One of the benefits of being an Aligned and Well Facebook friend, besides the obvious prestige, is when I do a Q&A session. Last week I requested friends to ask a quick question. You can see what I got below. Some are easy-to-answer, and others are more like, Hey Katy, I know that instead of doing anything else, you’d like to write a small novel.
Here we go:
Quick assessment tool or physical practice to use while stressed out and waiting in line?
Um, please state all questions in the form of a question. I’m assuming you meant to ask, What is a quick assessment tool or physical practice I can use while stressed out and waiting in line? Right?
Step one, accept your reality. You have chosen to stand in line. If you didn’t choose it, you could leave. So being stressed is your choice. Opt to not be stressed. Then, once you’re like COOL, I’ve been wanting a little free time to work on my alignment and now I can cuz I’m awesomely standing in this line,
1. Straighten your feet.
2. Make sure your feet are pelvis width.
3. Externally rotate your thighs (as seen on this video)
4. Back your hips up to put your weight back in your heels.
5. Drop your ribs.
6. Ramp up your head (as seen on this video).
What is a good method to treat and prevent plantar fasciitis?
Stretch your calves. Stretch your hamstrings. Get out of heeled shoes. Get your pelvis back where it belongs (as pictured here). Do your intrinsic foot exercises. Buy my book, Every Woman’s Guide To Foot Pain Relief. If you’re a man, buy the book *for your friend*, take it home and read it in secret. Info applies to the dudes too.
Please discuss the patterning that would cause a person's elbow to be perpetually flexed. (Hands hanging slightly forward of torso). Anything other than tight biceps?
The slightly bent, slightly orangutan like appearance of the arms (shoulder joints internally rotated, elbows bent) often starts as a choice of postural habit. Posture is often used to communicate and this choice of arm position is often used by the male animal population to convey increased size. Many creatures in nature will use this technique to secure alpha status when in combat.
In addition to preferred stance, unbalanced exercise programs limited to biceps, chest, upward trapezius contraction, coupled with sitting, driving, computering habits will change the length of the tissues making relaxation of this posture difficult.
How should it feel when you stretch your hamstrings? I experience 2 things, burning/tingling/pain, and then a deeper long pull which doesn't hurt, both sensations located in the calf, behind the knee, and up the back of the thigh.
It’s going to feel how it feels. That all sounds about right though. Let me know if you feel it in your left ear. Then we should talk.
Working squats into your day?
Question. I said QUESTION.
You can squat to go to the bathroom.
You can squat to play with your kids.
You can squat to fold laundry.
You can squat to play craps illegally with your neighbors.
You can squat in your office chair, but only if your office has blinds.
What makes people's big toes come off the ground when they squat?
Incorrect muscle recruitment. The same thing that causes your face to contort when trying to do something difficult.
I have just like one fingerwidth of diastasis recti going on and I was hoping you could make some suggestions on how to make that go away (without surgery...)
It can go away without surgery, but you need to fix your alignment and find your core musculature. Stop thrusting your pelvis forward. Get out of positive heeled shoes. Strengthen your posterior muscles. Stop lifting the ribs. Stop sucking in your stomach. Find your TVA. Take this $15.00 ball class for the core exercise and rib alignment part.
How about that post about varicose veins?
How about it, indeed! Prompt noted.
Can bunions be corrected?
Yes. But you need to learn how to stop wearing traditional shoes with teeny toe boxes and heels. Straighten your feet. Learn about torsion of the lower leg. Stretch your calves. Wear My-Happy Feet socks whenever you’re kicking it around the house and at night. Fix your whole-body alignment. Did I mention my book, Every Woman’s Guide to Foot Pain Relief? (Presales on Amazon, yo!)
Any tips for turning a posterior baby?!
Well, first of all, they need to turn themselves. It is your job, though, to provide the maximum amount of space by having relaxed psoas muscles, keeping your ribs down (instead of lifting them up!) and back your pelvis up until it stacks over your heels - not the fronts of the feet. And, go to www.spinningbabies.com immediately. They have tons of great information!
Yes, diastasis help, please. I'm doing physio which is helping a great deal, but am finding differing opinions on whether the connective tissue can heal at this stage (10 mo. pp). Good exercises? Bad movements to avoid?
See answer above.
With winter coming up, what shoes would you recommend for a toddler? She's been barefoot so far, but we'll need something to keep her feet warm and dry (and still developing properly!)
I really like Soft Star Shoes. I think they have some teeny tiny toddler winterware.
How to get your heels on the ground while squatting.
Lots and lots and lots (and lots) of soleus and gastrocnemius stretch. Do the regular calf stretch:
and then bend your knee while standing on your mat/towel/half dome to move the stretch to the soleus (the lower of the calf muscles):
Also, back your hips up when you’re not squatting. Stop wearing positive heeled shoes. Increase your stretch frequency by three times.
Standing with feet pointed forward and rotating the legs outward to avoid knees knocking works great - how do you apply this to walking? I can point the foot better, but turning the legs seems hard.
I like this “question” because it makes me feel like 1) you have actually read other blogs looking for answers yourself and 2) you are ready to take the next step. The reason the thighs keep internally rotating when walking is because the front of the foot is too stiff in our shoe-wearing population, to articulate by itself. Ideally the ball of the foot should drop down to the floor without bringing the ankle with it, but our feet are pretty lumped together. The front of the foot acts like an anchor, dragging the thigh with it. Keeping the legs in “neutral” while walking really requires a whole lot of foot joint mobility and intrinsic strength. Doing a lot of intrinsic foot exercises and stretches will help. Walking in minimal or “barefoot” shoes will make this more and more easy for you. And if you are really interested, check out the whole-body course. At least watch the first couple of hours...it’s free!
List of yoga poses and exercises to avoid if you have POP, please. You’re probably not going to like this answer. You shouldn’t be doing anything that increases the downward pressure on the organs. If you don’t know how to breathe, walk, exercise, or load your body in a way that doesn’t cause you to bear down, then every physical activity increases prolapse severity. It’s not about an exercise making it worse, it’s about the way you use your body making it worse. For example, a spinal twist can be done in a thousand different ways, depending on your tension patterns. One person can twist, causing their abdomen to bulge, pressing down on the organs, and someone can do the twist in a way that that improves PFD. So, I can’t tell you what exercises to do or not do, but only that you need to learn about pressures, how they are created by certain habits (like sucking in the stomach, walking with hip flexion, straining during exercise, etc.) and how to move in a way that improves your health. And that, my friend, is much bigger than a blog post.