Hey, Kid! Don’t sit like a slouch potato
Hey, Kid! Don’t Sit Like A Slouch Potato. It straight children” is a familiar instruction that rings in school corridors.
Do you slouch on that sofa at home and watch TV? Do your shoulders keep drooping when you are sitting on that bench in the classroom? Stop sitting like that. Why? Here is why.
It straight children” is a familiar instruction that rings in school corridors. In spite of the teacher’s voice turning hoarse, students become ‘slouch potatoes’ in classrooms and couch potatoes at home, while watching TV. Well, sit up kids Are you not tired of your mom screaming at you all the time?! Jokes apart you need to know that there is something called organ comfort. Says Sadhguru, a Yogi and founder of Isha Foundation, “There are various aspects to one’s posture. Most of the vital organs of the body are in the chest and abdomen region. These organs are not rigid. They are not fixed with bolts and clamps. They are loose, hanging in nets. Only if you sit with your spine erect, your organs will be in maximum possible comfort.”
Now, the modern idea of comfort is to lean backward and slouch. If you sit in such a posture, your organs will never be in comfort. They will not function the way they need to.
This is especially true if you eat a full meal and sit in a reclining chair. A lot of travel happens in reclining chairs. Experts say, if you travel a thousand kilometres on a reclining chair in a car, your lifespan will come down by, at least, three to five years. This is because the organs suffer so much that their ability to function will go down dramatically.
Keeping the body erect is not because one is not allowed to sit comfortably. It is because most of us understand and experience comfort in a completely different way. You can train your muscles to be comfortable with your spine erect, but you cannot train your organs to be comfortable while slouching. So, we choose to train the body so that our skeletal system and muscular system is comfortable sitting erect.
Pratibha Agarwal, founder Anahata Yoga Zone, Secunderabad, says, “A strong body sitting straight in padmasan with a glow on the face has a certain aura around it which attracts most of us. Most of us, at some point of time, have done meditation. When we actually sit down to meditate (read relax in most of the cases), we find that the body does not support the posture and in no time we are forced to stand up and move around.”
To sit with a straight spine needs more than only awareness of the natural curves of the spine. She further adds, “The upper back stays in alignment if the neck is aligned to the body properly and the lumbar curvature is maintained if the pelvis is neutral and the muscles of the hip are properly stretched and strengthened. The head should sit over the torso, not in front it. The chin should be on level with the floor. The chest should be lifted slightly but not pushed out, the shoulders down and back but relaxed. The ears, shoulders and pelvis should line up (from the side). The pelvis should be in neutral position. Tilting the top of the pelvis forward increases the curve in the lower back; tilting the pelvis backward flattens (decreases the curve in the lower back). Muscles of the lower back, abdomen, hips and the buttocks support the pelvis as well as the lower spine. Strengthening and stretching these muscles helps maintain neutral posture and prevents back pain.”
Speaking of muscles, she says, “Shortened muscles in the lower back and the front of the hip and thigh can contribute to swayback. Sitting for long periods of time tends to shorten the muscles in front of the hips (hip flexors) over time. Tight hip flexors pull the top of the pelvis forward, causing an excessive arch in the lower back.
People with hip muscles, who find their knees lifted up above the floor due to tightness around the hips will find themselves compromising with slouching. Hips should be on level with or slightly higher than the knees.”
Making simple corrections in your sitting postures will keep your organs happy and healthy. Next time you slide into a ‘slouch potato’—hear your stomach cry “save me!”