My Invention: The AwareChair
by Gero Paul Gericke, yoga teacher & coach
During my first trip to India in 1989 - during the time of the fall of the Berlin Wall in Germany - as a relatively stiff German student in India, I encountered many people - including elder
people - who were decidedly flexible. One example for me was Urmela, a very old lady in the YWCA Mussoorie, who could squat like a toddler and fold herself in all directions.
A year later, on the recommendation of my yoga teacher Sharat, I sat for 9 days in a Vipassana silent meditation seminar in the mountains of the Himalayas. About 10 hours of sitting quietly all day from early morning to evening, interrupted only by meals, revealed to me what it means if sitting upright does not come from within....
I assume that the more flexible participants of the seminar also suffered and had intense experiences, but I felt inspired to do more for my long-term mobility. Since I had the impression that in Asia, among other things, squatting, working on the floor and sitting cross-legged seemed to help promote and maintain flexibility, an idea matured.
If we already live with chairs and tables on a regular basis in our culture, wouldn't it be great to bring cross-legged sitting to the table?
A few years later at my first workplace in Bad Honnef, I built the first prototype and during the course of the following years, together with a carpenter, I built several more...
For various tables, for my wife, for my children and a few colleagues from work. And I approached various manufacturers of innovative seating furniture several times over the years about a professional implementation, but could not find a contact person who would have been willing to take up my idea...
Then in 2019 I saw on Facebook the ingenious FeetUp® by Kilian Trenkle from southern Germany, a headstand stool for the "guillotine", which we had always done in our Iyengar yoga on two chairs
padded with mats and blankets. And I saw Kilian's video with his story and was thrilled by his initiative and at the same time felt "kicked in the butt" by him to take my cross-legged chair into
my own hands again....
Why? How many people stand on their heads and if they stand on their heads, then for how many minutes maximum per day?
And I've been sitting on my prototypes for 25 years and I know how good they are. For the back, for the pelvis, for mobility and therefore also for knees and legs. For attention and the ability to concentrate. In a group context, for energy and affinity. In meditation and also at work for more lightness and uprightness. So much practical experience and many positive effects possible from young to old ages. Maybe not for "everywoman and everyman". But potentially for many people who care about maintaining their mobility and fitness and that of their children and beloved ones.
And so the decision to actively take my chair into my own hands led to a journey accompanied by many, partly moving and just-in-time coincidences, which has now been going on for more than two years...
The sympathetic architect in a yoga course in southern Poland, who drew my attention to a young designer, my spontaneous decision to simply go to a large molded wood producer, the coincidence that Hubert told me about the Passagen Köln in our local dance and yoga studio called Schatzinsel (Treasure Island) before the opening ceremony and I decided, despite many adversities, to participate in the largest German design exhibition Passagen that takes place simultaneously with the IMM Cologne the international furniture fair. I had only 6 weeks lead time ... where I had to cope with finding a product name, the trade mark registration, which, supply of approx. 20 AwareChairs for the exhibition, then of course, photos, a Website, Flyers..... Pure positive, creative stress.... And then: exciting, positive feedback at the exhibition and the first sales.
The AwareChair is now ready to go out into the world. I would be happy if you would try it out for yourself in practice and if you like it and have a good feeling about it, and if you would pass on the knowledge of the inner and outer feeling of being "upright" and awae with the AwareChair.
Thank you and if you have any questions or suggestions feel free to contact me...!
PS. There are voucher codes, e.g. when trying out the AwareChair in the studio Schatzinsel, Bad Honnef or also throughout Germany in various yoga studios and locations, feel free to contact us, then you save on the purchase and at the same time support your local yoga studio... Or spread the word so they can register with us...