Do you need to sit for long hours? Avoid a comfortable office chair!

Sometimes the best solutions and discoveries come out of necessity and the results can be a revelation. When people come round to my place the first time, they are usually taken by surprise because I don’t have any chairs. 🙂 And still, my room is all in one – dining room, living room, home office… I need to sit for long hours while working on a computer and my need for a good office chair sorted itself in a way I would never imagine.

I moved into this beautiful Georgian house about a year ago. There was a large foldable dining table and two wicker chairs. The chairs were not ideal for sitting for long hours which a web designer can’t avoid. They were too soft, uncomfortable and squeaked every time I moved. My back was very painful.

A foldable dining table and wicker chair in my room
A foldable dining table and wicker chair in my room when I moved in.

Then I moved my Yamaha digital piano in and because it takes a fair amount of space, I had to reorganize all the furniture. The room became very cluttered. I don’t feel well in cluttered spaces. It’s like I can’t breath, my energy level is down and I feel depressed. So what to do?

My space and budget was limited so I went for a temporary solution. I moved both wicker chairs into the storage space in a cellar and decided that for the time being I will sit on my piano bench and hopefully will find a suitable chair soon.

Guess what? I’m still using my piano bench! It was the best solution after all but I would never think of it myself because of the beliefs I had.

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I used to have a “proper” office chair from IKEA (MILLBERGET Swivel chair on amazon.co.uk) because like most people I believed that the office chair should:

  • be comfortable
  • support your back and lumbar spine to prevent back pain
  • have armrests
  • be adjustable
  • swivel so that you don’t have to stand up so often
  • have wheels

I used to sit on it comfortably, it was set up perfectly for my height and body weight and still I was getting major backaches. Why was that? What was I doing wrong?

After using my piano bench for almost a year I came the conclusion that just about everything was wrong!

We look down on nations that don’t use furniture and sit on the floor because we feel somehow superior and more civilized. The truth is, we harm ourselves the way we sit and then we are surprised that we feel tired, depressed, have backaches and civilization diseases like diabetes. Recent studies show that sitting for long hours is very harmful to our health. We sit at school, work, office, in a car, at home while watching telly for hours and hours and we are slouching all the time even when we walk. Sometimes I watch people in the street walking by and hardly anybody maintains the correct posture. I used to slouch just like that. We teach our children maths or languages but we don’t teach them how to walk, sit or think so that it’s beneficial for them!

Yamaha piano bench on amazon.com
Yamaha piano bench on amazon.co.uk

Why do I sit on a Yamaha piano bench instead on an office chair?

The Yamaha piano bench is very sturdy. When you sit on it, it’s firm but in the same time not hard like a wooden chair would be. In that way it feels comfortable while not affecting your body posture.

It doesn’t have a back support. Just think about it for a moment. The purpose of your back muscles is to support your spine. We all know that muscles get weak when not being exercised. Why on earth you should use a chair to support your back? If you find sitting without a back support uncomfortable it probably because your back muscles are already week. That’s the reason for a common back pain. Supporting your back makes your back muscles lazy!

If the seat is comfortable in a sense that it feels soft and there’s a dip in the seat, it’s much easier to slouch than on a firm bench. By sitting on the piano bench, you will feel exactly when there’s too much pressure on your back because due to sitting for too long. The solution is not to slouch and lean back against the chair but to stand up and get moving.

Having armrest is in my opinion totally pointless. You can’t support your arms while working and again, human body was design perfectly as it is and if you maintain the correct posture, there should be no pain.

Jana sitting on a Yamaha piano bench working
This Yamaha piano bench is the best seat I’ve ever had.

If you share the chair with someone else it makes sense to have an adjustable chair. On the other hand it’s sometimes difficult to judge what height is the right height for you so that your hips, knees and ankles are at right angles. My piano bench we through a minor surgery because the legs were about an inch too high. I had to measure everything thoroughly and sit in front of the mirror to check that my posture is correct. A friend of mine kindly cut the legs off for me.

The point of having a swivel chair and wheels is that you don’t have to get up so often. Yes, let’s move even less. At least we have anatomically correct office chair. 🙂 On the bench I can move myself around because the bench doesn’t have a back support and if I need something, I can stand up. In general, your feet should be firmly planted to the floor, barefoot if possible. You don’t want the chair to be moving under you because you will lose the correct alignment.

Asana according to Franz Bardon

By sitting on the piano bench, I naturally ended up sitting in an asana that Franz Bardon recommends in his book Initiation Into Hermetics (Initiation Into Hermetics on amazon.co.uk, Initiation into Hermetics on amazon.com) for western people as the best position to sit in. He claims that you can sit in this position without getting tired for hours and it has beneficial effects on you. You should feel rested and balanced.

Sit down on a chair, in such a way that your spine remains straight. At the beginning, you are allowed to lean back on the chair. Hold the feet together so that they form a right angle with the knees. Sit relaxed, without any stain other muscles, both your hands resting lightly on your thighs. ….. If you have managed to sit for at least 30 minutes quietly, comfortably and without any trouble, this exercise will be finished. When you have arrived at this point, you will state that there is no better position for the body to relax and to rest.

Franz Bardon, Initiation Into Hermetics

Conclusion

Our current sitting lifestyle is far from healthy. In our society we believe that comfortable and stylish furniture is what we need. I found that using a piano bench as an office chair is much healthier alternative. My posture improved and I suffer far less from a backpain. Overall, I pay more attention to my alignment and without having an option to lean back, I can’t be lazy and lean back. 🙂

  • What’s your posture while sitting?
  • Do you pay any attention what’s happening with your spine when sitting on a chair or a sofa?
  • Do you sit with your feet firmly planted to the floor or are you lifting heels or toes?
  • Are you slouching?
  • Is it time to develop a new habit and sit in a more beneficial way?

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