It’s now more than a year of covid time. Hopefully now we are taking baby steps toward “normalcy.” I don’t know about you but I’m definitely feeling nebulous. Out of focus. Unmotivated. Covid-time blues? I’m procrastinating big time. I meant to write this post last fall when it all was happening and fresh in my mind…but I did not. So here goes…
In the fall I was working from home, online. I went through a period of time where I had to be on the computer concentrating on training, 9-10 hours a day for over a week. I remember dreading this as I knew very well that my setup was a potentially harmful one. My desk was too high for the desktop computer I had to use sitting down. But not high enough so that I could stand. I could not get comfortable. As an Alexander Technique teacher, I knew well the pitfalls of sitting at a desk for a long time with bad use. I had experienced severe lower back pain the one time I had a job where I had to sit in front of a computer all day. Before that, and since that time, I have been mostly on my feet walking around a lot when working. When I had that desk job, I did have an “ergonomic” chair but passive sitting, without engaging the body, with having the chair doing the work for me, did me in. I knew I was sitting incorrectly but at that time I did not know how to correct it. When I started taking Alexander Technique lessons, I realized after awhile that my back pain evaporated.
So here I was again with severe back pain. I tried hard accommodate this very bad situation. I propped myself up with pillows; I stood and moved around as much as I could. I just could not get comfortable. I got in trouble. My neck started hurting while staring at the screen. I wound up pinching my sciatic nerve. And then, to make matters worse, the elevator was out in my building and I had to walk down flights of steps. I was walking down so weirdly with my sciatic pain that I managed to pull some leg muscles on the way down. Total disaster. Luckily for me, physical therapy helped get me right again.
I knew that I had to improve my work station setup as soon as I could. It was an emergency situation. So I did. Au revoir old desk. Hello adjustable sit-stand desk! My old straight backed chair was banished from my new desk. I started using an active sitting chair, namely the Ariel, one of Dr. Turner Osler’s adjustable chairs without a back. As soon as I sat in this chair, I felt my spine lengthening! I found, after a beginning adjustment period, that I could be sitting, using this chair, at my new desk, for a very long time with excellent use. In the chair, I am constantly adjusting myself. However, now, I am not conscious of doing so. And of course, at times during the day, I adjust the desk so that I can stand and walk around as I work. My particular desk is an Uplift, and has 4 preset heights so with a press of a button the desk adjusts. You can look up that and various other possibilities and brands of adjustable desks online. My new desk and chair really saved me from lots of grief. This new set up still has me sighing in relief. I intend to demonstrate them both when teaching in-person lessons.
You can learn about Dr. Osler and his company’s chairs here: https://qor360.com/shop/the-ariel-active-chair-qor360/
Please check out this great YouTube by my colleague Tami Bulmash, as she interviews Dr. Osler.It’s entitled “Could changing your chair add years to your life?” This is such an informative interview! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lXPNI3nel18
Please also check out this wonderful interview of Dr. Osler by my colleague Robert Rickover. Robert talks about the benefits of the active chair versus sitting in a stool, perhaps the next best thing, and how he really notices the difference between them when he gets up from them. He feels much more “up” after getting out of the Ariel chair. Dr. Osler explains that sitting in an active chair is like walking while sitting. (No wonder I feel so good when using my chair)! They both discuss the phrase “sitting is the new smoking” and the various types of sitting. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O4T02FplcsM
I am so grateful to Robert, Tami and Dr. Osler for these excellent videos!
Here in NYC, the warm weather is teasing us. My window box perennial plants are beginning to grow. Thankfully we are again on Daylight Savings Time. I am looking forward to once again offering in person, hands-on Alexander Technique lessons…along with all doing the other things I have missed doing, and seeing in person all the people I have missed so much!