Are you sitting down? Good. What are you sitting on? Take a moment to assess.
Are you comfortable? Supported? The thing is, for how often we sit, we may not be checking in enough with the quality of the posture.
That’s about to change. Introducing the Sukhasana chair.
Banff entrepreneur Carl Brodeur has created a chair that allows you to sit in lotus or half-lotus pose in a comfortable, supported way. For hundreds of thousands of years, humans have taken a seat on the earth, legs crossed. This connection to ourselves and mother nature’s soil is a great place to start!
Though, let’s be real, life isn’t always catered to sitting on the ground… all day. Sukhasana allows an alternative chair experience while training your body to sit comfortably and get the most of that cross-legged position.
A Conversation with the Man Behind Sukhasana
Deeply in love with both mountain and yoga culture, Carl is immensely connected with his surroundings, and the creation of Sukhasana has deepened this connection even more so.
If you’re curious what this chair is all about, the answer lies within its name (and perhaps within a Sanskrit to English dictionary).
“Sukha means happiness, ease, or bliss in Sanskrit. Asana means ‘to be seated in a position that is firm, but relaxed,'” Carl explained.
It’s a little bit contradictory because the chair is basically training you, so you no longer need the chair, it’s both a product and a service.
The chair can be many things, but what we noticed when giving it a try is that it’s a reminder our bodies deserve our care and acknowledgment, even during passive activities like sitting.
You’re probably wondering where the heck the idea for this chair came from (we know we were). Well, you’re in luck, because it’s a pretty cool story! Fittingly, it all starts in an Ashram.
In 1999, Carl travelled to India and took part in a “yoga vacation.”
“It was a very immersive experience. It was a month in an ashram, doing a daily routine. Up at 5 am, meditation, chanting… full-on. It was weird at first, being put into this new lifestyle. The Western mind resists it and sort of pushes back against it. After the experience, coming back and reflecting on it, I went back for my training two years later. I wanted to experience it again after getting over the initial shock of it,” Carl told us.
“I had to unlearn a lot,” he said, explaining the different perceptions of yoga, work, and spirituality in comparison to the Western world.
He had to deconstruct much of his thought process, unlearn, break down, and then build it all back up. This was when he uncovered “what yoga really is,” and where he adopted his ideologies of ongoing, consistent practice.
Carl returned from India and moved to Whistler. It was there, “where the chair was born, [he] just had an idea!” And then, everything changed.
“And then, well, I almost died. I had a horrible mountain bike accident in Whistler and woke up in Vancouver General Hospital three days later.”
Carl had crashed, face-first, and sustained significant injuries. As he began to recover, something shifted.
I resigned my old life of being a server and working in restaurants to support my skiing and mountain biking habits. I gave up the life of working to play. There’s nothing wrong with that! I just needed something more.
So, Carl made a prototype.
“After the prototype, I just kept going. It was a commitment. I started buying parts and fabric and sourcing foam. I taught myself how to sew, taught myself how to upholster, and locked myself upstairs and bloodied my fingers in the learning process. I went for it full-on and built the first 50.”
Though the accident inspired him to make his vision a reality, it was back in India that the idea was initially sparked.
The idea came from sitting on the floor in that ashram, eating our two meals a day. I vividly remember struggling to sit there, legs crossed, through the mealtimes. I wanted to figure out how to do it properly.
Beyond the Chair
The Sukhasana experience extends far beyond the chair. The chair’s many adjustments allow you to receive as much support as you need, removing the supports as you get deeper into your posture.
For example, you can lower the leg supports, tilt the seat, and even remove the back. Eventually, you’ll understand exactly what a correct cross-legged position feels like and (hopefully) be able to emulate it on the earth’s floor (or your home’s floor) If not, the chair isn’t going anywhere!
“I didn’t compromise the quality at all. I wanted to make something that you’ll have for the rest of your life. In my own little way, I’m trying to reject planned obsolescence.”
And for Carl, it’s all about trying to stay true to the yoga.
Learn more about Sukhasana and Carl by visiting his website.
Photo Credit: Nahanni McKay