What we do with our body 24 hours a day matters: What we eat, how we move, how we think. Not just when we’re training or competing—every second adds up to something bigger. In essence, you become what you do. Quite literally, our connective tissues adapt and respond to what we do the most often. And what do we do a lot these days? Sit.
Ideally, we should decrease the amount of time that we’re sitting and increase the variety of our movements throughout the day. This can be a difficult, yet necessary, transition as our social and professional culture is often centered around the act of sitting.
Yet even if you are literally chained to your desk, you still have freedom in how you sit. It’s time to check yourself before you wreck yourself.
first, Check your posture
Have a friend snap a photo of you in your “this is how I usually sit at my desk” position. If you can, have them take it when you’re not even paying attention, as this might show a more honest image of your sitting habits. Do you notice any of the following?
- Head hinging forward so it’s in front of your shoulders.
- Your entire back rounded like a capital C (for mega-Curve).
- Your pelvis is tucked under.
- Your legs crossed at the thighs or ankles.
These are just a few examples of common postural habits when sitting. While we know it’s not ideal to pop-a-squat for hours at a time, if you’re going to sit, let’s at least bring awareness to how we are sitting.
Use a rolled up Towel
Using the Pelvis Towel Rocker technique can help align your hips and spine when you’re sitting down. This small adjustment reminds us to position our pelvis in a way that is more conducive to supporting our spine and skull. With the pelvis tucked, we can’t align the rest of our body as easily. If the head is hinging forward (are you craning your head forward to read this now? Go get a towel, pronto!) the tissues on the backside of the neck/back are being forced to elongate and work overtime to hold your heavy head up. At the same time, the muscles in the front of the neck and chest area have to shorten to balance this support. This can cause headaches and neck pain.
Grab a towel and do the following:
- Roll up a hand towel
- Place it on your chair
- Sit, with the sit bones (the bony points at the bottom of your pelvis–ischial tuberosities) on the towel
- Allow your pelvis to naturally rock forward without much effort. In other words, your pelvis is not in a tucked position. Hopefully this will help encourage the natural curvature of your spine. Think: head over shoulders, shoulders over pelvis, lower back curves in naturally (as opposed to being rounded out so your entire back looks like that capital C mentioned above)
How you position your pelvis when doing, well, anything (not just sitting) influences your entire body in all sorts of curiously clever ways. Using a towel to sit on is just one way to recognize how we use our body and where we can create better balance and alignment.
What has helped you correct your sitting posture?