Proper breathing and posture are fundamental parts of yoga; these things have to be taught and practiced because humans simply don’t do them naturally. Once you get used to them, though, the benefits are huge: better powers of concentration, improved health and no back pain from sitting too long.
Short of learning to twist yourself into a pretzel, you can reap some of these rewards just by changing your furniture. One option is to make the transition to a standing desk, but this is certainly not for everyone. The easier alternative is using one of these ball-shaped balance chairs.
As you work (or, let’s face it, spend your time watching videos of cats doing funny things), your body will continuously make small, unconscious adjustments to maintain your balance. This helps to, as it were, keep the blood flowing, making you feel more alert and energized.
Contrary to what you may think, it isn’t actually strenuous or even uncomfortable. With a solid chair, many people will naturally slouch forward, straining their spines. When there’s no solid surface to support this slantwise posture, however, it becomes easier to sit up straight. As your body will soon discover, this is in no way no more difficult than hunching over like an ape, making this a kind of training tool that will benefit you even when not at work.
The included hand-powered air pump allows you to adjust the pressure until you have a comfortable sitting surface, but you should really only purchase this if you’re between 5′ and 5’11” (152 to 180 cm) tall. In case you want to get proactive with back health, the ball can also be used as a normal yoga ball, while fabric covers are sold separately.
There are, unfortunately, two concerns with this chair we have to tell you about.
In the first place, it’s built about as well as you can expect at this price, which means not very.
Secondly, the ball material stretches when you first use it: you have to re-inflate it a few times before it reaches its full size.
This isn’t really the end of the world, but it would have been nice if the manufacturer could have pre-stretched it, or at least gone to some effort to make this drawback clear.
Also, we can’t speak to what your toddlers will do with it if you bring one of these home, but please send us a video if something funny happens; we’ve already enjoyed enough funny cats for today.