In the first two lessons, we learned how to locate your center of gravity when standing, and how to use it as you move about in ways that make your movements lighter and easier. This lesson is about using the center of gravity while sitting – something many of us do for hours at a time.
Learning how to use your center of gravity while sitting is particularly important, because most of us put more harmful pressure on our bodies while seated than we do while standing and walking.
When sitting, the relevant center of gravity is no longer two inches below your navel, because now the weight of your legs doesn’t enter into the picture. What we want to find is your seated center of gravity. The center of gravity for the whole body when standing has been well studied and is known with a high degree of precision. Locating your seated center of gravity will be a little less precise. Nonetheless, it’s possible to locate it closely enough for effective use.
You can find the seated center of gravity by running a finger down your sternum (the flat bony plate in the center of your chest) until you encounter soft tissue. This is where your sternum ends and is fairly close to the seated center of gravity. Its actual location is, of course, deep inside your chest.
If you place one index finger on this spot and run your other index finger around your chest until it reaches your spine at the same height, a line connecting those two fingers passes directly through your seated center of gravity.
Imagine that line extending both forward and backward from your torso with an imaginary tip at each end. This is similar to the tool we used in Lesson 2, but is now being used to direct your seated center of gravity forward and backwards.
Try an experiment with this seated center of gravity arrow. While seated, move back and forth a bit in your usual way, taking note of how easily you’re moving and how much work is needed to move. Now, mentally connect with the arrow and move it forward and backward. As in Lesson 2, did you notice that your body moved more easily?
You may have noticed that, after using the seated center of gravity arrow a few times, you found that you were sitting more comfortably.
These forward and backward movements can be very tiny, but help you release tension and feel more comfortable. You could use them discretely if you’re sitting at a concert, movie, or business business meeting. They can also be extremely useful when you’re forced to sit for long periods of time, such as on a plane.
In the next section of lessons, which will be posted later in September, you’ll take the use of the center of gravity to a new, and far more powerful, level.
This concludes the first group of lessons. As with the earlier lessons, please let me know about your experiences – good, bad – or puzzling!
© 2012 Robert Rickover