At the beginning of teaching a group Alexander Technique class or private Alexander lesson, I take note of people’s sitting posture. I notice whether they are slouching or, conversely, sitting up rigidly straight because they have heard that the Alexander Technique has something to do with correct posture. Often people will fluctuate between a slouching posture and what they think is correct sitting posture.
As we begin to discuss sitting posture, I invariably hear their stories of neck pain, shoulder pain and back pain caused by incorrect sitting posture at the computer. Sitting posture at the computer is so common it’s just called computer posture.
How can the Alexander Technique correct sitting posture, or correct computer posture? Notice your computer posture or posture in general, right now.
Let’s start with some Alexander Technique directions. We’ll start with ‘free your neck’.
See if you can let go of some excess, unnecessary tension in your neck. Easeful upright sitting posture starts with releasing these shortened neck muscles so that they can lengthen, letting your head move up. Let your head rotate slightly forward (lower your nose) and let the crown of your head move up.
Correct sitting posture, then, directs us to relax the neck, let the head go up. As you let your head rise, taking the spine and torso with it, you’ll need some oppositions so that you are not sitting up rigidly straight, which you will not be able to maintain. The opposition comes from letting the sit bones, those ‘U’ shaped bones on the bottom of your pelvis, go down into the chair. Really feel your sit bones release down into the chair, as your neck, head, and torso move up. With true correct sitting posture you are actually going up and down at the same time, lengthening your spine. Let yourself breathe fully, and make sure you’re not straining.
Correct sitting posture will eventually feel comfortable once your postural muscles get used to it, and you stop over-doing the straightness . Correct sitting posture is not slouching, nor is it military posture.
It may take some practice. It is certainly easier with the help of a hands-on Alexander Technique teacher.
Please feel free to leave a reply or comment.
Mark Josefsberg-Alexander Technique NYC