Beyond The Standing Desk: 3 Reasons Why Floor Sitting Is The Best Choi – Ekaminhale
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Beyond The Standing Desk: 3 Reasons Why Floor Sitting Is The Best Choice For Work


“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 being on a computer.

So what is an aspiring yogi to do? 

How can I have a healthy hanuman psoas (not clenched in a fear position), do my drop backs and still keep my job?

I've listed the methods I use that have allowed me to keep working on my computer, stay somewhat human and not sabotage my yoga practice in the meantime (maybe even help it) 

Here they are. 

1. Heirloom Tomato Method


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. 

First Principle: Movement is life.

This might be the most important statement you have ever read. I will be going really deep into why this is true with my Strong Foundations subscribers. 

Spending too much time in any one position is undesirable not because that position is "bad" but because as a result you aren't spending time in other positions. What aren't doing matters.

Moving is living. 

Not moving is dying. 

Spending too much time in any one position mostly because as a result you aren't spending time in other positions. 

You gotta move. life moves.

I mean 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

 

It may seem funny but there isn't alot of difference between a zombie and someone staring into a screen (soon to be VR). 

The dangerous places are here and now. They're called offices. Thousands of people not moving. 

Sitting in a chair looking into a screen is double whammy since 

1. you are not moving

2. you are not going past 90 with femur to tibia in flexion and you aren't using your muscles to get you up and down off the floor


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 corn syrup all day. 

Bad Strategy. 

Now I'm working 4 to 6  hours a day on the computer but I do it differently.

Ancient 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 differently and more natural which is why I call it Heirloom is at the end of the those 25 mins I stand up and move my body.

I might do the dishes, clean up around my office, walk outside and smell the air and gets some light in my eyes,  walk to the bathroom, whatever the important thing is I get up from the floor and I move. 

Just implementing this by itself will ensure you are at least moving up and down from the floor every 25 mins. 

Your going to want to learn how to do this correctly and practice it often because the older you get the more important it is. 

One of the leading causes of death as you get older is falling. 

"Older people have the highest risk of death or serious injury arising from a fall and the risk increases with age. For example, in the United States of America, 20–30% of older people who fall suffer moderate to severe injuries such as bruises, hip fractures, or head trauma." - World Health Organization

 I teach about how to reclaim your squat in my email series 

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 single position the chair keeps you in it will also adapt to the new floor positions.
The difference is that the positions are many and they are natural. 
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
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.
When it comes to movement nutrients. Chairs are high fructose corn syrup. Floor is wild forest greens


3. Standing Desk Second Best

One challenge is that its really hard to sit on the floor in a public coffee shop. Our societies cultural norms are not the same as India's and floor sitting is not always an option. 

Second choice for me is the standing desk.

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. Tailbone tucked under - what happens to anything that is scared or shamed? - they curl their tail. 
2. Psoas in a shortened position - the most primal fear reflex we have. 
3. Shoulders hunch forward - look at any depressed person and what happens to their shoulders?
Sanding up allows us to avoid these shapes and also use our asses. 
Turns out having a strong backside is pretty important. Glutes, hamstrings, calves also known as the Posterior chain. 
 
If you are sitting in a chair for long periods of time and not doing something to specifically strengthen your backside it's not going to turn out well if you want to do yoga postures. Speaking from experience here. 
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
With standing the backside muscles will be on. 
The modern yoga student's challenges are not the same as they were for the generations before us.
 
Even some young people in India can't squat now (I've tested them) due to the increased exposure to technology. 
Now more than ever in history technology like mobile phones 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 the advice of what Swami Vivekananda says is worth repeating

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

 


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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