This blog was originally set up for students and graduates our whole-body alignment/biomechanics course at the Restorative Exercise Institute. Back then, everyone reading it already had a certain amount of information -- at least 7 months of listening to me yap on and on. Fun, right? Well, over the last couple of years, we have grown to a blog being read by over 100,000 people a month. This is great, but what is happening is, no one knows what is going on. And by no one, I really mean myself.
I thought I’d do a clarification piece, for the both of us.
This is a blog about natural movement.
What is natural movement? They are all the movements humans used to do to get around, live life, etc. before there were any cars, any bikes, any clothes. Before there were any pilates classes, any yoga practice, any shoes. Any belly dancing, any kegels, any fitness. Any Monsanto, any Whole Foods, any farms. Any houses, countries, heating systems. Even before there were any blogs written about health. Way back.
This is a blog about reflex-driven movement.
You probably get what I mean when I say natural movement. Reflex-driven movement might be a bit more complicated. You come with all of the hardware to move in alignment. You come with all the software to move in alignment. Alignment is a reflex. It is part of the package you came in. These reflexes are continuously expressing themselves like background computer programs, but are being stifled by newer patterns we learned via our exposure to modern habits. These moving patterns are the ones that you have to undo, so that your natural, brain-controlled hardwired human-alignment can happen.
This is a blog about alignment.
Why is alignment so stinking important? Well first, you need to understand that alignment is not posture. This comes up a lot, so I'll type it again: Alignment is not posture. Alignment is the relationship of parts and the loads created by their orientation. This orientation can cycle and flux, but there are certain orientations, and more importantly loads, that are required in order for the human body to work correctly (defined as disease-free operation.). Natural Body Alignment is the required positions and frequency of these positions necessary for your body to regenerate itself.
When you ask me the correct alignment for riding your bike, I can answer how to best ride a bike to not jack up your body. But being on a bike is not natural movement, which means that habitually riding a bike is already interfering with your physiological homeostasis. So I can tell you how to best ride your bike, but really what I want to say is, you need to stop riding your bike. Riding your bike is jacking up your body. (Actually I do say that sometimes, but I know you love your bike, so I don't say it very often). So then I’ll say, here’s a better way to ride your bike than how you were before, and P.S. riding your bike didn’t create the quantity of natural movement you needed today, so make sure when you're done riding, you still walk a few miles, squat a few times, swing from a monkey bar or two.
Then I'll say," check if your standing-walking body hasn't adapted to your cycling habit." If your hips don’t extend and your back doesn't straighten, make sure you add an hour of working towards alignment, putting pieces back to where they should be. Your body will adapt in shape, to the activities you are doing. And that shape is associated with disease.
And P.P.S. If you email me about belly dancing, or the T-Tapp program, or your triathalon practice, I’ll say the same thing. Do what you love. But know that your fitness exercise does not count toward your daily requirement of natural movement. If you only do your *joy* you’ll be jacking up your body. Your fun fitness or sport is dessert. You have to eat your veggies too. Your veggies are being played by a whole-body walking pattern, using each joint to its full extent, and maximizing your strength-to-weight ratio.
This blog is about biomechanics.
Biomechanics is a science. When you have thorough knowledge of the physical forces (like pressure, torque, friction, etc.) and the physiological processes of regeneration, it becomes very clear, very quickly what the body should and shouldn’t be doing if mechanical longevity is your goal (healthy knees, hips, back, etc. into old age?). I like to give little lessons on it via the blog, but to really understand, you need a lot more robust education. I try to simplify stuff without making it incorrect (which happens a lot in the exercise science field) and I feel that you are learning. You let me know.
On a semantic note: Biomechanics is the study of the structure and function of biological systems by means of the methods of mechanics. The term has become a more and more popular (let’s hear it for the nerds!) term in exercise circles. Like, Improve Your Biomechanics! or Adjust Your Bike Seat for Safer Biomechanics. I just got an email from someone saying they have good biomechanics, so they can’t figure out why their ___ hurts. <------ That blank is there because I can’t remember, not because it was dirty.
Biomechanics is a science, you can’t really “have it” or “improve it.” It’s an excellent system and tool for analysis.
This blog is about responsibility.
As a society, our health is getting worse by the day. On the bigger picture, our children, who have learned from us (body posture and gait pattern included) will have even worse health the we do. It’s time to learn some academic content behind how your body works, so you can fix yourself. Ninety percent of YOUR ailments, right now, are self-induced through the way you move -- too much or too little, at friction-generating angles, with too-high loads. There is no one who can fix your ailment (nor your alignment, for that matter) but you. There are many who can relieve one set of symptoms temporarily, while underlying mechanical issues worsen with time. This isn’t the best case scenario, and I'll bet you’ll remember reading this 20 years from now.
This blog is about fun.
Learning science as it pertains to your body is fun. It is awesome, actually. Farting can be embarrassing or it can be cool. Pick cool. Learning that you have a habit of thrusting your pelvis or lifting your ribs is AMAZING. How is it that you've tuned out of your mind, something you physically do every minute of every day? And there are a thousand more patterns your mind is ignoring *right now*. This is the definition of mindless. Mindless has become the acceptable human condition. *Mindless* is not natural.
This blog is about time.
The time is now. There is no later. There are Now and Laters:
but that makes it confusing. So let’s pretend that there is only now.
Wellness=Physics + Physiology.
Find out why here (click).