Come sitting, and do the same movements, seeking the same balance of the spine, only now upright. These movements can help you feel the most balanced contour of your low back.
But what about those rounded shoulders? Sitting upright, with awareness of your low back, slowly and gradually pull your shoulder blades together. Feel them come together behind you. Avoid a rapid, forced movement. Feel how this motion supports a lift in your sternum. Feel the activation of the muscles of your upper back that live between the shoulder blades. This lift of your chest should create a slightly straighter upper back, not just an increase in the curve of your lumbar spine. This takes some practice!
When I settle into a seated position for a formal meditation practice, I do a scan of my spine. First, I feel my seat bones (those prominent bones that we sit on – the base of the pelvis) on the bench or cushion and try to allow my weight to be fully held by those seat bones – this often results in a gentle, positive release of over-tight leg and shoulder muscles. Then, I do very small front-to-back pelvic rocking motions. This supports balance over the seat bones. I do a slow scan of my upper back and torso noting if my shoulders are tending forward. If so, I gently bring my shoulder blades together, keeping the position of my pelvis unchanged. I feel an activation of the upper back muscles that allows my shoulders to soften, and my head and neck to feel balanced over my shoulders. Over the course of my practice, I may need to repeat this alignment check when I feel my upper body sink. If I’m too abrupt with these postural adjustments I can easily overdo it and feel tight and tense. In the end, I seek a position of supported balance. This position, for me, enhances awareness of the sensations of breathing and creates a sense of openness.