I'm A Manual Therapist & This Is Actually How To Sit Properly (It's Not So Simple!)
Picture this: You're lounging on the couch or in a chair when, all of a sudden, someone brings up the topic of posture. Maybe in that moment you realize you aren't quite sitting up straight and shift your position. It's so easy to fall into habitual manners of sitting, and those little reminders can be helpful. But what, exactly, does a proper sitting posture look like?
How to master a healthy sitting posture.
According to Alexander, sitting in a chair isn't as simple as plopping yourself down: "Make sure that your hips are above the height of your knees when you're sitting in any position. What that will do is naturally put your lower back and your pelvis into an architectural position of integrity, support, and load-bearing. Drive weight through the shoulders, and [you will] comfortably stack through that neutral spine."
In addition to the hips and knees, Alexander emphasizes the importance of getting to know your sitz bones (he calls them "the feet of your butt"), which are located at the base of the pelvis. "Load weight in a mechanically effective way," he explains. "Have a slight tilt forward—not too much to the point where you're in hyperlordotic territory [aka, when your spine has an inward curve]—and allow the ribs to tuck down toward the pelvis a little bit while you maintain that position."
Finally, Alexander offers a helpful visualization technique while you sit and breathe: "Imagine there's a little string in the back of your head, slowly drawing your head up toward the ceiling. Use your visual muscles and look up as opposed to looking down all the time." Looking up, according to Alexander, supercharges the senses. "It's sending the signal that it's time to wake up, time to get creative, time to come up with ideas," he notes.
According to Alexander, the proper way to sit involves keeping the knees below the hips, tilting slightly forward on the sitz bones, and engaging mindful nasal breathing. It may sound simple, but it can have profound effects on your mood and overall energy.