A few weeks ago, I was interviewed by a marketing rep for an ergonomic office furniture company.
We had a great conversation about the modern office environment, the Alexander Technique, and posture.
At the end of the interview, he asked me if I could share one exercise that office workers could do at their workstations to help with their posture.
Sure, I said.
Ask yourself Two Questions.
What am I touching?
Where is my breathing?
Any posture exercise must start with awareness of yourself in the present moment. Because your posture is what you are doing right now. Not what you were doing 5 minutes ago. Not what you are going to be doing 5 minutes from now.
Take the first question. What am I touching?
Right now, without changing or judging anything notice what solid objects you are touching. Notice what you are touching with the soles of your feet, the backs of your thighs, your buttocks, your back, your arms, and your hands. You touch with all parts of you.
Noticing what you are touching is a very quick way to be aware of your body and its relationship to your environment.
Now take the second question. Where is my breathing?
Right now, notice where you feel your torso moving as you breathe. Realize that just paying attention to your breathing will affect it—but no worries. Do you sense movement in your chest? Your belly? Your sides? Your back?
Bringing awareness to your body and your breathing will instantly bring you into the present moment—because your body and your breathing exist in the present moment.
When you notice what you are touching it helps you to be aware of how you are relating to your environment: to the ground, your desk, your computer, and your chair. And a huge part of your posture is about how you are relating to your environment.
Any exercise needs to be simple. Or you won’t do it. And it needs to be done consistently. Or it won’t be beneficial.
If you want to work on this exercise I suggest finding a prompt that you will associate with asking the questions.
You could set a timer to go off on your phone every so often.
Or when you are about to check an e-mail or a text message, you could make it a habit to ask the two questions first and then check your e-mail or text message.
Or if you sip water or coffee while you work, you could make it a habit to ask the two questions first and then take a sip.
Keep it simple. Choose one prompt.
But do it consistently.
Oh, and my other suggestion…take an actual lunch break. The kind where you get up and walk away from your desk and your work for a time.
Old fashioned I know. But your body and your posture will thank you for it!