Meet Our Chief Mobility Advisor - Dana Santas - Zami Life Meet Our Chief Mobility Advisor - Dana Santas - Zami Life

Meet Our Chief Mobility Advisor – Dana Santas

Zami Life is proud to announce our new Chief Mobility Advisor, Dana Santas. As an international health and wellness expert and the creator of Radius Yoga, Dana has dedicated her career to helping people move, breathe and feel better. She’s the yoga expert for CNN Health as well as the sports performance mobility trainer for numerous teams and athletes in MLB, NHL, NBA, NFL, PGA and WTA. Dana and Zami Life’s goals are strategically aligned with the joint mission of improving health and well-being.

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Although most people think of yoga as stretching, Dana’s teaching approach is more yoga-inspired mobility biomechanics supported by proper respiration. When working with professional teams and athletes, she begins with postural and breathing assessments (based on science—not yoga). Her mantra is that breathing is posture, and posture is breathing, because the diaphragm is the king of your core. These principles are why Dana loves the Zami stool.

In the few months that I’ve been using my Zami stool in place of my desk chair, I’ve experienced how effective it is in facilitating the natural curves of my spine and promoting awareness of my sitting habits, while actually increasing my level of activity when seated: I notice immediately when I slouch because my center of gravity/balance on the chair changes, so it prompts me to sit symmetrically, reengage my core (specifically my diaphragm), reposition my legs and stand up more regularly. And that’s all happening even without the sensors and app!

After spending five years studying the effects of respiration on posture and vice versa, she was very excited to notice how the Zami’s convex stool design promotes and almost necessitates symmetrical pelvic alignment for stable sitting.

The symmetry correction, in conjunction with the facilitation of the natural lumbar curve has a profound impact on restoring functional diaphragm use for better breathing quality. The reason for this is that the diaphragm is both a postural and respiration muscle that attaches to the ribcage and lumbar spine while running through the psoas major (a hip flexor and primary muscle tying upper and lower body together). Because the diaphragm has a thicker, longer attachment to the lumbar spine on the right L1-3 than the left L1-2, when the diaphragm isn’t being used functionally for breathing and/or posture, it pulls our center of gravity to the right—into the right hip and low back. This is why people sit predominantly into their right hip and feed into a poor posture/respiration pattern of shallow chest breathing and an asymmetrical slouch. Taking it a step further…the quality of breathing impacts ribcage position, which impacts scapular position and shoulder girdle integrity. When the ribcage, scapula and shoulder girdle are misaligned, it makes moving into proper posture a biomechanic impossibility…that is, without first realigning the pelvis and spine to restore diaphragm use for breathing and posture. What has excited me most is that the Zami Stool’s design actually does this realignment!

Although the Zami does so much already—without the sensors or app—getting feedback from the sensors will enable me to cue effective yoga-based movements and exercises people can do to further facilitate proper sitting on the Zami – each tailored specifically for them. In addition to ways of moving to help realign the pelvis (engaging muscles like adductors and glutes), and to restore pelvic symmetry, there are some excellent yoga moves anyone can do while sitting on the Zami. These moves work to engage underworked posture muscles, like the lower trapezius, and properly position the shoulder blades and inhibit overactive upper back, neck and chest muscles, like the upper trapezius and pectoral muscles, that pull one into a slouch.

Zami’s design also lends itself well to acting as a support for many yoga moves/stretches that counteract the effects of sitting on our bodies. So I can easily offer different, accessible instructions for people to move, stretch and breathe on and off, or supported by, the Zami in ways that are profoundly impactful not only for their posture but also their physiology. I mention physiology because numerous studies have shown that diaphragmatic breathing lowers cortisol (the major stress hormone) and decreases sympathetic nervous system activity to improve focus. A Harvard (2010) study also showed that avoiding slumped postures and holding an open posture (as the Zami chair inspires) also decreases cortisol production. Pretty cool, right?

 

The health benefits of sitting on a Zami vs. a regular chair include:

  • Enhances Posture Immediately Upon Sitting
  • Trains Muscles to Maintain Proper Posture
  • Decreases Back Pain and Injury Risk
  • Encourages Circulation, Minimizing Edema and Varicose Veins
  • Increases Ability to Breathe
  • Strengthens Pelvic Floor Function
  • Lessens Physical and Mental Stress

The science behind Zami’s health benefits comes from the chair’s patented double convex design and narrow sitting surface, which:

  • Immediately aligns pelvis in neutral position to facilitate natural spinal curves
  • Requires proper kinetic muscle chain firing and neuromuscular feedback to maintain posture
  • Demands 360 degrees of integrated core muscle activation for stabilization
  • Promotes “active” sitting and movement of legs around a wide, open base for enhanced circulation and decreased lower-body lethargy
  • Positions diaphragm’s attachments to lumbar spine and ribcage for optimal respiratory and postural function
  • Sets pelvis symmetrically, aligning the diaphragm and pelvic floor for synchronous function
  • Restores neuromuscular efficiency of proper skeletal alignment to eliminate compensatory muscular tension; initiates functional diaphragmatic breathing to mitigate the stress response, lowering heart rate, blood pressure and cortisol (stress hormone) production

 

Learn more about the Zami on Indiegogo!