Sitting in chairs

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Bernie
Posts: 1161
Joined: Sat Sep 23, 2006 2:25 am
Location: Vancouver

Sitting in chairs

Post by Bernie »

I recently received this question:
  • I’m back at school studying nursing at 44 yrs old and even though I have a decent office chair, I still get stiff and achy in it. I wondered if you have any experience or knowledge about something that could be better for our spines than office chairs or yoga balls? I've heard of sitting at a wooden bench that leans your body forward with an extra plank of wood underneath to support your knees but I have no idea what these are called.
Hi L

First, I rant against sitting in this article. There is also a video class I did called "Death by Desk" at Gaiam TV/My Yoga Online

Now to your specific question: there are pros can cons for all forms of chairs. The keys to me are
  • 1) don’t lean against the back of a chair (that weakens your back muscles). Sit up tall and learn to use your spinal muscles to hold
    2) move around every 5 minutes or so.
    3) slouching is okay - once in a while, but not all the time. (This contradicts #1 a bit: it is okay to lean against the back of the chair as long as it is done rarely)
    4) at home, sit on the floor as often as you can. Live close to the ground, and you will become grounded, strong and supple.
The key point is #2. Benches, balls, etc tend to force you to adopt one position for a long time. That is not great. There is NO one posture that works all the time and for everybody. Move. Change your posture every 5 minutes. Sit with legs crossed for 5, then legs uncrossed for 5, then one foot on the other knee, etc. Get up and walk around every hour. If you do that, you will greatly minimize the downside of chairs.

Hope this helps.
Cheers
Bernie
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