They say that if you really know your stuff, you can write about it in very concise statements. Well, “They,” I accept that challenge and will attempt to answer the following questions from Facebook in one sentence, keeping in mind that my extensive science training has left absolutely no time to learn what constitutes a run-on-sentence and where it is or is not appropriate to use punctuation like colons and semicolons and of course my favorite, the comma: as well as words like because, hence and so and: and.
Let’s get started.
1. What is your favorite "movement" besides walking and hanging?
I really love the water, so I’d have to go with swimming around in a lake, but because I really love percussion too, I’d have to add African dance to my list.
2. What is the best way for me to ease the pain in my right hip/lower back? Making it a priority to observe how you are using your body asymmetrically is key to repair, as is, of course, ceasing those old habits while engaging in corrective exercises that restore the affected tissues back to their original length.
3. What is your "go to" shoe for going to?
I observe myself wearing these Vibrams more than anything else!
4. I have such a hard time wrapping my head around diastasis...how exactly do the abdominal muscles separate? Try wrapping your head around the fact that in the case of diastasis recti, a muscle is not separating from itself, but from other muscles via the over-lengthening or tearing of the connective tissue that is like the spackle between bricks.
5. How can I tell people about natural movement without sounding like a Katy fangirl?
Try typing out the basic geometry/science arguments to a few points you'd like to make in support of natural movement to check your own understanding before telling others; and never (ever) use the phrase, “well Katy said” while wearing your I "heart" Katy t-shirt.
6. I have pitting edema ONLY in my left lower leg and foot, since pregnancy (9+ yrs), mostly intermittently, worse when it's hot. Ultrasound at onset showed no clots, no etiology given. My question: Where should I focus alignment/stretch efforts to reduce this and improve the lymphatic drainage of the area? Because the root issue can be anywhere along the lymphatic highway, it would be essential to realign the entire lymphatic chain from the affected extremity all the way to the subclavian termination.
7. Because I refuse to give up running, what's the safest/most natural/healthiest way for me to continue this sport? To mitigate damage, I would invest in some running alignment expertise, spend your non-running time restoring muscle function, length and joint ROM to common over/under-used areas (psoas, calves, hamstrings, glutes, pelvic floor, thoracic spine) and reduce stressors elsewhere in your life for the sake of your arteries.
8. IT band issues that won't go away- cause/effect of natural movement? (I am a runner) What is single best remedy that you can advise?
I advise regular practice of the pelvic list (search the blog for a video of it) to strengthen your lateral hip as it is currently on vacation.
9. Is hanging (to increase arm strength and improve posture while holding baby) safe if you have ab separation? Hanging, while it should be on the to-do list, should fall below “fix abdominal wall” because a functional core is a critical component in the chain of support connecting your feet and legs to your hands.
10. The go to routine to heal diastasis Recti! Because diastasis recti is a whole-body issue, I would suggest looking for a whole-body alignment program, and look, I just found one: http://www.restorativeexercise.com/whole-body-alignment-course/
11. What did you have for breakfast?
Breakfast #1, as I like to call it, was toast, tahini, and banana slices, while Breakfast #2, eaten after the mile walk to and then from my one-hour Knees & Hips class, consisted of 5,000 pistachios.
12. If walking must predominately be done on a concrete surface, what should one look for in a minimalist / barefoot shoe? If you are able to escape the captor that is forcing you to only walk on concrete surfaces for long enough to get the store, I would look for something with a minimum of a thin Vibram sole while working on your impact-distributing lower leg strengthening program.
13. Should I still wear my orthotics (prescribed for pronation) when I'm going to be on my feet all day, eg., the zoo? I'm doing the program in your book. You can wear your orthotics until the point that, without them, you are able to visually reduce the signs of pronation, which will, cyclically, require longer and longer periods of time without them as they tend to promote a certain foot-laziness.
14. If you don't approve of running how then do you get the aerobic/cardiovascular exercise/benefit? Without the obligatory comment of, “I don’t approve or disapprove of things but simply state the science of how things work,” I would answer that there is no cardiovascular health benefits (longevity of tissues) that require a burst and then maintenance of high intensity as compared to a small increase in intensity and longer duration, and that the notion of us needing to “strengthen our hearts to circulate blood” is the result of trying to improve the over-taxed heart in a modern body which is the result of that same body having musculature with so much tension, the muscles themselves resist the process of circulation, and as a culture, we opt not to engage in the (perhaps) much more difficult task of not being stationary the bulk of the day, being in a constant state of chronic physiological stress and fluctuating between stimulants and depressants to cope with the mental affects of our life’s choices, which of course would be the more correct way to improve the flow necessary for correct cardiovascular function and dang this is a long sentence, ya?
15. What is the best exercise for the pelvic floor?
Sorry, I couldn’t do it, although I tried.
Answer #2. Reciting: “there is not one exercise that the pelvic floor needs because the pelvis is a dynamic part of the body, central in every human motion and requires regular participation in all these essential movements for long-term function” is the best exercise.
16. Why do you like Top Gun so much?!
Um, because it’s rad? Duh.
17. What are the best few movements to teach prenatal yogis either included or excluded from your "Down there" DVD.
All of the “Down There” DVDs are great for prenatal ladies, although Legs on the Wall and Knee Squeeze would have to be modified by bolstering the torso once one was too uncomforable to lie on their back.
18. Does sleeping in the fetal position on my side with a pillow undo all the hard work to align my spine from the day? It doesn't "undo it" but would certainly contribute to your next-day to-do list, a phenomenon I'll be discussing in my upcoming "sleeping" post.
19. On your hard to reach places online class you have a movement (which I really like by the way...probably because it makes me feel like I'm practicing for the trapeze!) where you curve the pelvis off the floor so the legs move toward a belt held in your up stretched arms like a goal post. Why is this better for you than crunches that lift the other end of the torso?
This motion is not “better,” it’s just the one I picked for the class, but if I had to itemize how they compare to each other, the amount of weight is much greater (your lower body as opposed to just your head and arms) in the trapeze exercise, this exercise reveals a lot about the mobility (or not) of the hips and spine which is more functional for people who are experiencing a lot of difficulty with every day tasks like foot care, and it also doesn’t promote a compressive/flexion load on the already-taxed thoracic vertebrae.
20. What are you thought on the luna sandal? and if you like them which one should I get?
What’s a Luna Sandal?
21. Does improvement count or does alignment have to be perfect?
No, “improvement” doesn’t count and this is a stupid question.
Just kidding, but based on the question, I’m wondering about your teachers in the past.
Improvement, and not perfection, is the only goal, as you’ll be working on this for the rest of your life.
22. I could start doing only one thing today to feel better and be healthier, what would that one thing be?
Aligning your actions with your truest thoughts will take you farther than the calf stretch - the calf stretch which would also be "up there" as something to do a few times a day.
24. Can you recommend some healthy boots for kids? Most of the soft-soled shoes I've seen are anything but cold/wet weather appropriate. (My son is almost 4)
I know the Soft Star Shoes boots don’t look hearty, but I know moms in freeeezing coooold Canada who swear by them and maybe they’ll post a review that helps you decide.
25. The balls of my feet are MUCH wider than my heels. Is it ever possible that lining up the whole outside edge of the foot is actually turning in too much? No matter how much I work on external rotation, using a straight edge KILLS my knees...
Instead of lining up the outsides of your feet which really just a general guideline, line up the bony prominence just below the pinkie toe with the imaginary point (not one the foot just just outside the edge of your heel) that falls just below that round bone on the outside of that ankle.
24. I sit cross-legged on the floor to nurse and play with my 3 month old. When I stand up, my back is SO STIFF I literally cannot stand up straight. I never had this problem prior to giving birth to him. What's up with that?? You likely have a lingering core weakness, so instead of sitting in any one position (which will cue tissues to stiffen, trying to keep your spine safe) shift every few minutes into something different, which will have strength and pain-reducing benefits.
25. I stretch and walk and barefoot all the time and my calves are full of knots. What should I do about this? In the same way our facial tension patterns set a habitual grimace or smile or worry lines on our face, you likely have a way of holding your toes and feet that is doing the same to your calves, and I recommend you check in on that.
26. Which exercise can I do to "undo" a painful medial spot on my knee after driving long distances?
Try this program I designed for Prevention Magazine: http://www.prevention.com/fitness/fitness-tips/home-workouts-leg-exercises-knee-pain
27. Does rock climbing "jack" your body? Or is that pretty much natural movement?
If by “jack your body” you mean make it awesome, then yes, the natural movements needed for rock climbing will jack you up.
28. Why is it ok to keep the patellas dropped (quads relaxed) when stretching the hamstrings, don't we want reciprocal inhibition?
If you want to use reciprocol inhibition, that is the activation of an opposing muscle to signal “release because I’m trying to do something on the other side of the joint right now” you will get an increase in joint range of motion, but not an actual tensile load or change to the resting length of the posterior leg's tissues once you’re done with the exercise.
Or, how about this answer:
We are trying to change the resting length of the muscles without invoking any temporary physiological trickery to make us think, erroneously, that we have greater ranges of motion then we actually do.
You can pick whichever you like best.
29. I just finished reading your book, and am working on my own feet. I have a two-year old who's never worn anything but a soft-soled shoe or barefoot, but his toes still seem kind of "scrunched" and he walks with quite a turn-out, especially one side. Should I just be patient, or is there something I can do for him? If there’s one thing that two-year olds respond well to it is a foot, knee and hip therapy program being taught by a mother who is afraid that, if she doesn’t do something, her kid is going to be all broken and reading Katysays.com when they’re 40 years old thinking Why Were My Parents So Stupid and Why Did They Mess Me All Up?
The process of gait development and growth (especially if they do NOT spend a lot of time in strollers, swings, car seats, etc.) will straighten many of these issues out. You might also do a little detective work and see if there is some assymetrical habit (i.e. always sleeping on the same side, or being held on you in the same way) that would affect whole-body alignment (especially core) that could be part of what you are seeing in the feet. Other than that, nothing therapeutic for you to do right now besides get your family modeling healthy habits and maybe start him doing a little hanging to balance out his sides. Later on, I might give you some balance exercises because that turn out could have something to do with the way the R and L sides of the trunk are functioning, but not until he is four or five. And, I can write as much as I want because it’s my blog and because I’m a mom and understanding wanting to do the best possible job. Which you’re doing, BTW.
30. What's the link to the part of your website that talks about plantar fasciitis? Mine has made a comeback, and I'm not happy about it. : )
Could it be this link here?: http://www.amazon.com/Every-Womans-Guide-Foot-Relief/dp/1936661071