All about Alignment Matters and Movement Matters, in which Katy Bowman tells Stephanie Domet why most of her readers lean either Alignment Matters or Movement Matters, what Nietzsche has to do with it, and leaves us with a move to chew on.
0:00:55 Aligment Matters vs Movement Matters – Jump to section
0:08:38 A deeper look at Alignment Matters – Jump to section
0:18:49 What does Alignment Matters NOT offer – Jump to section
0:20:33 A deeper look at Movement Matters – Jump to section
0:29:37 What Alingment Matters has to offer the Movement Matters tribe and vice versa – Jump to section
0:40:10 A move to bring Alingment Matters and Movement Matters to life – Jump to section
STEPHANIE: Hey there. Welcome to the Katy Says podcast. This is the second of a series of special episodes we’re calling Between the Lines, in which Katy Bowman and Stephanie Domet explore the deeper messages in and connections between Katy’s books.
KATY: I am Katy Bowman, you probably have guessed that by now, author of a lot of books but, Move Your DNA, right? Would be the most popular one probably.
STEPHANIE: And I'm Stephanie Domet, a chronically curious writer and radio journalist. Just picking up a little on what Dani Hemmat has been throwing down.
KATY: Right. Exactly. That's good. She's thrown a lot. She's a good person to pick up after.
STEPHANIE: She is. Those are some big minimal shoes to fill. So...
KATY: Then there's another group of people who I think who move a lot whether they're ranchers or farmers. They are maybe doing these really large movement feats. Very powerful moves. I mean I think of Parkour or you know some of the larger feats of MovNat, right? Like they're doing these incredible, incredible things. And there's a large group of people who have always moved a ton and they, I think, have maybe come through, I mean certainly some have come through Alignment Matters, but I think that Movement Matters is this other idea of "Oh, I need more movement in my life." They're not thinking about where their elbows and shoulders and knees and hips are during that movement but the idea of, "I'm gonna walk to the store instead of driving. I'm gonna get rid of my furniture." You know, like these larger ideas. They enter the work through that. So they're not necessarily thinking about the refinement of body position as much as they are thinking about infusing movement into their life. Then there's another group who has entered more through, not necessarily moving a ton more but really really refining the movements that they are already are doing. And of course, everyone is working towards expanding. So, in general, it seems that people are coming either through the Alignment Matters portal - and it's all alignment, that's the thing. But they're gonna come through that book, that Alignment Matters portal. Or they're gonna come through the Movement Matters, "Oh, I'm gonna move more for my own stuff. I'm gonna start grinding my coffee" and all these things. Where my ultimate goal for me would be for maybe everyone to be maybe grinding their own coffee but also maybe considering their shoulder position while they do it. Right? The intersection of those two things, which is, I wrote a blog post on this a long time ago. I used to write every year a "State of the Union" of the blog. My blog in 2014, My blog in 2015. So if you want to go back we can find this one. But what I would want to tell the Movement Matters people is that to your large volume of movement that you want to cultivate, there is some refinement that might get you toward your end goal. It might allow you to hit that direct target a little bit more easily. Because I get a lot of people who would say, "I've been barefoot my entire life." Like they didn't need to read Whole Body Barefoot.
KATY: They've always been barefoot. Yet they will have some of the same conditions as the person who has worn the shoe their entire life who is like, "I just started spreading my toes and lifting my toes. I'm not ready to go barefoot quite yet." Or they haven't lived 40 years of barefoot. So then there's information for both of those groups of people, it's like, yes, well the alignment, the more refined position of your body, if barefoot's the only thing that you did, if you're sitting quite a bit or you still have these positional habits or these weaknesses or these strengths, that's gonna load that one spot kind of in the same way as if you wore a shoe the whole entire time. So I think I tend to lean more toward the alignment interest initially. That's why I went into biomechanics, so I'd have that toolbox. However my interest in movement overall I realize oh I need both, I need both pieces. You can't really get to understand movement as a science, as a phenomenon, without broadening past the alignment, the very narrow body position relative to body position. You have to think about a greater context. So, I wish to infuse more nit-picky alignment into the Movement Matters group and also the Alignment Matters group oftentimes has difficulty actually really significantly increasing their total number of minutes. Meaning it's very easy, biomechanics can be very heady. You know working with tiny body parts can be so thrilling that you go deeper. Meaning for that one exercise that you're doing you can keep adding more and more body parts to pay attention to. But you never really move beyond that one exercise that you were doing it in. So you're moving more in the sense that you're considering more of your parts but the frequency of your movement isn't radically increasing so I wish to infuse in that group more of the Movement Matters principles so they can understand here's the aspects of movement and that movement science of why you really do need to be moving more outside of that exercise or alignment session. Into the Movement Matters group. It's like, you're moving a ton but did you know that you have got these really old compensation patterns and the way that you're moving through your high frequency is really reinforcing this one particular shape and if you can just tweak this little thing it would be different. So that's why they need to be integrated.
STEPHANIE: So it really is that move more and move more of you together.
KATY: Right. Exactly.
STEPHANIE: Why did you want to take those blog posts and compile them in an organized way?
KATY: Why would anyone want to do that?
STEPHANIE: Why would you do something like that Katy Bowman?
KATY: I know. Such a strange thing. Well, I wrote a ton. I was very productive between 2007 and 2011. Right? Those were before I had kids. And arguably I'm still productive but as far as, I'm pretty darn productive but I had fleshed out so much. I mean there was a point where I was blogging every single day and, you know, the blogs aren't, they're not spectacular, per se. I always find there's a spectacular nugget buried under like crappy writing and way crappy drawings and picture, you know, fast pictures. Because to me, it was more like the container, you know, when I give a gift...
KATY: I'm like the stuff it in a pillow case, paper bag kind of person. I don't wrap things beautifully and...
STEPHANIE: You're not curling the ribbon?
KATY: No. It's not my personality. Because I was like, there is so much... and I recognize now that the beauty of something is for many people as we talked about before, it's that key. It's that portal. Where if it's not beautiful they can't even receive the gift.
KATY: And that's fine. It just means it's gonna be a lot harder to extract information from me. They're like, "When are you gonna redo this so it's better quality?" I was like, never.
STEPHANIE: It's never gonna happen.
KATY: The nugget is there. That nugget is there. So you can choose to accept it, a great gift in a crappy bag or you can just realize that you appreciate the wrapping of things and both of those things are fine but it's gonna be a difficult time wading through. So I would say that I grew in terms of my reach significantly over 2007 and 2011 and the questions and emails started coming and I just realized that a lot of people weren't, like me, going back and reading through blog archives. They would be pulled to a single article that was great and it was like "Wonderful, I want more of this." And then they would just have questions without really knowing that you could go back and just read all the archives of a blog. You know, often times you can just work through other people's work to find it. And it was just not happening easily and then, you know, I was looking at my own body of work and going, "Wow, this is robust." And it's hard because I'm writing things as I integrate and idea. I have an idea, I connect two pieces and I was like, "Oh this is cool. I'm gonna write this down." Like my blog has always been blurting. It's basically like blurting out any thought that I had and I wrote it down. Or sometimes...
I remember one time I was walking by, I was on a ferry and someone had drilled to the top of their car, they had made a camping, you know those plastic tubs that people have professionally connected and installed to the top of their roof for camping or gear or whatever...
KATY: Someone had made one of those out of wood. It was just a wood box. That they had bolted to the top of their car. And I could see and I was taking a picture of it as I walked by. And was like, there's a stress riser. This is a really good example of where, where someone has an artificial joint at the interface between when you've introduced a cut into the hood of your roof, right? So now it's stronger as a continuous material than when you drill a hole through it. And then when you bolt something to it that the wind is going to press against that thing on top now and wear as that wood... I feel like I should put up the pictures now so everyone can really enjoy what I'm trying to describe. As the wind was pushing against the wood box on the top...I mean there was not even any extra straps to reduce...it's gonna create a lift. It's gonna be pushed by the wind. And that's gonna be constantly prying that wood box away from the car. And it's connected and that's fine. But the point at which that prying is working is at that, where the joints, where the bolts are connected to the metal roof of the car. And you can see the metal roof of the car was starting to be thinned and pulled away. And I just did a blog about that. I would take a picture and I would just write a blog about that. I used so many non-body examples to talk about the body. Which is, I think, what Alignment Matters is really great ... it's really heavy in. Which is you already have so much understanding of physics and complex systems because you live in one? It's just that no one ever told you, if you go and look at that thing you're gonna go, you don't have to be an engineer to be like, "That's like wearing that down." But for some reason, we have these different perceptions of our bodies are and how they work. And Alignment Matters was just, I thought, and there were so many examples of that and there were so many articles. That book, I have it right here. This book is the densest book of all the books.
KATY: It's 400 - almost 450 pages. And I just thought, well, that's kind of a fun primer. And it was written in short blog posts, essays, which I like. I like short stories. So I thought, this is a really great non-overwhelming, like if you, someone plopped down a 450-page biomechanics book and this idea that how you move was affecting your health and that you could make these subtle adjustments and how to think about measuring ... there's so many topics in there. If someone plopped it down and it was just one long book it would be barely accessible to anyone. Only the truest of body alignment nerds would even have the context to wade through it. But I thought this is an abundant amount of work and I'm going to compile it, organize it, right. Because I didn't write anything in order.
STEPHANIE: Yeah. You didn't do, "these two weeks I'm just gonna write about the pelvis". You wrote about what occurred to you to write about. All kind of out of order.
KATY: So it's totally out of order. And sometimes I write complex things first and then I'll go back and refine the simple things later and sometimes it's the other way around. Sometimes you put the simple thing first.
KATY: And if you'd be reading an article you'd be like, I imagine... for me, I see my entire blog as a single body of work. You know you can't, you can't ... I was just reading on twitter the other day, someone had tweeted a sentence and they were attacked "you didn't include this.." I was like, "I get 140 characters". Like when you're writing, you have to leave, you are leaving things out all of the time. Every time you have a conversation, every time you put pen to paper, every time you type anything out, you have removed almost everything...
KATY: ... you know editing is going on 100% of the time. In everything.
STEPHANIE: Yeah, whether you have an external editor or not.
KATY: Oh sure. If you call,
STEPHANIE: Communicating ideas is an inexact science.
KATY: I mean I'm even talking about if I talk to my mom on the phone and she says, "How is your day?" The one thing that I choose to say I've left out all of the actual things that what my day entailed, right?
KATY: So that is a necessity. But as a body... so people would read one or two articles and have questions and I was like, "Go back and read the blog." Well, that's kind of a ridiculous request. Who's gonna go read a blog? But "go read the book", that's a little bit easier. And I thought well we can take some time to edit it. Because, you know, blurting comes with kind of garbled... It's not overly edited. I would love to rewrite everything because I would write it in an entirely different way. However, Penelope, our editor, she was like, "No, it really... it's compelling as it is. It's really accessible as is. You want to edit it to tighten it to reflect, you know, more technicality." But then what happens is, less people are able to access the information. And so this kind of casual way or the details where you're often light on details or whatever, that means that more people can actually go "maybe I can back my hips up" which is, in the end, all that I ask people to do.
STEPHANIE: Right. It's an accessible on-ramp for anybody who is interested.
KATY: Yeah. But, as my husband says, it's dense. I find that almost anybody would find it accessible and even to maybe even the more academic or trained person who reads it they'd be like, "Oh I never thought of that." Because it's multi...everything that I do is multidisciplinarian in nature. Because I am just a student of everything. Not really one particular set of information. So I tend to tie in different sciences, different perspectives. And then just different, a lot of non-physical examples. I think it's just a great, yeah, on-ramp is a really good word because you can come in and you're like building speed as you go through it and by the time you're done you're like, "ok I'm ready. What's the next thing."
STEPHANIE: Yeah. And it is chock a block with your trademark crappy drawings.
KATY: Oh yeah. Those are free. Those are bonus.
STEPHANIE: Those are gravy.
KATY: And a lot of times, it's not even crappy drawings. It's bad photos through a dirty lens of a crappy drawing. So just so you know, it's gonna be a gift in a wadded, oil stained, paper bag. But isn't it the gift that counts?
STEPHANIE: I mean they say it's just the thought that counts. You don't even need to give the gift.
KATY: That's what they say. But you'd be surprised how we like doilies. We like the ribbon.
KATY: Oh. Well, Alignment Matters doesn't offer, oh gosh that's a good question. I think that Alignment Matters offers, it can tend to reinforce an ultimate right or wrong way to use your body. So in that way, it's not offering... although it is. When you go back and read it with a different point of view you will see my nods to those things. It's just that I feel like you have to teach alignment first and then the broader movement second. Even though as a child grows up it's gonna be the other way around. Like those physical position refinements come from copious amounts of movement but by the time you are already, you've already adapted and are heavy and are older and have these ingrained habits, it's easier, I think, to identify the smaller movement habits and then work on those as your kind of eek out into a larger one. So there's not a ton of movement ecology. Although it is. Although it is. It's there. It's just that the focus is on the alignment part. I think it tends to, if you only read that exclusively, you'd come away with "I'm supposed to have my bones in these positions all of the time" mentality.
KATY: Which gets expanded upon in Move Your DNA and then Movement Matters.
KATY: Yeah, maybe not quite 5 years but yeah, so this next level of, you know, you write a lot and I said as much in the beginning of Movement Matters and then you get a lot of questions and then you're like, "Oh that's a good question because I can see how I could have made a better word choice here that would be more clarifying." And then you go, "Ok, well maybe I didn't think about this one particular thing all the way through." So I started to think at the next scale. Right? I was looking at movement through a broader perspective. And had done that over a few years. So there were all these blogs, they were fundamentally different in some ways than the "where are your head, where are your hips, where are your knees" blogs, which make up Alignment Matters. Although Alignment Matters, again, has a lot more but those tend to be, I think, what we see when we read Movement Matters. You could read Movement Matters and then go back and read Alignment Matters and you would see there's a lot of that stuff already in there. So I thought this would be kind of cool. It's, you know, Alignment Matters has a lot of exercises and adjustments and measures and really practical things as far as that kind of smaller version of alignment is concerned. When you go to Movement Matters or the essay or the blogs that I was writing from that point, there weren't a lot of exercises in them. So I originally thought I could do, there were so many of them that I felt were like this next step that we could put them into another book. Because, again, I think think that people prefer to read books more so than blogs. But it just wasn't - they weren't jelling. Because they were blurts. And I think my time for blurting got a lot less. Right? I started having kids and then was writing and working on these other books and things. I didn't write a blog a day. If I had written a blog every day this next level of stuff would have worked better as a compendium. But because there were too many holes, because I was thinking of everything but what was making it through to the blog was 20%.
KATY: So it just wasn't, everything needed to end up being expanded or rewritten or combined and so it didn't actually make it into, there wasn't a book of blog posts anymore.
STEPHANIE: Yeah. You know a lot of writers will tell you that they taught themselves to write their book by writing it. That's pretty much how that goes. But I feel like you were learning a lot more than that when you were writing Movement Matters. Could you talk about the way, kind of you changed in the writing of that book?
KATY: I have definitely learned how to write better by writing and actually it was challenging. When I sat down to write Move Your DNA which is in between Alignment Matters and Movement Matters, I had only really been a blogger, an essayist, that's a different skill, as you know...
KATY: ...writing books to write. So I have to teach you this one idea and expand it over the book. And I didn't, I didn't really know how to do that. Move Your DNA was tough for me. But I had transitioned into a book writer. And then I had written a few books from Move Your DNA - it got easier and easier for me to write in book form. When I had to revert back to writing essays - uh - it became challenging again because I was like, I could just go on and on and on. Your ability to edit and leave, create really powerful single sentences that replace paragraphs, that, that's challenging. So there's that transformation. Also in Movement Matter, Movement Matters required me to drill down my own knowledge on stuff a little bit more. And I know that journalists probably do this quite a bit. You're researching, if you're going to write a book about, you know, how McDonald's got started, there's quite a bit of research, right? You have to do a ton of research to gather - a lot of books are written by journalists who are telling a story of an event or a phenomenon or whatever...
KATY: ... they're researching it. Movement Matters, that book- a lot of my books are things, on ideas that are not fleshed out yet. Meaning I'm not doing research in that I'm gonna go ask 12 people how they remember that the summer of 1942 or I can't go back and look at records to look at dates or whatever. I just have to sit there. I'm actually synthesizing ideas that haven't been at least documented before where you can just read them very easily. Right? I'm actually having to think like to think through the model all the way to the end. I'm doing that work first. And I would hit places in writing where it wasn't writing that was the problem it was that I couldn't, my model had not expanded to a particular point which then sent me into doing three days of research to help me synthesize an idea. Going ok, well then I need to go review all of the ecology models that are used for things totally outside of my field to see are humans listed around anywhere in here. I was doing that work so it was almost like doing academic work while I was writing.
STEPHANIE: Yeah that's... that's nothing. That's not a big deal.
KATY: It was a ton. And also as you're becoming more aware of the ideas, like Movement Matters is a big call to action book and then I'm talking about sedentarism and I'm talking about, I'm really talking about the way we use our words as far as language is concerned, nature language and how, you know, I'm sitting here inside my house looking at the tree right now and going, I'm separated, I'm talking on a podcast about being parsed from nature and I'm looking through a window at my tree and the cognitive dissonance was overwhelming during that book. I found myself needing to go well, then I have to go camping for three or four days. Like I had to actually integrate myself more and more into nature to be able to understand the complexity of the issue. Like I had to actually change my personal culture, my living culture. my lifestyle, to gather the perspective of that from the outside. Like I could kind of get a glimpse of it from the inside because I started writing it on the inside. But I was definitely transformed by that book in the same way that there was just a National Geographic Instagram post where they posted a picture of someone tree climbing, hunter gathering's populations feet. Did you see that?
KATY: And so they just posted this amazing picture. And these feet...they're feet, just like your feet and my feet but they're also tools. I don't have to use my foot...
STEPHANIE: Except totally not my feet.
KATY: Absolutely not like them at all. They are tools. and they look, while you can recognize them as the same structure, you can clearly identify that these are totally different feet than mine. But if you read through the comments of that, the comments are just about horrible, disgusting, they are from a particular culture of those look like sick...
STEPHANIE: Those are gross...
KATY: Right? Because their feet are normalized to them. Their feet, that have a particular function in a state of health as a collective, you know, who have these feet in this category versus those feet over there. So for the people who have already read Whole Body Barefoot and Simple Steps to Foot Pain and Move Your DNA and natural movement are like, they didn't have that reaction. They were already outside of the" here's what feet are supposed to look like and do and be protected culture" because they themselves had been barefoot. You can kind of understand it in theory but until you do it then you're like, "Oh I understand even more because I've had to actually do that with this body part." And so the more you get in line with the behavior that you're writing about, the easier it is to see just the issues that we're talking about. So Movement Matters, I stepped way outside. I mean I already felt like I was way outside, you know, my culture in a lot of different ways, but I'm not. Barely. I'm just hanging on someone's arm maybe leaning my ear out a little bit. But I was able to go a little bit farther and go "Oh, ok." But it's changed me permanently. I can't go back. I don't want to go back. I like this larger perspective. And these more robust set of behaviors.
KATY: So, I've been, if you noticed, I've been trying to use my word choice when I say ... I hate to constantly reinforce the idea that alignment is where your elbow and shoulders and knees and hips are. Alignment is how you move your body as a whole. So - and I use this alignment with the car understanding - you know, there's not, when you go get the alignment fixed with your car, the person who is adjusting your car, your wheel alignment, has to consider the context in which you're doing the moving. There is not a shape for your wheels that is best. There is an orientation that's more ... that's advantageous to the pressure that's in your tires, if you're gonna go off roading, on roading, the speeds, the traction, the friction. All of those things are taken into consideration. Yet it's a lot easier for us to continue to think about alignment as just "are my wheels pointing to the right or the left, one to the right one to the left, because that's where you first get a sense of it. Right? If you were totally unaware that your body had a shape to it when it was moving. That was malleable. We start with, look down at your feet. Do they look like the tires on your car, or is one pointing out? Would you drive that car? No. You would understand that it would not be advantageous to continue to drive your car if your right wheel pointed more to the right than your left wheel. We start there. But then we go more and more. It's like well you know barefoot, people say "Barefoot is best." It's like, well what kind of terrain are you on? Because all those are different outcomes. How many miles do you log? What is your form as you log those miles? How much do you sit when you're not logging those miles? Like we've continuously expanded the number of variables that we're considering when we're considering your "alignment." Yet it's easiest to just continuously go back to the "where are my feet pointing" as the sole parameter of what alignment is. So, if you're going to make the argument of something being one alignment better than another it has to refer back to something that you are comparing it to. It has to be a set, if you will, a set around - and that will probably make the most sense to math minded folks. But any time you solve a problem, you can always find an example usually that's a complete outlier but an example still exists for this one particular thing as false. So then you have to set a set of conditions around in which, like, you have to set the conditions in which this thing holds up.
KATY: So when you're talking about body alignment and about the benefit of one position relative to the other, it often stops, I've seen, as because this is just the best one. This is good. This is bad. No referral to anything else. And then it can be a little bit more like, "well this takes the pressure of that and this puts the pressure on that." Okay. But is that only when we're standing in this one position? Because should I take this same orientation when I'm lying on my back because then it seems those two things wouldn't hold up. So as you build a more complex model, you will find that the truths of the smaller models tend to go away. And so if you stay within that very narrow mindset of alignment and especially if you're saying here's how movement works and that's why this body part has to go here it's like, well, are you familiar with Nietzsche?
KATY: Do you know him? Like you guys have coffee.
STEPHANIE: We go way back, me and him.
KATY: So my sister in law is a philosopher and so taking about some of these things she's like "Oh well that's what Nietzsche is basically all about." Niche is saying and for anyone who doesn't know it's a philosopher.
KATY: You can Wikipedia him and quickly get up to speed on everything that's there.
STEPHANIE: And we'll put a link in the show notes.
KATY: Show notes that link to Niche.
STEPHANIE: That's an appropriate use of the show notes.
KATY: Exactly. It's how big you choose to think about something is an indication of where you're willing to go with your own personal behavior. He would say I think more it allows you to do what you want to do. So if you keep asking questions. You know if you've ever had kids they keep going deeper and deeper and you're like, ok I can't think anymore. There's a point at which your model stops expanding and that point for you relates to you. And what you can handle. Probably. Or, I don't know exactly what the mechanism is, but he was just basically saying you just choose to stop thinking about it beyond a particular point and that's just because we just all want to do what we want to do. So alignment, good alignment, has to include all of the principles of Movement Matters. Right? In terms of the frequencies and the quantities and you know, I can increase the set of alignment all the way to the planet. And that's what I did in Movement Matters; Is I just made a very large set where a lot of the truths around the smaller point of alignment don't hold up as you get into a larger and larger and larger model. I mean that's when "exercise is what we need" falls away. Like that was stripped down pretty quickly...
KATY: ... in Movement Matters. Like you don't need exercise. Exercise is... these are all sets, or conditions that are put on a sedentary culture. And to say that you don't need exercise, you know, that's like huge. It's a huge, but only within a culture. But then you have to clarify, but you do need movement and here are the quantities of movement or here's the costs of you not getting the quantities of movement and so it just kind of quickly went outside of the field of exercise science or even the biomechanics into other fields because, again, threads of science are also artificially parsed based on a system like you are only given a certain amount of years to learn something. So we're just gonna pull out all this other education about things that relate to your thing and you're just gonna get one but then you're back to that phone call with your mom where how was your day, it was fine. You've left out quite a bit of things of your day. So our academic threads are often like that tiny tidbits and of course, the farther that you go the more you get them. But then sometimes the more you get they're more on a deeper level. They're not necessarily integrated or expanding back into other threads, so... to me, to round back to your question, 47 minutes later, that's why Movement Matters, the integration of, it's not so much that one needs the other and they need both it's that if you're going to talk about movement and the human need for movement, all of these details matter. If you're just saying humans need movement it sounds a lot like humans need to eat. Well, we know that. And then the nutritionist will say, "well you don't only need to eat. Here's all these nuts and bolts within your food that you need." So to me, the alignment community is really kind of like the nutrient-centric community. They've got kind of some of the nuts and bolts but they might not understand how to design an all day all life meal plan. Where does the food come? Where's the grocery store? The things, they've got the fact that your hands, the way that you're moving is leaving some of you unnourished but maybe they don't know how quite how to get more food if you will.
KATY: So, it's just that. That's what's going on. So I'm trying - my next book...
KATY: ...Is hopefully the integration of both of those ideas all together. Where it's like, and I've tried to do that with Move Your DNA but I think because Movement Matters wasn't born yet, there's a lot of things about other variables that maybe were introduced in a couple sentences here or there but not really expanded. So I will do my first book to integrate Alignment Matters, Move Your DNA, and
STEPHANIE: and Movement Matters
KATY: and Movement Matters all into one thing to go like here's as close to a giant ball as I can hand you. But, reading Alignment Matters first will really help. You know you can read all those books separately by their own. It's not like one replaces, one doesn't replace the other. There's just so much going on in my day...
STEPHANIE: It's like a further evolution and expansion of your thinking on these things. It's to me a clear through line through all the books.
KATY: But it's not only a, it's not so much an evolution or expansion of my thinking, it's just, it's more in the writing. You know, like, if I wrote this integration book of all three, again, I don't know how accessible it will be because it requires that you step quite far out of the current culture. So for me Alignment Matters and Simple Steps to Foot Pain Relief are very gentle, they're very gentle nudges to get you to consider one tiny aspect of your life that hardly matters to anyone else.
KATY: Where it's a very safe place to start going, I didn't know that I wasn't moving that. And I didn't know that me not moving that was preferred by everyone around me. And so I actually think that going through that process of the gentle nudges makes when you read the bigger nudges, it makes them more accessible to you. Because there's not a big shudder in the earth. And then again, just like some people like things packaged with bows, some people like things packed with punch and they can't hear the gentle. Right? They can only hear the punches so that's where there's so many keys. But I am trying to just, for people who are asking "Where do I start?" Well, Alignment Matters is still a great way to kind of just gently get yourself moving.
KATY: I can think of a couple things. So head ramping.
KATY: It's a big move in Alignment Matters. You'll see it actually a few times, I think. And so if you're on your phone right now or if you're on your computer or maybe a lot of people are out walking because they're listening to the podcast, but your head tends to go way out in front of your body. And head ramping is one of our corrective exercises, it's an alignment adjustment where you're gonna slide your, you're gonna slide your chin back and it goes back and it also comes up in heights just a little bit and the top of your head nods forward a little bit and so your neck gets longer behind you and your eyes lift away from the horizon just a little bit. And so it changes the curve that are in the arteries in that section. It changes the curve of your spine both upper thoracic and the cervical spine. In Dynamic Aging, I talk about swallowing, you know, that it's changing the orientation of your swallowing tubes, right? When you induce a curve in them when you have your head way out in front of you versus way back. And it's funny, in Alignment Matters, I talk about that in Dynamic Aging and I have this really technical drawing of here's the process of food through your mouth or through your throat. In Alignment Matters, I took a picture of a bendy straw next to a non-bendy straw. Like that was my diagram to say "look, your straw can go up and down or it can bend and curve and which one changes the forces required for things to move through it." Like that's where I was. And I still love those diagrams. I still do that all the time for my kids. I still do that all the time when I'm speaking live. It's just grab the nearest thing that makes me think about this, because you can get like, "Oh I get that having to go around a curve would be harder." But it's so much easier to see it in some sort of physical example. But anyway, so that's an Alignment Matters thing. It's a particular adjustment. But in Movement Matters we're talking about swallowing and chewing and the need to really masticate. And also the idea that mastication is not just to exercise your jaw but it's, you know, driving blood flow up into your brain and that, or if it's breastfeeding as a child, that you're working on developing these structures, the future structures of your throat and your palate. And so there's not particular, like in one hand, chewing and you know selecting less mechanically processed foods would be kind of the exercise that you would take away, just a behavior. You're gonna eat anyway so it's just swapping, you know beef jerky or dehydrated mango for whatever else you were eating that didn't require very much manual processing. And that's going to change or affect the alignment, the use, of that area of your body. Also, head ramping can do that too, but in a completely different way. And then if you marry both of them you'll find that maybe if you're chewing beef jerky and if you only got the chew message from the larger activity but you're not pairing it with the head ramping activity then you might find swallowing more difficult than if you did pair it together. So the correctives are different. The movements that you're trying to incorporate in your life are different. Chewing is just a behavior that you're gonna do anyway that you're modifying how you're doing it. Head ramping is a distinct corrective exercise that you're doing. But they really do well together. When you start pairing the larger behavior changes with these slight physical adjustments, the adaptations are different as well as the actual experience of either one. You know ramping your head while you're swallowing is different than just ramping your head while you're not.
KATY: Right? You're actually putting a physiological process through that new shape. So anyway that's kind of one. And the other one is just for our certification. Our graduates came, and you know we do a lot of different classes while they're here.
KATY: A lot of different classes on squatting and hip opening and where they're practicing these very subtle ranges of motion. Shifting from one to the other to make sure that their body, like, it's one thing to be able to sit in a V-sit and then stand up and then get down and then squat and then get up and then cross-legged. How well you shift between them without really having to over displace your body, that's the next level of skill. I decided that they had done so much technical alignment exercise inside on rubber floors on rubber mats, you know, in artificial light with all facing the same direction and not really interacting. Right?
KATY: Like this very laboratory style approach to movement. To me, it's not very different than if you look if you've ever worked in research labs where animals are kind of parsed into their own space. It's very much like that. You came here to work on this by yourself. Yes, you're in a collective, but it's all about you and what you're doing. And so there's a particular vibe and it's necessary like if you're gathering data about yourself you need to be able to observe yourself. And that's why we stand on our own mat in our own space and no one's foot is allowed to come on your yoga mat because that would be totally awkward. This is yours.
KATY: I decided to...but that's our normal exercise experience. Like that is our, that is how we see movement. I decided to take them out. And to do two hours of weeding on a farm in a Movement Matters style which was you guys were just gonna sit and play with moving your hips and your knees and doing these things for 90 minutes you were gonna do that. What if we did that and you also were barefoot in the dirt if you wanted to be. You were in the sunshine. You were weeding, meaning actually loading many more parts to that squat. You are putting it a little bit more in situ. It was in-vitro [EDIT: Friends, this is KB: I just listened to the show and heard myself say "in vivo" when I meant "in vitro" so I'm editing it here in the notes!] before and now you're in-situ. Now your body is in a situation where that in-vitro, how does it hold up in a situ. Oh, do you have an easier time in dirt? Like most people will find that they're able to squat on natural terrain much more easily than they can when they're in the lab.
KATY: And I think that both are really necessary. Because we there's some, we're not hyper observers and what alignment, those correctives, that time, which I love still is about, it's about getting a little Dian Fossey on yourself. And it can be challenging for some people. Some people come to do the class and they don't want to observe and it's like this is a class in observation. You observing yourself moving. It's not just a movement class. It's a class in observation. That's the skill that we're trying to teach you here. So it was fun. And it was more, it ended up being I would say more satisfying, kind of like if someone gave you a hand full of a few ingredients just kind of on a plate...
KATY: ...versus them blending them all together and adding some oils and other amazing things, like. So one was this really beautiful meal and the other one was a perhaps equally, it wasn't equally nutritious because there are other inputs that were happening out there that weren't happening in there but also adequately nutritious meal but the experience between eating them was different. And the land that we were on, the receivers of all of that work, those people were influenced by our squat class. Where before they would have been untouched by our squat class. Our, we actually converted squats and lunges and all the movements that we were gonna do in class, we converted them into work for a community. For other people. So it was not only more nutritious for us, it was more nutritious for others not in our movement class. And every single person who comes to that farm will benefit from that bout of labor. So you end up influencing other people more through the mode of exercise that you choose to take. So that's how we went Alignment Matters to Movement Matters in a day.
STEPHANIE: Amazing. Some meaningful squats and lunges.
KATY: Yeah, well I mean I think they're all meaningful because I think that they're, it is not my intention to devalue that laboratory. Like if you had a, if you have food, I'm trying to think of a good example. Like if you make fresh applesauce, versus you've got you know some kind of older processed that's maybe stabilized with other things applesauce. They are both applesauce on a certain level. And they can both nourish you. They just don't nourish you equally. And I think that for so many people to go to eating applesauce would be huge versus eating whatever less nutritious thing. Like to make that, like I'm gonna start eating, you know, my healthy applesauce every day. That's a huge positive conversion. It's just that if you only go the Motts and you're looking at the Motts and you're thinking that this is your sole portal, there are other, there's even more to be gathered from non-Mott's applesauce. Right? And someone can give you a bowl of that fresh one. That would be great right? That would be...
KATY: ...arguably more nutritious. Then you go to the next step of making it yourself. Where you got only the end goal but you got the movement of actually making it. So it's a continuum. They're all meaningful to you but if you're gonna talk about a science of something you don't necessarily want the scientists of that doing as Nietzsche said and stop thinking about it when it's uncomfortable for them. Although it's hard because we're humans and we do that. But you want your models to continuously be developed and understood more robustly. That it makes people uncomfortable is a fact. But it doesn't really influence that that is the trajectory of how you gather, you know, the information. So that's just what I'm doing. I don't really have any judgment on how you want to do it. But for me teaching movement I thought, how great to teach an expanded version. Right? Like if I'm facilitating movement experiences, let me facilitate this other one over here and now you've had the experience in the context of a class.
STEPHANIE: And we're gonna go so much deeper on Movement Matters a little later in the series.
STEPHANIE: We'll have a couple more - more opportunities to go deep on that book for sure. And the next time we're together I want to talk about Move Your DNA. Your best selling book. Also your most recent in that it's been issued a revised edition.
KATY: Expanded. Expanded edition.
STEPHANIE: With a hot new cover. Available now through all the usual channels. I want to note especially since this is a podcast, including on Audible.
STEPHANIE: So you can take it for a walk and listen. And you can also at Audible find and download this really gorgeous companion PDF that includes all the exercises and the illustrations as a way to kind of further bring that audiobook, read by you, Katy Bowman, to light.
STEPHANIE: For now though, I think that's it for us today.
KATY: That sounds good. That was a good place to end.
STEPHANIE: Yeah, right?
KATY: Pretty good.
STEPHANIE: Ok, we'll leave it there. That's Between the Lines on the Katy Says podcast. I'm Stephanie Domet. You can find Katy Bowman of course at NutritiousMovement.com. You can browse her books and videos there, find yourself some downloadable alignment snacks, and sign of for Katy's packed to the rafters with goodness newsletter. That's how you can keep in touch during her social media break this summer. I'm Stephanie Domet. Katy, thanks for this.
KATY: Thanks for having me. It was a great discussion. Thank you.
STEPHANIE: And thanks everybody 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.