Quick Tips To Improve Your Home Office Experience, Part 2: Proper Sitting
Aktualisiert: 26. Aug. 2021
How To Turn Your Working Place At Home To A Heavenly Oasis Of Bliss
Quick Tips To Improve Your Home Office Experience:
Part 2: Proper Sitting
Last year in 2020, shortly after the pandemic had begun to spread around the world, I began to research to get my home to a more refined clean and healthy space.
The first article in a series of other articles which were dedicated to the topic of getting the own home and work space to a more healthy and inspiring place was about the Indoor Air Quality, which can be found also on my blog here.
Before we get to tackle the task to get our homes and ultimately ourselves in order, one needs to have a clean space and environment in which one feels comfortably and inspired.
For this we wish to have a clean white unused canvas that can be seen as room for everything new and inspiring.
Cleanliness as I have experienced myself is definitely a pathway to openness for new ideas and possibilities.
Previously as explained in article part one, one needs to make the right decisions, and to learn to live richness and exuberance while actually having less, and we need to consider to be conscious in one’s own choices.
As I have written in my first article about fresh air, this article will be about sitting.
More precisely we will highlight the importance of how we should sit so that we sit properly and consciously.
After we got rid of all our burdens and made place for fresh air and fully taken care of the air aspect in our indoor environment, now it’s time that we simply sit, hopefully in a healthy and conducive manner before whichever task we start to tackle.
Nowadays the act of sitting has somehow become so ordinary and natural, so that we are often no more sensitive nor conscious where and how we should sit.
It seems further that most of us are quite lost when we are asked how to sit in a correct way so that it is beneficial for our health, I think most of us are not well enough informed what unhealthy sitting means to our health and how it can be achieved.
The lack of information and education on this topic seems to become a quite big health issue in our society, because most people who are working in offices are doing their work primarily in a sitting posture, and unfortunately more often the sitting opportunities are less than ideal nor are they chosen in a wisely manner, resulting in the increase of cases in which people suffer from backpains.
But why is that so?
We will see later in this article, that not all chairs described and advertised as ergonomic chairs are really good for you.
So let‘s talk about sitting now
For millennia, since ancient times, right at the very beginning of human race, we have been able to sit. Today we see sitting as as an act as a given, but if we look into the past over let’s say a period of 100 years ago, we discover many famous master-artists like Michelangelo and sculptors like Rodin, who had been studying the posture of sitting in all it’s depth and detail so that they were able to successfully express this particular posture in their sculptures and paintings.
This raises the question in me, that maybe we should also have a deeper and conscious look on how we sit.
May it be the ancestors of the homo sapiens that were sitting in front of a campfire after a hunt in the stone age, or mighty kings of all ages, pharaos for example who had been sitting on their artistically beautifully crafted thrones, or extraordinary devoted, humble people like the Gautama Siddharta the Buddha who had sat under a tree to have the experience of enlightenment on a still full moon night, or revolutionary rebels like Steve Jobs who preferred to sit under his favorite Tiffany Lamp in his nearly empty home in Woodside in California when he was in his late 20s, no matter how extraordinary, famous, or just being the broad average of the world’s population, we people all have in common that we can all sit.
The act of sitting seems to be so simple but why is it that so many of us suffer from backpains while sitting over an extended period of time?
In fact we all do a lot of things during our daily lives, and a great part of it maybe we can say in general that most of us do spend most of the time working.
And those many hours of work each day we tend to spend while we are in a sitting posture.
On a daily basis we also indeed sit for different purposes: We eat our meals sitting, we write e-mails and messages and we do our work in a sitting posture, we sit to meditate, we sit to get entertained in front of the TV and so on.
So why should we talk about sitting, which seems to us to be something so widespread, so ordinary, and does it have any value that we talk about it now?
Why it should matter to you
It’s my assumption derived from my own experience that we are in some point no more conscious of something as simple as sitting, so that the quality of how we sit further seems to be degrading, which most of the time irreversibly leads to chronic ailments and pains in different areas of the shoulder and back region and specific regions of the spine.
It further appears to me that the ability to sit, which is deeply rooted in the fundaments of our physiology, is taken for granted by most of us because we have simply become too familiar with it, so much that we no more recognize and handle the act of sitting in a conscious way.
Sitting seems to be that much effortless that in fact babies can sit before they learn how to walk years later.
This unconsciousness of what we do applies even more in today’s modern society in which more and more people are sitting and spending timen while creating and consuming all kinds of content. This situation of overconsumption and overflow of information driven by globalization, the internet and ever so past pacing technologies was unheard of a few hundred years ago.
But that also means that more and more people are consuming and creating content while they sit.
In addition to those circumstances of our modern and performance oriented world we tend to sit on whatever we have available in whatever way we prefer. At least we prefer to do all the activities in comfort, but more about that later.
But again in those hectic times it is quite easy to forget that sitting as an act is deeply rooted in us because it is a simple fact that the human physiology and inner mechanics allow us humans to sit.
Imagine if we were built soft like a jellyfish, we would not be able to sustain our bodies in a constant, stable sitting posture. So sitting is just possible because of our stiff but elastic spine and the skeletal system with its numerous tendons and muscles that supports our bodies.
If we look at the human body like a complex ingeniously constructed bio-mechanic machine, which in fact it is, we get a glimpse of the genius that is immanent in the construction of our body systems.
Then we also begin to understand that sitting is a rather complex mechanism as this applies to all the other postures and tasks which the human body is able to execute.
Imagine the following:
If one has a full time job with 40 hours per week, we then tend to sit quite a lot of time, isn’t it? And that is the amount of sitting time just during our work. It is evident, that most of us spend the time in front of a computer display during the work.
About a year ago when the COVID pandemic changed the situation of our world, also our working environment began to change since many companies send their employees to home to get their work done from home.
In times like these where a new form of working establishes, that means to us that we are working all all from home while mainly sitting in our home office.
Because of that we do tend to sit and spend even more time in front our computers and screens, and whatever else we have.
In todays society we tend to live comfortably, with supporting cushions in our shoes, and chairs with their various forms of supporting lumbar and mechanical spring elements.
All those supporting elements are unfortunately ,,helping’’ our musculoskeletal system to become lazy and more weak.
That is so because if something is aiding the support for certain actions of movement, there is no need for the muscle and the skeleton system to be active by themselves.
So we get physiologically lazy first and then we become sick in different degrees.
We tend to depend heavily on something and so we get somehow dependent or weak, both psychologically and physiologically in the end.
But the beauty of sitting if just seen as an act is that it simply can be done right or wrong, because there is no in-between.
If things are done right there is a fresh extraordinary quality to it.
If one thing is made right, there is the possibility to take another step which can elevate us to new heights and new pathways.
If things are made right, it seems that everything automatically falls and fits into it‘s own right place.
So in my opinion it’s quite apparent that it is wise to invest time to search for a chair and therefore set the right foundation for our health which allows us to sit naturally comfortable but without our muscular system becoming lazy and weak.
With so many hours spending time in front of the desk, it appears to me as wise if we take a bit of time to consider this matter.
To ensure that a chair really is matching the way you sit, one has to try it first, because all people are different in height, mass and how their spines are shaped.
Many chairs also have in common that the curve of the backrest element is different to each model. One criteria to get the right chair is to find one with the right curvature so that it can be adjusted to the natural curvature of your spine.
Or we look for a chair that has no backrest at all, like I did.
It was a quite long journey for me until I found my perfect chair, but I will come back on that later.
Since my teenager days I have experienced some painful back pain problems and after researching a while I soon got in touch with the ancient practices and methods of Yoga.
One fundamental aspect which I discovered in those teachings and that remained in my memories is that in the yogic culture the spine is regarded to be the center of the universe.
Many yogis and gurus know that with a good posture resulting from the awareness of how we sit and stand, our internal antenna (which is our spine), can be aligned so that we become one with the universe in a deeper, subtler sense.
If we look outwards, deeper at the observable part of the vast universe and all the objects in our immediate surroundings, we can see rotating galaxies, the planets of our solar system moving around their own stable orbits without falling into the sun, and also we notice that all objects around us consist of atoms in which electrons are spinning like planets around the atom’s core.
To make this stability of movements possible first there has to be alignment, alignment in the sense of a natural harmony, how certain objects relate to each other. There is this natural order which is an intrinsic part of life and the cosmos as we experience it. Alignment is a quality which resides inside our cells, inside atoms as it is omnipresent in solar systems and in galaxies.
If there is the presence of alignment it naturally leads to harmony in the micro- and macroscopic scale. Of course the geometry of our body is also in a certain alignment. If the alignment is bad naturally we suffer from pain. So it is best to sit consciously right.
In my opinion this fact should be especially interesting for those who are creatives and also for photographers, since high performance and beauty can be reached only with a high state of alignment in body and mind.
The search for alignment during our work happens in a lot of ways, whether you are framing a particular unique moment in time as a photographer, or you try to get the cuts and timings right in a movie project as a videographer, or a singer who tries to hit the right note with a distinctive tension of the larynx and vocal chords.
In life everything is about alignment, the more alignment you have the more efficient and smoother the experience of life and the better the results one can achieve.
So as alignment happens continuously in life as we live and while we act consciously of how we do and approach our tasks in life. The main source from which acting happens is from within ourselves, within the mind and body.
When we look at the simple act of sitting through this consideration, in which of course the complex human body is naturally involved, how we sit becomes significant, since if we do it the wrong way we get ill, but if we sit in a correct manner we can stay balanced in body and mind.
In todays world we do a lot of things automatically, mostly unconsciously and unaware.
Most of us do want to have a lot and achieve a lot of things in our lives, and one of the most precious things which cannot be bought with money is our time.
Nobody knows, how much time we have left, we may be perfectly healthy today but suddenly in a bad health constitution tomorrow or who knows when.
But while we consider all those aspects we still tend to live our lives partly unconsciously.
To get this into a greater context:
We all say we want to be happy. Being happy is not about having more but literally about being. Especially the state of mind in which we are matters in how much happiness we are able to gather. Since our time on earth is limited I think it is better to BE happy more. The beauty of all this is, that if sitting is done right, one can be happy while just sitting and looking into the alignment within us. Instead of following our senses which are bound to be distracted to be focused on the outward world, we close our eyes and look inwards. It’s as it is, as simple and as profound as it can be.
The Mishu San
So how can this alignment be found or be discovered by oneself?
One way is through Yoga another way is to approach this truth with tools that are assisting us to become more aware.
Though happiness and awareness can not be bought be with money, I started to research for a chair which supports me to sit more healthy and aware.
With buying the right chair I wanted to lay the right foundation, with which I should learn a new more active and healthy way of sitting.
I made a lot of research on chairs after I started to suffer from back pain shortly after I began to work mainly at home about a year ago when COVID19 had hit Austria.
As I made some research and tried/tested a lot of chairs by myself, including some active sitting solutions like the Capisco and the Varier Balance chairs, I luckily ended up finding and buying a fascinating chair that is called Mishu San.
Since I have begun to sit on this chair, I feel that I have come into a certain healthy but natural immanent alignment within myself, and I feel that my work is getting done much more easier and faster when I sit on this chair.
But despite being the most fascinating chair, it is also the most challenging in regard of sitting.
How can we imagine this experience?
This chair is unforgiving in a good sense. It’s like a strict teacher, who demands absolute discipline, precision and balance while you sit on it.
The sitting area of this chair is a lightly curved wood board. This board is positioned over a circular mechanism which allows 360 degree rotation and joints that allow free tilting into all axes.
That makes the platform extremely unstable when you sit upon it, but this is on purpose because it tells you to feel and find the right spot on the board and to take the right posture, so that you achieve a dynamic and stable balance.
You can‘t simply in whatever way you like, because the sitting area is freely moveable in all axes, actually it’s really like sitting on a board that is balancing on a ball.
It’s like using a camera without autofocus system.
Well, that example can maybe only be understood by the photographers among our readers here who have been taught by a range finder system like the Leica M Camera, because of the lack of the autofocus system and the different Viewfinder system, focusing get’s very challenging.
The Mishu chair in this respect is like an equivalent to a Leica M Camera. This chair has no springs, no cushions (cushions can be bought separately though ;-)), no knobs, no backrest.
Yes, indeed quite spartanic, but because of this it goes directly to the core of teaching you how to sit best and most natural.
It taught me how to sit more consciously, because it’s lacking all the comfortable features with which other chairs are equipped with.
When certain features are lacking we learn to feel and trust our inner voice more. We are more alert and we tend to hear more what feedback comes from our body.
So we better use no support wheels, no crutches for support if we don’t need them, because most of the time they are just unnecessary encumbrance.
After testing the Capsico or the Varier Balans and chairs from different other brands, I feel that the experience of sitting on the Mishu is the most challenging but also the most authentic and natural one.
So when you sit all movement axes are open to 360 degrees, and one has to balance to keep the balance while sitting an ingenious simple but highly effective mechanism.
Attention and awareness are needed while sitting especially on this chair. The positive side effects are that your inner muscles and deeper tissues of the body get stimulated and get stronger with time.
After one week of training with this chair, and after getting fully accustomed to sit in this manner, I made the experience that other high end ergonomic office chairs felt like dead objects in which I felt like a big heavy sack of potatoes, while the Mishu seems to be like a living object constatnly in movement that positively challenging my body in every moment while I am sitting on it, also I felt that my body definitely felt lighter than on other chairs.
Now after I accustomed to sit on the Mishu my body feels lighter and more dynamic than ever and my backpains disappeared.
What I have learned from the the Mishu:
Balance comes from consciousness, and with consciousness purpose and will can be conducted more precisely, which leads to another special quality of energy within.
Again, the Mishu is no chair on which you can sit somehow, before you sit you have to approach it with a sense of awareness.
If you want to sit you have to consciously decide to sit.
As with everything we do in our lives, the seed for action is set in our subtle realms of thoughts. I learned to set and prepare my thoughts and actions before I am ready to sit.
So if I have the choice between a conventional office chair and the Mishu I always ask myself, if I want to work in front my displays for many hours and feel dull and numb, or would I prefer to feel fresh, light and energized without the own body feeling like a sagged down heavy bag of beans?
If freshness of mind and body are important after hours of work, naturally I choose the Mishu. When I use conventional chairs, they drag me down energetically if I choose to sit on them. Fortunately not so with the Mishu chair.
From my own experience in the past with other chairs, I know that I was never satisfied with the sitting experience on conventional chairs.
But since I found the Mishu chair, I feel that I have more inner alignment because I have to constantly feel inside myself to keep my alignment fresh and intact in every moment.
Also since I have been using it daily after I bought it, other chairs began to feel like a dead heavy stone to me, while the Mishu being a very simple and sophisticated way to sit.
Since I experienced all this, I strongly feel that it makes a world of a difference if we decide to do the things we do consciously.
The fact and beauty I learned from this experience:
Subtle changes if made consciously lead to great differences in outcome.
What makes it so special?
Made in Germany and without metal screws being used this chair is really something special.
I tried many chairs, maybe the Varier Balans Chair comes next to it.
No other chair was as challenging as the Mishu when it comes to sitting, but if you take your time to get accustomed to it, you will find a point of balance in which your body feels lighter also you get more calm when you get used to it.
Also my back pain issue reduced dramatically since I am using the chair.
It is ideal for meditating, also it helped me a lot to get rid of back pain or stiffness in my back and neck region.
Build quality & Impressions
Unfortunately there are not many reviews about the Mishu on the web, that is why I ordered immediately one for myself to test it as soon as I heard from it.
My impressions of the chair are the following:
If you have ever used a Leica Camera, or Zeiss Lens or anything fine mechanical in your hands? If so, you know what I mean, when I say: They made it simply just right.
If you are a photographer, you certainly know or heard products from Really Right Stuff (Tripods), Arca Swiss (Ballheads), Leica and Zeiss Cameras and Lenses.
What all tools have in common is: They do the tasks for which they were created especially and exceptionally well.
They are held in a minimalistic design, and tend to be functional and simple.
Because of that there are no elements in design that are in your way while they are being used. In short they are tools which become like an extension of yourself since the user experience is so flawless and intuitively natural.
The Mishu chair shares those virtuous aspects. It is simple, it has no distracting dials and knobs like conventional office chairs with their numerous springs and cushions. Also it‘s size/volume is so low that it can be stowed out of the way under most common desks.
The height is adjusted with the help of carefully constructed wood bricks that can be stapled, if you now the Game Jenga, it can be said that it is Jenga-Like, but of course with wood bricks that stick into each other.
I also love the materials from which the chairs are made. They are made from woods from either Cherry-, Birch- or Nut trees.
Making or doing something the right way has in my opinion the same quality like speaking the truth, or to behave and act in a correct way, with truth inside.
That is what the designers or inventors of the Mishu chair actually have achieved and I mean this in a deep sense.
About the Inventor
The fascinating chair was invented by Mrs. Gabriele Wander a German physiotherapist who is the inventor of Mishu and also the founder of the company.
In February 2021 Mrs. Wander allowed me to invite her to a short one hour interview.
We talked about different aspects of sitting and how the Mishu chair evolved to the design which is sold through the company today.
What touched me the most is, that Mrs. Wander herself believes that there is a spiritual aspect within the concept of the Mishu, which is congruent to my own experiences while I had the opportunity to use the chair.
The very beginnings of the Mishu chair were her own back pains, Mrs. Wanda explained to me.
When she was a teenager she visited many doctors because of the pain she had in the back region, but all what they could do to help her was to prescribe her different forms of therapies and medicines, but nothing helped really at that time.
Then she began practicing Yoga and she felt that her health situation improved incrementally step by step.
One special moment, she remembers, was in a cold morning of December 1995 in Germany, when she coincidentally had to sit between the chairs of the tram. There she suddenly felt that if chairs would be constructed with an arched sitting area they would be naturally be more comfortable.
Also the arched structure would provide a beneficial stimulus right under the sit bones that would give the sitting person a natural upsurge energy, so that the upright sitting posture would result naturally.
After she observed this, she immediately began to work on her first prototype using a piece of wood that her brother used as fire wood. Many iterations and improvements later, we now have the chair as it is nowadays.
And all this, she told me further, was only possible because she always listened to her inner voice.
Especially in a noisy world, that meant in a literally and actual sense, I feel that it is essential to stay true to yourself. I further feel that sensitivity comes with a certain kind of vulnerablity and we need to understand that without inner flexibility we are going to become stiff both inwards and outwards prone to break.
Like an old tree that breaks during a storm our spine can literally break too, if it is not accustomed to be flexible. Further I think everything, also how we see and treat our world is originating from our inner willingness and consciousness of how to see and treat ourselves. If the mind has not a flexible attitude to approach life, our lives will be nothing but a struggle.
Many of the biggest inventions were made by people who observed and experienced life in a distinctive way. Nowadays people who quietly observe and who listen to others and themselves have become rare.
I really appreciated to have talked to such an inspiring but humble person like Mrs. Wander.
While our talk I had the deep impression that she is not only educated in the matter of sitting, the physiology and mechanics of the spine, I also felt that she deeply cares that we need to learn what enormous benefits it has to sit properly and to sit consciously.
That’s why I respect and appreciate persons like her who actually care about how and what they do, and also I love using products which are created in such a beautiful and thoughtful, conscious sense, both functional and in design appealing to the senses.
So does this chair help to sit more healthy?
I think the health benefits the Mishu chair offers are extraordinary, if you don‘t have had any issues with you back yet then maybe it might not be in your interest to invest in this chair.
Nevertheless my personal experiences with this chair get me to the conclusion that it has been one of the best investments I have ever made, because in the long term you invest in your health with the purchase of such a well made chair.
It‘s a fact that we creatives and photographers do spend a lot of time in front of our screens in a sitting posture. So maybe we should especially take care of our health to prevent any issues with our spines and backs.
When I first began to research about chairs, I was in search for a chair with a minimum footprint in terms of volume and size. The chair I searched for should not occupy a large volume of space because my room is rather small.
Thanks to the small footprint of the chair it can be easily put out of the way or placed under a desk.
When the chair is not in use it can be set under the table. It is really that compact and space efficient…!
As we talked in the last article, it‘s best to consciously choose which items to buy and to choose the tool that serves the purpose the most.
Especially during those times in which most of the people do work in their homes, the amount of available space and how you use it can become crucial.
Where to Buy
All further informations can be found on the official website of the company here under: https://www.mishu.de/