Episode 79: Between The Lines, Part One
Stephanie Domet asks Katy Bowman why she writes books, why she writes so MANY books, and why she wants to spend some podcast time talking about them. Plus, a special lightning round word association quiz!
00:02:25 What “Between the Lines” is about – Jump to section
00:08:40 Who are the books for?- Jump to section
00:18:18 Why offer a book club style conversation? Jump to section
00:21:40 Lightening round work assocation Jump to section
STEPHANIE: That one was surprisingly literal Katy.
KATY: That’s just what came to mind!
STEPHANIE: Hey there. Welcome to the Katy Says podcast. This is the first of a series of special episodes we’re calling Between the Lines, where Katy Bowman and Stephanie Domet explore the deeper messages in and connections between Katy’s books.
STEPHANIE: And I’m Stephanie Domet and it’s my first time here.
KATY: Welcome Stephanie!
STEPHANIE: Thank you, Katy! I’m stoked.
KATY: Yeah, I am really excited you’re here. I met you – should we tell people how we met?
STEPHANIE: Yeah, let’s talk about that.
KATY: What was your exact position. I mean, you’re a journalist…
STEPHANIE: Yeah, I was the host of the Dry Home Show on public radio station, public broadcasters CBC in Canada. In Halifax Nova Scotia. You were visiting…
KATY: Yeah, and so you interviewed me for your radio show when I was in Halifax a couple – a few years ago. Time flies.
STEPHANIE: I think maybe 4 years ago.
KATY: you are clearly an experienced journalist which makes a huge difference. You know you were extracting deep connections in, I don’t know how long your interview was, 3 minutes, 2 minutes.
STEPHANIE: A little longer than that. Maybe six.
KATY: Well, six minutes versus an hour. Right.
KATY: Like you get down to… so, you, to me, are the perfect person to host this series of Between the Lines. This kind of between the lines series within a podcast series because you able to, you have that skill. This is your skill set right now that you’re gonna walk us through. You’re gonna walk me through, right? This is for me that you’re doing it.
STEPHANIE: It’s gravy for the listeners, yeah. This is for you. Yeah, so for me, I’m also a writer of books and as you say, I’m a former radio journalist. And I wouldn’t say I’m a movement geek, the way Dani Hemmat, your usual co-host posits herself. But like her, I am chronically curious. So, I think this is going to be a good time for us and hopefully for everybody listening.
KATY: All right. Let’s do it.
STEPHANIE: Of which you have written eight?
KATY: I know. I pause at that 8. I am like “really is it 8?” And I always am unable to recall one or two of them. But yeah, I believe I am told it is 8.
STEPHANIE: Why…why write books at all? I mean it’s a lot of work to write a book.
KATY: Mm-hmm. You know the first book just occurred to me one day. You know, “what I should do is write a book.” And I love books. I am someone who has gathered most of my knowledge from books versus experiences. I would be holed up in my, not even in my house, in my nook in my room in my house with a book and through books, I was able to glean a certain understanding of the world. So it’s probably a natural medium. I’ve transitioned away from that, definitely over the last few years, gathering my information through books. But I have such a natural relationship with books that it was probably the best place for me to flesh out my own thoughts. You know it’s one thing to casually talk over 8 hours to a group of people. You know, it’s another thing to be limited in word count. It makes you drill down your own understanding of your own field. And so it’s almost like my works are my workbooks.
KATY: You know people can read them and extract from them. But what you’re looking at the result of me forcing myself to explain to myself or to someone…or to my editor, anywhere, where she’s like, “This is not clear.” No one would really say that during a verbal piece because it becomes clear through eight hours of rambling and if I can’t articulate something in words then I was like, “Just watch me do this with my arm.” Or it’s easier to teach something through demonstration, through you and me being in the same room and me putting on my hands to push you into a particular position. It’s much more challenging to write it in 80 words. And so I find that I probably wrote books just for myself to be able to hone my own message more clearly. So that’s why books.
STEPHANIE: I mean, you talk about, you know, being kind of bounded by word count. You’ve gotten around that by writing 8 books.
KATY: I’m so sneaky.
STEPHANIE: You really are sneaky Katy.
KATY: There’s no limit to the number of books you can write. You know my body of work is large because the ideas are very large. The ideas, you know, when you’re talking about one recipe it can be kind of small. When you’re trying to explain human things, biological things and you’re saying that “hey the body has 300 moving parts or axes” and then your other book is like, “no wait there’s a trillion moving axes in the body”, your word count goes rapidly up. So yes there are a lot of books but also, I not only need the number of books to cover the vastness of the idea, the portal into this idea, you know the idea of why movement is so important is maybe only interesting to chronically curious movement teachers. People already moving. For that population, I could have probably written just one really thick book. How do you describe the importance of movement to someone who has almost no relationship with movement and maybe hasn’t because they’ve been in chronic pain their entire life? Where the constant “you should move more, move more, why don’t you move more, why aren’t you exercising already” propaganda that’s coming at you really every time you go to your doctor’s office, every time you go to the store and look at the magazine racks. I mean we have enough of “you need to move” exercise messaging. The accessibility is really small. So I wrote a book about foot pain. And here are some things that your feet should do. And that book was not to appeal to those who are interested in going across the monkey bars and walking 40 miles and living a movement rich life. It was someone who was like, “I’m not getting the full experience that I’d like to have. Like I can’t walk through my house without cringing in pain and I’m taking these medications” and so it made the “move more” message accessible to someone who didn’t think of himself as having symptoms of a movement deficit, who just had this tiny issue. And so I’ve written a lot of books to increase the accessibility of my message. I’m trying to make it as inclusive as possible. So you’ll see, as you read my body of work, as we’ll talk about it too. This is one of the things I’m excited about this. As we’re talking about different books, each book has slightly different shaped portal. There’s different keys, we are not all the same. We are not motivated by the same thing. Yet there are some common threads we share being, you know, all belonging to this human beings population. And so the books are different keyholes so that you, as a person, can find the book that matches your key. So that’s why… so I mean I guess I’m gonna have to write a trillion books. Or, I’m just trying to find…
STEPHANIE: [laughs] You heard it here first.
KATY: Exactly. Starting now. So I’m just trying to find these really general keyholes where maybe if you guys know how keys work which is another fascinating topic on its own, to find kind of a…
STEPHANIE: Did you want to get into that too?
KATY: No. No, I’m going to write a book about it too. …A skeleton keyhole where large groups of people can all fit into one book. But that book changes you as you pass through it and then the other books now align more with you. So that’s how they work together.
KATY: Well they’re all for everyone but the order at which you go through is going to depend on your key.
STEPHANIE: And I know that’s a question you get all time.
KATY: Oh yeah. And it’s an unanswerable question.
STEPHANIE: “Which book should I start with?”
KATY: And it’s the book that matches or aligns most currently with who you are right now. I would not expect every book to resonate with every person because I’m not writing all these books just for you the one person. I’m writing them, again, they’re my notebook. You are seeing an evolution of a… it’s not really an evolution of ideas, you’re seeing, you’re entering an idea and then you are watching the concepts expand beneath you. If you’ve ever moved through a science or ever moved through a mathematics training program, you start with these tiny nuts and bolts that are easy to grasp and then they start configuring and then you’re like, “ok this is more complicated now” and so these tiny nuts and bolts – grasping them are often necessary to assemble the next set of ideas and the next set of ideas. So nothing is really, it’s a journey. It’s a journey through the books. So I’ve written them for everyone but I am also always thinking, you know, you have to line up with, I mean we’re a consumer based society and movement is not a science that we’re fluent in. It’s not a knowledge set that we’re fluid in and we’re also, we’re a sedentary consumer based society or culture, so we are used to, if we go to the bookstore, “I don’t want to be barefoot. I’m not gonna read Whole Body Barefoot“. Like I have, “my abs, where’s my book for my abs” or whatever. So, I’m trying to put them in the language that we’re already comfortable working with around movement. I’m trying to change the language around exercise but the fact of the matter is, everyone knows exercise more than they know (ding) … did I get it right? Did I get the answer right? Is that what that ding was?
STEPHANIE: Mm-hmm. Yeah, that’s right. Ding. Right, Katy Bowman.
KATY: Ding. Right. I don’t need to belabor the example. Like that’s – I’ve written them and probably will continue to write at least a few more, to make the ideas more accessible.
STEPHANIE: Yeah. Because I’m struck often by the answer that you give when somebody asks a very specific question about their very specific body on this podcast…the answer you most frequently give is “I don’t know.”
KATY: Yeah, sure.
STEPHANIE: But that doesn’t mean there’s no answer. It just means, “I can’t answer that. You’ve got to dig in and kind of answer for yourself.”
KATY: Well, exactly. Like the purpose of my books are for everyone. For everyone to be able to see how they are themselves moving. I can see how you move. We’re so used to going to the person who is in charge of the movement understanding and telling me what I’m doing wrong and what I need to do now and push this here. And they do all the work of knowing for you. We have outsourced not only movement, we have outsourced knowing and that model where a therapist has what you need and because your knowing doesn’t increase that you get better by engaging with them more frequently. That model is not really a sustainable one. Because it depends on someone paying that therapist for a long period of time. Most people don’t have copious amount of incomes to get the frequency, when we’re talking about movement, to get the frequency down. And so a lot of movement teachers are really great and they’re giving exercise homework, right. So it’s like we’re doing this right now, some of it, like some exercise models, are “you come here to do the exercise with me. Ok, see you tomorrow.” Right? Like they’re providing a space for you to come in and engage. But you needing to come in and engage over and over again is the model by which you are going to move. Then there are movement teachers who are like, “Ok, this class is not only to lead you through this bout of movement but to show you some things so that you can see how you’re moving. So that you can be moving as you are in this class, more frequently.” And that’s the model that we have, graduates that have gone through our program, and that’s to me a very important distinction between just going to class to get moved during that period and someone who is not only helping you move for that period of time but giving you different ways and lessons so that you can increase the frequency when you’re not engaged in that movement space. That space in your life that you’ve carved outside. And then there’s this next level which is what I’m trying to offer through my books which is not only having a class based or a time for exercise, someone showing you how you’re moving, someone teaching you how to see how you’re moving.
STEPHANIE: Ah ha.
KATY: So that you can move differently but then also what are the lifestyle components, the way of thinking about how your whole entire life is shaped so that your environment is facilitating movement. So my books are not exercise books per se in that “run through these 30 exercises” you know, “3 times a week.” It’s more like, “we need to think about our entire life. You need to know where you wear your hips all the time and here’s where you can wear them more effectively for x and y and z.” So that’s my point of writing them is so that you no longer need, you no longer are outsourcing knowing. You’ve done the work to know. So when you call and ask me about my x, y, z, I will say, “well I would point you here so that you can access yourself.” I’m on a radio. I can’t see you. I don’t, like it’s going to a diet. “What should I eat?” It depends. Who are you? What are your blood panels? What are your symptoms? What is your life like right now? Like there’s so much that goes into that that I’m less about “here’s my five moves for x, y, and z”, “Here’s where you can start knowing about your own body, how it works and how to move it differently if you want a different outcome.”
STEPHANIE: You’re more about shifting the paradigm.
KATY: That is definitely one component. Right? But I think that the person isn’t interested in the paradigm being shifted so if someone asks me “What is your purpose?” Or, “What is your mission statement for your work?” That is a great question. Because I am trying to shift the academic understanding of exercise and movement but that’s directed towards academics. That’s the way that that trickles down. So I’m working on that level. I’m working with movement teachers overall to kind of get them to not only shift their personal behavior, which would be then at this next level that I’m talking about. But then going, “Hey is your movement practice one that perpetuates the exercise model or are you aware of the movement model over here.” You know so you’re shifting the professional level. And I’m definitely doing lots of outreach towards that. And then there’s just right direct to the individual who is supposed to be the recipient of both academic knowledge and professional knowledge. Right? That end user of both of those things who maybe could be doing a lot more themselves if they had more knowledge. So I’m really working on three different levels and have objectives for each different level. All of which I would consider my work. And I put it all out via one channel. If you’re an academic, you’re gonna pick up on certain aspects of it. If you are someone with low back pain that kept you from moving and you realize there was a glute muscle that should have been there that wasn’t there, you’re gonna be interacting with that same material but in a different way. So everyone has a different set of intention and understanding or knowledge that’s based on all other components of their life. And they will each extract something unique from this one body of work that I put out. So the body of work is individualized to the recipient because you can only extract from it what you can. You know. You only get the information that your keys are lining up with. I don’t see the distinction really between those three levels. But I understand that those three levels are going on because some person with a low back thing will have a particular understanding of the world where my academic arguments are the thing that helps them get more pelvic listing in their life.
STEPHANIE: Ah ha.
KATY: The academic under level will make more sense to them than the exercise level because maybe they weren’t an exerciser. Where someone who has only done fitness and they love fitness, they’ll be able to extract the fitness culture elements but the other cultural aspects will fly by and that’s fine. That’s why you can go through my body of work multiple times. You don’t need to go farther, you need to go deeper into this broad amount that there is because you will change as you pass through each one and thus when you pass through the rest again you will extract new things. So there’s a lot going on.
KATY: Mm-hmm. Yeah.
STEPHANIE: Yeah. Why is that? Why do you want to … talk about that. Can’t your books, you know, speak for themselves.
KATY: I think that they could speak for themselves. I feel like a lot of accessibility, meaning that you perceive that these books are for you, that’s thwarting often what you can extract from the books. And not everyone’s a book reader. Right? There’s a lot of people who listen to this podcast, I mean we’re close to 2 million downloads.
KATY: Which is a lot. But I would say, I mean I’ve met with a lot of people who have come in for various things who are like, “I’ve listened to the podcast. I’ve never read a book though.” You know and you’re going wow. Which is totally fine. So I think some people are, they like, they like Instagram. They like Instagram learning. Right? They like that short burst or whatever, scan for two minutes, take one big takeaway to change their lives and then some people love audio. They just like this idea that they can take a walk or maybe go to bed and hear us chat about these things and that’s a really easy way for them to grasp and learn and apply. So I think the book club was to serve two purposes. One, to help people who have read the books maybe make some links between the books that need to be facilitated by me. Because everything’s very clear to me being very, I mean it’s all passed through my mind. So I, there are a lot of connections between all the books that I see that are maybe more implicit than explicit. They are noted in a sentence or a short paragraph. And if you read a book and skim it over … you know like, have you ever gone to a movie with someone else and you’re like “Wow that was amazing! Did you see how they took the book of Job and like expanded into these characters?” And the other person is like “Wow, I just liked the action of that movie.” Like we’re not all grasping the same things from everything. So, I thought that I could use this podcast within a podcast as a time to do some of that work for you. Because I’m more fluent in those languages. Because I wrote them. So, like, connect the different books to people which would help. Or for the listener if they didn’t want to read any of the books, be able to go a little bit deeper in the material just by, just by hearing different connections. Whether or not you’ve actually read the words I think is helpful to cement the various theories that are presented and then for someone listening who does, who is asking, “Which exercise do I need? Which book do I read?” Very challenging to answer thousands of emails about that. But you can do the work through listening to go “Ah, I get it. That’s my key. That sentence resonated with me. That’s where I start.” So to help people, to help direct them better to this very large body of knowledge that’s there for the taking that you can get at your library, right? So it’s not, I don’t need people to go out and buy a bunch of books but for people who are asking a ton of questions, it would be more helpful for them if they read the books or they figured out where to put their time and attention. So that’s what this purpose is now.
KATY: Oh my gosh. Are you serious?
STEPHANIE: Are you ready? Did you practice?
KATY: Wait. No is it just a single word or what do I say? I’ve never done a word association.
STEPHANIE: You just blurt out whatever comes to mind. I’m going to say the title of one of your books and you, it doesn’t have to be a single word. It could be a sentence.
KATY: Oh my …
STEPHANIE: It’s fine.
STEPHANIE: You’ll be totally fine.
KATY: It’s not a word?
STEPHANIE: I know you’re a creative person.
KATY: I’m not creative at all. I’m very much like, “What’s the rule? Do I get one word or can I say sentence fragment or a sentence? What do I get?”
STEPHANIE: I mean you can sing a verse if that makes you feel better!
KATY: Ok. All right. So there’s no rule?
STEPHANIE: No rules. Does that blow your mind a little?
KATY: It makes me feel a little better. Yeah.
STEPHANIE: You can’t get this wrong. There will not be a test on the test.
KATY: Oh my word.
STEPHANIE: Ok, you ready? Assume the position.
STEPHANIE: All right. Whole Body Barefoot.
STEPHANIE: Movement Matters
STEPHANIE: Move Your DNA
STEPHANIE: Don’t Just Sit There.
KATY: Get up!
STEPHANIE: Ha ha! That one was surprisingly literal, Katy.
KATY: That’s just what came to mind!
STEPHANIE: Diastasis Recti.
KATY: Ooh. Complete.
STEPHANIE: Mm. Simple Steps To Foot Pain Relief
KATY: Uh, layperson.
STEPHANIE: Who am I forgetting?
KATY: Alignment Matters.
STEPHANIE: Oooh, Alignment Matters.
KATY: Lost child.
KATY: Not only am I gonna ask the question, I’m going to…
STEPHANIE: …answer it too. Dynamic Aging.
STEPHANIE: Mm. And there you go. You passed.
KATY: Yay! Ding. Where’s my ding now?
STEPHANIE: Exactly. Where is your ding? Ok, let’s talk about where you’re gonna be. You’re heading to Holland this week. What’s happening there.
KATY: I am, I’m teaching the program that we offer, which is closed now. So we have students who train with us for a couple of years to be able to learn how to teach the correctives and they really know the correctives in depth to help people move their bodies and help people see how they move their bodies so they can move their bodies differently. It’s a week. Their training concludes with a week-long training so I’m going to Europe to finish out that week for one group of students and then also for the public, I’m so excited about this. I know Dani and I have talked about it before, but we are doing a, there is a beach, I think it’s like a pancake and coffee house. An organic pancake and coffee house on the beach…
KATY: …that’s having a book signing. Because Whole Body Barefoot is in Dutch.
STEPHANIE: Nice. Congratulations.
KATY: Thank you. And we’ll be doing a press/book signing/minimal footwear swap out there. So that will be happening just when this…when does this come out?
STEPHANIE: This comes out on the 21st of June.
KATY: Oh. So that already passed. So sorry that you missed it, everybody. But it was, I’m sure, fantastic.
STEPHANIE: It was really good.
KATY: It was really great. Yes.
STEPHANIE: All right. Where else can people find you over the next little while?
KATY: I will be at the Ancestral Health Symposium in Seattle in September. But basically I’m taking, you know what, there might be a couple exciting events coming up in September. We’ll have to wait a little bit more as I’ll see how those flesh out. Other public events. I’m really trying to do more back to that one on one teaching where I work with a small group which is kind of my roots. You know it all kind of exploded where I’m talking to a gajillion people at once through the airwaves. And that’s super wonderful. And I’m grateful for that ability. But there is something to be said for being available to a group of people live and putting my eyes on them and having them put their eyes on my elbows as I’m moving a particular thing. And my shoulders and my knees. So a lot more of that coming up. And then I’ll be in uh… New Zealand, I’m coming for you! So I’ll see you in New Zealand pretty soon.
STEPHANIE: Katy you’re embarking on a social media break pretty soon right?
KATY: Yeah. Starting in July.
STEPHANIE: So in advance of that you recently changed up your newsletter. You want to say a bit about that?
KATY: Yeah my social media break is not a work break. Just to be clear. It’s not gonna be, “Oh I’d like to take some time off and just step away from that.” It’s actually me trying to stack my life in a way that allows me to accomplish what I want to accomplish for work in a way that aligns better with really me using my own messaging. You know, for me applying the principles that I am trying to educate others on. So I’m gonna be using my newsletter software as a way to connect in various ways. So if you imagine, like one newsletter, like I don’t really subscribe to newsletters because that’s not the way that, that’s not my keyhole for my particular key. I’m going to use my newsletter software though to send out keys of different shapes so that if social media was a key for you, maybe not just because it was social media but because you like the quickness of it, the easy scan of it, I’m going to be playing around with sending out these different keyholes of outreach so that I can continue to move my message forward in a more stacked way. So if you go to NutritiousMovement.com you can sign up to get that. Of course, you can unsubscribe at any time. And then see if that works for you. Because it’s, hopefully, what I’m hoping is it’s a way to get, to extract the most nutritious part of my message without some of the physical aspects, the thumbs and the shoulders and the upper spine and the neck and the eyes and in the high frequency of using all of those in the social media way, so that it’s, we can get rid of the things that aren’t serving us. So anyway. If you’re interested, that’s where you can go.
STEPHANIE: NutritiousMovement.com to sign up for the newsletter. All right. Listen, before I let you go, since we’ve been talking about your books and since reading can often be a very sedentary endeavor, maybe leave us with a way to make our reading time a bit more dynamic.
KATY: That’s a question that we get a lot, right?
KATY: We, like you, me and this mouse in my pocket.
STEPHANIE: (laughs) Should we have talked about the mouse in your pocket before this?
KATY: Well you didn’t ask about that book. That’s going to be a different book. People will ask, like they ask about a lot of things, like, “What’s the best way to x,y,z?” That the, there’s not really a best way to take in your reading as much as it is like, vary up. Vary up the positions in which you’re reading. So read a little bit on your stomach. Read a little bit on your back. Or, I wrote a blog post for Propriometrics Press and all of our authors submitted various ways that they kind of move while reading. But if you only change one thing, a very simple way would be to move the book a farther distance from your face than you normally hold it. Unless you’re trying to read without your glasses, where the distance is really set for the focus of your eyes, the focus ability of your eyes, reach your arms longer, right? That’s not only going to create a different experience for your wrist, your elbow, and your shoulders. And then the muscles of your upper back as you deal with this length. It’s going to change the muscle length in your eye. So even if you’re like, “I don’t know what else to do with my knees and my hips. I’m just gonna sit here in my chair and read.” Fine. But move your arms a little bit farther away from you to play with relaxing your eyes a little bit and If I took a picture of you reading you would hold the same joint angle over and over and over again. So just play with that. And you’ll come back to your preferred position so just move it back out again and hang out there. So that’s a quick makeover tip.
STEPHANIE: All right. I just did it right now with the piece of paper I’m holding in my hand. It’s very refreshing.
KATY: It’s weird. Well and do that with your phone too. You know what, if you’re not ready for your social media break, you’re gonna hold it at this fixed distance so stretch that puppy out. Get it out there, for sure.
STEPHANIE: All right. And it’s true, you did write up a whole blog post for us and it’s richly illustrated as well with photos of some of us who work at Propriometrics Press and lots of our authors and various dynamic reading and writing postures. So that can be found at PropriometricsPress.com. And we’ll put a link to that in our show notes.
KATY: Show notes.
STEPHANIE: Also in our show notes we’ll put a link to NutritousMovement.com where you can find Katy’s books and videos, some downloadable Alignment Snacks, a sign-up space for that jam packed newsletter, a way to access this very podcast as well. Katy this has been great. Thank you.
KATY: Yeah. I’m excited about going forward. I think we’re going to go deep. Which is good.
KATY: Ooh. Bookends. Bookends.
KATY: They are They definitely are. They’re bookends.
STEPHANIE: Bookend books. I see what you did there. I like what you did.
KATY: Is there gonna be a lightening round every single time because I feel like I might need to prepare.
STEPHANIE: Well if you prepare it’s not a lightening round anymore.
KATY: Oh. All right. My bad.
STEPHANIE: No I’ll come up with some other little … a little bit of candy.
KATY: All right. Perfect.
STEPHANIE: Thanks, Katy.
KATY: All right. Thanks, everyone.
STEPHANIE: I’m Stephanie Domet. Thank you for listening to Between the Lines on the Katy Says podcast.
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.