With the rise in the creative economy and demand for digital content skyrocketing, creativity is becoming a critical asset on the job market. In fact, LinkedIn Learning determined in 2019 that creativity was the number one soft skill employers need.
Clearly, getting creative is an important, not to mention pleasurable thing to prioritize, so let’s look at a surprising way to boost your creativity: posture.
Posture is not a new concept around here. In fact, it is a bit of an obsession. The Sleekform team knows that addressing postural problems can be the secret sauce to a healthy and pain-free life. But can it help you win a Grammy or land on the New York Times best seller list?? We should probably back up a bit…
Linking Posture and Creativity.
In a 2012 study, researchers wanted to turn the generalized metaphors often doled out as advice on creativity, like ‘think outside the box’, into literal body positions, ie. thinking while sitting inside or outside of a box. As it turns out, physical embodiment of these metaphors actually enhanced participants’ creative problem solving.
A 2017 study also showed a specific connection between posture and creativity. Participants were asked to perform creative activities whilst in expansive or closed body postures. The findings demonstrated that an expansive posture increased creativity. Interestingly, the effect of posture was unique to creative tasks, as a similar test using a logic-based activity showed no impact from posture.
If spreading out your limbs expansively (or sitting beside your new box friend) isn’t an option for your next zoom meeting, don’t despair… With the utmost demure, Sleekform kneeling chairs guide your body into a more open position compared to a regular chair. This is especially true when it comes to your hips - which benefit from the more open angle that a kneeling chair creates between thighs and torso.
Take It From The Pros…
Professional artists have long recognized the connection between creativity and body posture - so much so that an entire methodology has been established. Have you ever heard of the Alexander Technique? Famous musicians including Paul Mccartney, Madonna and Sting have all studied it. The Complete Guide to Alexander Technique calls it “a way of learning how you can get rid of harmful tension in your body.”
Started by Australian actor Frederick Mathias Alexander, who realized that body tension was the source of his pesky vocal fatigue, Alexander Technique has grown into a global movement embraced by elite athletes, scientists and educators.
If this is your first time hearing about it, here’s how Alison Jane Taylor, a Certified Alexander Technique Teacher based in Toronto, Canada introduces it: “Alexander is a method of mind body consciousness or awareness.” Having been created over a century ago, it’s no surprise that Alison describes the technique as “tried, tested and true” though she also points out that it is “always evolving and adapting to what the modern person needs.”
We’re excited to welcome Alison to the Sleekform blog to provide some insight on what drew her to Alexander Technique, and how she views the connection between posture and creativity.
“What appealed to me was the idea that I didn’t have to feel stressed or tight all the time, that there was another option! That was really mind blowing” explains Alison. Her initial exposure to Alexander Technique, first through workshops at school and then one-on-one instruction, taught to bring her unconscious habits into conscious awareness. She’s used that awareness to change her habits so she can speak, breathe and move with less tension, strain and stress. And now she helps others do the same!
When I ask Alison about the correlation between posture and creativity, she blows open the question in the best way: “I tend to not use the word posture cause it seems very static.” Touché Alison. (As Team Sleekform says - the best posture is your next posture!)
As much as we wish emulating Lady Gaga’s body language would help us write pop hits, Alison is clear that “you can’t force your body into a certain positon to reach the creative flow state. What you can do is make the body ready and open to receive inspiration when it strikes, and Alexander Technique is one way to nurture that.”
Curious To Learn More?
Limited time / resources - A simple Google search of ‘Alexander Technique + INSERT ACTIVITY you’d like to do with less strain (eg. working from home! running! grooming your pet chinchilla!) will yield tons of free resources.
Moderate time / resources - Group classes and workshops can be a great option for trying out what it’s like to learn in-person from a certified instructor. Keep an eye out for opportunities in your area.
Significant time / resources - A course of at least ten one-on-one training sessions with a Certified Alexander Technique Teacher is the way to see maximum results. These can be done in person or online, though hands-on adjustments are always ideal.
And of course, you can reach out to Alison Jane Taylor directly to learn more about her work specializing in Voice and the Alexander Technique.
Yes it’s good to have an outside eye, especially a trained observer like our pal Alison to help you identify your posture habits (looking at you hunched shoulders). But if that’s not in the cards, start with the simple act of noticing:
Am I tensing my neck when I type?
Can I take a moment to release that tension and continue my task without unnecessary strain?
If I change up my seating to a Sleekform kneeling chair, does my body feel more supported and in alignment? (We work hard to make sure the answer to this one is YES.)
Posture problems lead to pain and tension which are a drain on one of your greatest resources: your creativity! Whether it’s bringing an innovative idea to your work, or finally sitting down with that colouring book you got from Secret Santa, we want you fresh and energized to chase your creative impulses! Reach out to chat more about how a Sleekform chair can support your creative lifestyle, or to invite us to your art opening… We’ll be the first to raise a toast to the power of posture.
For more info on Allison and her services be sure check out:
Facebook: Alison Jane Taylor: Voice and the Alexander Technique
Guest post written by Ellen Denny for Sleekform.