Floor Living to Help Your Brain
Another aspect of #Godsengineering, floor living follows the precipt of removing cushioning and support for sitting and sleeping, and it's benifits can be profound. Positions such as cross-legged, squatting, kneeling, even leaning against a tree, insted of sitting in a chair in a position we weren't designed for, strengthens our core muscles, helps our muscles be limber and lithe and strong, and gives us better, stronger posture, all of which aid our motion when we are up and about, standing, walking, running, riding, working. Paired with going barefoot, our quality of life can be greatly improved through better body and mind function all the time.
Sit on the floor. Chances are your core is weak and hips tight. Discomfort will come quickly. It is simply telling you to shift position. This is also a sign you will benefit from floor living, as your body is weak and will become much stronger as you use it well and properly, instead of weakened by cushion and support. Shift positions as needed, which may be every few minutes. Get up and walk about now and then when it all becomes too much. Then sit again. Experiment and learn. Read. Work at the computer. Write. Draw. Paint. Engage in creation. Shift position as needed. Walk as needed. Return and repeat.
Over the coming days and weeks, notice how you move differently, better, all the time, whatever you are doing. When you do sit in a chair, notice how weird it feels, especially the cushier it is. Persevere. After about three months, you will likely notice you are going twenty or more minutes without realizing it, making subtle shifts in position without realizing it.
Floor living has been around a long, long time. Grin. Jesus and the disciples reclined at the Last Supper.
Sleep on the Floor or a Wood Platform Bed
The simplest way to rapidly see benefits is to sleep on the floor or wood platform bed with a thin pad. I use a few wool blankets as my pad on a wood 2x4 platform bed we made. I do not use a pillow. Instead, my head rests flat when I am on my back or front; on my arm when on either side.
Sleep is deeper and my body and mind well rested when I wake. We use light blocking curtains so the room is dark.
Furniture will need to shift to be floor living height. Desks and tables all need to come down to your level. Grin. Coffee tables make great desks. Kneelers are a great way to be at a desk and work for hours (working up to doing so, of course). We have cut our kitchen table to coffee table height and sit on thin cushions on our tile floor.
Where can we get Furniture and Cushions?
I don’t know. We’ve made our own or re-purposed coffee tables, end tables, and the like to be desks and work spaces (or we just use the floor spread out before us). There are meditation cushions, but they look very thick and we’ve never tried them.
How Much? How Little?
As with all aspects of God's engineering, our family started as bare and simple as we could go for three months. We removed all chairs and stools, and slept on the floor and gave ourselves three months to get stronger and be able to decide what, if anything we needed to add back in. Less is more, until it isn't. More is great, until it diminishes our capacity.
After three months, each family member assessed if they had difficulty doing things without a chair. Some things are designed for chair use, such as harp playing, sewing machines, but these are specific, defined activities, and so using a minimal stool or chair is workable. We build platform beds and couches, having found the floor too cold in winter and arm rests far more cosy. Our couches are deeper, so we can sit cross-legged or kneel on them, but they have minimal padding. We added just enough to make things work for each person.
How Long’s this Gonna Take?
I’ve found for myself, my family, and most folks I’ve worked with that any bodily transition, including to floor living, going barefoot, diet, etc., takes three months of doing it full time before it feels like a “new normal” vs. “I’m transitioning.” The shifts and strengthening continue, with marked milestones around one and three years. After that, it’s just ongoing, subtle learning rather than paridigm shifts.
How does this help, especially brain injury and caregivers?
We function better when we eliminate the “noise” of cushioning and support, allowing our bodies to strengthen and move as God created them to. Science is catching up with this idea, though it doesn't know it yet. Grin. Studies show sitting in office chairs are bad for health.
Life with brain injury, either as a survivor or caregiver, is chronically stressful. That takes a toll on our health and capacity to function. But sitting and sleeping on the floor works those muscular stresses out, increases circulation, keeps us moving and shifting regularly, and increases mental alertness — all of which relieve stress. If you are struggling with stress in your life, wouldn't it be great to have those stresses melt away as you sleep, working themselves out because you are on a hard bed instead of working themselves deeper and hidden to harm your capacity to function because you are on a cushioned bed?
I no longer need to sit in a zero gravity chair, as I did before floor living. Floor living positions are solidly rooted, core to the earth, and my brain isn’t trying to figure out where I am in space (I have constant double axis neurological vertigo). Plus, my “chair” is always with me. Just sit down and I’m in my favorite chair. Grin.
How’s hospitality work when people who can’t sit on the floor visit?
Because of my brain injury, most people are too scented to come in the house, so we are poor hosts in that regard, long before the issue of seating comes up. Sardonic grin. Our somewhat amorphous plan for the possible future when folks who can’t sit on the floor visit inside is to make available the few chairs we still have, or pile more cushions on the platform sofas so they have a “normal” spot to sit. Rather like hosting someone vegan in a paleo household and attempting, however poorly, to extend hospitality. Grin.
This ain't easy. Grin. Simple is always hard. You understand the idea in five minutes, but it takes a lifetime to learn. I'm happy to help, however I can. Please, feel free to Email me with any questions.