As I sat on my chair at 5am Sunday morning, meditating on a single point halfway across my lounge floor. It occurred to me that sitting is an active process.

Many things occur to me whilst meditating, as I am sure things are occurring to you right now at the thought of getting up at 4.55 to meditate. Being up at this time may or may not suit you, but a time will come when it will suit you, at which time I encourage you to pursue it as a habit. And, rather than heading to a supermarket to get the shopping done before anyone else, just sit.

(I do not do this everyday, as I have until 7am most days to meditate before the family wake up, oh and there is lunch time if they’re up early, it is supposed to be enjoyable and rewarding, not a cause of suffering, but for those with the discipline, a 4.55 wake up (once a habit) has myriad¬†benefits).

And so to the point. Sitting is active. It requires conscious effort to sit upright, and muscle effort, a sense of each of the vertebrae of the spine lifting up off of the one beneath it, drawing the crown of the head up toward the ceiling and lightly drawing the chin in.This leads to a slight forward tilt of the pelvis and an inward curve of the lower back (lumbar spine). Remember that your spine is suppose to have three curves, as so represent an S shape, not one big curve which looks like a C.

Sitting passively means that you rest on the joints and connective tissue, relying on large muscle groups instead of the small muscles intrinsic to the spine. Sitting passively results in a C shaped spine and forward head carriage, which leads to tension, and pain.

If you have the flexibility then paradoxically sitting up straight has a sense of ease about it, like the spine rewards you for taking the time to sit well by sending pleasant sensations up the length of the spine. Breathing is easier, thinking is clearer, and with practice you can let the shoulders relax whilst staying strong in the spine.

To make it slightly easier keep your buttocks higher than your knees. I use a couple of cushions at home, or a posture cushion at work. Play around with the position and find that sense of ease. Remember it gets easier the less tension you have in the muscles between your neck and shoulders (so stretch daily), and easier still if you have a regular practice of cat/cow or spinal flex exercises.

If you are starting early then a quick shower, or stretching your muscles out the night before to loosen your them up will definitely help.

I look forward to reading your comments.

Yours in health – Dr Gary

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