Podcast Transcript Ep. 69: Natural Movement and Variability

Episode 69: Natural Movement and Variability

We are aiming for variety in our movement, in both frequency and kind. But what about the variability of location? Seasonal variability? Movement changes over the course of a day, a month, and a lifetime, and it changes based on individual capacity.

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DANI: Welcome to the Katy Says podcast, where Dani Hemmat and Katy Bowman talk about movement; the tiny details, the larger issues and why Movement Matters.


KATY: I’m Katy Bowman, biomechanist and author of Move Your DNA.


DANI: Yes you are.


KATY: That was a little sing-songy


DANI: I’m Dani Hemmat, (sings) A Chronically Curious Movement Teacher. Today’s episode … was that sing- songy?


KATY: It was good. That was more just musical style. That was singing. Just flat out singing.


DANI: (laughs) All Right. Today’s episode is about natural movement and variability. But more variability than we’ve talked about up til now.


KATY: Yeah, we’ve probably alluded to it. You know, a lot of times people will ask me a question and I’ll say “Well, I answered that in a book.” Cuz I know that I did.


DANI: Mm-hmm.


KATY: But they’re looking for really explained, in-depth answer. Where I might have answered it in a single line. Because, you know, when you’re writing a book you’re trying to cover numerous things and everyone’s like, “Well, I have this little thread that interests me.” I’m like, “Seriously every little thread that interests you could be its own book.”


DANI: Right.


KATY: So oftentimes, I will sum up a very large category which could be another book on another topic with a single line. So we’re gonna talk about that single line and what it has to do with variability. We’ve talked about this relative to things like temperature. Like, is natural movement this fixed set of moves that you do across the board, A to Z.


DANI: Right.


KATY: So this episode – this particular episode came about because Debbie Beane and I, she’s a director of Nutritious Movement. She does all our operations. We should give her a shout out all the time.


DANI: She’s the bestest. I see you Debbie.


KATY: We were trying to figure out what the topic for our newsletter should be. So we sent out a monthly newsletter. If you’re not subscribed to that you can do it – subscribe on the NutritiousMovement.com home page. And we were trying to figure out a good topic and I said, you know, I think, my favorite, like my favorite thing to do in January – so this is not global but certainly in North America right now we’re getting into the meat of winter. Today’s the first full day of winter. I guess the second day of winter. It’s the 22nd of December.


DANI: Yeah.


KATY: So, like, we just now entered winter. And, you know, if you’re living in Australia you can just flip this and listen to this again in your summertime.


DANI: (laughs)


KATY: But it’s kind of a “cozy hunker down” time. And it seems to come about naturally. There’s certainly less daylight. So we were thinking of coming up with just, like, retreat.




KATY: Um and this idea, kind of like, you know, there is … there’s these natural rhythms going on and there are many – we’re not really well trained to take natural cues any longer, right? It’s like, we have electricity, right? So it doesn’t matter if the sun goes down early because I’ll just flick that light on and I’ve lost, really, a large component of the communication between the natural world and my …


DANI: Well, yeah.


KATY: … hut that I live in.


DANI: You don’t have to stockpile food as the leaves turn.




DANI: You’re not keyed into that.


KATY: No. Or eat less. You don’t have to eat less.


DANI: Yeah.


KATY: You didn’t have to … you didn’t gorge particularly. In fact, a lot of people will try to diet in the summer when the food is most abundant, right?


DANI: Right.


KATY: It’s just kind of, it’s all very “unnatural rhythm-like”. So because I teach natural movement there’s just been so many questions about those types of variabilities. So I thought that would be a fun podcast to do, especially going into…


DANI: Totally – perfect timing.


KATY: …a season for some that is radically different. So anyway.


DANI: Yeah. Perfect timing.


KATY: Yeah. That’s what we’re gonna talk about.


DANI: All right. Well, let’s just start it off with, there’s this sidebar in Move Your DNA


KATY: Um-hmm.


DANI: called everyone wants to be a hunter. And this is one of those little things that’s it’s just like 10 sentences. Blew my mind. Because I just hadn’t of thought of it that way. And then it changed the trajectory of how I think about a lot of things. There are just … that we shouldn’t stick to one standard. I’m gonna read it for you: “Everyone Wants to Be a Hunter. It is my belief that humans have unique food and movement requirements. While we have similar foundational necessities, our intrinsic uniqueness calls for input that fuels and replenishes the way we use our physiology to complete our community job. As with any group of animals, every participant fills a different role. A role that capitalizes on individual’s strengths. Without a blend of strengths, our species would be vulnerable to gaps in our functionality. Said another way, not everyone needs to be the warrior; not everyone a nurture; not everyone a hunter; not everyone a gatherer.” Oh. Love that.


KATY: Thanks.


DANI: So good.


KATY: So that was, so to me that whole, that one line, that we have unique food and movement requirements is my answer to, like, “well what about this?” It was like, “yeah, it’s in there. You have a unique requirement, right?”


DANI: Right.


KATY: To say, to call out every single requirement and show how they’re different is tedious. Like, there’s just a certain amount of work…


DANI: Right. And you have touched on it before, like when we were talking about walking with toddlers and stuff like that.


KATY: Sure. Totally. So, I guess to set the stage, if you will, for thinking about movement, we’ve gotten – and I think maybe this is part of that nutrient centracisim a little bit – like where, we have a diet. We have a healthy diet. It made me – I remember reading sometime someone’s article going off on fasting, like, and how ridiculous it was, maybe it was a juice fast and she’s like “this is what humans need. Humans need three meals a day and they need to be balanced with protein and the car…” like she had the whole nutritional science thing and I was like, well that is a perspective that you need three perfectly balanced meals three times a day comes from abundant food and grocery stores and your particular understanding.


DANI: Yeah. Oh, good point.


KATY: You know, in the natural world there are times when, like that balance is not every single meal throughout every single day of your entire life. Right? There is a …


DANI: Mm-hmm.


KATY: There are – there’s a difference in your nutritional needs. And then there’s also variability. Variability is probably a better word than difference. There’s a variability that goes throughout your lifetime as far as nutritional needs go. And then there’s a variability in terms of what is available in terms of your particular environment. And when you start to think about well what is the natural relationship between a human and its landscape, food is not equal straight across the board. Its availability is not the same 100% of the time. So your ratios of what you eat, they might not balance every single meal but maybe over other periods of time they do. Maybe over a week, maybe over a season. So I, we think of what is the best natural movement routine, you know, that I do every single day. So that’s looking, that’s like thinking about a balanced exercise – like what’s a balanced exercise program. If we were gonna do super easy… “I have to do cardio, I have to do strength, I have to do flexibility…”


DANI: Do your triceps and your biceps! Make sure you balance it out!


KATY: Exactly. Right. And now we’re doing upper body but I’m going to balance my upper body with lower body and maybe if you’re a body-builder you’re like, “Well I can’t do it all. I can’t do my whole body every day.” So then you justify balancing it over a week, right?


DANI: Right. Don’t skip leg day (said in a deep voice).


KATY: Right, right. (laughs). And then flexibility … I feel you’re a little judgemental with that voice.


DANI: No. Sorry. Sorry.


KATY: Then I think about someone trying to balance an exercise class. Just for those people who are trainers. “Oh well, I balance I make sure I throw in a little flexibility in the end.” Right?


DANI: Mm-hmm


KATY: You’re seeking to balance the needs of movement and you’re either thinking of balancing it over a routine, one hour.




KATY: Sometimes you’re thinking of balancing it over a week. Maybe – I’ve read some fitness or health magazines where are like “Here’s your 30-day program.” Where you’re trying to balance it over a month. You’re trying to. It’s varied over a month, but when you’re designing a program you’re trying to make it like, sort of, balanced out. So you’re not going to do three weeks of only upper body activity. You’re just kind of always trying to balance it. So you can think about you having a rhythm. So there’s that. Like that’s the exercise programming mindset. And then there’s just the reality of the biology of it all. Or the natural rhythm or the biorhythm which is, there is a rhythm that you have over the day. There’s a certain amount of light… and all those things are affecting your movement, right?


DANI: Right.


KATY: Cold.


DANI: Over a day and over a month, like all that.


KATY: Well exactly. And the day, so like right now – I’m just trying to think of how does it balance over a day. It’s like, well, there’s the time when the sun comes up. The sun didn’t come up here until 7:30 this morning. Like I used to get up and walk really early at 5:30, but 5:30 feels like aggressively unnatural for me right now. In the summertime, I’m all about rising at the 5:30, and really through the fall too. And last year I felt even better. But right now, my body feels like, it’s not the right time for me to push through. So sometimes we marry – we stay overly attached to the time in our schedule that we’ve allotted for exercise whether or not it lines up with our natural rhythm for movement. Right? Does that make sense?


DANI: Yeah.


KATY: We’re like, “Well I have this time carved out and I have to go to work at 7 and I’ve been exercising at 5:30 for the last 5 years and it’s my only time.” So, that might not be your particular natural rhythm as much as it’s your scheduling rhythm.


DANI: Right. Wow, I’ve noticed that about winter too. Because I’m an early walker. And I just


KATY: Yeah.


DANI: And it just doesn’t feel right to get up as early and do it.


KATY: Well, I mean, winter has a purpose. I mean, why are things … you know, trees are getting ready to do, I’m just thinking about trees because I love trees. Like they’re – it’s a conservation… it’s not dead time. Things aren’t dead. As much as they look dead, which you just see is, you’re not seeing other work being done or prepared. Because there’s going to be a huge push in the spring, right? So, there needs to … if you’re gonna have a huge push, you’re gonna need to conserve someplace else. And so you’re seeing a balance.


DANI: Mm-hmm


KATY: A balance of activity. So you can think about your own personal… so let’s talk about movement. Like, what movements should everyone be doing? Well, not everyone is at the same stage in their biorhythm. Right, um?


DANI: Sure.


KATY: What about toddlers? Right? So we talk about human movement quite a bit


DANI: Mm-hmm.


KATY: but when we say human movement, we are most usually talking about a fully able-bodied person aged 18 to 34… that’s what we mean by human.


DANI: Right. Well, it’s kind of like da Vinci’s “The Vitruvian Man” or whatever it is, you know, the drawing of the man with the arms out…


KATY: Yeah.


DANI: We go for these ideals and that’s the bar that we start from, you know, it’s that ideal. But there’s so many different ideals. I mean, everybody, there’s so much variability in just the starting point.


KATY: Well, human is a word that covers a lot of different types of people, at a lot of different stages


DANI: Right.


KATY: but in our minds when we talk human we’re most always talking about that human – one particular human – the warrior, because that’s our society. Like our society, that’s the person, that’s the person that we ideal – idolize often. The most. Because it’s a cultural, repetitive, it’s the Vitruvian man, like the science model often uses that…


DANI: Mm-hmm.


KATY: … and then we have to clarify if we’re talking about another human. It’s like, “no now I’m talking about infants.” It’s like, human is a huge category.


DANI: Right.


KATY: So, when we talk about human movement we just want to always, you know, we’re usually talking about it in a particular fitness context; the person who is at the exercise class, or the person buying the exercise book, which is not going to be toddlers often. And then if we want to write an exercise book for not that Vitruvian man, then it has to have a special word. It’s like, “Oh this book is for kids,” or, “this book is for


DANI: Right.


KATY: seniors.” It’s like we have to qualify human to not be that particular person. So just aware that that’s a cultural phenomenon if you are just recently clueing into it, it might be somewhat mind blowing but if you’ve been working in human science for a long time it’s like, it’s just we over, we… that word… it’s a very big word for a whole entire group of, you know, of a species but we’re really talking about one small thing in our mind, you know, when we’re using that word…


DANI: Mm-hmm.


KATY: …we’re often reaching for that one particular small model.


DANI: That’s true.


KATY: So, trying to think about the variations. You know if you have questions about variability in movement, I would say that there are all sorts of variability that goes… I mean you have variability… you have varying abilities


DANI: Right.


KATY: as humans.


DANI: Right. And each for each human that has varying ability, those, there’s different times of the day, month, and year, and lifetime that those vary too.


KATY: Sure.


DANI: They’re not the same flat line the whole time, you know. Just thinking about if you’re …


KATY: No one is at a flat line.


DANI: No. No.


KATY: No one is at a flat line. You’re never on a flat line of behavior. Nature has a rhythm. It’s going up and down and up and down…


DANI: Right.


KATY: and in and out.


DANI: So if you have your little routine, you’re talking about, you’re trying to balance, let’s say, your exercise routine and you’re having your period and you might push through these feelings of you just don’t want to move as much. Or you don’t want to do the things that you are doing to balance out your exercise program or your movement program…


KATY: Well, you have to offset your weight gain. Right? Like if you’re not, you have to offset that weight gain during your period so, you know, keep… even though it’s just the swelling and the additional fluid in your uterus of the natural process, you want to really, you know, do some cardio, fix that up.


DANI: Right, we can’t let that happen.




DANI: Yeah. And so it’s kind of cool when you start to pay attention to it. “You know, I’m just not for that today.” and let yourself not do it. It feels balanced. It feels more balanced than sticking to a calendar of what you’re supposed to do.


KATY: Well that’s … yes. There is no “supposed to do.” I guess that’s the point. The variability is the permission that, I don’t think there is


DANI: I know but we’re surrounded by “supposed to dos”.


KATY: I know.


DANI: And we’ve talked about that before, like the “shoulds” and


KATY: Mm-hmm.


DANI: Just we kind of… I like this stepping back and looking at the variability because then it really sweeps away the “supposed to dos” because there are none.


KATY: Well. There are none. And I also think that we are used to thinking in that exercise box where it’s “exercise yes or no”, right?


DANI: Mm-hmm.


KATY; So it’s like, “oh I am…” I think of menstrual cycle as another period, that’s why it’s called period, right? It’s another period of which to evaluate that you are not, you don’t have all exactly the same parts to your body. You’ve got different things coming and going over that phase. So to be doing exactly the same routine over all of those days. I think what tends to happen is we’ll use day off mentality. It’s like “I really need a day off.” It’s like, well, I still do think that movement, you know the luxury of a day off is not, it’s not something that you get an abundant amount of in nature. But maybe the way you move looks different. You know what I mean?


DANI: Right.


KATY: So I think we’re just like, “Oh I don’t feel good. Day off.” But sometimes movement, though, is part of the healing process but you have to make sure that you’re idea of natural movement or exercise, whatever it is that you’re thinking of isn’t the hunter type movements. Right? So if you’re always pulling out … you know to do a squat, you know everyone’s using a bat, so if we go from that natural world mindset for a second, everyone is going to be squatting to go to the bathroom once or twice a day.


DANI: Right.


KATY: So to me those aren’t exercises. So if you’re like, “Oh I don’t feel good, I’m not going to do my squats.” It’s like, you don’t have to “do” some squats. But how about just drop down and gently sit in a squat, like that would still be part of your natural movement cycle no matter really where you were in your life cycle. To really just to think about it a little bit. To go what are the movements that would be threaded throughout my day every day no matter my feelings or no matter my stage and which ones are summertime, abundant intensity, abundant food exercises or movements. That you start thinking about movements as having seasonal components. In the same way we think about – is it seasonal food?


DANI: Yeah.


KATY: Is there a whole title for the seasonal food movement. I feel like there’s a name for it. Is it macrobiotics?


DANI: I don’t know.


KATY: I don’t know. I’m not sure. But you have seasonal availability. There are times and locations, right? It’s not always season…


DANI: Sure.


KATY: …it’s just also where you live.


DANI: Where you are, yeah.


KATY: Where things are more or less possible. That you have to kind of fake that element, too. In the same way that you’re … you could do whatever you want whenever you want. Right? That’s the privilege of being most people right now. It’s like, “If I want blueberries in January, fresh, I’m gonna get them.”


DANI: Right.


KATY: And so we kind of have the same mentality to our exercise.


DANI: It’s like when I was a little kid I wondered why in Slavic countries and Russia, it’s like “why so many beets. They must really like beets and root vegetables.” It’s what they eat so much. It’s like, no, that’s what’s available.


KATY: So I think it’s just turning your eye to that. That there can be this… that you can change the types of natural movements that you’re doing to even natural-up your natural movement. I guess if that makes sense.


DANI: Yeah. I wanna talk about the gift you just sent me. Can I do that?


KATY: Yes. I’m so glad you got it. You can, of course!


DANI: I did. It’s really awesome. She sent me this calendar. And at first I opened it and I’m like, “Oh. Ok. A calendar. Yay. Pictures of flowers on it.”


KATY: You’re like, “Sucky, worst gift ever.”


DANI: But then. Ok, it’s called the Passamaquoddy Moon Calendar. Passamaquoddy – they are a tribe, right? And it’s North Eastern United States?


KATY: Yeah. Maybe up around Maine.


DANI: Yeah. So this calendar, I open it up and I’m like, they have, first of all, the title at the top of the page, there’s no January. Ok. And so I’m like, “all right.” But they’re titled, and this is all written in Passamaquoddy language spelled phonetically and English, they’re titled by the moon. But that’s not only the weird part about it. I mean that’s pretty cool, but because I’m a moon person and I love moon cycles. But this was actually a perfect gift for me, you should know this. I don’t know if you just were stabbing in the dark with that.


KATY: No. I knew this was exactly the right gift.


DANI: But I love this kind of flip you on your head sort of thinking. So the months that would normally be titled months are titled by what kind of moon it is and at the bottom it explains the moon but then instead of having your 1-30 or your 1-31, there are actually, like 30-21 on the page. So it’s going by the moon cycle and not the gregorian or our standard calendar. And so it’s like a nature time calendar.


KATY: Yeah.


DANI: And I love this because it’s going in my work room, like, by the garage where I already have moon cycles hung up because I love to know what’s going on with the moon. So this is perfect and I’m gonna read some of the kind of, I’m doing “months” in air quote, but let’s just say moon because that’s where the word month comes from is moon. So there’s the big moon. The whirling wind moon. O. M. G. When the spruce tips fall moon. Spring moon – who doesn’t love that one. Egg laying moon! What is this? Alewife Moon?


KATY: Just so you know. You gotta get busy when the egg laying moon comes out.


DANI: That’s like a fish, right? Alewifes. Yeah, they’re a fish. They’re a fish.


KATY: I think so, yes.


DANI: So it’s egg laying and then you’ve got to gather.


KATY: They’re natural cues. Right.


DANI: This is brilliant.


KATY: They’re to remind you. The months names that we use they’re all after guys’ names.


DANI: Right, gods.


KATY: It’s like they’re arbitrary. The gregorian calendar is an arbitrary organization of time.


DANI: I’ve always stood by that and I love that you sent me this calendar. Because I’ve always had an issue with that arbitrary timing of things. This more…


KATY: Well and especially


DANI: This is more natural. There’s like feather shedding moon. Ripening moon. This is like when things happen.


KATY: Yeah.


DANI: Of course everyone’s favorite, the harvest moon. Freezing moon. Frostfish moon.


KATY: Yeah. Well…


DANI: This is like when things happen.


KATY: Well it’s to help you survive in your environment, right? These are cues to help you adjust your behavior where, you know, it’s knowledge passed on. Like this is the moon when this happens so then you can kind of get prepared. You’re organizing your mind around what you do. I guess in the same way you see December’s coming and you say “Oh I gotta do Christmas shopping”. And, you are organizing your time, too, around the months that you’re given…


DANI: Sure.


KATY: it’s just that it’s not “natural” behaviors, necessarily, associated with those terms.


DANI: Mm-hmm


KATY: And this is just one tribe’s name for moons.


DANI: Right.


KATY: There’s obviously different ones. They’re gonna vary on what’s happening in your landscape.


DANI: Sure.


KATY: So here’s something else that’s interesting to, like, think about natural movement varying to your particular landscape. Right? Natural movement isn’t a set of moves that every single person did back in the olden days. You’re going to have, like, there were people who traveled more by water. There were people who traveled more by walking. There were people who lived in mountainous regions. Right? So natural movement can’t even really be called a single set of any particular moves. Because everyone’s doing something different based on the region where they are. Which is why I’ve always tried to keep, you know, with Move Your DNA, that’s what this is saying, if you go back and listen to it again, which is; Your movements are going to, like, what is natural to you really depends on so much of the terrain. You know? So it’s not like, “oh you should be able to climb at high altitudes”. It’s like, “there is no altitude where I live, so I would be missing this natural movement?” It’s like, well, that might not be in your menu for natural movement. So I stick to the basics, right? It doesn’t matter if you’re way up high in the Taos mountains or if you are on a bunch of plains. Like, you probably had to squat to go to the bathroom.


DANI: Right.


KATY: Yeah, and everyone’s walking. What they’re walking over will vary a little bit but it’s certainly not going to be flat level cement or in the mall, right? So you can just kind of vitamin texture and terrain are huge categories that vary depending. So, and I was thinking, you know, that one section that you read. With groups of animals that every participant is filling a different role that capitalizes on their strengths or it could be that everyone has many many strengths and the role that you fill depends on the need. So that, so I wrote this in 2014: “Everyone wants to be a hunter. ” And back then, the information that I had was this colony model…


DANI: Mm-hmm


KATY: …in biology which is: ants, bees, probably some other bugs – I don’t, I don’t know my bugs very well – that … it was this idea that there were worker bees and there are drones or in ants I don’t know what they are, like there’s different… like there’s fighting ants and the…


DANI: Well, there’s the scouts. There’s the ants that get rid of the dead bodies. They all have their little jobs.


KATY: Right. They have their jobs. And, like, that’s their jobs. And I just read this fascinating article. I’m gonna- can you link to it in the show notes?


DANI: Sure.


KATY: Do you have that technology?


DANI: To… what? To link to the show notes? I do. I do. Even though I have my Passamaquoddy moon calendar, I do have technology and the power.


KATY: We’re high tech. So the name of the article is: The Queen Does Not Rule. And it was written by Deborah Gordon. She’s a biology professor at Stanford and she has this book. If anyone’s looking for a last minute Christmas gift to give me? Ant Encounters.


DANI: You’re gonna get like 300 of these. Don’t send her the book.


KATY: Yeah, yeah. Ant Encounters: Interaction Networks and Colony Behavior. And she’s saying that this idea, this division of labor, this idea of a natural instance of a social system governed by the division of labor was really, it was created by E.O. Wilson and he was, of course, coming from a place where this was really valued. Like, he saw that this was how ants worked because this is how humans work, right? You know, you do your podcasting and you go to the factory, like that. Everyone just had their job in society and that’s how societies worked really well. Everyone was doing their job. Do your full job, take care of your own, like, take care of your skill set, but she says that ants don’t actually perform like this. They are not specialized factory workers. Ants switch tasks. And ants, I’m quoting from the article: “An ant’s role changes as it grows older and as changing conditions shift the colony needs. An ant that feeds the larvae one week, might go out to get food the next. Yet in ant colony, no one in charge or tells another what to do.” And she says the queen is not in charge. The queen is simply a queen because she’s laying eggs.




KATY: That the ants … that the colony is not a monarchy. That the ants are actually communicating with each other I think chemically and that is how they figure out what still needs to be done and then they just decide what they’re going to do. The tasks based on, again, this kind of, this group mentality coming together. And it’s like, wow, the idea that we don’t actually have specialized tasks, that those, too, are fluid. And I was like, oh another…it was just another cultural influence on science and then. So, if I could go back, and I can because we’re gonna do an updated version of Move Your DNA




KATY: Next year.


DANI: Oh ok.


KATY: That’s not a new book! THat’s not a new book!


DANI: 2017.


KATY: We’re adding a bit…we’re adding programs. Like different movement programs to the back so it’s new pictures. We’ll talk about it later.




KATY: But so, I would edit, like as I was listening to you read that, I wrote, “As with any group of animals, any participant fills a role, a role that capitalizes on individual strengths.” I would have to change that, now with this, with my new way of thinking based on them better understanding that it’s not this industr… that ants aren’t behaving like humans, interestingly enough,




KATY: that they really have all strengths, it seems, and they fill the role that is necessary…


DANI: And they shift.


KATY: …and it’s shifting over a period: a season, a day, like, over the egg laying moon, I don’t know.


DANI: Oh sure. Or if something happens to the colony and they have to


KATY: Of course


DANI: scramble and move. I mean. That’s pretty cool.


KATY: Yes. I just thought like, wow, we have that capacity. And one more with the variability. Now I wanted to go back to … there was a really nice twitter… twitter…that’s how we say it. We say it twitter.


DANI: Twitter.


KATY: Yeah a nice twitter interaction of a group of people. Someone had put out something like, you know, “Sitting Kills” or whatever. And then someone else put out “Well, it’s stillness. It’s not sitting or standing. It’s just a lack of movement.” And then a gentleman popped in and he was like: “So if sitting kills, are we paraplegics out of luck?” Right? Because sitting is


DANI: Sure.


KATY: an often necessity. And then I had to chime in and was like, no, I don’t… the goal here is not everyone should have equal capacity for movement. But that everyone is working towards maximizing their capacity for movement. Right? Which are two different things. So when we’re using things like human movement, it doesn’t, I don’t think it has to be explicit all the time. Hopefully, like the work to understand that the term human involves lots of, that it involves all people, is the work of every individual. Right?


DANI: Right.


KATY: So when you say “human” it includes all humans. So I just thought that was really nice to clarify with this variability that ability varies. And so just to be thinking it’s like, “oh, I can’t do this or that”, it’s like, we all don’t have to aspire to the same tasks. At this point what we’re all just talking about is maximizing our own personal capacity. So I just wanted to throw that out there.


DANI: Oh that’s cool.


KATY: All right. So, what moon are we on?


DANI: I guess it would be…


KATY: It’s really challenging…


DANI: Freezing. It’s a frostfish moon.


KATY: Really. No, it’s the whirling wind moon.


DANI: Well, wait a minute. Where are we? No.


KATY: Yes. Ma’am.


DANI: Oh we are! Sorry.


KATY: So the thing is, you think it’s just easy – like those people out there listening. Your mind is so dependent on a gregorian calendar that when you see it, I mean, so, um,


DANI: Totally, because I flipped to the first page and I thought this should be January 2017.


KATY: (laughs) It’s a ca… right. Because the moon of the season does not begin on January 1, right?


DANI: Nope.


KATY: It begins before that. So, and also there is no right or wrong calendar. There are just how different people organize time. So I really like, Arthur Haines, he’s just so clear. He said, “This calendar was created as part of a personal learning project to study the Passamaquoddy language. It is also an attempt to return to a more natural calendar based on solar and lunar cycles, rather than the gregorian calendar which is an arbitrary set of dates imposed on the natural yearly cycle. This calendar uses the yearly system published in recent years by the Maliseet with the language and moon names of the Passamaquoddy.” But he’s also saying, like, “this calendar is not an attempt to replace any existing calendars nor do it’s creator assert this calendar is more or less authentic than others. It was produced to learn and honor the ways of the people who first inhabited the dawn land.” So it’s just, there is no right calendar. Like, that’s the first, maybe the cultural shift. It’s like, it’s just, did I talk about this? What geography is the study of?




KATY: Did I say this already?




KATY: What is geography?


DANI: What is geography?


KATY: Yeah.


DANI: Well, I guess it’d be the study of, well I guess maps are political, huh? I don’t know. What is geography?


KATY: I feel like you’re asking me a lot of questions. But yes, what is geography? Geography is the science or the study of how people view where they live.


DANI: Yeah. Cuz it’s all just


KATY: It’s not, it’s not a natural… it’s how people make sense. It’s how human beings make sense. It’s like, no other animals are using it. It’s just how people are making sense of where they live. And I find it interesting, it’s like, oh what’s the need to, you know…


DANI: Well it is. I was teaching my kids about countries that are gone. And they’re like, “what do you mean…” you know like Czechoslovakia, and they’re like, “What do you mean gone?” Because they’re imagining like it just fell into the ocean, right, or it blew up. And I’m like, “no, it’s a political line that was drawn. It’s just the way we perceive where that is.” The whole place is still there, we just call it something different and therefore it’s different on the map now.


KATY: Right. The map is…it’s just our perception, again, it’s not a tangible things so so much, I’ve just been tuning in, you know, having little kids and going, oh, it’s Friday. It’s like, well, to be clear… like he’ll have a question over… my son, he’s always, he thinks very largely and he’s like, “Well is it Friday, there?” And I was like, “no”. He’s like, “Well then it’s not Friday.” And I was like, “You’re right. It’s not actually Friday.” This is the day… and so he already knows…


DANI: God bless critical thinking.


KATY: Yes. He already has a hard time reconciling those general statements that we make all the time that are essentially false. Like almost everything we’re saying all the time isn’t a true statement without the putting the set around it. It’s like, “oh, I’m talking about the way North American’s think.” According to our perception, it’s Friday.


DANI: Mm-hmm.


KATY: It’s been truly educational having kids and it’s been truly educational playing with an organization of time. So I’m glad we get to play with it together because I’m gonna be like, “When are we gonna go out and collect spruce tips? Oh, I know, in the spruce tips moon.” So when’s my birthday? Oh…




KATY: Spring moon. First week of the spring moon.


DANI: Yep.


KATY: And it tells you, it’s just a full moon, every moon cycle. It’s so great. Ok, I’m gonna stop rambling about this calendar that not everyone has.


DANI: No it’s very cool, though. I really like it. And as a side note, this has nothing to do with the beauty of this but, first when I saw Passamaquoddy I got so excited because, as a child of the 70s and 80s, Pete’s Dragon, the original, had a huge impact on me – I don’t know why. Some people think it’s a creepy movie but I loved it. But all I knew from Passamaquoddy was it was a hard to say name of a place.


(Movie clip song trying to say Passamaquoddy)


KATY: Have you seen the new Pete’s Dragon?


DANI: No. I only like my…


KATY: You haven’t it’s great!


DANI: I only like my dragon if it’s animated with live action all around them and with pink hair and named Elliott. I draw the line. I draw the line at the real looking dragon. I’m sorry.


KATY: It’s good. We don’t go to movies all that often and this was our kids’ first movie to go see the new Pete’s Dragon and it was really great, but it was, it’s a wild boy. It’s a slightly different story. But the crazy thing was, as we were watching this Hollywooded up wild boy, who lived in the woods, running around barefoot, leaping. And I could tell that somewhere in some producers room they were like, “We gotta make this kid look, like, crazy wild. Let’s give him long hair. Let’s give him bare feet. Let’s give him…” And I was like, he just looks like my kids. Like to me through all of that crazy Hollywood wild-up “let’s make him look totally different that his kid counterpart like living in a town”, he just looked like my kids. I was like cringing. I was like, oh my gosh, they thought that this was, that this would be perceived as like, crazy impossible and it just looked like our actual children. And I saw, at one point, he’s running barefoot over stones and through a river and I could tell that they had to put something flat and smooth for him to be able to do that scene. You can see it because of course, that’s what I was looking for.


DANI: Sure. Oh yeah.


KATY: Like, how is that kid handling that sprint across it barefoot. And you could see just the flat…that they had put something like underneath the water. Like a rubber flat thing, so he could just run full speed over the bramble and the, it’s like very stony rocky water. But, that was an ah-ha moment for me.


DANI: Yeah. I did the same thing in the jungle book. I was like watching his scaps the whole time when he’s swinging.


KATY: Yeah.


DANI: (laughs) We’re ruined.


KATY: Let’s get out of here.


DANI: Yeah. I love winter. I love hunkering down, breathing the cold air. The whole shebang.


KATY: Mm-hmm. Me too. Although…


DANI: You have to come out here in the winter sometime.


KATY: Maybe, yeah. It seems really cold. Just kidding.




KATY: Yeah. I’ll definitely come out again and I’ll bring everyone this time.


DANI: Yeah.


KATY: Ok, let’s take it out just so we can chat after. You ready?


DANI: Yeah, it’s you, babe.


KATY: Thanks for listening. For more information, books, and online exercise classes you can find Katy Bowman at Nutritious… oh wait that’s me. That’s weird … you can find me at NutritiousMovement.com … and Katy Bowman, that’s weird, we’ll be at the same place all the time. You can find more from Dani Hemmat at MoveYourBodyBetter.com. Bye.


DANI: Bye-bye.




VOICE OVER: Hopefully you find the general information in this podcast informative and helpful. But it is not intended to replace medical advice and should not be used as such.


Music fade.





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One thought on “Podcast Transcript Ep. 69: Natural Movement and Variability

  1. Dani, I am so glad you remember the old “Pete’s Dragon” movie. As soon as I heard you say Passamaquoddy it was the first thing I thought of. My kids (now adults) and I love that old movie and I think I still have it on VHS somewhere. I’m a little afraid to see the new movie – saw the trailer and the dragon just didn’t look like Elliot to me! Loyal to the old stuff that still provides fond memories. I’m gonna dig that movie out and watch it! I’m also going to check out the calendar. Thanks.

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