Is Sitting your new sinful activity?


Zen has recently got his mind glued to a lyric of this song
“You raise me up, so I can stand on mountains
You raise me up to walk on stormy seas
I am strong when I am on your shoulders
You raise me up to more than I can be”
If I got the lyric changed to
“You raise me up, so I can sit on a chair,
You raise me up to walk on stable ground,
I am strong when I stand on my feet,
You raise me up to be as normal as I can be”,
I know the “Oh my God” reaction. No one wants a “No big deal” way of life.
Critical Alignment Therapy (CAT) 中定疗愈瑜珈has given me the great gift of indulgences into helping people to sit, bend, walk, stand, squat and run in a pain-free way we did as young children. It may not be a “wow” ability. Throughout all my CAT years, I have worked with many truly miserable CAT students who have to manage their pains and I am amazed how many people blame their issues on the workplaces which require them to sit for long hours and hence many develop the fear of sitting.
It is not unusual to hear confession that people become uncontrollably upset and guilty if they have to sit. This obsession impinges on many people’s life hugely and restricts what people want to do. A few that I met resigned from the job that requires long sitting even though they truly love the nature of their jobs.
In reading the recent CNN highlight on this issue, it is clear that there is a direct relationship between time spent sitting and the risk of early death. That supports the need to be fearful even more.
I feel the urge to write this for people everywhere that need reassurance that sitting is ok, but who really don’t believe that it is ok. Of course, most people whose works involve long hours of sitting are familiar with the various aches, pains and outright bodily discomfort involved in sitting for a long time. They are convinced that their jobs are there to kill and they need an exit plan.
It is worth repeating that your body is designed and programmed to perform daily live activities easily. Regardless of what happened in your life, the memory of pain-free “bodily center” is still within you and pain is a way the body communicates with you that you are moving further away from this center. And if you are not communicating back, it just needs to shout at you louder which means moving from pain to numbness.
Take a look around our lifestyles in this fast-paced culture and what you will see that many people are living lives that are far from our bodily centers. Many desk warriors slouching on the foam padded seat with whole world glued in the computer screen thinking about whole new lists of things to settle. Our muscles have tightened up from the stress of living this way and don’t move that naturally anymore even when we exercise.
The truth is, whatever you don’t use, you end up losing them. When the bones, muscles and joints are not put to good stimulation, they gradually lose their function.
Sitting is not a problem. Young children are usually able to sit on the floor with their favourite toys without a problem although they do not have highly-developed muscular strength. Sitting longer for young children can stimulate the postural muscles. Originally, the body should be able to maintain a seat for a longer period of time just like children can sit for a long time without building up any tension. So, do not blame the job that requires long sitting periods. It is how we behave towards that line of stress and strain and how off we are from our bodily center that causes pain.
Bodily center is the starting place because without it there can be very little genuine movement. Center is the basic bodily presence and it is on this presence that the other bodily states are built. Pain and discomfort will manifest as a warning when you are drifted off the center.
Keep in mind that although I am describing bodily forms and practices, they represent states of being that are applicable to all aspects of our life. The experience of center in the body, for example, can through practice be passed into our intellectual, emotional and social life. Which I will elaborate in another write-up.
Bodily center can take place (in the language of Critical Alignment), when the body learn to go through phases of Relaxation, Movement, Coordination and Strength where various parts of the body are in proper relationship with each other starting from the home base of the head on top of the spine.
The concept of center is not a new one and in fact, many experts in this field can talk about it in great anatomical details but very few people understand it as an experience. The idea of center and the experience of center are two different things. Most people take an intellectual understanding of center and then try to act in a certain way, like overextend the lower back, rolling the shoulder back, sucking the belly inward and tensed up the body in order to look and feel straight. From this, attitude is shaped within the musculature and soon we will see another bodily hazard in this person.
To center is to experience our body in a total way and can be developed through the practice of Critical Alignment way and that’s the first chapter in our Journey Within CATalist program.