What’s Your Position on Positions?

Note: this post is NOT intended to elicit sympathy toward the author. If you notice any indications to the contrary, please feel free to slap her, remotely (there must be an emoji for that)–or just close the page.

These past couple of weeks I’ve been forced to think quite a bit about positions. Not political ones; I mean physical: lying down, sitting, and standing. Injuries acquired in the service of democracy* have me no longer taking these simple options for granted.

*turns out when you spend hours and hours and hours writing letters and making phone calls to voters, sitting at a table which is just SLIGHTLY the wrong height, your back takes its revenge.

Still worth it. I think.

Before my back started hurting, I was all about sitting. Like many jobs, working as a baker is about 98% bipedal, but I took every 2% chance I got to set my butt down, between rounds of butterhorns. (That doesn’t sound quite right, but you know what I mean.)

OK, these are not actually butterhorns…but gooey enough to be close. (photo courtesy Holly B’s Bakery)

Now? Sitting is the enemy. Even perching makes me pay a price. So what the heck. Let’s celebrate some of the gifts of the other positions, shall we?

LYING DOWN. Good for:

Sleeping–duh. And sex. And reading–like my latest recommendation, Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer. If you’re looking for short, lyrical pieces that fill you with the desire to go sit (or lie) in your favorite woods, and bring those woods to you if you’re stuck somewhere un-woodsy–this is your book. Get two copies, one for yourself and one for someone you care about.

Bad for:

Zoom. I really, really dislike seeing my future, double-chinned self staring back at me when I Zoom horizontally.

Not my favorite look.

STANDING. Good for:

When someone hands you a puppy.

Though in fairness, I would also have accepted this gift sitting down.

Appreciating sunsets.


Locomoting–which brings you to places where people might hand you a puppy, or to places of extra beauty. (It’s not impossible to locomote from a horizontal or sitting position–just harder.)

Pictured: place of extra beauty.

Bad for:

Knees. Also dizziness induced by drugs taken for back pain.

Which brings us back to…

SITTING. Good for:

Knees. (At least mine.)

All social situations where lying down isn’t quite appropriate (even if you wish it were).

Just sayin’–burgers while reclining could end…badly.

Bad for:

Me, right now. Which is why I’ve written this all on my back (not literally; now THAT would take some dexterity).

But–that fact, above? It’s actually a “good for,” because…well, look. What better time than a global pandemic to start appreciating things as basic as Sitting, Standing, and Lying Down?

Which is YOUR favorite? Tell me why.

8 thoughts on “What’s Your Position on Positions?

  1. If I’m honest, my initial take on the title of this post was quite different from your meaning. That said, my observation on positions as you mean them, is that my favorite is the one I am able to do with the least pain at the time. Trust me, I know what I’m talking about.

  2. Have you considered using the Danish “knee” chair? The smallest of movements when it is used shifts the forces acting on the back so it is less fatiguing than a conventional chair

    And, if pain is from sacral region (lower back), when abed, sleep on your back with a small pillow under your butt
    so as to tilt the pelvis slightly

    During active hours, particularly if back pain stems from soft tissue (muscular rather than arthritic), it often helps to lie flat on the floor and pull one’s knees onto tthe chest and to hold that pose for 1-3 minutes, repeatzing 2-4 times

    Sent from my iPhone

    • I am–thanks, Rhonda! I know you could write the book on back pain. 🙂 No puppy yet–everyone wants one these days, it’s kinda competitive! That’s just someone else’s puppy they let me hold. Will keep you posted. Much love to you!

  3. Oh no! So sorry to hear about your back pain. I trust that PT is helping. Yoga, pilates, and daily stretching helped me heal from a back injury 20 years ago and keep me pretty much pain-free. Take good care!

  4. Hey there! As a matter of fact I was just musing about how much more the PT is doing for me than the drugs I was prescribed first— which rendered me unable to function. If only I could have just gone straight to PT and skipped that first part! But now I’m finally learning what I need to keep my back strong all by my ownself. 😊

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