Stephanie Domet leads Katy Bowman into a deep discuss of Katy's book Move Your DNA.
0:00:50 Update on Katy's social media break – Jump to section
0:15:48 Bookclub Discount for podcast listeners – Jump to section
0:17:17 How would Katy describe Move Your DNA? – Jump to section
0:27:34 The key question of Move Your DNA – Jump to section
0:36:00 More about the Dynamic Agers – Jump to section
0:40:37 A word about motivation – Jump to section
0:56:00 A Move Your DNA MOVE – Jump to section
1:02:50 Live teaching sessions with Katy – Jump to section
Events mentioned in the show
The Movement Matters Retreat at Finn River Cidery
The Dynamic Aging Retreat at Kripalu Center
Details on Katy's other comings and goings here
Special Book Club Offer for Podcast Listeners
Take five dollars off any book, using our special podcast listener code (podcast5) here
Sign up for Katy's newsletter at nutritiousmovement.com
Access all previous podcasts via your podcast provider of choice (Apple, Stitcher, Spotify, or anywhere you get podcasts).
STEPHANIE: Well hey there! Welcome to the Katy Says podcast. This is the third in 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.
KATY: I am Katy Bowman, biomechanist, author of a lot of among other books Move Your DNA.
STEPHANIE: I'm Stephanie Domet, a chronically curious writer and radio journalist. And today we're going to talk about Move Your DNA which was actually just reissued in an expanded edition in May 2017.
KATY: Oh ... so much. I wrote and released a couple of podcasts ago why I was doing it and I offered some tips on what to do with your hands, because I had this idea that, you know ... I've never been a smoker and had to go through the process of quitting smoking but I've been around a lot of people who have and there's like this instinct, they call it oral fixation, right? Where you have to keep your hands or mouth busy. Or my take on it, it's a little bit different, which is; you might just be in the habit of doing these movements with your hands and it's the same adaptation to doing the same thing that you do with your hips when you're standing with your hips forward or whatever. Maybe it's just another one of those alignment makeovers. Where the alignment of my hand currently, it's doing what I call my social media laps on my phone. And that was exactly, that's been the biggest thing for me to realize in those, I think maybe I'm on my second week now. In the first week it was simply, the I'm standing on the phone in the grocery store, or whatever, and then grab my phone, pick it up and like the instinct was to through these laps.
STEPHANIE: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram?
KATY: What do I do first. Email. I mean, they're like... I could tell you but you don't care. Doesn't matter. But yes, I have a very specific way of doing it. And I've seen other people recommend when you're on tech free weeks, or whatnot, to remove the apps actually physically from your phone. You know, to not have the twitter button and the Instagram button. I would have done that, however, I have a very old phone. I'm on my second refurbished smart phone. We will not be getting any more. So when it goes, it goes. I don't upgrade my software because I'm trying to phase out, not dive deeper in. So, anytime I try to, someone says you need this to be able to, you know, take square payments, for example. I'm doing a book signing, they want me to sell my books, they want me to square payments. I can't. I don't even have the technology on my highly technological phone to run what has been out in the last two years. My phone is three years old now. And so I can't remove anything because I can't reinstall it any longer. Those versions are no longer acceptable. So when I remove my Instagram button, I'm off of Instagram permanently. Which maybe wouldn't be such a thing. So there they are. The movement. I have the phone in my hand. I'm gonna hold it anyway because I'm still checking my email and other things. So my husband came up with the idea, you can move the icons around so they're just not in the positions you expect them to be, thus disrupting kind of the mindless loops. So he created some, I don't know, I don't even know how my phone works. Some extra box so I can move all my social media cons into a box. He's like, "just put it six screens over where you never go to," which is next to this other thing that I can never find on my phone. And that's all it took. It took, kind of like if you move the furniture around in your house, you would still walk to the same place to sit on the couch, but it's not there anymore so it would be enough to trigger, "Oh I didn't want to sit on the couch anyway. Ok, right." I just had to physically change my phone habitat and that was all it took to disrupt those laps. And I never did those laps again.
KATY: That's been, I think, the single most important thing. And then it's of course because I'm so interested in physical things that's probably why that's what I'm noticing the most. That was that thing that really jumped out at me was wow, I just moved things around on my phone and by moving them, my thumbs couldn't go in the same habit. It really was the habit of my thumbs almost driving what was put into my brain and not the other way around.
STEPHANIE: That is so interesting.
KATY: Isn't that a trip? I love that. Because we've got it framed as that your brain is kind of, you know, that habit is purely of the mind. That's only because we've parsed the mind away from the thumbs. But I would say it's all in together. So all I had to do was disrupt my thumbs and it was enough to give my mind a moment to catch up to where I wanted to be. That's been the most important, uh, impactful thing.
STEPHANIE: Are you missing anything about social media right now?
KATY: Well, I am walking working a ton because ... I'm working a ton in a way that I haven't before or maybe just in a really long time. I have a big social media platform. I'm so used to when I have something coming up ... it's like a simple sugar. Social media makes everything so easy that you don't have to put much of yourself into it. I think I see everything as simple sugar now. We're just kind of in a simple sugar way of doing everything. Relationships, community, food, work, business. It's all about how fast and how easy it is for you. Which is all simple sugars are.
KATY: In your diet. They're a fast easy way. It's just that there's a tax from eating that way and I think that there's a tax from using that mindset in all realms. And so as things have come up, I'm so used to just dumping quickly something on social media and letting this whole mechanism that I don't understand that involves people and technology and earth stuff, harvested, to make my message just so easy to get to a bunch of people. It's not easy at all. I'm just not involved in it. It's going through this huge machine and I'm just used to getting a big response in whatever. Whether it's a class or an appearance. So I've removed that privilege, if you will, that technological privilege from my way out outreaching because, like I said, I believe it's involving a lot more than I'm aware of. And I want to be aware. I want to be more involved in the machinations of how I'm working. So I've missed the ease on one hand. On the other hand, I see this is exactly what I've wanted. But I miss the ease. The lack of me having to really think through everything in the way - to find the way that I'm most aligned with what I want to put out there and how. So I miss the ease. Sure, I love comfort just like everyone else. So I'm enjoying being uncomfortable in this new realm of work.
STEPHANIE: What are the top three things you've accomplished since your fast again. Are you more productive?
KATY: Totally. Which is, you know, that's why I want to be clear. This is not a break. And what happens every time, probably I or anyone who takes a break is that the break is from the habit. It's not like vacation mode. It's just changing. And I grow anytime I create a change. So just you know we were about ready to record this show and I had to pop off because there were people knocking on the door and one of the things that we.... we've had a lot of... doesn't everyone have a long list of things to do that are both personal and for their home and for their mission or their work? One of the things was, we have a well on our property and it doesn't work when the electricity is out. And I just kept thinking, this is crazy that electricity has to be the middle man for bringing up water when the electrical pump that we have now replaced a perfectly fine manual pump that was there before. You know, whoever lived here 30 or 40 years ago, you know, had to drag to pull up all that water. I totally get that. I'd have to give up podcasting if I had to draw water for everything that we did. And we've been slowing moving our bath water to trees and other things, you know, as we're trying to conserve water and be more mindful of water usage. You become more mindful of it when you have to move the hose to where it goes. We've added a manual pump. At first, like on one hand, it's to be less on the grid and to not need, to not have to depend on that. I also don't have irrigation in the gardening. I purposely set it up without irrigation so I manually have to haul water. So now we have a hose, so now I'm going to try pumping the water before I haul it.
STEPHANIE: Movement Matters.
KATY: It's a Movement Matters-ing. I'm like Movement Matters-ing up my life a little bit more. But I find it's also outside of that, it's just kind of nice to be able to have water. You know we wouldn't need to have electricity and we would still have wood to burn. Now we'll have water. And those are two big, those are human necessities that now I've removed the middleman structure from that. And I feel good about that. I feel like that's what I want. I like pulling back, not only the personal responsibility but just the ability to take care of myself if someone else if we weren't able to stay in the grid. The Grid is a good book recommendation if no one's read it. Like I'm just learning about all these things that I never thought ... I've outsourced my knowledge of "the grid". I just assume that I'm gonna flip the switch and something's gonna happen. I don't really have a plan if it doesn't. Even for like six days. I'm not even talking about like there's no more electricity period. When things go out, which I feel good about. So that was one. That seems big. The other one was this stinkin' drawer.
STEPHANIE: A the drawer.
KATY: The drawer. Does anyone have a big drawer of crap that goes nowhere but it seems to be like you move and then it's the last drawer and you're like, "Oh I forgot the drawer!" So you dump it in a box and you get to your next place and you're like "Oh this is the stuff in the drawer" and you just dump it all in the next drawer.
KATY: So the drawer has evolved into something where it causes me stress. Like every time I walk by... it's socks. It's socks. Like I don't want to say it's something amazing like tools and photographs and things that really matter. So like it's socks.
STEPHANIE: Wait, your junk drawer is just full of socks?
KATY: We don't actually have really any other junk drawers. We have a lot of junk jars. We have like 12 junk jars so they're distributed well to not cause me anxiety. But I have this drawer in my... as I've been paring down my closet to just two suspended racks. Like I don't have drawers of clothes anymore.
KATY: And I lot of things I'd like to say in my closet are things that you have handmade me, so thank you for that. I was just noticing, I was like, "Look, there's my Stephanie, handmade by Stephanie Domet collection. So I've loved the clothing you've been learning how to sew. So anyway, I have this drawer of socks. You know I have done consultant work for My Happy Feet alignment socks. So imagine 12 pairs of alignment socks and then I've got, you know, wool socks and then my husband's nice socks get all mashed up and then there's like one of maybe seven different pairs of kids socks for the last six years. So none of them, don't even fit anyone in our home anymore. Just this huge, like, ball. And it just starts escaping over the lip of the drawer and it just seemed like, why can't I get this together. And I just never could because I had to do my work. Once I got rid of social media it took me three days to tackle that drawer that I've moved for three years.
KATY: And then once I did that it created space. It's hard to see social media as something that's taking up space because the space is in our head.
KATY: And if the space in your head is occupied you don't have mental space or head space for these other tasks. But once I got rid of that invisible thing, I mean I cleared out business files just that I've been carting around for years of stuff that was years old or outdated or just been thrown in there in haste because I didn't have time and I've just purged it out. So I have these physical boxes of stuff moving out of my home. And then also now what's left is a more organized easy to find set of things, whether it's paired up socks or business or tax files. And so it's just future work, or load, or stress for you as well. So those are the few things. And that's not even, that's not even like "Oh I've got more time to go to the beach or whatever. It's not even that. It's just really keeping to this idea that I'm still working. I'm not trying to take a vacation and working less. That's not what this is about. It's that I was able to align my life a little bit better and so those are really the major things. And if you're getting my newsletter, so you talk about what I miss about Instagram. One of the things I miss, or social media. I miss the art ... I'm not an artistic person at all. Or I should stop saying that.
STEPHANIE: You are the author of many books.
KATY: I create many. And that's my conditioning about art is this and science and math is this. I understand now, it's all creation, right?
KATY: But physical beauty has not been a realm that I experience comfortably. It's actually an uncomfortable space for me to occupy. So one of the things I loved about Instagram was that taking pictures was an art form that I just, I just tuned into it. Like I, it was my art. So my Instagram was my outlet of this slightly creative "How do I want to show this?" You can show a situation in so many different ways. So when I lost Instagram, when I lost it. Oh... a lov-a!
KATY: When I went to the, when we went to Europe for the summer I found myself missing that part the most. I enjoyed not feeling the obligation of recording every moment.
KATY: But I missed setting up beautiful things. So I created a new category of my newsletter where I include 8 photos. So it allowed me to still meet that artistic need ...
KATY: ... so I'm building in, like, 8 physical examples because when I did a poll, Instagram was one of my most positive, excited, joyful communities who are like, "We learn so much through seeing the physical example." Because it's modeling. Modeling is not that I can really do in any other teaching venue so I thought I'm gonna continue modeling through my newsletter now. So now there is one newsletter that comes a month that is just purely photos with the captions underneath. So it was a way for me to meet that need and the public's need but not going through social media.
KATY: It was stacked.
STEPHANIE: Oh, I wanted to note that we heard from a listener who wrote to us. So we've been doing these Between the Lines podcasts, thinking of it as a book club and we're gonna, you know, over the next few weeks or months, I guess, we'll work our way through each of your books and talk about the ideas and the connections and somebody wrote to ask whether there was a discount for who want to go through the books as we're doing this book club series. Which is a great idea.
STEPHANIE: And so, we're responsive, so, through the end of August you can take $5 off any of Katy's books, that's paperbacks or ebooks, at NutritiousMovement.com. Just use the code: Podcast5. So that's Podcast and the number five with no space between them.
KATY: And for e-books, that makes e-books like five bucks.
KATY: The ebooks are like $5.99 so if you're feeling like I'd really like this content, it makes - they're like five dollar books essentially right now.
STEPHANIE: Yeah. Just makes it nice and accessible for anybody who wants to read along as we go.
KATY: Yeah. Reach of these ideas is my - what I'm most interested in. So...enjoy! And thank you for the suggestion listener!
STEPHANIE: Good job listener! All right. I think we should talk about Move Your DNA.
KATY: Oh right, right. The book.
STEPHANIE: That's what called for today, Katy Bowman.
KATY: Let's do it.
KATY: Move Your DNA presents the idea that I guess there's two ideas within it. The two big ideas are 1. That movement is a cellular phenomenon versus the whole body phenomenon. It certainly is also a whole body phenomenon but it is at its root a cellular phenomenon. And what you see on the whole body level is the accumulation of the cellular adaptation. And so for anyone who has worked in exercise science or physical therapy or health who is an exerciser or who has read probably any general magazine or newspaper, we are inundated with this idea of exercise and exercise is always referred to as this whole body phenomenon. And it is on hand. But it's also not and because we can only think of it on that large level we're missing kind of really the broader understanding that's required to get why it's so necessary. It's not something that you need to be extra fit or healthy. It's kind of like a basic requirement like eating but if you don't really know how eating works... so the way eating works and the way movement works are very similar. And again, it's on a cellular level. So I introduce that concept. The other concept that's in there is you need so much movement total and that total movement needs to be distributed well throughout your body that pursuing that increase of movement through exercise is not likely going to get you there. It's almost even just for time impossible to get it pursuing it only through exercise. Because the actual requirement is very very robust. So, natural movement would be movements that have been present through the entire human timeline with the exception of, like, there's been kind of a slow decrease of our exposure to a movement, to a habitat that requires movement. This is kind of where the Movement Matters part is. We've been kind of outsourcing movement for a long period of time but we have only recently done it super rapidly. So I think there's like three timelines. Or a nod to three timelines. Like an introduction of agriculture was one that used to migrate and had to move quite a bit to subsist. So they're getting their plants and their animals through a ton of motion.
KATY: Then through the introduction of agriculture... agriculture was a way to reduce movement by going "hey we don't have to go all the way around, we can actually plant it here." So now we've eliminated our need to travel for it - we'll cultivate it here. But not all of it grows really well right here because we used to cover a very large space so then you lose the diversity in the species and the crops that you're consuming. But it's all right here. So you start to see a lack of diversity of movement lock step with the lack of diversity of what you're consuming. So now we're starting to be hyper consuming certain things. Where that wasn't the trend before. And so if you're interested in environment type stuff and diet type stuff, to me this is the intersectional idea of all of these things. It's this kind of human timeline. So we went to that. I would say in ancestral health or evolutionary biology, this time period is of importance because you start to see a shift. Then you can go way fast forward to maybe the industrial revolution. That's much more modern. But it was a time where people still were moving quite a bit. Even though they had drastically reduced the diversity of what they were eating relatively speaking. Now they did so even more. And we're introducing machines that are replacing labor for some people. There are some people laboring of more particular types to make the machines but let's just, like if we just go with the background of the listener we're the ones benefitting from the machines. So we're starting to outsource our movement more to machines and we're producing things that are even more easy to produce. You start to see again like what we eat changes radically to what can be stabilized maybe and mass produced. But even at that point, it's a couple hundred years ago, people had a garden at their house. I'm reading Wendell Berry right now and it's like kind of like being in a small fist fight all the time. And you don't have any arms. Like someone's just punching you in the face the whole time. Which I appreciate!
STEPHANIE: Ha ha.
KATY: Have you ever read him? It's like that! But he was like there were no grocery stores 80 years ago.
KATY: So like this is even post industrial revolution but so like now you're going even more to where people... now we have cities. Right? So you're changing the habitat even more. You've got high concentrations of people living together and not moving and you're gonna see a lot of different infectious diseases. There's a lot of these timelines. And then so then you go to, I mean you could probably even put in a line, I'm reading... I read a lot!
KATY: I'm reading about victory gardens between world war 1 and world war 2 so you can see where people still were, I'm interested in the movement aspect but, people who study victory gardens, they have all this information of like how much food and time people actually were laboring for their own food just as a way to contribute to the efforts of the war at that time. Those were acts of patriotism and whatnot. And then you go to, now, and so you keep losing movement right? Gardens have gone away for the most part and we've got totally industrialized food system which was different than agriculture, like the introduction of agriculture. So that's a huge timeline and they're radically different things. Like a farm now is not like what a farm was 50,000 years ago and so there's just been this constant change, constant change. And I would argue that the changes are always for less movement without us realizing it. What we call efficiency is always outsourcing. Like "well we're gonna add rows now and I can walk between the rows" and "we're gonna lift them up so I don't have to bend over so much". And we keep outsourcing our movement and every time we do that we end up with something that's a little bit more streamlined and a little less diverse.
STEPHANIE: Yeah. It's efficient in some ways and inefficient in many others.
KATY: Totally. And totally disruptive. I would say the cost is in what it disrupts in earth, on earth elsewhere.
KATY: Whether it's in other communities, other people's lives, or actually in terms of harvesting from the planet. Then we go to, like, what do you call the information, like the...
KATY: I don't know, what was that? Age of information? So like when did everyone have a computer? Like we are in something that, I mean, I didn't have a computer until I was a graduate student.
KATY: Like as far as you know, we had a home computer for a couple of years but I feel like it was more like an Atari. You know, like it was a Commodore. It was a gaming thing. But as far as the internet, I don't think I really became aware of the internet and used it regularly until I was in graduate school. So we're under 20 years.
KATY: And that's another outsourcing. So now our movement has just, it's been reduced a little bit more and so I'm introducing these time periods like every time these time periods that are marked historically for probably other reasons, I look at them through a movement view. And what I see over time is a slow outsource of total movement. And you know, with this age, you know, before you worked in a factory, maybe, you know a couple hundred years ago, but you were still walking to home to that factory and back. Like you know there was still a lot more movement. Now you don't even need to leave your house. You can telecommute. You can date online. You can find a mate online. You can secure shelter online. Every aspect of meeting a human need, your communities are online.
KATY: Your friends are online. They require no physical displacement of your whole body in these really particular ways. So to me natural movement is if you removed all of that the total amounts, distributions, types, and frequencies of movement, that would be required were we not in these times, with the argument being same as that overall mismatched area that comes from evolutionary biology which is this change has happened too quickly for us to really evolve to it. We're adapting, you know, as best we can, but we haven't really been able to get rid of those input need. In the same way that just because what you can get at your grocery store in your local town might meet your caloric requirements or what you have in your refrigerator might meet your caloric requirements, it's not necessarily able to meet your nutritional requirements over all. That you can still have an abundance of food but...
STEPHANIE: But no actual nutrition.
KATY: Exactly. Exactly.
STEPHANIE: Calorie creation isn't necessarily the same as progress.
KATY: Oh yeah, no. No.
STEPHANIE: Heh heh.
KATY: No absolutely not. And it's the idea we use the term adapt in the positive. And I guess that is in the short time, "I'm still here."
KATY: But I look at let's look at long trends of human experience. We're living longer but perhaps not better. As self-reported. As self-reported by the person doing the living.
KATY: Um, I think it's, you know, we're all dealing with our experience whether it's through health: health is the area that I tend to focus on. And when you frame a problem as, when you frame an issue as a problem, when you frame the thing with your body as the problem rather than the perfectly normal response to habitat you will never really ever come to the conclusion that the thing that you're dwelling in is the problem. It's the pressure that's creating the thing. So there's quite a few problems that we are spending a ton of money trying to (you know air quote) "solve" without paying attention to the environment that we're in. It's almost like we're completely ignorant to the idea that our environment - that we're a responsive creature. You know we just keep saying it as this thing, this thing in my otherwise perfectly working body, has just spontaneously gone off so we're looking and we've been trained to look like the thing has gone off and like patch it with the medicine or the thing that's to fix the thing but it's like, well, if we knew that there was an environmental cause to it then we could change the environment. And as you start to see issues that come up that are just high frequencies across people living in a particular way where there are these large natural experiments going on, then, I don't know if it's easier to change the environment but if you're looking to solve the problem to me not acknowledging that the problem is the environment is not a step that you want to avoid. So what's at stake is the fact that we just keep getting lost in the tunnel of trying to solve the problem without... ignoring the elephant that's like pushing on the thing.
STEPHANIE: You can fix a trick knee forever over and over but it's not gonna stay fixed unless you look at the larger forces. Is that it?
KATY: Yeah. You know this is making me think again about where we started with this mental space. You have a lot of mental space being occupied with surviving in the environment that you're in. Which is not abnormal for a human. However, it's like we are trying to create solutions, patting ourselves on the back for creating solutions while simultaneously creating the problem. Like it's a very small loop.
STEPHANIE: Uh huh.
KATY: And it's like well, when we pride ourselves on figuring out this amazing solution for this thing that, again, this is back to Movement Matters, that requires a ton of earth harvesting or harvesting from other cultures and experiences of other people, the efficiency of that solution, you might miss, again, the inner workings of that solution when you don't understand the full cost of those solutions and how easy it is... how simple it is to change your highly malleable environment versus let that environment continue while harvesting or disabling someone else's. So I think that's my biggest. That's my biggest takeaway but that, but Movement Matters doesn't have, necessarily, that second piece, it's simply, you know, you're highly sedentary. That's really, I think, all Move Your DNA is saying. It's showing the difference between, can I go back and answer that first question again?
KATY: It's answering the idea that we have two categories: exercisers and non-exercisers. And our perception is exercisers are amazing, non-sedentary people and if you don't exercise you're a couch potato. Move Your DNA is, "Hey exercisers? You exercise one to two hours a day. Compared to non-exercising movers, you're a couch potato." In a nicer way than that.
STEPHANIE: And this is why that distinction between exercise and movement is so important to you?
KATY: Yes. And it becomes important later on...it has a greater importance for research purposes. But at the beginning, that first person who was like, "Wait, did you just call me sedentary? I'm a marathoner. Did you just call me sedentary?" And I was like, "I kind of have to. Because numerically you are and we're an entire sedentary culture." And if no one calls that piece out we will continue to try to problem solve with the perception that we're active, missing that we're entirely sedentary. That's the point of Move Your DNA. You are sedentary. I am sedentary. Our families are sedentary. Our entire infrastructure depends on us being sedentary. And here's, like, seventy things you can do to be a little less sedentary within, again, the comfort zone of your own life. And just that change in how you think about it is gonna make it so much easier for you to understand why you're not receiving the benefits of a non-sedentary person. So, that's kind of, I think, Move Your DNA in a 32-minute crux.
STEPHANIE: Super large nutshell.
STEPHANIE: You also write in this book: "Our..." and I think this echoes what you've been saying just now, "Our bodies are capable of amazing feats if our minds agree to cooperate."
KATY: Yeah. You know there's like this, I mean what's an amazing feat? To change is an amazing feat. I don't mean that you have to go out and walk forty miles. But I do think that we...
STEPHANIE: Move the chair and the first time sit on the floor.
KATY: Amazing. Amazing feat. To spread your toes away from each other for the first time. An amazing feat. We have so many "you can't do that" messages and we hand them down, we bequeath them so simply without realizing it, telling people all the time what is and what is not possible because of what we know. When I would say that what we know is entirely skewed by what we've done, which is almost nothing physically. So it's really hard as an immobile culture, sedentary culture, to not pass down to our children just how sedentary, just how all of these other movements just aren't possible for pain or for injury or for their weirdness or whatever. That we really are, we're continuing to do that. So I like... that's why people love videos of "look at this person doing this, like, crazy acrobatic thing and you watch it on youtube and are like "that's amazing. That person must be different."
KATY: That's what we come up with. Which is what I loved about Dynamic Aging.
KATY: These are women who are 77 and 78 and 79 and 80 and they just got in a tree for the first time and they are not someone who, you're not watching a circus video from ten years ago from someone who has, you know, been doing gymnastics classes for the last 30 years. These are people who started with the pelvic list and the calf stretch ten years ago and they are living examples of what you would have said before watching this, just isn't possible. Or is only possible for an extra-ordinary person. Where I'm more like, these are basic human mobilities that we're talking about. They should be kind of fundamental across the board for almost all humans and I think we need to start changing that message and a lot of it is changing our mindset about what is normal or natural. And recognizing our highly unnatural, sedentary, behavior, I think is the first step.
KATY: Well, I mean I think almost every single one of those women actually verbalized, "I can't do that. I'll never be able... I've never been able to do that and I won't be able to do that." It's just because you can't imagine doing something I don't think that you've never done before. And you can't imagine doing something... I think maybe some people can. We have ingenuity. So obviously some people can envision things that haven't happened yet. But what you have seen, you know, especially as if we just talk about aging, what you are ... or birthing ... or whatever, like, or marriage, or child rearing... you are getting so many subliminal messages about how it is.
KATY: And that's actually what you're saying. What you're saying is, "I've never done it and I've never seen anyone else do it so therefore it's only what I've seen. And what I've personally done, that sets the boundary of possibility." And that's why, I think, I wrote Dynamic Aging specifically because you can have a book like Move Your DNA and you can say, "Do this all the way up until you're 99 and a half. You know, you're still fine. You can still make improvements." And everyone's like, "Well, right." So I had to go "Ok, let me give you some visuals and some people because you won't believe it until you have seen..." I mean that's what we need proof for at this point. You know, like we need some sort of proof. And so, the challenge is when you have a whole group of people that barely moves to find regular visuals to that proof is challenging. With the, pulling in some here are some humans on the planet right now and they're the same as us and they just have a different lifestyle and look at what they do. And then they're kind of like, huh. But then your mind rightly goes to, "Well that's because X, Y, and Z." And then someone goes, "no not really. Those all check out." And then you're like ... To me, I think maybe it's a reflexive way to not have to do the work to change. It's like a reflexive way of having to rebuild basically the shape of your body. Which Move Your DNA is really trying to pull out, which is, you are a shape. And I don't use shape in the like, "Are you in shape or out of shape. Get in shape." That's not what I'm talking about. There's a physical shape, a mass distribution to your body that's on a cellular level and you are constantly adding and removing the number of anatomical parts depending on how small you want to think about it based on how you're moving through your life and what forces you're exposing yourself to. And you can change those simply by going outside. New set of forces than when you were inside. You know, I'm trying to break it down on the most gross biomechanics level which is: is the floor you're walking on flat or uphill or downhill? Is it bumpy or rocky? I just keep adding more and more pieces, because I think it's easier to start with, ok I can see the difference between flat or uphill. It's harder to see how the difference between 50 degrees and 70 degrees moves your body differently. It's hard to see how the difference of sunshine versus not sunshine moves your body because we're not used to talking about how the shape of the ground and the temperature and if you're in a community or not as things that require different types of movement. So I'm trying to put the thread of movement through everything that you experience in your life to say that's what's made your shape. That's also what Move Your DNA is about. I'm just going to answer all your questions about 10 minutes down the road if that's gonna be ok.
STEPHANIE: And if all of them could just end with "No that's what Move Your DNA is about" that would be perfect.
KATY: I'm gonna do that. No problem.
KATY: There's one line in Move Your DNA where I'm saying that the intention is part of what categorizes. And this is not my idea, these are the fundamental definitions of exercise. So they're not mine, they've been in the research for a few decades - thirty, thirty-five years. Because and why I think it matters is we are at this point where I don't think humans in our culture have ever moved less. And we are not going into the move more direction. We're going into the move even less than the never, like unprecedented little movement that's ever happened. We're heading in the less, less, less, less direction. And so there are so many science references for why we need to move more. There are public health policies. Like everyone's trying to get people to exercise more. But the biggest limitation is that it seems like this is, we're at this time where we've never, I also put this in Move Your DNA, we've never moved less but we've also never rested less, worked more. It's just that all of this work and stress is happening in almost sedentary vessel. Because you can almost get everything that you get to get done for your life without moving. So you're noticing the amount of time that we have is smaller and smaller and smaller. Where we're not even able to get to our basic needs of being able to make sometimes a meal. We don't have time to visit or connect with our family. There are no more two-week family vacation or these long steps away. For a lot of people, these things that we think are just like oh this is just how it is. They're all gone. You know people used to go to work and clock out. Now you have your phone with you all the time. You're always working. You're always checking your email because it's right there. Which means, relatively speaking, you're making less, working more because the fact that that's your habit isn't like, "Oh you're going to carry your phone with you and check your social media and your email 700 times today? Well, I'll pay you two dollars every time you do that." Right? That doesn't happen. You're just cutting into your non-work time to do this work thing. And so we're at a time where the need for movement has never been larger. The time for movement has never been smaller. When you tell someone they need more exercise there's no possible way because of physics, it's going to happen. When we can see that we have chosen to remove from our lives that we can just step back from the most, like from the highly technological way that we have chosen to do something. When we can see the highly technological way to do something was the less movement version we can choose to go back to the lower version. And thus infuse that movement back into our life without adding any exercise. So to recognize that movement is something to accomplish your non-exercise life stuffs is to me the only way the math will ever work out. Where you can get a movement rich life that is really exercise free. That's my end goal. It's to have, you know, maybe not even exercise free because we all, we live where we live and so I think there's gonna have to be some planning around that bout of exercise but another way to say it is to get that bout of movement that you enjoy, that play hour, in addition to six to eight hours of more movement just by living and so you have to recognize that there's a difference between when you're intention is to do movement just for movement's sake - which is what exercise is - or when it's your intention to change something about your habitat. Whether it's changing the water pump, or it's parking farther away, or it's just not driving at all, when you've intentionally changed the way you execute your normal life, "I'm just gonna walk to the grocery store." Why is that any different than walking 30 minutes on a treadmill. Walking 30 minutes to the grocery store fits into your life and you also got your groceries. Driving to the groceries and then driving to the gym to walk 30 minutes might help if you can't get to your grocery store but then you just have to start thinking like well then surely there are some places that I can walk. So in Movement Matters are all those other tips of how to start changing that orientation. But I think the key to recognizing that exercise is not a natural phenomenon is to recognize that movement used to facilitate life. It just doesn't in our culture. We have outsourced it. It's a very important distinction to recognize that our culture has given our movement to other things or people. And so in the beginning, I think the introduction to Movement Matters all stemmed from that single line in Move Your DNA. Because there was one review when someone was like "Yeah, she lost me when she said that intention mattered. There's no possible way that intention is going to affect my physiology." And I was like, ok if you believe that there's no possible way then that is true. But here's why it matters. It matters when it comes to how you're going to end up practically bringing movement into your life. You have to see that there's a difference between those two things that only when you can get something else done during your bout of movement will you be able to move outside of your exercise time which is really a small amount of your total time, that defines you as sedentary even if you get that exercise.
STEPHANIE: Mm. You know I was really struck in re-reading this book in preparation for this conversation by the ways in which it offers in, I think, equal amounts Alignment Matters and Movement Matters to readers. I guess depending on which part of the elephant they're handling to quote your own words back to you.
STEPHANIE: You know we talked last time about those two books and the ways in which all your books really kind of spring from those two and that was really evident to me in this reread of Move Your DNA after that question.... after that conversation that we had last time. Was just the way the seeds of all those ideas are presented here.
KATY: What did I say? Yeah, I said last time that I see my blog - all those single articles- as a single body of work?
KATY: I kind of see all my separate books as a single body of work because you will get something different when you read all of them and cycle through them a couple of times versus only picking up one. If you only had exposure to one you will get what you get from it but by reading another you will get that "Oh, that's what she meant over here." With getting this example in the other book it kind of sets on another idea and when you get exposed to some new ideas when you go back you'll go, like, "Oh this was here the whole time. I didn't even..." you didn't have context for it, right?
KATY: Because a lot of times you're stepping outside of your culture and so it's challenging to see it at first. So they definitely, I don't know what that phenomenon is. It's the same thing that happens when you do one type of exercise, the physical outcome is different. So say that there's two types of exercise or two exercises, if you do exercise A in isolation even if you do it at double the normal volume or you do exercise B, in each one of those scenarios you're gonna have a different experience but if you do half the volume but the two of them together, you'll have a different experience. And the same thing with food. In Move Your DNA I talk about Kashi or core which is I'm trying to explain how your total movement diet affects your health. It's not like the sum total of the effect of one exercise or another in isolation, it's how they all work, how they synthesize. So you can have people, I can't remember the full details but like there are people who have adequate calories but when they're different ratios like they eat a certain amount of starches they're gonna have a different outcome than if they eat those same amount of starches with additional protein. So like the starches aren't what makes this particular issue, it's the lack, it's the lack of the protein with the starches. So that it's all this ecology. I don't think I ever used that word in Move Your DNA. I start busting out "This is ecological" in Movement Matters. It's this idea that things are influencing other things. And so I wonder if, I mean, is Movement Matters is only there because you've read Movement Matters. Does that make sense?
STEPHANIE: That's absolutely right.
KATY: I mean it's like you can't... you can't' necessarily see those until you read the other book because the starches behave different with the protein. Like the details...the Movement Matters is the adding the protein to the thing. "I'm having a different experience moving through this book now." So information is like that. That's why the integration of threads of knowledge need to come together because the conclusions that you make when you only have some threads change when you add in other threads. So it's ecological thinking over all. But I think you can get there when you by reading, just reading a lot of the separate ones together. You being to do the work to synthesize. Because the synthesization... is that a word?
KATY: It is now!
KATY: The synthesizing, that's how you learn. Is when you take the pieces and can integrate them. You read Movement Matters and thus you learned more from the book that you had already read. You did that. I didn't do that. That was happening in your mind. And so when you do the input of knowledge or information, the learning is based on what was in there before and what comes in after and I all the time will read something ... A lot of what I write is that I've read something today that finally gels with something I read 15 years ago.
KATY: That I had access to those pieces, maybe that's my personality, is that I have loose threads of things that I don't actually understand but I don't have time necessarily to pursue understanding but I'm aware of those loose threads and when I pull something in it's like I get it. I get that thing that I didn't understand fully 15 years ago but I didn't have time to go figure it out or maybe there was nothing available on it. So that's why, for me, like I consume reading in lots of different fields because I find like reading Victory Gardens, a book on Victory Gardens, it helps me understand movement ecology better. Why would Victory Gardens which is a political science book about a specific time inform my work as a biomechanist. Because biomechanist isn't a real thing. It's just a word that we've put on a thread of knowledge that we've assembled in a particular way. I'm becoming more and more label-less. I find that the less labels that I can put on things the more I actually understand. So I'm just, you know... now my earth dweller
KATY: (whispers) Earth dweller...
STEPHANIE: I find myself speechless with that though. But I thought of, you know, the first time I read the Catcher in the Rye when I was 11 or 12 I thought it was hilarious. The language to me was hilarious. And then when I read it again when I was an adult I thought it was tremendously sad and a little disturbing.
STEPHANIE: You know I think of that saying of you can't stand in the same river twice because you're different and the river is different and it's that way with books. You know that you come back to them or you understand them through your own lens and that lens can change and then the book changes even though this is a new edition, an expanded edition but it's not that different from the first edition. It's the reader who is different or brings what... it's the reader who finishes the book. The writer doesn't finish the book, the reader finishes the book.
KATY: That's probably why I write so many books because the book is the river and I'm like, "Wait a minute. I'm different now." I want to rewrite the river. And so our editor, my editor is really good, like, "it just needs to stay as it is." You can't go back and change it. Go back and write something new if you want to.
KATY: You can see you know the river is still flowing in the same direction. The volume of it might have changed, it might have changed directions a tiny bit, there's some rocks in it now, it's a little bumpier than it used to be but, that's what's happening. It's just... I mean we're all growing and, do you have any of those books that you read like every year of your life?
KATY: So I wonder what those are? I wonder if we just subconsciously have these goal posts, you know, where when we read it or if you've ever just watched a movie, a hundred times and then all of a sudden one time you see something in there that you've never seen before.
KATY: That always blows my mind.
STEPHANIE: Yeah. Me too. I love it.
KATY: Why do we need to see that? So to me my meditation is always there's something...that passage, this thing, this thing that I never saw before in the book or the movie came to me right now and it's important that it did because it tells me something about me and it lets me see a little bit about how I've changed or who I am. So I've spent a lot of time paying attention to what I pay attention to when I read. And so maybe that's what book clubs are, you know, so great. You're like, "Wow, I didn't get that message from it at all." So it just goes to show you how our perceptions are just really informed by our experiences but the more experiences you have or the more type of challenging experiences that you can have that cause you to grow or you know the more diverse people that you spend time with the more informed you can be. Or the more your perspective can broaden a bit. So...anyway
STEPHANIE: So, I'm hoping we can kind of cap things off with a...
KATY: Oh...like a Move Your DNA move?
KATY: Um. Move Your DNA move. Oh. So this is not an exercise in the book like there was no pictures for it or anything else but it's still one of my favorites and it is, imagine that you have a globe around your head and shoulders. That you're in the center of it. You've poked your head into like a helmet that was just really big. The size of like a big beach ball.And if you put your hands out to the right and to left you're touching the inside of the globe that's surrounding your upper body. So the globe has a surface. It's not a circle, it's a globe. I want you to paint, as much of the interior of that globe as you can. So it's in Move Your DNA in a section of like your shoulders are very very dynamic. They have a lot more movement potential and they're kind of a complex joint. So if you just start painting. You know, I would suggest that you will always paint the globes like if you actually had paint brushes in your hands you would see these really bold strokes...
KATY: ...Over the ranges of motion that come easy to you and then there would be these glaring bald spots, bare spots, that you can't touch. Right? So you're going out to the side but you're painting up and down and you're gonna go all the way in front of you and you want to make sure that you're able to paint the whole thing low, down behind you. You cannot paint the entire globe because your shoulders won't allow that but you want to reduce the amount of unpainted space as possible. So when you're painting behind you, you might have to really squeeze your shoulder blades back behind you. You'll have to push your shoulders down. And so I don't necessarily want to tell you what to do with your arms and your shoulders, etc., to reach this globe. I just want you to paint the inside of it and in this way you just kind of experience "this is easy over here" and I'm like, "Oh can't' get there very well." Or I notice that every time my arm goes up it's like blink, has to hitch up over a tight spot so that's a, it's a movement for sure but it's also kind of a way to also see the total ... the total, I don't even know what the word is... the total range of motion that your shoulder does cover. Now imagine what you do with your arms most of the day.
KATY: And then to go like, here was your potential. So if we think of move more slowly in terms of like numbers of steps per day or minutes moved per day. We're not thinking of it as degrees of joint range of motion used. Which is another way to quantify total movement. So you could say "well I move my body 100 or 10,000 steps today" and that's fine but look at what your shoulders could do. Right? We saw that. We just experienced that. We could quantify it in terms of geometrical positions. Your shoulders, all that motion, was almost entirely sedentary today.
KATY: Despite you being someone who moved 10,000 or 20,000 or 30,000 steps. Your whole body could have been active but your shoulders could have been sedentary for the last 20 years or 30 years or 40 years. That's my point. Movement cannot solely be quantified as a whole body activity. Because what it's letting slide under the radar is that almost your entire body is sedentary as you're getting those minutes of movement. And so, again, if you so nicely summed up last time, it's not only move more it's move more of you more.
KATY: So the shoulder exercise. It's a good quantifier. It's a good motion but it's also like, "Hey, you see all that for your shoulders?" How often have you used 30 percent of those motions. And you're gonna find it's been almost never your entire life.
STEPHANIE: Yeah sure. And it's that fact that it's a globe as well because it reminds me to take that sort of global view of my movement.
KATY: Mmm. You must write novels. That's really ... like I would never come up with that.
STEPHANIE: I can't lie. We have been talking about Move Your DNA which is now available in an expanded edition. You can find it via your favorite bookseller. You can also find it on Audible. That audio book has been updated and expanded just as the paperback has. And the audio book's companion PDF has been similarly expanded. You can find all that at Audible.com. You can also find it on iTunes. Katy, we should remind listeners that if they want to read along with us as we work our way through the series, you're making that a little easier with a deal via your website. Right?
KATY: Mm-hmm. Podcast5. All one word and it doesn't matter lowercase or uppercase I don't think with the podcast. So you get five bucks off of any book, all books, you can do it for all books if you want to.
STEPHANIE: That's awesome.
KATY: It's interesting to note though when we were trying to figure out the code or whatever, we have a book lovers get moving kit. Did you know that.
KATY: So the book lovers get moving kit is all of the books plus our movement multi vitamin DVD which has 18 of the exercises in video format and a half dome.
KATY: And it's 30 percent off the total. So if you don't have any of the books and you were gonna do them five dollars at a time it's actually, you would save even more if you would just get the book lovers kit and you get a DVD and a dome. So...
STEPHANIE: And if you have some of the books you still do that and then give the duplicates to people as gifts.
KATY: People love the gifts of "hey you should exercise more." I've found...
STEPHANIE: I noticed you seemed to be a couch potato so I got you this helpful book.
KATY: That's right. What do they call those? Backhanded compliment.
STEPHANIE: There's a backhanded compliment back there.
KATY: Well I also cleared about 10 pair of My Happy Feet socks, so used socks are not another thing that aren't an ok gift to give. So I'm just, I've actually kept them. I've just paired them up because we can use them all in our house. So as far as inappropriate gifts go, thank you for that segment. And I cannot wait to see what I figure out to give you for your birthday.
STEPHANIE: I'm pretty excited about that I've got to say. I know from our last conversation that it will arrive in a greasy paper bag.
KATY: Exactly and no ribbons.
KATY: Yes. So part of my, I was just talking about finding the lower tech option. You know I moved to a higher tech option of teaching and it allowed me to reach a lot more of people when I ... and I'm glad. I've done that and I'll continue to do that but I've started to miss, you know, I got over the hump of having little kids now. It allowed me to keep teaching while I was still kind of tending to very young children. And elderly parents. But now that I'm through that hump now I am starting to plan a few more live teaching sessions than I have in the last 5 years. It used to be almost solely what I did. So I'm doing two retreats in the next 5 months, I believe it's 5 months. The first one is our first Movement Matters retreat. At the last podcast, I talked about how we took a group of our certifying students into the field to experience 90 minutes of hip opening while also doing something which was weeding through these organic lavender fields. So I created a retreat that is, that expands upon that. Which is Chimacum Washington which is on the Olympic peninsula. And it's a two-day event. The first day is alignment classes. On the Finnriver Cidery property that's out here on the peninsula which is an organic apple our chats, cider company, hard cider company. So they... have I sent you pictures? They make these really beautiful ciders from their trees and also local, other products. So a lot of the lavender that we've harvested will go to Finn River. They have a Finnriver black currant and lavender. And they use rosehips and apple and it's a combination. You'll get hours of classes with me where we'll be working on our feet and our knees and our hips and those alignment, body adjustment things. But the second portion is going out and harvesting apples and cleaning seeds. there's a seed alliance research happening on their property. And helping to do a little seed saving and processing so they can continue to collect data. We're also working on a couple other projects. They have salmon restoration projects that are happening on their property. We're doing a field cider tasting and we're gonna talk about how cider is fermented and made. And then the second day, that's one whole day. You get your food you get to party at the cider place at night with live music and dinner after moving in the field and moving in class all day. But don't drink too much because the next day I'm leading a 20-mile movement experience. So this is your chance to not only, it's not like we're putting you on a trail and saying "go walk 20 miles." It's kind of like how to walk long distances. So we've got these stations along the way with our various teachers who are like, "ok, you've done three miles. How are your feet. How are your knees." Like how to do it. How to tend to your body parts along the way as you're transitioning into becoming a long distance walker. How to carry. How to vary your carry. How to work with pacing. How to work with adjusting your gait so that when you have fatigued muscles you can switch to other resources. So, I think it's often like, "go forth and walk". That's not what I do when I walk 40 miles. I have a whole toolbox of alignment that allows me to go the distance. You need to learn how to choose which terrain you walk over when you're walking to allow some of you to rest while other parts of you take over. That instruction, like you, will walk 20 miles and if you're not able to walk 20 miles that's fine. But you're gonna walk. It's a seed to cider, river to sea but we're actually walking sea to river. But don't tell anyone because it didn't sound as good. So we're gonna work, we're gonna walk from the sea to the Dungeness river and beyond and so you'll be eating some live...no that's not the right word... local. You're gonna be eating some live food. You'll be eating fresh stuff that's prepared so it's a total Movement Matters local movement experience. You're going to exchange some of your movement for labor but then you get to celebrate!
KATY: I'm so excited. I'm so excited about it. There's only 30 spaces and it's over half full.
STEPHANIE: Oh my!
KATY: I know. I can't believe it. Anyway, that's in September. You can find more on our website. If you go to our live calendar you'll find retreats and appearances so all this stuff should be there.
STEPHANIE: I'll put it in the show notes too.
KATY: The other retreat that I'm doing is a little bit larger. It's for 120 people. It's a Dynamic Aging event for the general public to come and work with me and I have one assistant for every 20 attendees. So there will be 6 of our Nutritious Movement staff there as well. I imagine that it's like friends who come together. Or parent/sibling pairs where we're gonna cover how to tend to your feet and your knees and your hips and your spine and your shoulders in exercise and nonexercise way. How to start cultivating at any age a more movement rich life. How to use the experiences that you are all having on a day to day basis to extract more movement from and it's at the Kripalu Institute in Massachusetts. Which people might know on the east coast. And it's the 16th, 17th and 18th, of February and that's got your housing and your food and in addition, you'll come to classes with me all day but then you can also take yoga and your food is all included. So that's a nice kind of winter retreat. It'll be snowy so it'll be inside most of the time. So those are the two big things and then there are, if you go to that appearances section you'll find I'm mostly in Washington going to do a few library stops and then I'll be in New Zealand. More on New Zealand coming up soon once I know my speaking schedule there. But I will be at a couple ancestral health symposiums. One in Seattle in September and then I will be in Queensland New Zealand in October. So find more details online and thanks for that. And also, this is what Move Your DNA is really about.
KATY: Did I tie that all in? More movement!
STEPHANIE: Ah, Katy Bowman. Listen the next time you and I are together I want to talk about Dynamic Aging. That book has been a runaway best seller since it was released earlier this year and it feels to me like a natural progression from Move Your DNA. So...
KATY: Yeah, ok.
STEPHANIE: So for those reading along at home, the book Dynamic Aging would be the book to reach for next. Katy, thank you!
KATY: Stephanie this is awesome. Thank you for doing this. I appreciate you for providing a great... I don't know what it is. I don't want to say template or format, it's just this, we walked, we're walking the 20 miles yesterday to get a sense of where our stops will be for this retreat and we listened to the last podcast which I don't always get a chance to do. So I listened to my own podcast and one I caught that I said in-vivo when I said in-vitro but I changed it in the show notes with a note saying yeah, I misspeak a lot. My husband is like, you often misspeak and say the wrong words a lot. And I'm like that's true and you love me anyway. Yes, I appreciate the structure and just your gift at what you do. So thank you so much. And thank you to everyone listening. We wouldn't be able to do this if there weren't so many of you listening and downloading, so. Thank you.
STEPHANIE: Awww. Group hug. Should we have a group hug?
KATY: Look it! That's like a globe motion. So hugging is a good shoulder motion. There we go. Very good. Nice.
STEPHANIE: That's a nice hug. Ok, all right. Yeah. That's Between the Line on the Katy Says podcast. I'm Stephanie Domet. You can find Katy Bowman at NutritiousMovement.com. You can find some browse books and videos, find some downloadable alignment snacks, find all those live appearances and live teaching sessions and sign up for Katy's packed to the rafters with goodness newsletter. I'm Stephanie Domet. Thanks for listening.
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.