“I am free to notice support from under me”
Say this thought to yourself little and often throughout the day. Write it, draw it, meditate on it. Stick a Post It on a mirror. Set yourself a reminder on your phone.
Practicing this thought throughout the day will help you notice this sequence and support you to navigate daily life in many ways.
As many of you know, one of Alexander’s major discoveries about us mammals, is that the relationship of the head and spine govern the coordination of the rest of us. Yes – all of us! Physical, mental, emotional, spiritual – we don’t separate – its all one thing – our Self.
Many people are now working from home, or taking classes and attending meetings on Skype or Zoom and spending much more time in their make-shift home office. If you are using a laptop there is always a bit of a compromise to how you sit well for the keyboard, or have the screen at a good height.
Here are some practical suggestions for setting up your desk and chair well and will give you a little advantage. Here are some ideas to try:
- Choose a firm dining chair or upright chair to sit on.
- Let it have a flat surface, rather than a padded one. When your bones know they are supported, the muscles don’t have to try and manufacture this support with tension.
- Say to yourself “I am free to notice support from under me” recognise that the ground comes up to meet the chair and support you.
- Set the chair directly in front of your screen. Take a moment to check there isn’t anything getting in the way – an awkward table leg or rucked up rug. Invest a few minutes getting this working for you now, and your body will thank you later.
- Try not to work in bed or on the sofa – these curve your back and you end up with a ‘C’ shaped spine which puts pressure on your lower back and pelvis – and neck! This is a slow but sure way to injure yourself.
- Choose a chair which allows you to have your hips a little higher than your knees.
- If you are above average height you could even sit on a book, the old telephone directories were perfect – wide enough and soft-backed. See if there is anything on your bookshelf similar.
- If you are less than average height you may wish to sit near the front of the chair and put the book under your feet to raise the support up to meet the soles of your feet.
- Can you get the monitor or screen at roughly eye height? Again use books or boxes – be creative and see what you already have lying around to make the screen safe and secure and a better height.
- Set an alarm for 30 minutes and listen to it, stop when it rings and get up and move about.
- Put some music on and dance for a couple of tracks, then get back to work.
- Get a drink of water – its especially important when in front of a screen a lot to stay well hydrated – it helps your brain work better too. And remember, look after your spine whilst you actually drink the water – refer back to Day 5.
- Drinking plenty has the added advantage of needing to visit the bathroom more regularly, which will get you up out of the chair and moving.
- Move – Our brains and bodies hate being stuck in one position doing one thing repetitively for ages. Give yourself some variety. Mix up 10 minutes of gentle weeding, or preparing some veg, or putting a load of washing out on the line.
- Your back may not be strong enough to sit in an upright chair with ease for any length of time, so let yourself sit back – with your bottom back into the right angle of the chair and gently rest the whole length of your back onto the chair for a while.
- Can you let your wrists be free, not fixed on the table – think about being more like a pianist than a typist. Pianists have free wrists where the hand and forearm are in one line without kinks.
- Its not so much the position or posture you have, but using the least amount of effort in your muscles of the activity you are doing, that counts. Any extra effort = tension. And tension tends to fix and restrict our movements, structures, muscles and fluids. (Everything!)
- Be gentle if you stretch – take it easy, listen to your body’s wisdom and be kind to yourself as you move.
Thank you to those who have written to let me know you are enjoying these and how they are benefitting you. Even a little bit of thinking can set you up a bit better for the rest of the day. Even a little bit of stopping, noticing, and redirecting your energy in a more useful way is an improvement. Don’t aim for perfection, just attend to yourself with kindness.
Please email me on firstname.lastname@example.org if there are any topics you would like me to cover.
Have fun with this. Take yourself out of automatic, and get thinking consciously and constructively.
“I am free to notice support from under me”