After 9 years, Katy has put her eponymous blog, Katy Says, to bed. Katy shares why now, and what the blog has meant not only to her, but to so many of us. She also discusses why her book, Alignment Matters, is still a must read for any person interested in alignment of both the physical and personal kind.
DANI: [Funny Voice] I listen to what Katy Says...
KATY: That's why...that's why it has that name!
DANI: [Funny Voice] I love you, Katy, you're my best friend!
KATY: Welcome to the Katy Says podcast, where Dani Hemmat and Katy Bowman talk about movement; the tiny details, the l-l-larger issues and why Movement Matters. I'm Katy Bowman, biomechanist, and author of Move Your DNA and Alignment Matters.
DANI: Yes. And I'm Dani Hemmat, a chronically curious movement teacher. We just gotta start right with this. We have big news to discuss.
KATY: Big news. Big news to discuss.
DANI: Very big change.
KATY: Big change.
DANI: After nine years you have put your blog to bed. Katy Says which is the blog you began writing in 2007,
DANI: posted its last entry this January 2017.
KATY: Yes. It posted itself. And I didn't do anything. It's like, "Oh what are you doing Katy?"
DANI: "Thank you, Katy. I do it from here now."
DANI: And for most of us listening right now, probably most of the people who follow your work came to you, found you, through that blog.
DANI: The blog that you just closed.
KATY: Did you read my last post?
DANI: I got choked up.
KATY: You did? You know what, I actually...
DANI: I got choked up.
KATY: I cried writing it.
DANI: It just felt like... What's that? You cried writing it?
KATY: I cried writing it. And I'm not a crier people. Like I'm not a crier.
DANI: No, I'm not either. And I got really choked up and even though I still get to talk with you, I just felt like I was saying goodbye to a friend. Because it's been a part of my life. It helped me find you. It helped me get better and ... yeah.
KATY: And it's its own entity. You know, I'm not my blog. It's kind of weird, when you are in the public eye, "you know me through my blog", well that's like, well that's a particular tone. My children don't know the me of my blog really.
KATY: You know they have a bigger experience of me than what is just the blog but, it's funny because as I wrote the blog, it was like, this just doesn't feel like it's paying the homage to the first five years of Katy Says, which was, as you said, it's where I was writing... like I've had a blog for 9 years but I don't think I wrote on it equally for nine years.
KATY: The first few years were very light. Then there was that middle five years in there which was extremely heavy. I mean there were times when I was writing every day. Or five days a week.
KATY: A lot so.
DANI: That's a lot of work. I don't think people that don't blog
KATY: A ton
DANI: they don't realize but it is a lot of work.
KATY: And it's free work, right. I never monetized my blog, ever. There's no ads on my blog.
KATY: It wasn't. It was really more, as I've put on there before, it was like my notebooks. Like I had an idea and I was working it out and I just put it up there for everyone else to kind of... sometimes people's comments are great because I was like, "Oh yeah, I didn't think about that. Ok, that's good." So it's kind of the ultimate peer experience. But yeah. The ending of that blog, which I won't, I won't let anyone ... I won't spoil it for you if you haven't read it.
KATY: But that was classic Katy, like, four or five years ago when I was doing it all the time. Like, I am kind of a silly person...
DANI: Yeah, I think that's kind of why I got sentimental...
KATY: And I started crying as I was writing it...
DANI: Because it It was like goofy - goofy Katy. Yeah.
KATY: And it wasn't like "Oh I need to put something goofy here." It was like, no, this is me winding up this piece and I cried. I cried. I didn't sob. But I did cry. But anyway, a lot of people have told me they've come through the blog. There are so... I mean like 300. We've pulled a lot of articles down. You know, like a lot of articles that eventually became essays for Movement Matters, I took those down. I didn't really pull anything else off but there's over 300 - maybe even 400 articles. Years and years worth. But my question for you is, do you, did you come, was like the blog the first time you stepped in?
DANI: It was. I had never heard of you and I was doing a s...
KATY: Tell me...which post.
DANI: Oh my gosh, I can't even...
DANI: Oh let me think.
KATY: You were saying you were working on, or what were you?
DANI: My feet hurt. Well, everything hurt but my feet were the biggie that was like a constant thing.
DANI: And I was doing all this research and everything was all the same. It was just like the same stuff that I had been doing for plantar fasciitis and then I came across... oh, I can't even remember. I don't even think it was a foot post.
DANI: But I read something. Your name came up and I clicked on it because I was like, "What the heck. I've tried everything else." And I read it and the way that you communicated the thing that you were talking about, it just made so much sense. And I thought, "ok, whatever she says I want to hear more of it because this is clearly somebody that is thinking differently than most of the people that I've explored." I don't even remember the first post because I sat there like, just, a drunk and I consumed so much sitting on my butt because I was still was like sitting in a chair. And my mind was blown. It was like I had seen behind the curtain and I just, it was amazing to me.
KATY: Sitting at the blog bar...
DANI: Yeah. Sitting at the blog bar
KATY: Taking post shots.
DANI: Throwin' them back. Slurring my speech saying "You gotta listen to what Katy Says."
KATY: That's why it has that name!
DANI: "I love you, Katy. You're my best friend."
KATY: That's why it has that name because that's what everyone just kept saying. I love it.
DANI: Is that where it got the name?
KATY: THat's where it got the name. It got the name because people would be like, "Well Katy Says...' and they would tell me that they were trying to and I was like that's the worst ... who, I am nobody, it's nothing... but when they were trying to tell their friends about this exciting thing it was like, "Well Katy says this and this." You know when you read something the first time it makes such sense to you. It's kind of like when my math teacher would do a proof and I was like, "That makes so much sense." And then I would try to do it and I couldn't do it. Like I could follow why they were doing the steps that they were doing but I didn't yet hold... I didn't embody the logic that I needed to create those steps myself. So I think that's what it was. It's like, you could read it and it made sense but to put the argument together yourself might not be there yet. So it was just easier to say, "Well Katy says it goes like this." You know, so.
DANI: That's great. I'm sure that millions of spouses across the world have heard someone say
DANI: "Well Katy says."
KATY: My apologies. My apologies.
DANI: After all this time, why now? What's up?
KATY: Well, it's just a way of, it's a way of stacking. Becoming more efficient. When I started writing blogs, I didn't have books. I didn't have a podcast. I barely had a website. And as I grew, I just kept adding things on. I just kept going "oh, I'll write books now too" and like, "oh ok." I didn't have three social media platforms that had daily attention. It's like there's just so much.
KATY: And then once it became so much I quickly realized that someone just Facebook messaged and said, "I'm a podcast listener. This was the first blog post of yours that I have ever read." And it was like, "Oh"... it's not... I can't create work for every portal. And I was like, "Ok, what would work best for me." And it was like it would work best for me to focus on books are so much .. blogs are easy but they're not, you can't really get to the depth that you want to go. And I've explained things so deeply in the books that often times I'd use a post just to supplement a book, but that didn't work if you just read the post and not the book. And so then I was like, "I feel like I've put a large body of work out there. I can pull some of these things off." And the blog was...the blog was the easiest thing to go because I don't read anything online.
DANI: Right. A lot of us have shifted.
KATY: It's too much. It's like oh, I'm shutting down my own Facebook and everything. I'm inundated with, I want to read. It's not like "oh I don't want that idea". It's like I just, I would spend my whole life on the screen. There's so many captivating ideas. And so I feel like blog posts, I read a couple blog posts to hook me to a couple blog posts to hook me to a book or whatever. And going, reading the book. I want to get off the screen. I can take the book with me, you know, camping. And so I've just kind of switched to putting out maybe the things that I myself would like to, to pull in. I do like short essay format, though.
DANI: Do you? Are you enjoying that?
KATY: I do. I do. I actually enjoy writing short essays. I enjoy writing full books too, but the short essay is, it's fun and I've always enjoyed reading short stories and essays. So.
DANI: Me too. Me too.
KATY: I imagine...so I feel like the blog taught me how to write a good essay when, at our big Movement Matters party, I don't know if I told you this. My high school teacher came. Did I tell you I invited him?
KATY: Steve Wong, if you're listening. Amazing athlete, also, he was an amazing, I had him for two years, my sophomore and my senior year, but his way of teaching was, we had to do all these different readings and like small bits of writing and every Friday the whole class was to bust out one, oh, 6 or 7 hundred word essay in an hour.
DANI: Oh wow.
KATY: Final turning it in. So like you had to, you couldn't, I felt like when I was an earlier writing, like back when I was in fifth grade, you would write sentences that maybe didn't, that didn't have an endpoint. Like you hadn't thought of a thesis of what you were saying. You were like, "ok, I am here and now I am here and then I went here and now I am home" you know. So if you're gonna sit down to write an essay. There's no computers. This is pre-computers everyone. You have a piece of paper so it's not like you can get started and go, "Oh, shoot, I should have put this paragraph in front of the other," You couldn't do that so, he taught me how to write a really good fast essay. So he came to the launch party and I had to go, "This is all because of you. I would have no, you know Movement Matters, there would have had not blog..." It all started with a teacher, you know, putting out this way of writing. It resonated with me. So it was fun to have
KATY: He's known me the longest.
DANI: That's so cool.
KATY: He's such a cool guy.
DANI: So he went back and gave you A's retroactively.
KATY: I gave him a book and said: "I fully expect to get this back with red marks."
DANI: It is such... I mean Movement Matters, if you haven't read it, it's just a collection of essays. But your writing has changed so much.
DANI: And I don't think ever, you weren't ever a bad writer since I started reading you. I started 2 years after you started the blog. I think I found you in 2009. But you just have grown so much. And so I can't imagine what it's like to put something like this to bed. Like what sort of...
KATY: It's so awesome.
DANI: But just tell me. Like what kind of feelings and thoughts do you have around this process. Because that's huge. I mean some of us can't let go of creations like that because we just can't imagine what would it be like and it's a big part of us. So what's, what's going on in Katy's noggin?
KATY: Attachment is not my issue. So that's why this kind of stuff isn't a big deal for me. You know, like you make a piece of art and you destroy it. Like those things don't... they don't bug me. I mean, I, I guess maybe because the blog, if I was pulling the blog all the way off the internet, that'd be one thing but it's still there. Like it doesn't ...it's done. It's been out there. So I really don't have any ... I was teary to write the last one because it was like, I owe the blog and the people that I wrote it, so much.
KATY: But I wasn't teary because I was closing it because I would no longer be doing it, because it was the end of an era. No, don't have that.
DANI: Well your feelings don't have to be sad. I mean you have to have some, like, what's going on about, you just can't be neutral about it either.
KATY: I do. You can be.
DANI: Are you psyched? Are you excited?
KATY: No. I'm really neutral.
DANI: Are you just...it's just done. It's...
KATY: You can really be, one can be neutral. They can. I really am. Like I swear. Like I don't feel like, "YES! I am so relieved to have done this." I don't feel that way about it or the other. To me it's just a natural, I don't know, it was just. I feel that way when I write a book. When I'm at the end of a book, I don't feel like "oh, this just feels so good to be done." Oh, I want to, you know, I don't have that. I just move on to the next thing.
DANI: Really? Wow.
KATY: No. No. That's probably why I'm a hyper producer, though.
DANI: I suppose.
KATY: Because I really feel like I'm done with it and I just go on. Like I'm just moving forward. Like, I'm just like, "on to the next thing." And it's not because I don't love the thing, it's just ... I don't know. That's just the way I am.
KATY: It's just my personal nature.
DANI: Well and so the blog is still in existence.
DANI: Like people that haven't read it, like the guy that posted on facebook, he could go back and read it, right?
KATY: Well that's the crazy thing. That's the thing. It's just the experience that you had, people will be having that same experience. Like, I'm not really part of that equation. Which is kind of cool.
KATY: You know, like, it doesn't ... as I was closing it, you know, I was posting my last post on social media and people are like, "I just found it and I've been reading everything." And I'm like, I have been hearing that for years. For four or five years about the person who stumbles on to it at ten o'clock at night and reads through 'til 3 am and then goes to bed and gets up the next night and does it all again.
DANI: So there's other blog drunks out there.
KATY: There are. There are.
DANI: We've started a group - B.A.
DANI: But, you can only read the blog online and then Alignment Matters is what I want to talk about next.
DANI: Alignment Matters is a book that is a compilation of the first five years of the Katy Says blog.
DANI: And I want to talk about this book a little bit because there are folks who haven't read it. Even if they're the blog readers, they haven't read through the book and the way that it's organized. And I want to talk about its value. Because you never really talk about it.
KATY: No.Not so much.
DANI: I refer to it a lot. I was just looking at it
KATY: Do you still have a copy?
DANI: Oh yeah. I was flipping through my copy just kind of making some notes and there's highlighters and sticky tabs and stuff. It's got a lot of value.
DANI: Like, what are you selling it for now? It's still in print, right?
KATY: Yeah, it's still a popular...
DANI: What are you selling it for?
KATY: It's actually in Barnes and Noble. Like copies still ... I think that...
DANI: I mean I bought it when it came out, so what's it going for?
KATY: Do you have the newer edition of it or the old one?
DANI: I don't.
KATY: Ok, so the newer edition is barely different. It's almost the same cover. There's like a couple different quotes on it. I also wrote a new intro... a note on the edition just to talk about where alignment fits into the body of the rest of my work.
DANI: Oh. Ok.
KATY: So maybe... I'll get you a copy of that so that you can kind of see. Or at least a copy of the note because it's such... it's not the way that I write any longer. However, because I didn't know, you know, I wasn't a public person. I was just like a dork on a computer and...
DANI: You ... I don't know, you're still a dork.
KATY: Well I totally am still a dork, but I'm a dork that don't have 30 people or 70 people reading it. I'm a dork with hundreds of thousands of people reading it. It's so much larger and, you just become more skilled at writing for a larger group and you just get feedback and it's like, "oh, you know, I never thought of this or that before" Just because I only have my own experience and like I just - it's like rapid expansion when you're dealing with that many people.
DANI: I suppose.
KATY: So I just kind of wrote a note but at the same time, I don't know if any of my books are as helpful for the foundation of what alignment is besides Alignment Matters. Like it is...
DANI: I agree.
KATY: It's the most accessible of all my books. Meaning it's the book that people are still, "I carry it around and read it over and over and over again." And it's so dense. It's five years worth of writing.
DANI: It's so dense.
KATY: It's so dense.
DANI: And I think it's organized really well.
DANI: It's not just from when you started writing until 5 years later. It's organized like sort of a reference from head to toe.
DANI: Or from toe to head actually.
KATY: So if it was a blog, if it was just a blog book and I think we played around with it...all the articles in Alignment Matters are still online so you don't have to read Alignment Matters to get the content. However, it's over five years. It's hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of articles. So instead of doing a blog book where we just put the blog and put it in book, we organized it to go, like if you read these sections you'll get more out of the individual articles when you're reading them in the context of the other articles on similar topics. So I... and it's edited, thank goodness. So it is a better read, I would say. It's a more organized read.
DANI: Oh you did? You did edit the posts.
KATY: Minimally. I wanted to leave them like, this is my crappy writing... I have a great editor.
KATY: So I think that...there's a couple different perspectives on editing. One is, like, "oh that's wrong grammar and you don't do this..." and you get an editor. You have to have a voice. Right? Everyone has to have a voice. And some editors over edit where you're basically just reading a textbook ...
KATY: ...versus letting someone's voice be part of the way they give information. Clearly my voice...
DANI: Well that's why I asked because it's you. It's definitely all you.
KATY: It's totally me. Right. And so most books should be. And a good editor would go, "you know what, I know this is a typo, but you've done it on purpose as part of the thing." Like I make up a lot of words. I make grammatical errors on purpose.
DANI: Again, something you still do.
KATY: I still do it and sometimes it's on purpose and sometimes it's not, but it's part of the way... like you have to be at ease to receive information and I find humor to be a really good relaxer. Like we're all very hyper defensive right now and so it's very hard to permeate with information. So I find humor and laughter to be particularly relaxing. I find ... you know, if I'm not laughing along the way I'm like, "I gotta put this down. I can't, like, take anymore." So it is edited. More so than the blog is but it's very, it's very true to what's on the blog.
DANI: Yeah. And it's just, it's helpful that it is organized. I mean yeah, you can sit down and read it from beginning to end.
DANI: But at the same time if you're just curious about something, you know, one issue, like the cardiovascular system, you can just go to that collection
DANI: of blogs on that. So it's a great, it's like a, you know, like something I would put if I had an office in a waiting room. So that people...
KATY: It's silly too. I feel like you have to be kind of silly headed to read it.
DANI: Well. I don't know about silly. You're just funny. You're just funny and
KATY: I guess that's me...
DANI: if anybody didn't, I don't know, I can't imagine somebody not relating to that but
KATY: I feel like a person could grab it and say, like, "This is ridiculous." You know, and I can talk..and I just have to be like, "But I'm me" and that ridiculousness prevents you for getting information but it allows a lot of other people that non-ridiculousness prevents people from getting information. So I think there's a lot of different ways to present information and this is one and Alignment Matters, maybe that base... it's just super helpful. It is essentially the primer to all my other work.
DANI: Yeah. Well, I'm glad it's still in print.
DANI: Because I think it's a valuable book.
KATY: I think we just printed the 7th or 8th edition. I mean this thing it...
KATY: it's out there. I can't believe it. I mean it was only printed in 2013. I know it seems like a lot longer than that. It was about 4 years ago.
DANI: Well when you churn out like a bunch of books every year it kind of, we lose perspective.
KATY: Yeah. It's still... it still regularly around. I still go into bookstores and Barnes and Noble in different cities around the U.S. and there it is.
DANI: Yeah. I actually see this more than any book. I actually see this on bookshelves more than any book.
KATY: And you saw it, wait, hold on. Can I also say that you sent me a picture of someone reading it in Mexico when you were on vacation?
DANI: Yes. Oh my gosh. So I'm walking, like, to the pool or something for my lounge chair. And it's just sitting on the corner four chairs down from me and I almost thought I was being pranked by you.
KATY: I know, like I was in the bushes or something...
DANI: Katy came to Hoobidy-Doobidy just to mess with you. And the woman was fantastic and she's like, "Yeah, I just got into this and I listen to the podcast," and it was great because what a perfect poolside read.
KATY: It's a great summer read. It's a great...
DANI: It's a peace read. I think that's why I...
KATY: It's a bath read, it's a
DANI: Yeah, it is a bathroom read. Yeah. And most of the posts, you know, most of the articles are like regular old just a few minute
DANI: blog read. Although it's not always digested quickly.
DANI: Sometimes you really are... it sets your thinking in motion and for that as well, it is valuable. It's funny looking at this, even though it wasn't the first book you released, it was the first of your writing. And it's kind of cool looking at Alignment Matters and then in the other hand, looking at Movement Matters.
KATY: Yeah. One's orange...
DANI: And.... ha.. well one has a picture of you and your butt looks very nice on the cover. And the other one has geese who I'm assuming their butts look nice too. I'm just so taken by the orange which is like one of my favorite colors. And the turquoise. Very cool. Seven books later. This one, Alignment Matters, is basically the beginning of your arc as a writer and the other, Movement Matters, seven books later... how do these two relate to each other? Because it seems like you've moved beyond alignment of the shoulders, knees, to looking at movement in another way.
KATY: I feel like it might seem like that but it's not like that. So I started with, you know, alignment is the way things work. We have to keep referring back to alignment does not mean, it's not limited to what only the arm and the shoulder are doing. And I think we talked about this a long time ago. So when you're talking about your car alignment, car or wheel alignment is not limited to the position of the wheel relative to the car. To know what alignment should be, right? And first of all, you know, in a car, your wheels are moving all over the place. As is your car, moving all over the place. When you're setting, like, in order to say what the right alignment is for a car, or the car being in alignment versus out of alignment is, depends on what you're doing with the car. It's not like all cars need to have X alignment. The mechanic is going, "How often do you drive the car? Under what conditions? What kind of tires do you have? Do you go off roading? How frequently do you go off-roading? What's the type of off-roading?" And alignment is set based on that. So we are not used to considering all of those other things. We're used to going, "Oh, yeah but the wheel is like this to the car." That's one component of alignment but that is determined by all of the other things that I just talked about. Which is that movement ecology part. Right? Which is the bigger picture.
KATY: That's still alignment. Alignment is how does it work.
KATY: So you're just, it's a larger argument for some of the smaller alignments of the arm and the shoulder. But here's what the arm and the shoulder are doing. So how can we talk about the position of the arm and the shoulder if we're not also talking about what you will be doing with that arm and the shoulder plus what you might have been doing with your arm and your shoulder. These are all critical pieces of information. It's just that when you start talking to someone, you don't download everything all at once. Like it's so big. It's a huge shift in thinking. So, to me, Movement Matters is a book on alignment. It's just those changes are ... it's harder to see how they relate back to your elbow and your shoulder. Like it's a question of scale. Sometimes it's hard to see the various scales...
KATY: We are not... we are not trained really well in scales. You know, but that's the nice thing about the physical sciences cuz so much of it is "here's the equation and this is the principle or the equation" the scale, it doesn't matter the scale. It works up it works down. But we're not used to being taught the principles as much as the details about each scenario so we're trying to memorize the detail of this one and over here, not really being taught the principle that permeates all of it. So that, that's what I've done over time. But I, I don't know. I don't feel like I've moved beyond alignment.
DANI: No. And you haven't, you haven't. And that's how they relate to each other really.
KATY: Well, yeah.
DANI: Because, like you said, it's not even a shift, it's, I almost feel like it's not stepping to the side shift, it's just changing direction and it's a long journey of a shift as you move further and further back out for scale.
KATY: Yeah. I guess you could think of pulling away as being a distance. You know, like you are pulling further out. But I think I gave a nod to what most people think of alignment in Movement Matters and it's very tiny. I think I said that the last podcast. I'm usually addressing super big ideas in one sentence. So if you're a skimmer or if you read it really fast and didn't go over it with a fine-tooth comb but you'll miss where I said the thing. You know, a woman asked me, I wrote about it in Movement Matters but it was actually on Facebook. And she had said, "Why is it that..." she had, I think diastasis recti or maybe an organ prolapse, she said when she tied, when she wore her baby tied on, she noticed that that would create a bulge or a downward displacement of her organs: prolapse. But if she carried her baby, it didn't. So she was like, "What is that phenomenon?" So I was, you can go back to listen to the course, I might have talked about it before, where you holding your baby is not, like, that your body's responding to the various different ways that you're doing it. Right? So, she had come to the conclusion, as I have written about before and will write again in the book for children and parents of young children, which will be my next, next book in a hundred years from now.
DANI: yeah (laughs)
KATY: But she was like, "Now that I know that carrying my child is like what's training me. That good alignment is, you know, I've got this here and this here and I'm carrying my kid that that's good alignment. I can't do it. Because I have another child who is 3. And we're home all day. And I have to do the cooking..." So she was, like, going "Ok, I can't do good alignment." You know. Or "I feel like alignment isn't working...it's not a solution for me." And it's like, well, here's a next piece. Like aligned movement isn't just between you and your child in this case. That if we're gonna talk about, like, the natural way of building your core and your arms and shoulders, we have to acknowledge that that building relationship involves other people. And that's why there are geese on the front of Movement Matters. It's because we are so used to looking at alignment as being in interpersonal thing or an intrapersonal thing but not having more than one other person. Me carrying my kid. Me carrying a bag of groceries. Like it's very, very narrow. And when you start looking at other animals, like I've been thinking of, I've been reading a lot, I got the ant book that I talked about last time...
DANI: Oh yeah.
KATY: Blowing my mind!
KATY: And you know that's why things like bees and other colonies, like we are so used to thinking that, the nuclear family is like the natural way for humans but a colony is the natural way for bugs. When you've got basically humans right now that have really more natural structure that's more similar to a colony. Where you are a part of a larger organism. So they'll often call colonies of ants or bees "super-organisms" where, yes, you've, like each bee is needing to take care of itself. But you don't have a colony and thus bees in the future without them all working together. And so that's where I just... I'm trying to use that ... like alignment is the word, but even our way of moving is affected by the fact that we live separately, you know, parsed away from all other people with the exception of our nuclear family and so how could you possibly carry your baby all of the time and get anything else done. It's like, "oh there's supposed to another person there." Or five. You know and so like, to me that's just, that is a part of alignment. We can't have an alignment discussion indefinitely without going a little bit deeper into all the parts involved.
DANI: Why do you think, just so stepping back from there, that Alignment Matters is still a good portal into the work.
KATY: Oh, I think that most people being drawn to the idea of alignment and movement... we're all coming from, we're all coming for different reasons.
KATY: I'd say that most people are familiar with the concept of alignment as being something that makes pain. Or injury, more or less. Right? Like "this hurts". It's like, "check your alignment." You know, like, we're used to the idea of wear and tear being related to alignment. And so, I think it's easiest to integrate an idea starting from the point at which you understand it.
KATY: So I think that that's why it's still super accessible because it meets most people where they are right now. There are also a ton of people, though, who are like, "there's not one way we're supposed to be..." like they misunderstand alignment to be that real general, rigid like there's one way of orientation. And of course that orientation is always presented as an unmoving thing and so they're like, "Oh but it's - you know - you're supposed to be moving a ton of all ways." In which case I'd be like, "yeah, that's true." But at the same time it's like, it's like the understanding of car alignment to be only the position of the wheel relative to the car when you're parked, you know, not the idea that when you're moving forward and want to turn right that both wheels on the front will point to the right or point to the left. The problem is not the direction that they're pointing but really the relationship between which way the right one is pointing versus the left. So we've simplified alignment to make it accessible which I think is fantastic because there are so many people right now feeling poorly when they try to move that were they to have even the most basic understanding of "Did you know that when you stand up that you don't have to stand up the way that you're standing up? And the way that you're standing up right now is actually creating extra high pressure in the front of your foot and in your knee joints and that you can continue to stand but here, shift your hips back a little bit, and widen your feet and lift your toes and hey, you've just decreased the center of pressure. You just moved the pressure away from the front of the foot. That one place that hurts you when you stand up because all of your weight is right on that nerve? You can stand without doing that!" Right? That's basic alignment. That's like that first introduction. That's what really the first five years of the blog - or the first three years of the blog were about. And people, I was like, I'm over this blog, I'm shutting it down. I was getting letters from people saying, "But you don't understand." Because I was like, "who's gonna get better from a blog." And they're like, "You don't understand. My pubic symphysis burns so badly every time I stood up that I didn't stand up for four months while I was pregnant. And cried every day. And then I read your blog on back your hips up..." Which, I think, might be my favorite. "... and boom, I could stand going forward every single day from there. I had spent months seeing every expert, thousands of dollars, insurance fees or whatever, medication, pain, everything. No one ever told me to back my hips up."
DANI: Do you think that's why you mentioned earlier that you think it seems like the most change in people is triggered by reading Alignment Matters.
DANI: Do you think that's why? Just because of those, those bits and pieces like they read one thing that makes sense to them?
KATY: Yeah. I think Alignment Matters has so many of those little adjustments that your body would be radically different. Because it's that. It's the actual recommendations for adjustments. But, too, I think what Alignment Matters starts to do is to start teaching you how to pay a little bit more attention to how you measure how you move. So there's kind of two problems. In movement science, therapy science, exercise science, whatever you want to call that, there's a problem of measure. There's a lot of really poor measures. And I think it's because there's not a super strong, like, geometry or math background. Like its... and I go into that quite more in depth, I would say, in the big book to come out next year, where I'm really kind of breaking down how easy it is to mismeasure. So Alignment Matters it's just introduction. It's just an introduction to you can get from point a to point b in a different way. You will feel differently for choosing how to move differently and here's how to measure where you are. So instead of just giving exercises or whatever - there's a ton of exercise books and a ton of exercise blogs - it's more like, "But see the difference between these two positions?" and then people can go, "Oh, I thought I was doing it one way but it turns out I was doing it the other way."
KATY: No other book has as many adjustments as Alignment Matters. Like that is still the primer of body geometry. The ideas definitely get fleshed out a little bit more but I still find it's the primer. I still find it's the book where people are like, "That book changed my life. Like I went from chronic pain every day..." I mean, someone posted on Instagram. She had posted, like, "Today's a terrible day. Pain day." Or whatever. "I've been in chronic pain for two years." Blah blah you know, just like you know, "at the end of my rope" kind of thing. It's just
KATY: And then someone in the comments said, "Have you checked this out?" D-d-d-da -duh... This is, I read this all after the fact because then it was like, "Update, two weeks later. That chronic pain I've had for two years has gone. Completely. And it only took two weeks. And all I did was drop my ribs." You know, like so. I beat myself up because in this hyper-critical, hyper-negative place where we are, when you put things online, I kind of beat myself up with like, "I put such simple stuff out there to make it accessible". Like, I'm really... I feel like movement... we should all have access to great movement instruction. And what makes it great is how accessible it is for people with absolutely zero training. And so, as everyone tries to get more technical and exact, all you do is leave behind people who just want to know where to put their hips or their ribs, right?
DANI: Right. And I think that's what speaks to so many of us, me included, Is I've been told to do certain things by osteos and doctors and PTs. But the way that you explained it made sense in my brain. I just, it just, I just had access to it then. Like, the reason for doing it made sense.
DANI: I wasn't just being told to do it. I was being told "here's why" and it was simplified enough and so that's like, I think, one of your gifts as a science communicator is, making it accessible to all of us.
KATY: And it's also, I mean like it's geometry. Like I, just, I just experienced this talking to my father's doctor and he was trying to tell me to do something. And I had no idea what he was saying. And I have a lot of training in like the allopathic community. I knew the words that he was saying. But he was just saying stuff so fast and I was like. I made him repeat it three times. I'm like, "I still don't know what it is that you're saying." And I, at that point I realized, I feel like this the experience that a lot of people have. Which is, a lot of technical words. There's not really anyone to walk you through another example that you can hold in your mind to like, "Ok." Because I use a lot of analogies in my writing but I feel like when you can compare something new - a principle - to a scenario where you have a strong grasp on the principle that permeates it's like that new information just clicks in like that.
KATY: Yeah. So for that, I have to love Alignment Matters. And I get to the point where I'm like, I'm so embarrassed for that book because the writing's so bad but I was like, you know what, when you hear people say that they feel radically better and that the technicality that people are asking for here and there is really just a way to make it non-inclusive. Like, I'm done with that.
DANI: I remember you said that. You said that in Vegas once. You said, "Yeah, I just don't like that book." And I was like, "You're crazy. You don't know helpful that book is."
DANI: Would you consider it a must read? Alignment Matters.
KATY: If you're trying to get me and alignment and Move Your DNA and Movement Matters I think Alignment Matters is kind of like the primer. Yeah. Or just basic if you want to start moving better to get like, "Where should my pelvis be and my hips and how do those two things relate?" I think Alignment Matters is great. And it's like dorky. The pictures are line, you know, markers...
DANI: Oh gosh. But even that, even your drawings that are so horrible and your pictures, you know, I've got a fondness...
KATY: I love that. Because I've seen gorgeous drawings and people are like, "How does yours relate to this gorgeous drawing?" I'm like, that gorgeous drawing doesn't have any mechanical detail. It's just a beautiful painting of muscle but it doesn't really give you any - it doesn't give you any mechanical information about movement. It's a sedentary or static picture.
DANI: Would you be able to sum it up? Alignment Matters.
KATY: I did on the blog, right? I summed up every single book and for Alignment Matters, I was like, "Your alignment matters." Yeah. If I could sum up Alignment Matters it would be, "you can, with a few simple adjustments, radically change how you're moving every minute of the day." Like this is before you give up your furniture. This is before you switch shoes. This is before you go to nature school. Where are your hips? Where are your ribs? Like those are the key pieces that before you make these big adjustments that you should have mastered.
DANI: You know, now that I'm thinking back, I dimly recall that the backing up your hips one might have been the first one.
KATY: Mind Your Pelvis.
DANI: Right because I was gonna say, I was looking up, I came across pelvis issues because I was looking up diastasis recti and with my feet, because I suffered from both. And I think that might have been the one. And it's one that I've read many times over just because it's great. Great for reminding myself and explaining to others. I know that your personal alignment and your, what do we call that... oh the P.M.S. ... your personal mission statement has been, you know, part of the reason that you're done with the blog now. Because it relates to, aligns with your personal mission statement, but, do you think you would ever... could you see yourself ever picking it back up again?
KATY: (deep breath) Well, anyone who knows me is like, "Yeah, right. We'll see you blogging in a month from now." But, I don't know. I feel like blogging, like it came up and it's kind of, it's kind of going back out. So no, I don't think so. I could see myself writing for other people's blogs now and then because I do like that short format. But I can't really. I feel at this point the ideas that I have just need books because they're more complex. I've already written all the simple stuff down. Like, simple is not the direction I'm going any longer. Also, I think as far as public service goes, which is a big driver for me personally of a lot of the work that I do is being met in more ways that people can actually partake in. So I'm maybe compounding or making an issue. So I don't think so, no.
DANI: Ok. Well speaking of partaking in, is this a book that is not on audio?
KATY: It's not. It's so long. I mean this book is huge. This book is, it's small font, 500 pages.
DANI: I know. It is. It's like a textbook. But I just want to put in a plug that maybe we could hire Benedict Cumberbatch to read Alignment Matters.
KATY: Yeah definitely. I think we should get a different star...
DANI: I'm thinking big seller right there.
KATY: I'm thinking different star for every...there's a couple hundred different articles. We'd just get different stars for each one. Jimmy Fallon could do one.
DANI: Or no. Do different stars for each body part. For each section.
KATY: Arnold. Arnold can do the biceps.
DANI: Yeah. That's great. All right. I'm gonna get right on that. Because the personal assistant research assistant has the week off.
KATY: Get on that.
DANI: Ok. Well, I guess that's it.
KATY: That's it.
DANI: Congratulations. And it's over and we've both got a little teary and I'm sure other people did as well. And thank you, just from me. I'm sure everybody else that enjoyed the blog thinks the same thing but, it's a lot of help that you gave out for free, very generously, sharing your ideas and I am grateful for that. Thank you for that work.
KATY: Well, I benefitted from it tremendously. And my thank you is, of course, always to you but to anyone whoever read it. To anyone who read it and anyone who shared an article. Um, it was huge. It changed my life.
DANI: And so, for those that haven’t, I can go to, did you say, regular bookstores. I've seen it at Barnes and Noble.
DANI: And then...
KATY: It's on a special, like a super special discount on our website so you can get it. I think it's like $9.95.
DANI: Oh my gosh. People if you don't have that book that is a huge value. There's so much information. $9.95. That's insane.
KATY: Yeah. I think it's a list price of like $21.95. But I find it's such an essential, like if you come to the website, I'm like here, just take this. Like you don't have to sit on the screen and look through the blogs. This is good and then pass it on to your movement teacher or whatever.
DANI: Wow. Awesome. Well, is that it? We're done.
KATY: That's it. That's it. Nothing. I'm going oyster hunting.
DANI: Awesome. Then let's look this podcast to bed today. Thank you for listening. For more information, books and online exercise classes you can find Katy Bowman at NutritiousMovement.com. And now there are live exercise classes like you can take them taught and there's new ones all the time, which is really cool. So go there and check that out. Those are really fun. You can find more from me, Dani Hemmat, at MoveYourBodyBetter.com. Bye.
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.