I am going to buy some furniture for my office and I have a question about what kind of chair I should get.
Most of the chairs recommended by my interior coordinator for my office use have a back rest, in which I think I am supposed to sit upright with my spine pressed against the back. In my sessions with you I learned how to sit upright on a bench, but not in a chair with a back. Should I buy one of those chairs and sit leaning into the backrest? Should I look for different types of chairs without a back, in which I feel I could sit in more comfortably with my feet on the ground? Or I should not bother at all what type of chair I will get so long as I can sit comfortably as we practiced together?
I would appreciate it if you could give me any advice. Thank you very much.
It is also possible to keep your weight dropping through the front edges of your sit bones while leaning back in the chair. To find this position, start by getting yourself into the upright seated position we practiced. (If you haven't yet learned how to relax while sitting upright, book an Efficient Movement Training session and I'll show you how.) Maintain the exact same neutral curves of your spine, relax your legs, and tilt your entire torso back until the backs of your shoulder blades rest against the back of the chair. In most chairs, there will not be contact between the lower/middle of your back and the chair. Make sure you haven't tilted so far back that your weight is now compressing your tailbone.
Important things to consider when choosing furniture:
- Make sure the seat is low enough that your feet can rest comfortably on the floor. If this isn't possible, or doesn't work with the height of the desk, get something sturdy to rest your feet on.
- Ensure that the seat is not tilted backwards. The front edge of the seat should be the same height or lower than the back edge. Ideally, your knees will be just a tiny bit below your hips, and the edge of the chair should not dig into the backs of your thighs. Be careful- sometimes if you look at a chair, the seat looks level, but the way the cushioning is designed makes it so that it is functionally tilted backwards. Some of the firmer, mesh-based chairs like the aeron chair avoid this problem without being so spartan as a wooden bench.
- Make sure the chair is not too deep. That is, you should be able to sit all the way back in the chair (with your pelvis tilted slightly forward so you're sitting on the front sides of your sit bones as we practiced) without the front edge of the chair interfering with a comfortable bend in your knees.
Less important, but still nice features of furniture:
- The arm rests should be distanced appropriately for the width of your shoulder girdle. Your elbows and forearms ought to be able to rest on the arm rests while your elbows hang from your shoulders fairly close to your body (they will still be in front of and a little to the sides of your shoulders, but not much). Take a few moments to hold your arms up in front of you with your elbows bent out to the side and notice how bad it feels on your shoulders? Now let your elbows drop and notice the ease in the shoulders and openness in the chest. See if you can find a chair that supports this position.
- The back of your chair should be curved so that if your whole back rests against it, your spine will be in a neutral position or extended backwards slightly. Leaning into the back of your chair should not make your back curve the other way into a hunched position or push your shoulders forward. If you get stuck with a chair like that, use a pillow to support a natural curve in your low back.