Why Sitting? How to Work from a Computer Without Sabotaging Your Yoga – Ekaminhale
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Why Sitting? How to Work from a Computer Without Sabotaging Your Yoga Practice


“Anything that makes you weak - physically, intellectually and spiritually, reject it as poison.”
Swami Vivekananda

 

Cultivating Courage Vs Fear

The Modern Yoga Practitioner's Dillema

"I want to have backbends like Margaret (above) but haven't updated my Facebook status in 24 hours?"

I don't know about you but I would rather end up more like a brave Hanuman with open psoas in Hero pose vs a closed up computer guy with a great looking Facebook Page. 

That's just me though. 

My challenge like many people is that a large part of my work is tied to the computer.

So what is an aspiring yogi to do? 

How can I stop shortening my psoas through sitting at the computer (up to 3" inches!) and still keep my job?

I've researched some ways that have allowed me to keep working on my computer and not sabotage my yoga practice in the meantime (maybe even help it) 

Here they are. 

1. Start Using Clint's Method

Original name right? 

I've combined 1 technique and 1 principle into a method that both boosts my focus and keeps me moving all day even while working at a computer.

Too good to be true? Read on.

Principle: Movement is life.

This I learned from Katy Bowman's blog. It's not only sitting all day that is the issue but also the lack of movement.

Spending too much time in any one position has negative effects because the tissues start to adapt.

You gotta move. We were born to move. Even Brad Pitt says so. 

"I used to work in dangerous places and people who moved survived and those who didn't........movement is life" - Brad Pitt, World War Z

 

The sitting at a desk job is double whammy since 

1. you are not moving

2. you are in hip flexion 


So lets look at an extreme example.

Myself a couple years ago.

I would go from my morning Ashtanga practice where I had just moved in a million different directions straight to my desk where I would sit for roughly 8 hours in one position.

That's like waking up, taking some herbs then eating junk food all day. 
It's not going to work.

Now I'm working 6 hours a day on the computer but I do it differently.

Technique  - Pomodoro Method

This is a productivity method in which you set a timer for 25 mins, eliminate all distractions and then focus on a single task. It's how I write all my blog posts. In 25 minute chunks. What I do that's different is at the end of the those 25 mins I move my body.

I might do a handstand, do the dishes, do a backbend, I might lay back into reclined hero pose (just to head in the opposite direction of hip flexion) or I might just walk to the bathroom - but I move.

Clint Griffiths

You want to start incorporating more movements and positions into your day. 

The added bonus of this technique of focusing for 25 minutes is the mental benefits which Im going to talk about in the next series. You're on the email list right? Click Here if you aren't

2. Burn Your Chair

This might be the best thing you ever do. 

Chairs are like little cages keeping you locked and molded into a static position. They are a prop that in the end makes you weaker. (Kind of like the sticky mat).

Just as Swami Vivekenanda said - "Reject it as Poison"

One of the first things I noticed in India was how easily people could rest on the floor without chairs.

Like Squatting for example....The flat footed squat is not a yoga posture. It is a natural resting position that you do when you get tired from standing

Unfortunately we can't do that anymore thanks to chairs, toilets, beds, cars......we're never on the ground. 

In India I would see people 70 or older that could easily squat. This man isn't 70 but he can squat.

and little children all do it naturally until we train it out of them.

Isaiah squatting

  

You have this man here who's hips are so open that he can easily sit on the ground with his back straight. 




Compare that with the average western body. Some of my friends can't even sit on the floor. It's just too uncomfortable.
There's good news that in the same way your body adapted to the chair it will also adapt to the new floor positions and there are a lot to choose from. 
It will be like moving from black and white to color for your body. 
You see we've always sat on the ground. I learned this from Katy Bowman's Blog as well where she has this picture with our primitive resting positions. 

Since I've gotten rid of my chair. These are some of the positions that I work in.

Clint Griffiths
Another thing that Katy pointed out is that when you start sitting on the floor it forces you to do a squat to get up and down. So over the course of the day you might end up doing 50 squats.
My experience has been that when I am on the floor I end up moving around a lot more than when I'm in a body cage. I mean chair.  
It might take some getting used to at first. We normally don't live that way so go slow if you haven't spent a lot of time on the ground. You can start by doing it at night when you are relaxing then incorporate in more ground time as you get used to it (and sell your furniture) 
Just start thinking of the floor as the healthier option when presented a choice.
Chairs are Fast Food. Floor is Green Salad. 


3. Just stand up

I love working from a standing desk and it is as much a positive mental position for me as it is a physical one.
So many physical patterns associated with the mental state of depression or fear start to set in from sitting in chairs 
1. Hamstrings tighten pulling the tailbone under - what happens to anything that is scared or shamed? - they curl their tail. 
2. Psoas tightens - the most primal fear reflex we have. 
3. Shoulders hunch forward - look at any depressed person and what happens to their shoulders?
So standing up allows us to not do any of these. Just Stand up. 
This was one of the major improvements I did when I had my back injury. Instead of a sit down desk I created a standup version to work from just by stacking up some books on my desk. Super cheap.
Alternatively find a tall counter like this one here. 
Clint Griffiths

Remember that you don't want to just stand all day either. Just use it as one your many positions to work from. 
The modern yoga student's challenges are not the same as they were for the generations before us.
Now more than ever in history technology like Iphones and the "comforts" of home like chairs are a considered a normal part of our lives.
Rather than just accepting this as the way it is I am continually asking myself the question - does the rest of my life support my goals of a strong body and calm mind so that I can be of service in the world?
If it doesn't then what Swami  Vivekananda says is worth repeating

“Anything that makes you weak - physically, intellectually and spiritually, reject it as poison.”
Swami Vivekananda

To see the new Hanuman Collection inspired by this series 

Hanuman Collection

USA AND THE REST OF THE WORLD

Click Here for Hanuman Collection


3 comments


  • Max

    Felt the same year ago. Now I have standing desk and wooden pillow, lol. Feels good


  • Wambui Njuguna

    Hi Clint, Petri and I got our new shirts and we love them! Thanks do much for them. I like this post a lot because of all the sitting we do on the planes and airports. Now I have a bunch of different options when we are in front of the computer . Nice Hanuman series too! Peace xox


  • Parvathy

    Hello Clint,
    I have been eagerly waiting to read this part of the series. I like to read your writings, a light touch of humor and so much information and valuable insight. Thank you.
    I am also glad to see that I have some of it right, and some of them that I haven’t thought of, I will incorporate those into my daily routine, thanks to your article.


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