I just learned a new term, the “sit-still” syndrome. It appears that cultural changes have out stripped natural selection as a method of evolution, especially, in the developing countries. How we have designed our environment; the food we eat; how we travel; what defines success, the fittest and beauty; the furniture we sit in; how we work and play; have more impact on our health and wellness than millions of years of evolution. Yes, because we had the opportunity to evolve over a long time, we have lots of adaptability. But, its that adaptability that has allowed us to modify our environment in ways that are not supportive of good health, either physically or mentally. We eat sugar, we design drugs to correct insulin imbalance. We don’t exercise so we develop methods to remove fat from our bodies. We work late into the night, we develop drugs to help us sleep on demand or stimulate us for the next days work. We over load ourselves with low levels of stress which can overwhelm and depress, so we create antidepressants. The list goes on. Our incredible adaptable brains lets us treat symptoms without addressing the root cause. But is it endless?
To get back to the sit-still syndrome. When I first saw the term I thought, oh cool, they are speaking about meditation. No. This is a sit-still that promotes deep focused attention on a project, job, thing, activity which distracts the mind from being in the present moment. The sit-still syndrome is what happens when we take the human body, freeze it into inactivity with the mind running at full speed. Promoting an unhealthy body, and a mind that is driven by the environment we have created.
Yogis have been showing us for years that asana, meditation and breathing are simple methods to combat the sit-still syndrome. Not hours a day, just minutes are all that are needed to develop a healthier body, and a less driven mind. A bit of deep breathing to extend the spine, develop right posture, and to calm the nervous system. A little stretching to stimulate the pressure points of the body and for the lymph system to flow and drain; to regain a posture that supports healthy organ function. A few moments to be the observer of the breath to develop interoception, inward focus that supports our sense of self in the present moment. Not hours, just minutes in a day. One never knows what the possibilities are until the first step is taken.