First, find something you can sit on that is both firm and flat—a basic wooden chair is a great choice. This exploration will work best if you can find such a surface to sit on.
Sit down at the front of the chair so you are supporting your own torso as opposed to leaning back on the back of the chair.
This is what I refer to as active sitting.
The little boy in the photo above is a good illustration of active sitting.
Your first and most important job is to find your sitting bones. To find your sitting bones place your hands under you, so your hands are between you and the seat of the chair. You should be able to feel the rounded bones. Those are your sitting bones. Sort of like an internal rocking chair.
Now, gently pull your hands out and place each sit bone on the chair.
In order to balance and sit upright with minimal effort, it is essential to get your sitting bones under you.
Now, let’s experiment a bit.
Arch your low back, pushing it forward, like you are trying to sit up really straight and tall. This will cause you to rock forwards so that you begin to sit more on your legs and not on your sitting bones.
Now, roll backward and into a c-shaped slump. This will cause you to sit more on your tailbone and not on your sitting bones.
Go back and forth a few times between arching your lower back and the c-shape.
When you overarch your lower back you are over-tensing the muscles in your back.
When you go into the c-shape you are collapsing.
Somewhere in between you can begin to find some balance.
Go back again to overarching the lower back. Now, instead of going all the way back into the c-shape, realize what you are doing—over-tensing the muscles in the back and pushing your lower back forward.
Don’t do something else at this point.
Just gently ask yourself to do a little less of what you are already doing—pushing your back forward.
Do a little less of that but don’t allow yourself to go all the way into the c-shaped slump and sit on your tailbone.
You should feel a firmer contact of your rocker-shaped sitting bones with the seat of the chair.
Your low back should feel like it is doing a little less work.
Your low back will feel a bit flatter than when you were overarching the back. You can put your hand back there for feedback.
When you are on your sitting bones, the foundation of your pelvis is now firmly under you and can help to support your wonderfully curvy and upright spine and your head perched way on top.
As adults, we don’t tend to sit actively like this. We tend instead to always lean against the back of the chair, what I call restive sitting.
Restive sitting should be one of our options for sitting. But when it becomes the default and we never sit actively we lose our ability to find our balance in sitting easily.
We either overarch the back or sit in a c-shaped slump. Finding your balance is a skill.
So, get acquainted with your sitting bones.
And get them under you.