If you are like 86% of all American adults, you’re probably doing something that’s dangerous to your health: sitting on your bum. Study upon study proves that sitting for long stretches can negatively impact your body, increasing your risk of cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and even death. Sitting 11 or more hours a day increases your chance of dying within the next three years by 40%. Luckily, the solution is as simple as getting up and moving, and Suzan Colón wants to help you do just that with her Take a Yoga Break (TAYB) app.
It’s a personal mission for the writer. After crafting stories for dozens of magazines and authoring ten books, she didn’t need a study to tell her sitting was bad for her. “Forget necessity–agony is the mother of invention. My work as a writer had me sitting at a desk like much of our work force, and I felt the pain of people who have to sit all day–not figuratively. I started doing yoga 20 years ago to deal with the pain of sitting so much, and I became a yoga teacher to help others who had similar issues,” she explains. “During a marathon writing session back in May, I promised myself I’d get up hourly and do a yoga pose, but I’d be in the zone and forget. I thought, There should be an app that reminds you to get up and shows you an easy yoga pose to do at your desk.” So she created TAYB to do just that.
As a certified yoga instructor–she teaches Hatha and therapeutic yoga, and even leads classes for the arthritic–she adapted standard poses to make them stand-at-your-desk friendly. “The TAYB moves were originally just for me, but they worked so well I shared them with other desk-bound friends. They’d write back and say the swelling in their ankles went down, their backs felt better, they enjoyed doing the moves. It’s powerful to create something that makes people feel better,” says Colón, whose art school dropout status led her to illustrate the poses herself, to help novices jump right in. It wasn’t long before TAYB had expanded beyond her circle, first as an email that lands in subscribers’ inboxes three times a day, and soon as an app that will remind users to push away from their desks and perform the poses right there, no stretchy pants or mat required (though she can’t guarantee you won’t get a few questioning looks from your coworkers).
“TAYB started as an email service, but the user-friendliness was really limited,” Colón says. “But apps have customizable features that make for a personal experience. It’s the best way for TAYB to live up to its potential, and its promise of service; people can choose the times and frequency of their reminders, and their favorite moves.”
While the yoga and the drawing came easily to her, Colón had no clue how to go about creating an app. But she didn’t let that stop her. “Initially the only thing I knew about apps was that I use and love them. But creating an app? Not in my wheelhouse. But I couldn’t let ‘I don’t know’ turn into ‘I can’t.’ Millions of people are suffering from this sitting problem, and they weren’t going to get help if I allowed not knowing to become not doing,” she says.
So she asked for help. “In business, especially in this time of the solopreneur, it’s important to know what you don’t know and then find people who do know, and work with them,” she says. “That meant hiring the right app developer–a tech expert who’d made high-quality apps before and had an excellent track record for completion and functionality.” Just a few months later, the app is set to launch in the Apple app store in November ($1.99).
But Colón isn’t interested in taking a breath. Up next is a home version that will signal you to get up and take a break from your binge watching, and one tailored to get kids moving. “I kind of want to save the world with yoga,” Colón says. “I think that’s doable.”