You are probably reading this sitting down, because most of us spend the majority of the day sitting down. We know this is a problem, but we’re not sure about the solution. Some people are turning to standing desks, while others are trying to slouch even harder, hoping that will help us learn just how important good posture is.
We reached out to CSI member Susan Green, to get her take on posture trends. Susan uses the Mitzvah Technique to — among other things — help her clients learn healthy, comfortable and practical alternatives to slouching, stiff body positioning and confinement while sitting at the computer.
Do you think we are in a uniquely bad time, historically, for people’s posture? Why or why not?
Unfortunately, yes. Consider how much time we spend bending over computers and other devices. We are confining our body movements during work and leisure for prolonged periods of time. Even while walking down the street, people are bent over their cell phones. Our body needs to regularly realign and re-balance by elongating and moving freely during sitting, standing and walking. We are stifling our body’s instinctive need to re-balance and are paying the price with alarming increases in neck and back problems such as herniated discs and pinched nerves at young ages.
What do you think of the approach of exaggerated slouching as a way to correct bad posture?
Exaggerated slouching could be a way of becoming aware of ones’s posture but it will not correct bad posture. You could injure yourself because exaggerated slouching compresses and twists the spine. Slouching is the default position that the body goes into when we drop down. When slouching becomes a fixed habitual pattern that you cannot get out of, then the problems begin.
What is your biggest hope for the Mitzvah Technique? What does the world look like if all those hopes come true?
I would love to dispel the rigid Edwardian misconception: good posture is sitting up straight without touching the back of the chair (think Downton Abbey). It fails every time because when we stop thinking about sitting up straight, gravity pulls us down into a slouch position. I would love for people to incorporate leaning back in the chair which is a relaxed and slouch free way of sitting. I imagine a world where the effects of slouching are corrected and prevented through improved body usage.
How has being a CSI member impacted your work?
It’s handy to have a community of experts at my finger tips. I have participated in many inspirational and life-changing CSI events. I give workshops at CSI called “Physical Solutions for Computer Tension/Stress and Strain” and meet people who are excited to learn about the Mitzvah Technique. It feels so good to share my passion and help people! Several people have taken individual sessions and teacher training at my Mitzvah Technique Studio. I’ve been attending the So you Want to Write a Book? Meetup which has been really supportive and pushed me forward while writing a book about the Mitzvah Technique.
How can CSI members (or anyone!) get involved in what you do?
For office workshops, lunch and learns, group classes, individual sessions and teacher training, you can contact me through my website or by email. I would love to hear from anyone with questions or interest!
BONUS QUESTION: Do you have a dream chair? If if doesn’t already exist, what would it look like?
Haha, yes! I dream of two affordable chairs that support freedom of movement through relaxed and slouch free posture. The first is a customized wooden curved mid back height chair that you allows you to open the upper back over the top of the back of the chair. The seat height supports feet resting comfortably on the floor. The second is a basic cushioned office chair that has an adjustable mid back and seat with removable arms.
Do you have an idea about how to make the world better? Become a CSI member, and let us help you make it happen!