Saturday, August 4, 2018

Use a Pillow (says Lee Albert), Love Chairs (say I)

Many of us may have a love hate relationship with chairs - too much sitting is a reality for many of us - considering that our bodies are made to move.

But ever since I was in India (fall of 2016) I have been giving the chair even more thought.  The fact that I love practicing and teaching chair yoga adds to that.

Chairs are wonderful tools.

- India.  Honestly, I thought I was well prepared to sit on floors in India - I was looking forward to the change after all I had been practicing yoga for more than twenty years and sitting on the floor at the beginning or end of a class for a little while in easy pose was never long enough.

Haha!  I barely managed to sit through ashram meals three times a day without needing to adjust my seat several times and concluding that I was uncomfortable, but sure I stuck it out because I embraced it anyway.  It could not  be compared to the few minutes of sitting still for pranayama in most yoga classes.  By the way, if you  have been on this blog before, you will know how much I loved India and my stay at Shri Jasnath Asan.

- Chairs are wonderful tools and much needed by us in the West for our Western bodies. 
Let’s just accept that for now, please. 

- However, our relationship with chairs needs to change.  Sitting is a lot less harmful if we pay attention to alignment and do a reality check.  According  to Lee Albert, the chair that does invite alignment and provides a solution does not exist yet. - There  is the balance ball chair which I personally own and love, but does it keep me from brining one leg up after a while?  No.  And you can only imagine which imbalance that leads to in the long run?

Sitting on the chair , in the car, at the computer - using a prop eliminates a lot of the pains we have.   Lee Albert  thinks that we can not sit up tall for more than ten to fifteen minutes before our muscles get tired, so he suggest we use a simple pillow and roll it up to the thickness required.  You will know when it is just right (below I am sharing Lee Albert‘s demo video).

Using a pillow.  As I was writing this, I was actually following Lee Albert’s advise - honestly, I heard him say that so many times and thought I personally would never need it because of my practice. However, I was wrong.  My body has changed within the last two to three years due to weight gain; hormonal changes and it is also coinciding with a lot of external upheaval I have not been immune to (has anyone?).  The day I recognized that it just was not easy any longer to sit tall regardless of how tired I was resulted in a moment of disbelief, but I also immediately contemplated about how I got there and implemented changes.  I am now adjusting to this stage of my life; it has been interesting.

Observation. I noticed that yes, indeed, although I was jumping back and forth between youtube, this blog, to my newsletter, my inbox many times - working hard on this post - I was still sitting tall, that is, with the pillow behind the small of my back.  I actually used  a herb stuffed pillow (see photo on top) which does not get used much and now has a purpose; it worked really well.

going into chair warrior two in Lenox, MA
I, of course, am also  inviting you to and stressing how wonderful a tool chairs are for yoga during the (work) day; bringing the floor up rather than having to get down; as we say so elegantlx  in LV Chair Yoga.  It will help to keep stress and tension at bay and is better than waiting for a class that you may miss anyway because of ever longer workdays.  Just as on the mat, we can work with the entire body, add the breath, have a positive impact on the mind.

Check out his video shared by Lee Albert.  I have been to many of his presentations at Kripalu; they are such a treat.
Thank you for sharing your wisdom, Lee Albert*.
*IPT (Integrated Positional Therapy)

Thank you as always for visiting,

This may help you to shift from fight/flight to more ease:
- Inhale through the nose and exhale through the mouth on a ha sound, and two more times, then return to natural breathing and observe.

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