Most people who know my husband think of him as the guitar guy because he teaches music classes for little kids and has a kids cd. Many don’t know that he also builds amazing chairs (http://www.nikolaim.com). He can build practically anything, especially if it is made out of wood. But my husbands chairs aren’t your average chairs (says the biased wife), they are a hybrid between art and function. What all the designs have in common is that each chair actually moves. Unlike the reprimanded child in the classroom, you are actually encouraged to never sit still. Years after grad school I feel that researchers are actually backing up my husband’s instincts.
Just earlier this month on the Brian Lehrer show there was a special entitled “You’d Better Stand Up!” focused on the harm done in sitting. On an intuitive and conscious level I think many of us know this but it was nice to actually hear the facts. Lehrer’s guest Arianne Cohen (author of the article in BusinessWeek’s “Your Office Chair Is Killing You!”) described how all chairs and sitting really isn’t good for us (and that includes ergonomic chairs as well as that Yoga ball you are bouncing on as you read this). All these seats increase ones already weakening abdominal muscles and spine into a C curve. So what do they suggest? Standing! Just like your balanced diet with 9 servings of fruits and vegetables, one should also include a balanced portion of standing. The reason being that standing actually supports the flow of your metabolism (and bone density). Whereas sitting, as Arianne explains it, actually releases fats into the blood stream which is part of what makes us tired. Now of course we all need a healthy amount of fat in our bodies and if you are a New Yorker, like I am, we all know that standing should not be equated with rushing. And we can’t stand ALL the time. But you can learn to sit (stand and lie down) consciously.Training and teaching in the Alexander Technique got me to do just that. I went to improve my singing and found my entire body expanded (not just my voice). So for the C curve in you desperately wanting to be an S, try out some private lessons in the Alexander Technique and throw in a good dose of mindful standing.