One cold morning several years ago, I sat on the floor to eat my breakfast. It felt weird, but I was curious. The bright morning light was streaming in on the cushion where I perched and I tried really hard to hold myself upright, rather than slouching. My low back was tired and my upper back was burning from the effort of sitting up straight. I eat quickly, so the whole experiment couldn’t have lasted more than 10 minutes, but it was 10 minutes that completely changed the way that I view movement.
The impetus for this little venture was an article that I had read on Facebook the previous evening. In it, a biomechanist named Katy Bowman was talking about how we outsource our muscles’ work to furniture all the time. She mentioned floor sitting as a way to reclaim some of that strength and work, and so I gave it a shot. I had to laugh at the amount of fatigue that I had from simply sitting upright for a few minutes, but it was also sobering to realize how little I move on a daily basis. Sure, I work out. But one hour of working out doesn’t offset 23 hours of moving very little.
That 10 minutes on the floor led to a complete paradigm shift. I no longer look at movement simply as the times of the day that I am doing exercises, but as how I move through my entire day. How I sit, how I sleep, how I stand, how I walk, how I get from one place to another, what varieties of movement can I do in different situations.
This shift of looking at how to move more and move better in my daily life has been a blast. Moving more is fun, feeling better is fun, being stronger is fun. It changed my understanding of how we get to a lot of our nagging muscle imbalances (and therefore injuries). Because of that, I have been able to see results in the clinic beyond what I used to be able to get to with patients.
And, yes, I can now sit on the floor for longer than 10 minutes.