your legs and feet while you work? Do you think the habits are helpful or not? As always, I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.
Top image courtesy of imagerymajestic at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.