Eating is an essential part of life and can also be a delicious, healthy, and pleasurable experience. But for many people, sitting down for a long, leisurely meal causes tension and pain. Have you ever found yourself considering going out to eat and having second thoughts because you know you are going to be squirming in your seat before the end of the meal? We at the Gokhale Method Institute believe that dining can be a delectable experience for all of your senses. Here are a few tips on how to stay pain-free while dining:
Stacksitting is a comfortable and healthy way to sit down for a meal. Find or construct a wedge for your chair—a sweatshirt, jacket, or scarf will do. At home, you may want to have a folded towel or blanket handy in your dining area for this purpose. When you don't have a wedge, you can use the edge of the chair like a wedge. Position your legs slightly apart and sit with your sitz bones on the front edge of the wedge. This will tip your pelvis forward, which allows the rest of your spine to stack without tension. It's best to scoot yourself close in to the table so you can reach for your utensils and glass without being tempted to hunch forward.
Stacksitting close to your table sets you up
to interact with your food in a healthy way.
Bending slightly forward can help prevent you from spilling food on your lap. A common mistake is to drop your head or round your shoulders in a subconscious effort to move closer to your food. Instead of distorting your spine, use hip-hinging to keep your posture intact. Bend at the hip, allowing the pelvis to rotate relative to the femur (thigh) bones. Hip hinging prevents damage to your discs and spinal nerves while strengthening your back, shoulder, and neck muscles.
Hip hinging allows you to approach your food
and drink without compromising your spine.
Bring your food to you
Although it’s less common in the United States, people in many cultures bring their food to their mouth (lifting the bowl or plate) rather than the other way around. This solves the problem of hunching forward. If you feel comfortable trying this technique, go ahead and give it a test. This is a great solution for those who like to stretchsit while they eat, since you can relax your spine the entire time.
The key to not distorting your neck while taking a sip is to rotate your head back on the neck instead of arching your neck. Alternately, you can experiment with jutting out your lower lip when sipping on your beverage, with little or no movement of the head. This action will create a little reservoir with which to “catch” the liquid. You may want to practice a few times in front of a sink, or start with a glass of water. It can be a bit tricky, but once you get the hang of it, your neck will thank you.
Sticking out the lower lip helps avoid arching the neck
when drinking from a glass.
Enjoy Every Bite
Getting your body in a comfortable dining position allows you to relax and enjoy the delectable food on your plate. Take the time to eat slowly and use all your senses to enjoy the variety of colors, smells, tastes and textures. Eating, so necessary to life, can also be one of its great pleasures--and eating with good posture is part of the celebration.