DANI: Hey, there. It’s Dani, and I’ve got Katy on the line. How’s it going?
KATY: Like a fish. Lucky you caught me?
DANI: You goofball. You’re a goofball.
KATY: I am.
DANI: So, today’s episode is going to take us along on Katy’s latest, big adventure. So we’re going to be talking a little bit about the value of rest and retreat and how Katy Ann Bowman, the woman who rarely takes a break, does a vacation. And hopefully she brought us something cool back, I hope.
KATY: I did. But I think you’re really the most responsible for my vacation. Or how I did this vacation, actually, it’s because I was talking to you that it even happened.
DANI: Well. Let’s go forward, let’s sally forth! You do this neat thing not every year but almost every year where you kind of do a health recap in your Katy Says blog at the end of the year.
KATY: I do.
DANI: And in your 2014 health recap, you determined that you need a break, because you had a heck of a year.
KATY: It’s true.
DANI: It was a really hard working year for you. Very productive, and you decided that you were going to take more breaks and you were going to do a retreat, which was a big deal for you to put together with everything you’ve got going on, right?
KATY: Right, well, you have to step back out of your life, and for me, retreat, when I use retreat I really mean retreat from technology. I have a pretty balanced life. I work a lot, I produce a lot – but I can produce a lot quickly. But I just, you know, I get tired of the computer and the cell phone and the email inbox. So retreat for me means none of that comes with me.
DANI: That’s a good – I mean, that’s a good way. I guess it means something different for everybody.
KATY: Yeah. Well, that’s what it means for me. And that’s hard to do because we’re in a very busy time, we have books coming out. There’s just a lot of technical stuff that has to be released on a regular basis and there’s always problems and I’m still a small company and I still run it day to day, so to go for 7 days with nothing was – it was a big deal. But it’s necessary for me, I realized.
DANI: Well, and what made that clear to you that it was necessary?
KATY: Um, you know, I think when I start to feel physically ill logging on to my computer, not –
DANI: Oh, no!
KATY: Not emotionally, but like, my eyes. I think it has to do with my eyes. My eyes are a really big indicator for me of when I’m overloading. Because I process everything visually. I’m a huge – I’m a voracious reader, I’ve been – I mean, I wrote really two books within a 12 month period, and then all of that – it’s not just sitting and writing it. It’s all of the editing and the promotion, and then all of the podcasting. I think I did 50 podcasts last year. It’s just –
DANI: It’s a wonder you can still talk, that you still have a voice.
KATY: Barely. I got an email from someone out there that was like, I can help you with…that. That voice problem that you have. I mean, I’m already pretty hoarse-y of a talker, I have kind of a Demi Moore, low, rattle thing in my voice, but it’s clearly fatigued. I clearly do not know what I’m doing, so whoever emailed me, if you email me again, yes. I will do a Skype session with you, but I have lost your email in the 500 emails I get a day, and I don’t know your name to search it. So just send it to me again, and I accept.
DANI: That sounds like a good plan. And then they can talk to me, too. So after you’re done with Katy, anonymous voice coach, please Skype Dani Hemmat, because I also need your help.
KATY: You could use it, yeah.
DANI: Yeah. Okay, Well, so I guess that’s good that you were aware of what makes it – why you needed to take that break. So.
DANI: Tell us: how did you spend your vacation?
KATY: Well, I went to (Bleep) Mexico, which is so good. Just doing that would have been amazing.
KATY: You’re the one who told me about (Bleep.) You let the cat out of the bag.
DANI: I know. Sorry (Bleep.)
KATY: Should we even put this in the podcast?
DANI: I don’t know if we should.
KATY: Did you just have a minute of panic there, going, oh my god, we should just give it a fake name. All right, let’s go back and let’s give it a name. I went to Hoobidydoobidy, Mexico, and it was a beautiful coastal town and amazing.
DANI: It’s very difficult to find Hoobidydoobidy, Mexico, but yes. It is coastal beauty at its finest, so. Did you just go to hang out, or do something else?
KATY: Well, it’s funny that you should ask – thanks for asking. No, I did not just go to hang out. I took a 3-day MovNat retreat while I was there.
DANI: MovNat! Tell us about MovNat.
KATY: Oh, you love MovNat. Why don’t you tell us about MovNat?
DANI: I do love MovNat! In fact, I was talking to Katy last year about Mexico, because I was getting ready to go to Mexico. I go there every year. And I do go to Hoobidydoobidy, Mexico, as well. And she was asking oh, you know, I need a break, I want to go to Mexico, is it good to go with kids there? And I’m like, yeah, it’s great, and I just said, and you could go to Erwan Le Corre’s MovNat retreat, and she was like, wha-what? Ooh! And then I don’t hear anything from you until you tell me, hey, where’s that place you stay in Hoobidydoobidy? And I said, don’t even tell me you’re going to go to the MovNat retreat. Oh, you stinker!
KATY: I did.
DANI: So I love you but I was just filled with raging jealousy for a long time about that. MovNat is – well, you could probably describe it better because you’ve experienced it first hand. I’ve been following it for a few years, as you probably have
DANI: But it’s natural movement
KATY: You know what? So anyone who just wants to get a visual sense of it, because I don’t even think that we could explain it in words to justify it, but how I first heard about it was in a circulating video, and I think it was back in 2009 or 2010 of Erwan Le Corre doing these beautiful, beautiful things. Jumping from rock to rock to rock and scrambling, and pushing a log while swimming through the river. That was my favorite piece. So there’s a video out there that just has this demonstration of this man who is doing what would be perceived, I think, as like, superhuman things, even though they’re not superhuman, they are, in fact, very natural types of motions. Doing them effortlessly, doing them not in a, “all right, let’s get our MovNat on!” you know, it’s not like a training or anything. It’s just this beautiful flow of movement of a human being over the earth, right?
DANI: Yes. And it’s practical movement. And that’s what’s so cool, I think.
KATY: Well, it’s practical in a place and time. I think that a lot of people tend to argue, like, that’s not practical, and it’s like, of course it’s practical. It’s human practical. But you have to see that like that MovNat is simpatico with nature. It’s about moving through nature, but we can talk about even more of the technical stuff that I learned in the course, but that’s what MovNat is, and Erwan Le Corre is MovNat. He’s fantastic.
DANI: Yeah. And what I mean by practical is that one of my early exposures to MovNat was I think an Experience L!fe article that did a thing on him, and he had said, we go to the gym to get beach body ready, you know? To get a beach body. And he was like, to me, a beach body is being able to swim out to someone who is drowning, grab them, swim back, and carry them up the beach. That’s beach body ready, and to me, that’s the practical nature of this is to be helpful and to be able to actually do the things you would have to do if we weren’t surrounded by every – all the technology and civilization, basically, that we’re surrounded with.
KATY: And also, I think a big philosophy of MovNat is to be of service to others. Um, in times of crises, certainly – like, you’re training to be ready for any moment, and we can talk about a moment that actually came up while on retreat, which was amazing to see a real-life scenario. But also to be able to pick up your child, you know, if you take your kids out to the back country, something that we’re talking about all the time, right? It’s like, MovNat, take your kids out and take them on these hikes in the forest, and it’s like, well, what happens if somebody gets hurt? Could you hump your kid out? Could you carry your – I mean, I have smaller kids, right? But I could carry my 70 pound kids. But what if – what if – your daughter, who is older, how old is she?
DANI: Um, she’s 10.
KATY: Right. So what if she fell, and heaven forbid broke her pelvis or something and really required physical labor over five miles? Could you do that as a parent, and is it responsible of you to stay physically capable of dealing with what might come up, you know, in these situations. So there was very much an at service to each other all of the time, you know, can you carry someone’s groceries for them? Do you ever do that? You know, it’s beautiful. It’s just a really beautiful philosophy, I think.
DANI: Oh, I’m so excited to hear about it. So how was the retreat, you said it was 3 days. How was that structured?
KATY: It was 2 and a half hours in the morning, 6-8:30, and it was 2 and a half hours in the evening, 4-6:30. My husband and I did it together, so this was our – this was our first time really doing anything like this together since having kids, which has been almost 4 years. And so we had some friends who came with us who were with the kids when we were gone. So it was beau – it was like our, it was for our wedding anniversary, each of our birthdays were right before and after, Valentine’s Day, this was kind of the gift that we gave to ourselves for all these things. So we would walk like a mile. We would barefoot walk a mile down on the dirt roads of Hoobidydoobidy to the beach. You should – can we put Hoobidydoobidy on Google maps just to, like, mess with everybody?
DANI: I’m sure we know someone who can, so.
KATY: There probably is a place called Hoobidydoobidy already. Anyway, so we would do this kind of 15-18 minute barefoot mile walking down through the sand, in the moonlight, just to get totally ridiculous, because it started like 90 minutes before sunup. And it was on the beach, and then when we were done you could walk back and pick up your coconut, you know, and put your straw in it and drink your coconut water. The guy just hacked the top of the fresh coconut off with the machete. So it was kind of ridiculously wonderful, but at the same time, life is ridiculously wonderful. You just have to tune in to what it was. And I was like, this is just a really good reflection of just how beautiful life is all of the time. You just have to – it’s just easier to see it when you’re on vacation and in the moonlight and drinking a coconut.
DANI: Well, and not plugged in. You removing the electronic factor is huge.
KATY: Yes. Yes. Yeah, it is, and – you know. My life here, schlepping kids and working is just as beautiful. It is just as beautiful. The scenery was just a little bit different there.
DANI: So it’s kind of just more about paying attention.
KATY: Yeah, it was. And it’s just less clutter. Like as soon as we came back, we’re like, we have to get rid of – we already have a very minimal house and we were like, pack all this stuff up and get rid of it! What do we need this and that – we’re like that kind of anyway, but just going minimal for a week. You know, minimal clothing, minimal shoes, minimal work, it just puts you in a very particular mindset that you then, when you get back to your “real life,” you are just highly motivated to make your real life look like the experience that you just had. Which I think is one benefit of retreat is that you get a real clear picture of how different something could be, and then at least at the beginning you can make a lot of changes to make it look like that. But. Anyway.
DANI: That’s a really good point about retreats. Yeah. And now you’ve got to plan your exit strategy to Hoobidydoobidy, somehow.
KATY: I think, yes. There’s been a lot of beautiful places in my world that I’ve been to, and Hoobidydoobidy was one of them, but I know if I don’t make it, you will probably be living there at some point and we’ll come visit.
DANI: Okay. That sounds good. I’d be down with that. Okay. So your early morning, and then in the evening. So tell us, like, what kind of stuff did you do?
KATY: Well, it’s really hard to explain – I mean, it’d be lengthy to explain, but it was a lot of stuff that was “simple” in theory but upon execution you realize how challenging it is to do. And of course, anything becomes challenging to do for 2 and a half hours, but. The first day was just assuming lots of different sitting positions. Very similar to the Think Outside the Chair poster. You know, if you look at all those poses, and you imagine running through them, all of them, you know, for 2 and a half hours continuously, coming up and down and up and down and out of them to pay attention to how you’re transitioning your body. You know, it’s very easy to say, hey, look at this guy kneeling on one knee on the ground in the poster and then get down in your house and emulate that, but not pay any attention to how you got down and back up. That you’re seeing the exercise as when your body looks like the picture, but what MovNat is really focusing on is, did you get down by using your hands? Did you get up by using your hands? Can you do it evenly right side vs. left side? And in that way it’s not very different from Restorative Exercise®, you know the stuff that we’re doing. It’s just a lot more – things that I’ve never really practiced so much because in my population it’s a lot more injured and working from a place of not having that much movement. So let’s say you have 5 different resting positions on the ground, there’s a squat, there’s kneeling on one knee, there’s sitting on both feet tucked under you with your feet crossed or whatnot. So in addition to getting up and down out of them, there would also be transitioning from one to the other without getting up. Meaning, do you have the mobility in your body to switch from kneeling on one leg to kneeling on the other without leaning forward to put your weight on your hands so that your legs can move in resting back? Can you support your bodyweight through a smooth transition? So there was a lot of this gliding, and I think it had a lot of a martial art or fighting background, meaning, like, one of the functionalities of crouching from one position to another is if someone is coming at you and you need to shift your position. If someone’s coming at you, and you have to lean forward, putting your head down, put your weight on your hands, like, you’ve lost all your spring power from your legs, and you’re very vulnerable. So I think MovNat has a very big remove your vulnerability philosophy to it. Remove your physical – physical vulnerability.
DANI: Isn’t that – that’s one of the 3 tenets of MovNat, I think, is combat, is one of them.
KATY: I don’t know. Because I didn’t study –
DANI: Yeah, he’s got like 3 things, but one of them is – but not like, to go out and kick some butt, but like you said, to have that ability to do that, whether or not you’re in that situation you should have that ability to do it.
KATY: Right, well, it’s protection, right? It’s protection and it’s being of service protecting someone else, and it’s amazing – you know, we talk about natural terrain and texture, but there’s a big difference. Like, things – it was a real – it was good for me to fill in a lot of experiences that I hadn’t had. So, you know – I do a lot of my work in the studio or in the home because that’s, again, the population that I’m working with. I do a lot of outside work and I’m helping people transition to walking outside, but I had never knelt and come up off of the ground on coarse sand for two and a half hours before.
DANI: Yeah, I was going to ask, like, were you always on the sand, or?
KATY: Yes. We were always on the sand except for the last day, which was a – essentially a 2 mile continuous, moving forward through simulated survival, like a drill. It’s like, here we go, and we headed up and over and we were just moving down the cliffs and beaches and over the rocky formations of Hoobidydoobidy.
DANI: Oh, my gosh.
DANI: That must have been so awesome. I bet you slept so well at night.
KATY: Well, you did for so many reasons, but yeah. Knee callouses! I came home with knee callouses. Hello! Yeah, like, I mean it’s like, of course.
DANI: So now it’s not just your voice that’s gravelly and rough, it’s your knees.
KATY: It’s my knees, to match my hands and my feet.
DANI: You have Demi Moore knees now, so that’s good.
KATY: I’ve missed you. I’ve missed you, Dani.
DANI: You should bring me to Hoobidydoobidy next time, please.
KATY: That’s right, that’s right. So, yeah. So, that. A lot of combos, like a lot of forward rolls, backward rolls. A few sprints, but again it was about intensity in other types of ways: endurance, you know – I find a large value of intensity coming from endurance, even if the thing is “not something that would get up your heart rate” by doing it 1 or 7 times, if you do it continuously for an hour, you know, your heart’s thumping pretty well, and different parts of you are moving instead of just going out to move for exercise, or walk uphill or hard. There are other things. A lot of jumping. It was fun. It was fun, it was eye-opening, it was thoroughly conditioning; there was some tree climbing. It was great, and it was great to see a group of, you know, very fit and healthy people who didn’t know how to do any of these things, had never even really done a squat before. So, you know, it was just – it was very eye opening in general for everyone who came, especially – there was some person who brought – there was one man who brought his girlfriend as a surprise, and she didn’t even know what MovNat was.
DANI: Oh, my.
KATY: So that was like, whoa, that was kind of fun to watch someone who had no pre-existing knowledge of even, like, this idea of natural movement or ancestral health or any of those things. It was like, wow, what is this like for someone who knows nothing? It’s like, well, we got to see that. So it was fun.
DANI: What is it like for someone that thought they were going to Hoobidydoobidy to eat burritos and drink margaritas and lie in the sun, and they’re like, what do you mean?
KATY: That’s what she thought. She said, I was like, I’m in! It’s the beach – and it was like, at the airport, it’s like, here’s your plane tickets, let’s go, and she’s like, awesome! Margaritas, beach, and five hours a day of MovNat! You’re welcome!
DANI: Yeah, yeah. And I brought home knee callouses.
KATY: That’s right. But it was fun, and it was great, and people were hardcore, and it was really fun. You just kind of bonded and you’re on the streets of Hoobidydoobidy afterwards and, you know, walking around and seeing people. It was really nice. It was a small group – I think there was 20 people, so it was a Erwan Le Corre essentially private instruction for 20 people. I mean, I felt like it was private instruction and there was lots of, while you’re sitting there, just sitting there in a squat for 27 minutes before moving on to a different squat for 6 –
KATY: You are just engaging in its discourse, right? He’s presenting; he’s a beautiful philosopher and a wonderful speaker. I have lots of Erwanisms in my head that I think of, you know, when I come back, and of course the accent doesn’t hurt.
DANI: I was just going to say, is it happening in an accent in your head when you are saying those things?
KATY: Yeah, his accent isn’t that heavy, although sometimes he would, when he was like, I’m feeling very French and then he would add a lot of z’s – zis – but my favorite one is like, it was kind of towards the end and it was just, you know, he’s like, “Culture is bullshit.” And that’s – and that’s a quote.
DANI: That’s a quote.
KATY: But that’s, you know, it just kind of sums up this very limiting, you know, people are bringing up, like, well what about this, and what about this, and it’s like, that’s your – these aren’t questions about your body, these are questions about the culture and that type of thing. So, anyway.
DANI: Mm-hmm. So you had – now he wrote the forward to your latest book that is coming out, the Whole Body Barefoot, and you had talked to him, what, on the phone before? I mean, had you ever, was this your first in-person meeting with him?
KATY: It was my first time I’ve ever met him in person. We had had communications before; he reviewed Move Your DNA, and we’d exchanged emails because we were essentially working on the same large plan. There’s a lot of similarities in what we’re doing, and you know, the attraction of what it is that we do is very small. I don’t know if it’s fortunately or unfortunately, because it is – it’s more of a cultural issue than it is a physical issue, you know, you could have a – you could have a Restorative Exercise® or MovNat, here’s your list of exercises to do and then you will be a Restorative Exercise® or MovNat awesome. But that’s not really what either one of us are saying. What we’re saying is, these moves don’t even make sense to do them if you’re not also thinking about how you live your every day life. That the solution is so much bigger than what you do for this one hour: how are you thinking, how are you spending your money, who are you spending your time with, what are your priorities, physical or otherwise? And – and because that is very weighty, we’re – you know, we have lots of popularity. MovNat has lots of popularity, but compared to all of the people, you know, in the country, it’s very small because it’s a very, um, almost counter-culture. I mean, counter-culture movements tend to be pretty small, so you need to stick together. I think that we feel that way, that we can definitely work towards facilitating each other’s work. So he was very gracious to write the forward for me, and I’m always willing to do anything, you know, for him, and I think that mov – I think that MovNat is a really nice, natural progression for people. The people listening, you know, still have separation in their abdominal muscles and they’ve got knees that are pre-surgery, and hips – because, like, the deficit of movement is so great and so I think that that’s what I spend a lot of time on is helping people with the basics, like being able to do a squat, and go for a walk that doesn’t hurt their low back and their feet, and having this alignment portion which then, once you are up and going, then you can transition over or if you’re already doing MovNat but something is bothering you, you can kind of refine, going, oh, yes, it was this little tiny piece, you know, that I wasn’t considering before. So. So, yeah, so that was the first time that I had actually met him in person, and it was great when we came down in our first 5:45 in the morning, it’s dark, you don’t know how many people – you don’t know anything, you know, you’re just walking to the beach to see, you know, where you’re going. And he was there, and you know, he said, hello, and he said I knew you would come in via the beach. Instead of via the road, you know, and it’s like, of course, why wouldn’t I be walking on the – why would I walk the streets when I could walk the natural terrain instead? So it was – I felt, like, oh, you know me.
DANI: Yes, although the streets of Hoobidydoobidy do provide their own challenges, so.
KATY: They really, they really do, yeah.
DANI: Definitely not all flat, level surfaces.
KATY: No. And the baby turtles!
DANI: Oh, yeah, you got to see the baby turtles!
KATY: From their nest!
DANI: Oh, flippers!
KATY: Yeah, it’s like, this was school for our kids, like, okay, science, done! Because they just watched them come out of the egg and wobble on down the beach to the ocean.
DANI: Oh, that’s awesome. Little ping-pong ball eggs. Those are so cool.
KATY: Yeah, you see the one with the broken fin that’s not going to make it, and it’s like, why is it not going to make it? And it’s like, well, some seagulls have to eat, you know? It’s just – it was beautiful. Again, life is beautiful.
DANI: It is, and you were staying right down by that turtle place, weren’t you?
KATY: I was. Well, I was where – I stayed in the hotel that you, that you told me. Yes, Dani, I will stay there, so we were really close to the, to the turtle sanctuary, which is really just a plastic fence around it.
DANI: See, I only use my Jedi mind powers for good, so just to make you stay places.
KATY: And puns.
DANI: Yeah. That just comes – that just comes naturally. So you just talked kind of about the similarities between Restorative Exercise® and MovNat. What would you say are the differences that you really noticed from your point of view?
KATY: Well, I think that, you know, what I do is I break down – I break down things technically speaking for those people who really need to know, who want to know. There’s a whole bunch of people I don’t know anything, he was like, whatever, just tell me, I don’t care. But then there was a whole group of people who feel almost unable to move or are afraid to move. They don’t understand why and how to do it in a way that doesn’t reinforce, you know, their injury. So in that way, I think I’m more – technical isn’t really the right word, because there is a technicality to MovNat. I would say that it’s about the level of detail. I think I’m presenting a lot of scientific premises because I’m coming from that more scientific mindset, where I would say that Erwan’s philosophy in general is, our relationship with science is just made where you don’t have any common sense anymore. You really have to wait for a piece of paper saying that behaving this way is okay before you choose to behave that way, which is a very valid – I agree with 100% of his entire philosophy. That being said, I am someone who just really enjoys, like, my way of being is seeing, you know, the molecules of things and how they go together. And not to say that – it’s kind of weird – not to say that he’s not like that, either, but I think that he might be looking at the molecules on an even deeper level, which is just, it is how it is, and knowing about how it is doesn’t really change how it is, you know, to a certain point where I’m more like, if someone has a block, though, on seeing how it is, sometimes knowing how it is will facilitate seeing how it is. So we’re just – we just are different. He’s a Virgo. I’m a Pisces. He has a goatee, I don’t. And that’s pretty much the only difference. No, I’m just kidding. So it’s just that. And then there’s a lot more power in MovNat. With Restorative Exercise® is the evaluation and the breakdown of how you are moving on a smaller scale. The biggest, I think I reassembled motion back into was long distance walking and carrying things like your children. I’m thinking about birthing outcomes, I’m thinking about more from a medical health perspective, and then Erwan has kind of assembled, like, these are motions that really you should have always been doing, but if you can get back to doing, you will be insanely functional and have the matching physical beauty that you’re after as well. Like, if you’re just after physical beauty there might be different ways to get there, but that physical beauty might not also be functional. And he’s kind of merged them together, it’s like, here’s how you can have both, because you can’t have that kind of power and function and not look like a form, you know, that has that power and function, whatever that version is relative to yourself. And I certainly subscribe to all of that, I think I’m just working with a population that’s starting 100 steps from taking their first MovNat class, and he is working with people on Day 1 of taking that MovNat class.
DANI: Wow. That sounds like it was a super profound retreat.
KATY: It was good.
DANI: I’m kind of just feeling all overwhelmed just listening to it, and I wasn’t there in Hoobidydoobidy.
KATY: But you were. You were in my mind.
DANI: So for you, I mean, how will this shape your direction? Or will it? I mean, you’re always creating new content, you’re always researching, you’re always learning. What do you think – what was your big takeaway for your work with this? And then for you personally, unless it’s the same.
KATY: It’s the same. My work is me and I am my work, there’s no – like, I don’t present any different than how I am, and how I think, and therefore I can’t think, you know, or present any different than I am. But I would say that it was just kind of – it’s about how broadly you put a stroke on something. So I think of it like this, and I’m probably going to get lost in my own example, but remind me of where I was before I left. I went to a midwifery conference and I was presenting there, and in the midwifery community, you know, it’s very much like birth is something that you can do, it’s natural, it doesn’t need to be over, you know, medicalized or over-thought, and are we interfering with this natural process, etcetera? So I’m, you know, giving this talk, and all the questions are like, yes, but so I keep my moms fit by having them walk 1 mile on the treadmill every single day, and we do this number of squats, and I’m having them, you know, get adjusted and it’s like, they have this idea of “natural” that applies to only one thing, and that is birth. Not everyone, but in general, it was like, we totally get the natural thing, and it’s about birth, and meanwhile everyone’s in, you know, 2” heeled clogs and, you know, you already subscribe to this paradigm that nature knows what it’s doing, you know, to overgeneralize. But what you’re not seeing are all of these other areas where how you are behaving, or the line along which you are thinking is not natural, and therefore those begin to affect this natural outcome. There is a colleague who is also a barefoot advocate, but while he’s barefoot in all situations advocate, he’s not necessarily an advocate for natural or organic food, or other preventive things. I remember once he had put out something like, name one other thing that humans do to protect themselves before they have a problem, before they wore shoes, and I think I fired off like 10 of them. It’s like, almost everything we do is prevention. And he was like, well, you have to do those things. So he could see that it was not necessary for shoes, because that was his thing. But he couldn’t see that it wasn’t necessary for all those other things, because those weren’t his things. He hadn’t really thought, probably, about them all the way through, or his thinking was influenced in some other component wasn’t there for the minimally shod or barefoot all the time argument. So it’s just the ability to apply the thinking that you already have to other pieces, so the callous was a real, huge eye opener for me. It was, you know, I talk about hand and foot calluses and function and loads, texture to the feet and hands and how your body is very busy adapting to that, and yet I had never thought about it on my knees before, not that I hadn’t been on my knees thinking about it. But I had never thought, I am also missing a callus from my knees and how much the rest of my skin is understimulated. The resistance to doing something difficult because you didn’t want to scratch your skin, where my kids have no problem hiking through a berry bush because the scratch is insignificant, yet the scratch is what brings about, you know, a more robust immunity response. It was just – it was just broadening my mind through experience, you know, you can really only – you know, I talk about this in Restorative Exercise®, like, how can you teach a motor skill that you yourself do not have? So this just gave me more of a personal motor skill that I can now include in my, in my mental understanding. I don’t know if it’s – it’s kind of next-level stuff, so it’s for the next level people, it’s still getting down and up off the floor. There was one really cool moment of, and this is, can I do an exercise today?
DANI: Well, yeah, and – I want you to, so, please.
KATY: This was one that was really profound for me, especially because I do so much pelvic work. So you’re standing, or if you’re not, stand up. And you are going to squat down – I don’t care how you squat down, your heels can come off the floor. But you’re going to squat down into a deep knee bend. Your toes are on the floor, but your heels might be but they don’t have to be, and your knees are up off the ground. Now, say you want to go to a kneeling position from squatting down. Your knees have to get to the floor in front of you. Now, I’ve done this 100 times a day, sometimes, because you’re getting up and down off the floor. But usually your knee just kind of crashes to the floor, because I hadn’t really broken down how to get my knees to the floor, and everyone’s trying to come up and down and you’re trying to hoist yourself, it’s like, okay, get on your – stand! All right, squat! Now get your knees to the ground, boom! Now come back up, and it’s like, without using your hands, right? So it’s like, crap, what do I do if I can’t use my hands? And so he was saying you can drive the motion by tucking and untucking your pelvis. So when you’re down in a full squat, when you want to get your knees to the ground, you’ll tuck your pelvis under, which gives you kind of a core and hip-controlled to lower down those 6” or it’s a 6 inch arc that you have to travel to bring your knees to the floor. But here’s the thing: so that was huge for me, it’s like, I just was always just throwing my knees to the ground. I didn’t think of articulating my spine to bring my knees 5” closer so the drop was only 1”. It was just kind of like, dropping the 6” which makes doing that uncomfortable so then you don’t really ever do it, because who wants to be flinging their knees to the ground all the time?
DANI: Okay, so now I’m down on my knees, I just followed what you said.
KATY: Okay, and so the same thing: when you want to come up, then untucking is part of the mechanism that gets you back up. But there’s another piece: so go back to before your knees are down. So now you’re standing again. Did you use your hands to come up? Because if you did, you’d be in trouble.
DANI: No. No, I just had to kind of hoist myself up because I didn’t understand the tucking. Okay, let’s start again.
KATY: Okay, so you’re standing, so you’re going to come down to a squat. Now, as you tuck your pelvis under to bring your knees to the floor, you will find that you roll onto a different part of your foot, yes? Can you feel that?
DANI: Yeah. Yeah, yeah, yeah.
KATY: Okay, so you have to have lots of foot mobility. This was already in my repertoire, this understanding of what might be limiting you to getting down to the ground is not your core strength or your hip strength, but your foot mobility. Because if your foot can’t easily deform at the toes, right? So as you’re dropping your knees closer and closer to the floor, you’re coming up on the ball of your foot, but ideally as you come up on the ball of your foot the rest of the foot should still stay low, but that doesn’t usually happen. Usually the heel flings you forward. So there’s this brief, out of control movement and MovNat is trying to get rid of that brief, out of control movement, so it requires all of the same things that we’re talking about: joint mobility and strength. And so, um, another big difference is: as you’re in a MovNat course, you know, and you try to do this exercise and you realize you have no pelvic tilt, you can’t control tucking or untucking, you’ve got no mobility in your foot, you know, the response is: you need to work on that, okay? And then to the next MovNat exercise, where I think that what I like to do is come up with, well, what are the 7 exercises to work on that besides “ just do that more often” and when you put them together, you begin to go, oh, I have a glimmer of control and I see it! And then okay, they swirl around each other and then you move on to the next MovNat exercise to figure out what correctives you need to make that possible for you. That’s how I took it.
DANI: So, did – did people know who you were that were in the group?
KATY: Um, yes – you know, I think there was a couple who had said, you know, kind of in this circle after we had gotten started, like, “are you Katy Bowman?” and I was like, “yes I am.” It was really hard to hide my, whatever this voice thing is. And I wasn’t trying to hide – and I wasn’t – you know, they were fine, lovely people, you know, we were cohorts. We were in this together. Yes, I am Katy, and we are in this together, and um, so, yes. There was that and then someone else I think later put it together, like, I heard you on the Rob Wolf podcast! You know, and then there were more people, and.
DANI: So what I wondered is because, you know, how you like to break stuff down, and I wondered if anyone who really knew your work would come to you at lunch, and go, hey, you know that thing we couldn’t do, could you help me do that?
KATY: No, no. No, and I don’t think anyone would do that to me on a retreat. Like, I’m clearly not working. I’m clearly learning and I was glad that no one did that because that would have been – you know what, it’s who I am and it’s what I do. It would have been fine. But no, nobody did that. But what was the most mind-blowing, strangest thing for me was, I’m still – I don’t feel any different than 10 years ago, yet what has happened this last year is almost everywhere I have gone, you know, as far as going out and taking my kids to the zoo or going on an airplane, or in this case, going on vacation to Hoobidydoobidy is being recognized. That’s very strange for me.
DANI: Somebody recognized you in Hoobidydoobidy?
KATY: Yes. On the beach, while I was walking. Not in the retreat, nothing to do with the retreat. So that was – it was strange. It’s strange for me. She was lovely, and wrote me a lovely card afterwards and dropped it off at the hotel, and it’s just very strange for me. And I’ve began to recognize when someone recognizes me, which I didn’t really clue into before, so there are other people, I believe, who do recognize you who don’t come up and say anything. Like, I don’t think I would go up – like, I saw Faith Hill once in the grocery store at Whole Foods in Nashville. But I wouldn’t go up to her just because I’m scared, I guess. Or I don’t know. I would love to go up and be like, oh my god, I love what you do!
DANI: Yeah, but you don’t wanna – I mean, you’re a courteous person, too. Like, I just wouldn’t want to pester somebody.
KATY: Right. But at the same time, I don’t want to say that the person, that people who come up to me are pestering me, because I’m certainly – I’m not Faith Hill, you know, like every single person in that grocery store knew who she was. I was on a beach with 5,000 people and one person knew who I was. So it’s very different, and I’m –
DANI: It’s still pretty cool that you were recognized.
KATY: Well, I just meant, please feel free to come up and say hi, you know, like, it’s not – my life is not being turned upside down by – by people bugging me at the grocery store. But I think it’s really interesting because we were on the beach, doing this retreat, you know, and then I saw people go by, and I saw people go back and you just start recognizing when someone is walking away from you but still looking at you multiple times, and you see it out of the corner of your eye, and I’m like, okay, I think I know what’s going on. And then – and then when you start walking, they’ll come to kind of intercept you accidentally on purpose is how it’s happened before. Like, I was just at the zoo and was around this person for a long time before they were like, I know who – I love your blog and stuff – and I was like, and I’m always like, I always think it’s a mistake, I’m like – what? I’m sorry, what? It’s like, I Just can’t – it’s still abnormal for my mind, but it’s very lovely and wonderful and I’m glad that she came up to say hello. And if I had more time, I would have, you know, given her a calf stretch. I don’t know what I’d do if I had more time. But it was – that was kind of the culmination of my MovNat retreat, and then she was like, what are you doing here? And I was like, I’m on a MovNat retreat with Erwan Le Corre, and she was like, the French guy, he’s here, too? And so, yeah.
DANI: Boy, her day was made. That’s awesome. I mean, my day’s made just hearing about it secondhand.
KATY: Yeah, I’d highly recommend it. You should do one.
DANI: Uh, you know, I actually – I’m kind of in that, you know how you talk about how you help people in the population that are 100 steps away from? When I met you, I was 200 steps away when I met Restorative Exercise®. Now I’d say I’m maybe 75 or 50 steps away, so it is one of my things that I would like to do, but um, I’ve still got to – I’m still working on all those – there’s still some issues, physical issues that would prevent me from really, I think, getting the most out of it that I could. So.
KATY: Well, there’s that –
DANI: But I’m a huge fan, I’m such a huge fan of his stuff. I read everything that he produces, and do what I can of it. But just – I do think he is – he has a cool philosophy from what I’ve read.
KATY: And also, I think that he would – like, doing what you can is what MovNat is all about. Like, you’re always doing all that you can. The fact that the challenges are a little more difficult, they’re only difficult because they’re something that you haven’t done before, like, so you can’t do a 4 foot jump. That’s not – MovNat is not an, execute this 4 foot jump. MovNat is, jump however far you can, pay attention to how you jumped, pay attention to the fact that you never choose to jump. That’s MovNat.
DANI: Mm-hmm. That’s cool.
KATY: Like, you could do that. So in that way, it’s really accessible for everyone. But if you have a lot of worry in general or you just don’t feel comfortable in your body, then you can definitely do some prep work, that you said you’ve been doing along the way. But I wouldn’t let – I think that you could make it accessible, certainly just by doing the videos and reading his new book that’s going to be coming out next year, which I can’t wait for.
DANI: I know. That’s cool. And there are – there’s a lot of his resources online that people can look up. Just go to MovNat.com, right?
KATY: Yeah, and their Facebook page has got a lot of videos –
KATY: I mean, you could go try 3 – you could spend 3 hours there right now, just –
DANI: Like you, he is generous with his knowledge and his instruction, and really good at sharing that just to get it out there. And I think that’s the mark of an incredible teacher, is somebody who just wants folks to learn.
KATY: Yeah, he’s a – like, I would say that, if I could sum up what he’s doing, he’s a living offering.
DANI: Whoa. That’s heavy.
KATY: Is it?
DANI: It is, it is. That’s cool. I wouldn’t have thought of those words for you, but it’s the same thing. So, for me. You know, you just help a lot of people and give a lot to people, so. I think it’s cool that you guys got to be together, that you got to learn – I’m assuming, from each other. I don’t know if he ever asked you any questions, or –
KATY: No, I mean, it’s like, I wasn’t there for that. Again, I appreciated – I appreciate just not always having to teach. It’s very important for all teachers to just spend a significant portion of their time as students, and I was able to do that and I really appreciated it.
DANI: I’m glad you got to do that.
DANI: All right, well, once again, we’ve talked ourselves over. That’s us! That’s us! That’s us in a nutshell.
DANI: Well, thank you for sharing that. I’m glad you got to do what you set out to do, and hopefully you’ll be able to schedule some sort of retreat as often as you can, at least once a year.
KATY: Yeah, I do a full tech break once a year. This was the first time I did a retreat on that break, but I’ll be doing more. The kids are a little bit older, and it’s just a priority. Retreat is a priority now.
DANI: That’s good.
DANI: All right, well, thanks for sharing with us.
KATY: Thanks for doing the show.
DANI: Well, my pleasure. Totally.
KATY: All right.
DANI: All right. I’ll talk to you later.