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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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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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Interview with Tron Jordheim

Tronheadshot Tron Jordheim, author, VP of Marketing for Storage Mart For this interview we visit Tron in his office at Storage Mart where he is settled comfortably on a Soul Seat.  Scattered around the office are a version of a kneeling chair, and a conventional office task chair. Pack Matthews: Hi Tron.  How about we start with a brief description of your current work. Tron Jordheim: I'm the VP of marketing at Storage Mart.  I also run a subsidiary that's a call center, so I spend a lot of time sitting at my desk combing through reports, doing correspondence, things like that, so I spend hours and hours sitting during the day in my office.  So I'm one of the "sitters". P: I see that you've got some wear on your Soul Seat.  How long have you been using it? Are you about ready for a reupholster job? Tron: I don't know, about a year and a half.  I move it up and down a lot.  But I've only got one little nick on it.  And sometimes I sit on it with my shoes on, which probably isn't good and sometimes I'll kick 'em off.  I'll move my perch up and down depending on what I feel like doing. P:  From your own experience, when you first saw the Soul Seat, what made you willing to try it?  You've had prior experience with alternative seating, so to speak.  Right here in your office you've got a kneeling chair, a Soul Seat and a conventional chair. T: We've got a couple of Ball Chairs in the office that I got for people 'cause they're super cheap and people like 'em. P: And you've acknowledged that the Soul Seat is a weird looking chair.  It's kind of odd. T: Right. P: Can you remember what was going through your head?  Because not everyone gets a chance to sit on it.  We don't have store fronts around the country.  How would you describe that first encounter with the Soul Seat? T:  Well, I've been struggling with office chairs for as long as I've been...
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Interview with Soul Seater Laura Schopp

Laura Schopp interview Laura Schopp is the director of a workplace wellness program in the Midwest.  She's responsible for developing training programs and facilitates culture change initiatives for an organization of over 13,000 employees.  I met her at her department offices recently for this interview.  The last time I visited, her Aeron chair had been relegated to the corner.  Now it was gone completely, replaced by a treadmill desk.  At her main desk she was perched comfortably on her Soul Seat with its Sheepskin slipcover she had us custom produce for her. Pack Matthews: Tell me again the story of how you discovered the Soul Seat. L: Well I was in Good Nature shopping for gifts one day and I saw this really strange looking thing which I finally concluded was a sitting device.  So I got on and immediately decided, “I have to have one of these” ‘Cause I had really been struggling for the last several years with back pain.  Too much sitting at work.  As soon as I sat on it I thought, “this might take a little getting used to but this is where I need to be.  So I was lucky, I was able to order a Soul Seat, get it customized and it’s met my needs ever since.  I don’t have the back pain I used to have with how I was sitting at work.  It’s just been terrific!  I thought it was fantastic that you were able be so helpful with me in making sure that the customization was just right, and I’ve been nothing but delighted with it ever since. P:  Didn’t you purchase it through your flex-spend account? L: After I had tried the Soul Seat on loan for a little while, I became convinced that this was going to be helpful to me in addition to other things that I can do for myself.  So I talked with my doctor and she prescribed me a Soul Seat.  And I’m so glad she did because I was then able to be reimbursed through the flexible spending plan.  That also allowed me to...
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Interview with Scott Wilson

Visual artist and videographer Scott Wilson isn't a Soul Seat owner (yet), but he is a fan and has helped us "Beta test" a number of our models.   I'm sharing this conversation with him because his story demonstrates the principles behind the Soul Seat design.  In another post I've commented that the only true competition for the Soul Seat is the floor.  Scott is a living example of that truth.  Scott represents what can be accomplished when the principles behind the Soul Seat design are implemented in your life.   We designed the Soul Seat in order to bring the benefits of floor and active sitting up to desktop height.  After being exposed to the Soul Seat principles, Scott took these ideas to heart and applied them to his life, taking his body to the floor.  Pack :How did we first meet?   Scott: I first met you when I came to Orr St Studios.    I had decided to get out of my basement with my artwork, and see how that works.  I had worked from home for four years after retiring from Verizon, I’d been there 22 years.  It was at that point,  if you remember, that I was in so much pain.    Pack : Physical pain?   Physical.  I was limping.  Especially my knees and ankles.  Particularly my right side.  And had been for, oh I don’t know, six or seven years.    What do you attribute it to?    Well, I’m a runner, and I would go through periods of good running, and poor stretching, and it would catch up with me.  It was kind of cyclical.  Then it became so chronic that I was eating a lot of ibuprophen, doing a lot of icing.   As a result I wasn’t getting any quality workouts done.  During that whole period I would wake up and wonder, “did I tweak something?”  And it’s not just that you can’t run.  You can’t walk.  You limp.   My wife Laura would say, “I’m so tired of watching you limp all the time!”  I didn’t know any better, I’d say, “Well I’m stretching, I’m doin’ everything I’m...
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