What is “good” posture?
“Posture relates to the action and not to the maintenance of any given position. Acture would perhaps be a better word for it.” – Moshe Feldenkrais
In other words, posture is fluid, there is not one “ideal or perfect” posture in life. Acture refers to the idea of being ready to move as needed to complete a task – even if that task is sitting on your couch watching TV or working remotely on your laptop.
This is maybe more easily imagined in a standing position. Even in standing we need to be ready to move – waiting in line at the store or cooking in your kitchen. If we were to adopt an “ideal” posture (pelvis tucked, abdominal muscles engaged, shoulders back, chin down) 100% of the time, how can we be expected to be ready to react to our environment in an efficient and safe way? Could you maintain that erect posture while cooking your family’s dinner? It’s not practical. But by thinking of posture as dynamic – being able to accommodate to your environment – this opens up so many possibilities.
How does this relate to seated posture? Most of us who work a desk job are provided with an ergonomic chair at the office which is designed to fix your body in a series of 90* angles (ankles, knees, hips, elbows). This takes us back to the idea that posture is static. If you were to maintain a “perfect” seated posture for an 8 hour work day, your abs and back muscles would be exhausted – it’s just not practical or healthy. Our bodies are meant to move, ideally every 30-60 minutes (more on this below).
Now that many of us have been asked to work remotely, let’s use this opportunity to shake it up a bit! While some of you may have an office chair and desk at home, many of us are struggling to find comfort on the couch, a barstool, a dining chair… This is the perfect time to experiment with finding new and more functional ways to work from home.
How should I set up my workspace?
- Whatever position you place yourself in, be sure you aren’t fixed and are able to move your pelvis/spine/shoulder complex. This is important to decrease the stressors of gravity on the spine and promote acture.
- You should change positions (even minutely) every 30-60 minutes. This can be as simple as gently tucking your pelvis under, rounding your spine, then reversing that movement, rocking your pelvis forward and arching your spine. Kind of like a seated cat/cow yoga posture (also a variation of the movement lessons mentioned below)
- Get creative!
- You can use pillows to prop up you or your laptop while sitting on the couch.
- Place a box under your feet on the barstool.
- Sit on the box and use a coffee table for a desk.
- Sit on the floor and use the box as a desk.
- The idea is to not stay in one place for too long. Your body will thank you for this!
How do I fit in movement every hour??
I have compiled a few of my favorite Feldenkrais movement lessons all done in seated! These lessons are designed to help decrease postural muscle strain and improve seated posture. They can be done any time throughout the day in seated (as a part of your hour movement break! – especially if you don’t have time to stand up and walk around).
They are simple, intuitive, relaxing and require no extra equipment. If you are interested, please email me and I can send you the transcripts.
If you are interested in delving deeper into your home office set-up and want to learn more about how to maintain a healthy body in the process, I am offering Virtual Ergonomic Consultations! Email me for details.
Virtual Ergonomic Consultation (via Zoom)
- Personalized recommendations of remote workspace options in your home.
- One-on-one instruction in seated Feldenkrais postural movement lessons.
- Transcripts of all three Feldenkrais movement lessons.
- A follow up Zoom or phone call as needed.
- COST – $50 or pay when you can.