by Mark Josefsberg
Tip #1. Don’t slump, and don’t sit up straight.
Sitting up straight doesn’t work. You know cause you’ve tried it.
Forget all that “stomach in, chest out” “tuck your chin in” junk.
It might work—for a second. It adds unnecessary tension, and it’s unsustainable.
• Let your head and body move up, while your two sit bones go down into the chair.
• This natural opposition will lengthen your spine.
Tip #2. Release your neck muscles to let your head move up.
When muscles work, they shorten. When poking your neck and face forward toward the computer screen, you’re tensing your neck muscles and slumping. Google a picture of someone with poor computer posture and that’s what you’ll see. Instead…
• Notice your neck tension and let go of it.
• Let your head rotate forward (lowering your nose) as your crown moves up, taking your body with it.
• Your sit bones are still down into the chair.
Tip #3. Good Computer Posture hinges on your Hinges.
There are no hinges in your neck, or in lower back, but there are actual hinges above your neck, and below your lower back.
• Hinge 1. —Put your index fingers in your ears and imagine them connected. That’s where the head/neck hinge joint is located.
• Look down at your keyboard, hinging from way up there.
• Hinge 2. —Now pivot your body forward and back from your hip joints, not your lower back.
• Use you hip joints to get your eyes closer to the screen, and the head/neck joint to look up and down.
Tip #4. Lead with your fingertips.
We lift our hands to put them on the computer keyboard as if we were wearing 10 pound wrist weights. Then, when typing, we hold on to all that needless tension in our arms, shoulders, and neck. This becomes part of our permanent computer posture.
• Start with your hands by your side.
• When you lift your hand, think about lifting your fingertips only.
• Notice any shoulder or neck tension.
• Your shoulders rest on your ribcage.
Tip #5. Keep Breathing.
Are breathing and computer posture related?
How we breathe affects our posture, and how we use our body (slumping or stiffening) affects the way we breathe.
• Free your neck…head forward and up…sit bones down…
• Breathe fully—front, back, sides, top to bottom.
• Your entire torso expands and contracts.
• Release your facial muscles.
• Release your jaw— lips together, teeth apart.
• Slowly open your mouth and just whisper a long, slow ahhh…
• Relax upwards.
Tip #6. Take computer breaks.
It’s hard to be in one position all day long.
It’s hard on your joints, it’s hard on your spine, it’s hard on your posture, and it’s hard on your mind.
Take breaks—returning to your computer in a more relaxed, upright, free posture.
Here’s a break that, with practice, takes as little as ten seconds.
• Take your hands off the keyboard and let them be by your side.
• Free your neck and let your head rotate forward and up.
• Your body is moving up too.
• Your sit bones are releasing into the chair.
• Fully breathe…
• Lead with your fingertips as you place your fingers back on the keyboard.
• Free your neck again, and let your head move up.
A version of this post previously appeared at www.MarkJosefsberg.com
Mark Josefsberg is an Alexander Technique teacher in New York City. He began studying the Alexander Technique in 1995 to relieve his severe neck pain. Mark completed ACAT’s training course and was Certified in 2003. Mark is a current faculty member of ACAT. In addition to his private practice, Mark has taught the Alexander Technique Barnard/Columbia University Department of Physical Education, The New York Spine Institute, Step Into Stride Physical Therapy, NeurOasis, Music Cares, The Collective School of Music, and The 92nd Street Y. Many of his students are people getting relief from neck pain, back pain, and those wanting to improve their posture and performance. www.MarkJosefsberg.com