The NJM lifestyle
Probably the best way of explaining what I mean by The Natural Joint Mobility Lifestyle is to go through the list of do's and don'ts. You will probably think it's pretty simple and doesn't justify the description, a "Lifestyle". It is pretty simple but very important and effective.
Sit slumped on the ground at least half an hour a day. By ‘slumped sitting’ I mean allowing the back to bend as much as it will and making no attempt to sit up straight. This is of course the opposite of what most of us had been told to do from childhood. Slumped sitting is a very important part of the N. J. M. Lifestyle. It is totally natural and provides the only stretching exercise that the spine needs. It also provides an important stretching exercise for the hip joint muscles. Regardless of how the legs are folded to sit on the ground it will be a stretch for some muscles in the hip.
All I mean by slumped sitting is the sort of sitting positions that you would see any group of Africans or Indians adopting when they are sitting on the ground.
Don’t try to sit up straight if you're sitting on a low chair with knees above hips. Sit slumped instead.
Don't try to sit up straight when sitting on the ground. Sit slumped.
Learn Alexander sitting. By this I mean very specifically sitting supported mainly under the seat bones with the whole body and spine in exactly the same shape as standing. This can best be achieved when the sitting surface is slightly above knee level. I use the term Alexander sitting for this as this is what is taught as a part of the Alexander technique. It is a very useful form of sitting in our sedentary lifestyle and requires the activation of those very important muscles at the base of the spine (multifidus etc). (This is not however the only way that I say one should sit to work at a desk.)
Have a forward tilted seat at your office desk and a pelvic support backrest when you use it.
Never sit in a lumbar support seat or chair.
Never sit with direct support to the lumbar or lower thoracic spine. (From the waist to the bottom of the shoulder blades)
The spine is a flexible structure connecting two large structures, the pelvis and the thorax. Using a backrest to try to stop it bending along its length is one of the silliest ideas ever invented and is bound to result in excessive bending where the spine connects to the pelvis. It is much better to let the spine bend naturally along its length.
This means that all of the slouches shown below are all right and not harmful.
Always use pelvic supports when sitting in a car, plane, train, theatre etc. These are cases where you are forced to sit fairly upright but have to use a backrest. In these cases the backrest must support the pelvis, not the spine.
Have a short daily routine of stretching exercises, particularly for the hip joint.
Don’t wear tight jeans, belts etc that restrict the expansion of the abdomen when the spine bends. The abdomen must expand when the spine bends.
Don't wear tight jeans, trousers, skirts etc that restrict the mobility of the hip joint.
Learn to squat with the heels on the ground and spend at least a few minutes a day in this posture. For most people this will be difficult to achieve until the calf muscles have stretched.
That's all there is to the NJM lifestyle. It really isn't very complicated and in many cases just allows you to do what you've always done in sitting but had been told was wrong.