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Soul Seat Ergonomic Blog

Interview with Soul Seater Vish Chatterji

Vish3 We always like to hear of the creative seating hacks our customers have turned to before finding the Soul Seat.  In the case of Vish Chatterji, he took it a step further.  Coming to the project with a background in corporate product development for the likes of Belkin and Chrysler, he applied his considerable maker chops to roughing out his own Soul Seat. Based in Southern California, Vish is an executive coach, software startup founder, certified Yoga instructor and a product development specialist.  His consulting firm, Head and Heart Insights provides executive level coaching with broad areas of expertise from product development to organizational culture change. You will get a taste of how Vish deftly integrates his many areas of expertise to help his clients thrive as our conversation moves from yoga, to product hacking, to business strategy to the microbiome and the benefits of squatting to poo.  The following transcript from a Facetime session was edited for clarity. Finding The Soul Seat Pack Matthews:  You and I first met in Hermosa Beach didn’t we? Vish Chatterji:  Yes, at the South Bay Yoga Festival, September 2016.  That year I was invited to teach at the Festival, but at that time I wasn’t quite in the place to do that, so I just went to the festival to meet the organizers and wander around. And as I was wandering around, I noticed your booth’s banner. It had somebody sitting on this contraption in all sorts of different directions. I thought, “Wait a minute. That’s how I sit at home, but I can’t do that at the office.”  And so, I wandered over, and I met you, and you had a nice personality, and you had a demo model, and said, “Hey, try it out.” And I sat on it, and I just felt great. I thought, “Oh, wow. This is made for me.” And then I switched to a few different positions, and – in fact the way I’m sitting right now, the Perch is raised up about 3 or 4 inches, and my feet are sort of in a posture, almost...
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How often does your skeleton come in for a landing?

floorview I find myself tracing the “flight paths” of people’s skeletons. I know, it’s odd.  I tend to notice the corridor where our pelvi move through space most of the time, and I reckon we inhabit a narrow vertical range of between 17 and 35 inches with small variations due to our height.  We who spend a lot of time in chairs and cars, and sleep on mattresses with box springs rarely come to a full landing on the ground.  We’re lucky if we have young ones who call us to the floor for an hour of Lego therapy, coloring book group, or a board game retreat. How many grandparents do you know who think they are no longer able to join their grandkids on the floor? If we’re not mindful of this default path, we can become locked into this narrow range. My mother certainly is. She traveled through her 60’s, 70’s and now her 80’s in a very different way than her ancestors, or her peers in other parts of the world. Her pelvis now can never drop below the 18 inch altitude safely. This status also comes with the ignoble label of “Fall Risk”.  Living on stilts during our last decades is not inevitable for human beings, but we’ve created a way of life that incrementally, through thousands of seemingly inconsequential choices, can deliver us permanently to a flight range of fewer choices, less independence. I was contemplating these things recently as my daughter Hannah and I drove to Kansas City to catch a flight. We were on our way to join family for my father-in-law’s memorial service in Florida, I thought about our daily glide paths, how the range of this up and down path of our skeletons can have outsized effects on end of life choices.  For most of our travel, Hannah and my pelvises were traveling at the same altitude as everyone else's, zipping along I-70  then walking to our gate.  Once through security though, our hips followed a slightly different trajectory than those around us.  We found a spot on the floor wtih a...
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Customer interview with Kathy Pickerel

Have you ever tried to hack a solution to your sitting challenges?  We love hearing about them.  Kathy Pickerel explored enough alternatives to see that the Soul Seat was just what she was looking for.  In this interview you’ll hear her echoing what others before her have reported; less pain, improved focus and that she’s not alone in her preference for sitting with knees up.  As a pediatric nurse working on her Doctorate of Nursing Practice (D.H.T.) Kathy’s able to articulate why this “fetal position” pose may be so popular. Along with with helping you lean into your work, it could be reducing your anxiety as well. Kathy recently spoke with me, over the phone from her home in North Carolina where she’s been using her Soul Seat since November of 2016. Pack:  How does the Soul Seat fit into your day? Kathy: I spend long hours at my desk at home doing homework, writing papers, writing emails.I expected to be more comfortable while working, but one of the things I didn’t expect to happen with the Soul Seat was that I also stopped getting all the neck pain I used to have. I would have these neck spasms all the time. I’d always have a heating pad on my neck. I stopped getting those when I switched to the Soul Seat and I have not had that in months! Part of it is I think, because it swivels and I have a lot of maneuverability so I’m always facing forward versus turning my head to the side, not straining one side or the other side.  And then the other part is being able to adjust the height of it, getting incredibly comfortable while I’m sitting in it. P:  That’s wonderful to hear. K: Yeah, I love it, love love love it. I love the chair.  My daughter is always fighting me to sit in the butterfly chair.  She calls it the butterfly chair because of the shape of the lower cushion. P: Yes, it does look like a butterfly doesn’t it?  I’m curious about the research you said you did...
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A few Floor Culture gift ideas for One of A Kind Mothers

Imagine the iconic image of Mother’s Days gone by, the children deliver breakfast in bed to an adoring mother.  You can see past the proud children through the bedroom door to the totally trashed kitchen.  You somehow know that the vacation from motherhood would last only until she entered the kitchen. Here at Health By Design, we’ve got suggestions to make Mother’s day a truly unique year for giving.  Because your mother is one of a kind, here are gift ideas that say "We want you healthy and vibrant for many more years."   Let’s start with that bed tray you deliver her breakfast on.  Had you considered showing her how she can repurpose it as a floor desk so she can read her favorite book while you clean up the kitchen?  We like the one featured in the photo and is available here for several reasons. The height is adjustable, it's made of bamboo, and one side has no lip.  It's light enough to double as a stand-up desk if placed on a table or counter. A book idea that can give Mom a lifetime of freedom and relief from debilitating pain is by one of our favorite movement specialists, Katy Bowman of Nutritious Movement.  You can purchase her book, Simple Steps to Foot Pain Relief, here. If you build Mom a shoe cubby and promise to always leave shoes at the door, you make choosing the floor that much more inviting and make less cleaning effort for the entire family.  There are so many styles and sizes to choose from. Consider how it fits with your home decor and space if it will be near the front door. Does it provide an inviting place to sit and remove shoes and lace up boots?  Consider building or purchasing a low table for the TV.  Our family makes movie time, stretching time.  When we're enjoying our favorite shows from the floor, we tend to munch less, move more, and it's easier to resist binge watching.  When we get up we feel great! If TV isn't your thing, puzzles and board games are...
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Forced to Choose Between Weird Sleep Solutions.

iStock 501484306     My lungs felt like they were going to burst as I clawed my way toward the light above. The urge to breath was overwhelming, but until I broke the surface I knew it would be certain death.  Why wasn't the light getting any closer?  Just as I resigned myself to this watery death, mercifully, I woke up. I was gasping and drenched in sweat as I was released from this nightmare for the second time in a month.  Looking around with gratitude at being alive, my wife Rebecca sleeping soundly beside me, I noticed that the clerestory windows above our bed set the depth of my drowning.   I started connecting the dots to my dry throat in the morning, snorking awake in meditation as my soft palate collapsed, the daily grogginess.  I had heard from friends about the solutions they had found, from tape on the nose to dental devices to CPAC machines they lugged on trips to hum beside them on the hotel night stand.  Having thoroughly worked myself into a waking nightmare, I was determined to delay this future, but how?   How can a hard pallete be the answer to a soft one? I remember my first snork, lying in corpse pose at the end of a yoga class years ago.  This was a class I was teaching so I wasn’t even dropping into deep meditation, when suddenly a loud snork  jolted me out of the zone.  It was me.  My soft palate had collapsed, stopping my slow breath.  “Welcome to middle age” I thought.  Around the same time I had noticed I could fully relax while face down on a massage table, no snork.  What if I could train myself to sleep on my stomach?  Babies do it, toddlers do it.     My first few efforts were not successful. I merely started the night’s sleep on my stomach. Thank goodness I was exhausted enough to actually fall asleep before my arms followed suit.  If I wasn’t woken up by numb hands and arms,  I would wake up on my side or back.  My...
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