About this blog, in 2013

Once upon a time (in 2007) this blog was written for about 20 people who had taken my certification course, as a way to answer questions, continue education, etc. Then, somewhere along the way, it became popular with people I’d never met. In places I’ve never been. Like Wisconsin. And Bulgaria. Which was both weird and extremely cool.

Writing this blog used to be a hobby. I’d write a post a month. The one day I decided to see if I could do one post, every day, for thirty days. Once I did that, I found that I could write faster and better (debatable) than I ever had before. And all of a sudden there were a thousand readers. Which was both weird and extremely cool.

In 2011 and 2012, I averaged almost two posts a week, and sometimes three. I also made and birthed two children. In two years. Which was both weird and extremely cool. I thought this would slow me down. And it has slowed me down. But it has also inspired me to do more. And share more. And write more. So, there’s a balance I’ve struck, at least for the time being.

I’ve become a better scientist in the last ten years, but especially over the last two. I think I’ve also become a better educator (debatable) and I’ve come to love that role even more, if that’s possible.

This past year, I spent an average of twenty hours a week writing blog posts, answering comments, and responding to people on Facebook — all stuff I do for fun, because I love my imaginary friends on the computer. 😉 And what I have noticed is, there are groups of people who read this blog.

These groups are:
1. People who have trained extensively with the Institute.
2. Alignment freaks.
3. Natural Movement freaks.
4. Regular folks with problems.
5. My dad.

Which reminds me of the groups back in high school:
1. The jocks.
2. The quadies.
3. The drama nerds.
4. The regular nerds.
5. The kids that got on well with all the teachers.

The problem with me, is, I’ve never really fit into any one category. Back in high school, I lettered in swimming. I was a cheerleader (please never mention this to me) as well as the mascot. I starred in all the school plays AS WELL as the musicals.

Yes, in addition to terrible jokes, I sing. Better than I tell jokes (debatable).

I was the senior class president and in the top 5% of my class, a science geek and wore glasses and was a huge nerd. Like one of those people on that show with the nerds that has the name I can’t remember. Most of my teachers back then are currently my friends. Which never ceases to be weird. And extremely cool.

My point is, I’ve never really fit in to any one category and I still don’t today, professionally speaking. Why? Because every group has a particular perspective that I find a bit too narrow.

When I consider the list of reader-groups, it makes me think: What is this blog about? Is it alignment? Is it natural movement? Is it exercise prescription or health? Is this an evidence-based blog or is it a blog to address how current research is regularly coming to culturally-based conclusions, which is decidedly unscientific despite the use of the scientific method? And yes, these are they questions I mull over daily. Which is why I meditate.

Remind me to start meditating again, please.

When I write stuff on the blog or on Facebook, I get differing feedback.

Alignment junkies are like: WE LOVE ALIGNMENT IN EVERYTHING. HOW CAN I SIT IN ALIGNMENT? HOW CAN I WALK IN ALIGNMENT? IF I DO IT (you know…IT…ahem) WILL IT BE BETTER IN ALIGNMENT?

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And Natural movement junkies are like: SYMMETRY IS UNNATURAL. YOU SHOULD USE YOUR BODY ALL SORTS OF WAYS AND ALIGNMENT IS LAME AND ONLY CRAZY PEOPLE TALK ABOUT ALIGNMENT.

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The regular folks are like: WHERE CAN I FIND THE BLOG POST ON __________ SYNDROME? I HAVE ___________ SYNDROME AND WANT TO KNOW WHAT 3 THINGS I CAN DO TO FIX IT.

And my Dad is like: EVERYTHING YOU DO IS WONDERFUL. YOU ARE MY FAVORITE. CAN YOU DO A POST ON HEMORRHOIDS? SOMEONE I KNOW HAS THEM.

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Restorative Exercise™-trained readers are like: OH, NOW I GET WHAT YOU WERE SAYING BEFORE. I THOUGHT ALIGNMENT WAS POSTURE. I THOUGHT ALIGNMENT WAS STATIC. I THOUGHT I WAS JUST INTERESTED IN FIXING MY PELVIS BUT NOW I KNOW THAT IT’S ALL CONNECTED.

You can see that there are many people coming from different perspectives — each interested in something to apply to their personal world. This year, however, I would like to integrate the information. Because to address any one particular group in particular undercuts the larger message — and healing — to be found in this information.

What Alignment Nerds tend to miss is, no matter how aligned the exercise, exercise is still the problem. I truly believe corrective exercise trumps medicine to address an ailment fo’ sho’, but even super-aligned, corrective exercise is still treating the symptom and not the problem. You’ll need to “corrective exercise” indefinitely if you continue to fail to move.

What Natural Movement Nerds tend to miss is, you can’t take a human body, conditioned to shoes and chairs and climate control, with computer hands, necks and shoulders and throw it into a tree or under a rock without exceeding the body’s physiological limits of timely adaptation. There is a tremendous amount of restoration under tiny loads that is required to get a tissue’s cells back to operating at capacity. Often times this requires years.

What Regular Nerds tend to miss is they don’t need a knee-specific blog post. A post on pelvic positioning and the content of the foot book are exactly what they need to fix their knee problem. If you find this information helpful, start to read everything on this blog — not just the posts with the word you think you need to look for.

Another thing Alignment Nerds might miss is that Alignment is not a fancier or smarter word for posture. Alignment has less to do with joint position and more to do with the position of loads. There is no position the human body is supposed to be in all of the time and it’s our lack of using ALL ranges of motion as well as our habit of using one position ALL of the time that’s the problem.

Another thing Natural Movement nerds might miss is that Playing and Exercising Outside or tossing metal balls (or tires) that weigh the same as trees and rocks doesn’t automatically meet the load requirements of human tissue. Natural movement is phenomenal stuff, and there is a long list of variables that a natural movement program needs in order to be in alignment with biological function.

Cuz, you see: Alignment is not a word to be exchanged with posture. Alignment, instead, is the creation of forces created by position or consecutive series’ of positions. For example, everyone can walk without a neutral pelvis, but if one walks without a 30° range of loaded hip extension, or has a 30° hip extension but doesn’t walk around, the abductors (which are responsible for holding the body’s weight while on one foot) generate less force, which in turn creates fewer and smaller mechanical strain cycles on the femoral head and neck. This, in turn, halts the bone-formation process. Result: Lower bone density.

While the human should be able to move in an infinite number of ways, there is a loading requirement for each tissue in order to accomplish it’s “job.” Your mechanic aligns your tires not to keep them in one position all the time — which would make driving hard! — but to ensure that the use of one car part is not destroying another. Body alignment means this as well, although I’m fairly certain the term is misused 99.9% of the time.

If we were living in a time where hunter-gathering activities were required, there would be a huge amount of time in neutral pelvis as hunter-gatherer activities of daily living require a lot of upright walking time. Our modern activities of daily living require almost zero upright walking time. We’re left with cramming a neutral pelvis into modern living. This is a step in the right direction but if we end the discussion there, I’ve failed to teach the larger picture. A neutral pelvis is only really required for appropriate loading during the gait cycle. If you’re sitting in a chair, is it better to “neutral your pelvis” or get the heck out of the chair?
This is just an example of one tissue (bone) in one location (the hip) and one set of alignment points (pelvis) as used during a particular activity (walking). The list goes on and on. Takeaway message: A particular range of motion isn’t the end-all and walking around without you bones in a particular arrangement isn’t the same as walking with them in a particular arrangement.

In a nutshell, the human body, moving in a natural way over a lifetime, would have a much lower frequency of the affluent ailments. The human body, without birth interventions, bucket seats, strollers, boppies, moppies, toppies, school desks, shoes, computers, dance training, sports training, flat surfaces EVERYWHERE, man-made surfaces, pre-fabricated step size, office chairs, ergonomic desks, reading, writing, not enough sunlight, too much UV, music, scary movies, Walmart, cars, planes, trains, bicycles, and Hostess Cupcakes, should expect different outcomes than one that has been developed under these conditions. Therapists, teachers, scientists, researchers and YOU should take interest in these differences. When we talk about the human body, it should be noted whether we are talking about the human body or the human body under these modern conditions.

I don’t expect you to become interested in moving into a cave and giving up your clothes and computer as a result of new info, but that doesn’t mean that we should begin to steer an entire science — human health — away from this knowledge. Because what if we wanted to give up the Twinkie? Or the constant air conditioning. Or the stroller. Or the office chair. We should be aware of the options that are available to us, instead of subscribing to a paradigm that begins with the premise that everyone values convenience more than their health. I don’t, always. And sometimes I do. It’s a personal decision, and when we choose from an informed place we can feel less victimized by our health and be more responsible.

To get our body back on track, we must first take stock of our current habits and the muscular pathways they have left behind. This gives us insight into which places move and which don’t. This requires objective measure, which is why alignment is an essential component of body-restoration. Then you can measure your current habits against your current body ranges of motion. Then you can adjust your habits and slowly close the gaps of minimal or excessive mobility (and resulting lack of strength) with corrective exercise.
THEN, you can choose to move.
Or, sit and read this blog. Or one and then the other.

So, anyways. That’s what this blog will be about in 2013. This is the year that I (attempt to) integrate information. So that we’re all alignment lovers. And natural movement lovers. And experiencing relief. And realizing what a flourishing-and-not-just surviving body feels like. And feeling the love for one another.

I hope you’re excited, because I am.

Ok. On vacation for the rest of the year.

Be good. Be well. Be happy.
Metta,
Katy

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34 thoughts on “About this blog, in 2013

  1. Love you posts!! I broke my arm in January trekking around the desert of Jordan..(don’t ask)?? and started sitting at my job for the first time in my life…Health Care Reform…now nurses sit ahhh!!! Anyways…thanks for helping me put some of the pieces of my body back together!!!

  2. Applause. Very VERY loud LOUD applause. Which I know is ironic coming from me, a fitness chick. But I assure you that we are listening. At least I am. And I’m trying my damndest to spread the word. And probably botching it in the process 😉

  3. I always enjoy listening to (as such) what you have to say, and am particularly looking forward to what you’re planning for the next year.

    I particularly appreciate the bolded statement — I got into a blog-comment-disagreement with someone who was insisting that orthopods have proven(!) “low heels” to be the healthiest type of shoes (someone is wrong on the internet, oh so very wrong!). The point I wanted to make to her was that an informed, empowered decision is the result of knowing the consequences and determining which best suit your priorities. Know our options!

    As always, thanks for your work! Even if I don’t act on it as much as I’d like, this shift in thinking has helped shape how I approach health, wellness, rehabilitation, etc in my medical training. Couldn’t do it without you! =) cheers, katie

  4. I read this blog (the only one I currently follow) because you (it) never ask for money…it gives me incredibly valuable information for free…it keeps me inspired to care for my alignment and movement…but mostly I read it because its funny. If it were stuffy and boring I wouldn’t like it. Thanks for spending so much time at the computer helping out all of the diverse groups.

  5. Can’t wait for 2013. 🙂

    Just found your blog last week and am loving it. Up until a couple months ago I pretty much sat all day, other than during “exercise”. Now I’m rockin’ with the standing desk, but I need to work on a lot of mobility issues and you’re a huge help. Really appreciate your blog!

  6. AHA!…i knew there must have been some theater influence:)..after reading a few blogs, i decided Katy should do ‘stand-up'(is the world ready for alignment/natural health comedy show?) GREAT ARTICLE! YEA for intregrating thru awareness!

  7. First, thank you for all the posts from all the different perspectives. It has given my physical therapist husband and my baby raising self a lot to ponder and play with. The more I observe my munchkins and read your work the more amazed. They get it naturally.-all of it- movement, alignment,variety, etc (at least until Grandma gets a hold of them and puts them in bad shoes to sit still for extended periods of time). Like you I never fit into any group, and still don’t. While some of the science stuff makes my eyes glaze over (having kids spaced similarly apart from yours, but a year older I don’t know how your brain still processes all that but for now I’m blaming it on being pregnant with number three) but the more information you put out on any aspect of human health the more I put into practice and discuss semi-intelligently with those who question me for doing things against the cultural norm (Grandma for example).

    Second, with everything you do when do you sleep and eat? As much as I love your work I don’t think anyone would blame you for taking more time off. Enjoy your vacation!

  8. If My violin player, ballet dancer, science lover, theatre nerd, musical theatre wanna-be but-I-snapped-ligaments-in-my-ankle-during-dance-class-1-week-before-Chorus-Line-auditions self were a cheerleader she’d be shaking her pom poms doing that one jump (hurky?!) & cheering loudly over this. Imagine me laughing out loud trying to bend over my phone to read the upsidedown captions while going to the bathroom. Or maybe don’t :-). Happy New Year & big thanks for all you share!! My best purchase in 2012 was, hands down, elbow pits forward, the Whole Body Alignment course. Thank you for regularly blowing my mind & helping me help my body.

  9. I have been reading your blogs for several years…and smiling and learning and thinking how lucky I am to have come across your wonderful information!! I also love feldenkrais work..are you familiar with it? Seems like the two approaches come at “loads” in different ways, but would be mighty powerful together!

  10. Love it!! Thanks for the inspiration! And thanks for all that you do. I’m looking forward to a healthier 2013 because of this blog.

  11. That was a great end to a very life changing year for me Katy. Thanks for that, and Happy New Year. I look forward greatly to my visit to the RE Institute and a new beginning for 2013.

  12. Katie,
    I’m going to give up blogging in the new year and just tell people to read this post. That about sums it up for me. Thanks and have a FABULOUS NewYear!!!
    Kerry

  13. Love your ideas for 2013 (which I read standing up thank you very much) so those of us just starting can see how everything integrates. I’m so glad my sis pointed me in your direction. Happy New Year <3

  14. Thx for bringing it all together — at least until the next iteration of bringing it all together. 🙂 Movement, human functions & as many variations as we can possibly find, depending on the particular activity, are so fundamental to our healthy lives. A “Feldenkrais” lesson that I did yesterday as a student, & will be teaching for my next classes, involved over a dozen different movements of the hip joints …. but in order to have these movements work “easily” required the chest to become soft & breathing to be easy & the head to “float” on top of the neck (even though we were lying on the floor), and then you discover a multitude of ‘other things’ that may be more important to you, in that moment, than simply the hips. I discovered that my pecs are tight (again) under my armpits …… (because of how we organized our arms in this lesson) ……. it just gets bigger ……….

    Enjoy the nerdiness of it all very much, BTW.

    Oh, & hopefully you saw my extensive joyful bounding off the walls (I sent an email a =2 or 3 months ago) with discovering that my ankles, hips & back no longer felt creaky in the mornings after being very attentive to hip-hinging, flat back, butt out. PIcking things off the ground, reaching down for anything – gardening, cupboards, wiping floor etc etc – has been much more “fun”. But I did discover in the last day or so that hanging out on my sofa is recreating some of the the twinges that I had had. Bad sofa – obviously not a healthy activity (which I know) but exhaustion from Xmas etc …..

    “Exercise” is not going to eliminate the bad effects of the sofa – only getting off the sofa (& on to the floor, perhaps) will do that!

  15. You are the only person I know who can talk about alignment and scientific stuff that I can hardly understand but still make me laugh out loud.
    Happy New Year!

  16. The show w/ the nerds is called the Big Bang Theory. Love it!
    There is that word again: paradigm. Required reading for people who want more on paradigm shifts and how ingrained (and destructive) some ideas are is: Anatomy of a Controversy by Adrian Wenner and Patrick Wells.

    Happy new year!

  17. I have a question! Now I know what group I’m in;)
    I was very athletic prior to turning 50, 9 years ago.
    2 years ago I got 2 new hips- the originals developed bone spurs do to being to high in the joints, as original equipment.
    Can I do bikram yoga???????

    1. The fast answer is, not really. You should have been told that your new equipment cannot ab- or ad-duct and extreme rotations are usually out as well. You have to check with your ortho to find the exact degree-limitations, but hip replacements have much less mobility than original parts. And, the way they are put in leaves the bones very susceptible to dislocation and fracture when the joint angles exceed these limits.

  18. School plays, huh? Like “Long Day’s Journey into Mal-alignment”? Or “Death of a Pelvic-tucked Salesman”? Musical: “How to Succeed Doing Your Business Without Really Trying”…Yes, I can see now how it all started.

  19. Oh, I’m glad you wrote this post, and that I read it! I’ve landed on this blog a couple of times, seen the word “alignment,” and moved on, because I associate “alignment” with “posture,” and I associate both with people who don’t understand the importance of movement. Clearly you are not one of those!

  20. Just found your blog today and I think it could change my life! Lifetime sufferer of RSI, lower back pain, odd twinges, flat feet, knocking knees, thigh muscle ache, stiff hip, one side of my ribs sticking out more than the other, frequent stiff neck, sharp stabbing pain under scapula, corrective knee surgery to stop them discolating…the list goes on. i’ve spent thousands on private treatments and am currently seeing a wonderful osteopath. BUT how to correct myself, to not be caught in an endless cycle of being ok for a while, then somehow, something going wrong, and injuring myself? i’m trying get fit at the gym, under prescribed conditions from the osteo, but am currently suffering with a nasty tight/weak feeling in lower back that hurts like when i sneeze. i’ve subscribed to your newsletter and i think i am going to be spending an awful lot of time on here reading everything you’ve ever written! Thank you so much!
    Lisa

  21. Katy! This is all very new to me.. I am so intrigued, I found your link on a Catholic site that recommended you and your blog.. Thank God for what I call finding you a miracle..He always gives us what we need when we need it. I am now a student of yours and will be telling everyone about it.. God Bless!

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