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Thursday, September 14, 2017

Getting up and Moving

at least every thirty minutes and you'll live longer - from this article on BBC site. This isn't new information. Good to repeat. Ariana Huffington has made this one of her causes. But what I always wonder is what about is what about ones posture when sitting. I sit much more with legs up, some in half lotus for zazen but mainly taylor style or comfortably crossed in several ways including an occasional one leg down for I mainly sit with legs up on something where I can put my legs down when I want. I like the Japanese horigotatsu where one sits on cushions on the floor but can drop the legs into a hole under the table (horu, to dig, plus kotatsu, the low table).  I do a little seiza now and then or sitting on the shins and have had to do way more of that "correct sitting" than I wanted to.
I find that sitting in a chair for long periods is not good. Still I try to get up and move freequently - do some yoga, walk, swim, chores. I'll also stand rather than sit if there's no need to sit - but standing for long periods I've found is not good and gave me a foot condition, plantar fasciitis. Foot doctor told me "walking good, standing bad." So if one has to stand a lot it's also important to move frequently - at least a little like going side to side. Shodo Harada Roshi at Sogenji in Japan told me he considered moving from a floor-centered to a chair-centered lifestyle to be at the heart of the demise of Japanese society. Of course it really isn't floor-centered, it's hara-centered, abdomin centered, balanced - at least in this way of looking at posture. Then there's squatting. People who don't have a chair culture squat a lot. People in many cultures can squat endlessly comfortably. I've often seen this. When I weeded with monks in Japan they never touched their knees to the ground. I had to which was to them bad form and got ones work clothes dirty. I am not advocating or defending the practice of sitting with legs up for long hours without breaks. I wonder about how healthy that is. I think there's a hole in the research which I think has likely been done with chair-sitters asuming that covers all sitters. Research is full of examples of new conclusions coming from looking back at assumptions and doing the same tests under new conditions. And there's not only the legs down or up factors to consider, there's the quality of ones posture and practices with each. Is the head always bent down, is one slumping, are the knees up, etc. I await such results and will adjust my habits accordingly, maybe. - dc

Photo from Healthy Benefits of the Natural Squatting Position