I recently received a request to review optimal sitting posture, as one of our subscribers noted she sits quite a bit throughout her day. So let’s review…
To give your pelvic floor optimal support while sitting you want to sit on chairs that position your hips slightly higher than your knees. This takes the hamstring tension off your pelvis, allowing it to rock forward to a more neutral position with ease. In many chairs you can achieve this by sliding forward. Getting your buns to the front edge of the chair will help drop your knees down slightly below the level of your hips (this happens automatically on a Swiss ball!).
Then, you want to position your feet shoulder width apart or you can choose to stagger your feet with one foot forward and one foot back. You want to avoid crossing your legs because this will again increase hamstring tension that can roll your pelvis back. Once you have addressed chair height and we have positioned your feet appropriately, then simply roll forward on your pelvis until you feel pressure on your pubic bone. When you feel this pubic bone support, you are sitting on your sitting “tripod” which means you have achieved your natural balance point or neutral spine.
Our sitting tripod is composed of our two sit-bones on either side and our pubic bone up front. Note that when you have rolled forward onto your tripod, you actually alleviate all pressure from your tailbone or coccyx, and it is no longer in contact with the chair. Remember our tailbone is the back attachment site of our pelvic floor, so this slight lift puts our pelvic floor muscles at the perfect length/tension ratio for a stronger contraction and a more efficient reaction time.
When you are sitting on your “tripod,” you will also notice that you don’t have to work as hard to sit up straight. With your pelvis in this stable position, you have a natural concave curve to your lower back, which sets the table for our natural thoracic and cervical curves up the chain. You don’t have to work to “sit up straight” as you do when you are rolled back on your buns and your tail bone. To finish with optimal posture up the chain, work on resting you hands such that the are up while sitting. This engages the external rotators of your shoulders, rolling them back to a more open position. I always say, “where your shoulders go, your head will follow”.
Sitting posture…it all starts with the “tripod.”