Can Changing How You Move Change How You Feel?

Yes.

 

I've promised to try to go a little lighter on the 'bla bla' for 2017. But could I expand maybe just a little?

What if your pain and lack of mobility aren’t due to your age, but to your habits? What if changing how you move can change how you feel, no matter your age?

This idea is central to why I've developed this program. I love all sorts of movement. I love dancing, climbing, walking and swimming - but I could see patterns in myself and patterns in my friends, family and students - and I knew there had to be more to why so many of us were in pain.We approach our weekly classes with this idea of an evolving understanding of the mechanics of your amazing body. We look at what it needs to thrive, and what sorts of things can be leading to discomfort. We have our Essentials exercises - which cover the kinds of things (and really awareness) that you can keep coming back to all day, and then we also work with a range of other series to unwind tension, get stronger and enjoy ourselves too.

I love to see people trying something new and the look of real achievement when they realise that age does not have to limit us. I've worked with 16 year olds who initially had a bit of a struggle with hanging from a monkey bar and 70+ year olds who are now doing so gleefully for the first time in their lives.

There's no rush and there is no magic bullet. It takes time to change your movement blueprint - but we make sure that we have some fun along the way. Hope you can join us.

We believe in grown ups climbing trees! (if they want to, and if they don't - that's ok too. Come along on one of our free movement community walks)

We believe in grown ups climbing trees! (if they want to, and if they don't - that's ok too. Come along on one of our free movement community walks)

Are you new to working with us this term? Here is a video of our Essentials program, with a few bonus exercises along for the ride.

Bolstering On The Move - Summer Walking Inspiration with Laura!

We had such a great Community Walk on Tuesday - I felt like a kid whose friends had all dropped in to play Leggo, or Barbies, or whatever your favourite chlidhood game was! Taking your healthy movement out on the road can sometimes feel a little overwhelming, so read on for some brilliant tips from Laura McKinnon

Bolstering On The Move

You've taken Mel's classes, you've bought into the 'blah blah' ;) which isn't hard since it works!  - and you're feeling the transformation and restoration of your body…now you want to take all you're learning 'on the road'! So how do all these alignment points work once you're on the move - say on your daily walk?

Do you take everything you've learnt and apply it to your walking body? The short answer is Yes! and No! or more accurately a little bit, and here and there :)

The long answer…

Just as in class, where you meet your tissues where they are and work on change, this is where you start with walking.

If you dive straight into 'perfect' head ramp, ribs down, neutral knees, feet straight, etc, the load to your tissues in these new positions of alignment, while biomechanically correct,  would be too great to their current condition and could cause pain, and even injury.

So, just as Mel teaches in class, be gentle on your body and allow slow and safe transition, both for your mind (it can get pretty hectic trying to remember and stay aware of what your head, chin, ribs, arms, pelvis, knees and feet are doing while walking - and still enjoy your walk!) and your tissues, to these new alignment points and ways of moving.

A great way to slowly transition the alignment points and movement principles to your walking is to use a type of 'bolstering on the move'. Some of the ways you can 'bolster' are the degree that you apply an alignment point and for how long. On your next walk pick an alignment point (or two if it's not too much to think about!) and then pick a tree or street corner to walk to, or number of steps/minutes you're going to focus on applying it. Also choose to what degree. For example how far down will you drop your ribs? How far forward will you rotate your elbow pits?

Here are some alignment points and movement principles to consider while out and about:

  • Feet hip width apart

  • Feet straight ahead

  • Neutral knees (very tricky while walking!)

  • Neutral pelvis

  • Listing the pelvis to bring the straight 'stepping leg' through

  • Actively using the backside of the supporting leg to generate the force to propel you forward (gluteus, hamstring, calf, foot and toes)

  • Neutral elbow pits (facing forward)

  • Reciprocal arm swing actively pulling behind (and then reflexively swinging forward)

  • Ribs down

  • Head ramped (chin in!)

  • Eyes up and looking at varied distances and directions (as your terrain allows to safely)

Remember to only apply these alignment points and movement principles as it feels right for your body on that particular walk . It might change for you from walk to walk- even within a walk! Stay mindful of how your body is feeling and adjust as necessary.

A little reminder chant my mum, Annie, and I use in our heads like a marching band while walking is 'back, back, back'! This helps to keep us aware, making sure all our walking is happening behind us. The reciprocal arm swing is actively pulling back while the supporting leg pushes behind, all the way from the extended hip flexor and active gluteus muscle, all the way down through the foot and toes, to propel you forward.

May the alignment points be with you (a little bit at a time) out on your walks!


What a fantastic post, thank you so much Laura! Also huge thanks go to Catherine who has done a makeover of my Summer Sessions flier. This, my friends, is why you call in the professionals.

A LITTLE UNWIND CAN MEAN SUCH A LOT - HOLIDAY VIDEOS FOR YOU

I'm about to give you the best gift I could think of, a few weeks away from the Bla Bla factory!

But that isn't enough to express my gratitude for your coming along to classes and being a part of the team of beautiful humans that make up our movement community.  I know that this time of year can get pretty busy and perhaps even stressful for many people. After a recent long car trip my own positive experience with short bursts of our program was so helpful I was inspired to make a few videos for you. The production quality is not great, as I did not have access to my usual make-up team and film crew. In fact the camera broke down and I had to come back to the trusty Iphone. It looked pretty funny there on the tripod, wedged between the proper camera and the microphone (neither of which were working.....but it did the job!)

I think they still stand up with what they offer though - bite size approaches to unwinding tension, and even starting to get stronger - all approached in a more easeful way. In my own experience and this is also true in many of the people I've worked with, what tends to get you to monkey bar queen/king status is not the pushups, it is releasing the tensions that inhibit full access of a wide range of muscles that support whole body movements. 

Thank you so much for coming along this year, and for those of you we haven't met yet - thanks for visiting and we hope to catch up soon. Wishing you every happiness for 2017. Here are your videos.  Please enjoy!

Part 1 is all based on a Psoas Release position as the foundation. The only equipment used in all 3 videos was found in our Air Bnb cottage. Couch cushions were a feature!

Part 2 allows you to get used to this whole idea of supporting more of your body weight via your arms - but very gently and at the rate you are ready for. At the same time you can release tension via a number of exercises.

Part 3 involves a lovely foot tension release = try it, you won't believe what a difference it makes to how you feel.

Congratulations to Robyn on winning the foot massage mat! Thanks to Trish for being in charge of selection protocol on the day (Trish closed her eyes and all entries were folded. Random selection guaranteed).

Congratulations to Robyn on winning the foot massage mat! Thanks to Trish for being in charge of selection protocol on the day (Trish closed her eyes and all entries were folded. Random selection guaranteed).

And just incase you were wondering, this is one such monkey bar queen in her natural environment. We have many others, but not all will let me photograph them yet! Thanks Laura X

And just incase you were wondering, this is one such monkey bar queen in her natural environment. We have many others, but not all will let me photograph them yet! Thanks Laura X

What if There Was a Much Easier Way.......(Term 4, Week 8, 2016)

What if instead of doing lots of exercises to combat our habits......we worked on our habits? Somewhere in the middle might be an easier way!

In a moment we'll go on a little journey of the imagination and think about just that, but before we do - let's appreciate Kaia's entry in our Foot Massage Mat competition. What a way to see us out Kaia. They were taken on one of the Cape walks in Tasmania's beautiful Cape Raoul. The stretches were welcome after the three hour walk in. Lots of movement vitamins for the taking there (click the image to see all 3 photos).


Now, back to our theme - Imagine you've just done a big hip unwind with me. You feel great, that imbalance you picked up in your pelvis at the start of class has evened out and you glide out the door.

You go and have a cuppa with some friends and, without even thinking about it, sit right back into your bucket shaped chair. You've got a nice case of forward head and your pelvis is tucked under. Just to really get comfy you cross one leg over the other. The same leg you always cross, it feels like home.

Think about the spine in that situation. You've rounded it out, so your head is adding around 10 kilos additional load, but you've also added that twist. It wouldn't be so bad if you were coming in and out of that position, and maybe doing both sides....but we don't. We sit in our habit for ages. 

Maybe, you even get up after an hour or so and feel a bit annoyed that your class has worn off so quickly. But that never need happen again, because now you know that you can become......(insert appropriate theme music)......an Alignment Detective.

Do you always carry your bag on one shoulder? How might that be changing your alignment (quite a lot - you'll quite possibly curl your waist up on one side to compensate. Impacting everything from feet to shoulders and all in-between). Swap sides this week - try a range of bags. Put your back pack on your chest. Mix it up. The body loves ranges of movement. Rock that wind proof umbrella Lou!

Do you always carry your bag on one shoulder? How might that be changing your alignment (quite a lot - you'll quite possibly curl your waist up on one side to compensate. Impacting everything from feet to shoulders and all in-between). Swap sides this week - try a range of bags. Put your back pack on your chest. Mix it up. The body loves ranges of movement. Rock that wind proof umbrella Lou!

Your Assignment:  This week challenge yourself to watch your habits. Sitting or standing - what do you do all of the time without really thinking about it? And how might that be contributing to aches and pains in your body?  What would happen if you did the opposite, or came back to a more balanced stance/sit? Be honest, how does that really feel?

If our habits have caused us pain, might it be worth challenging them?

Start small. Make it your mission to really notice and change one thing. I bet that you can crack at least one case and that can add up to some big benefits.


Here is a series of exercises you can do sitting. It includes a seated No.4 which is really a chance to cross your legs when you think about it. But you do both sides with a bit more attention to detail. After a few minutes of that your hips will feel rejuvenated rather than squashed! It's a win win.


And now this really is the last entry to this term's competition. We've got all of our entrants names on little folded pieces of paper, ready for an impartial bystander to select the winner after Tuesday's Focus Session. Thanks everyone for your great ideas. More prizes will be up for grabs over summer so keep them coming (email me to enter - photos are much appreciated!)

Wally has a great variation on the Hand Stretch:

When doing the finger exercises I use the opposing finger of the opposing hand to give a little more exercise.

Use the Core Luke......(Week 7, Term 4, 2016)

When you dig deep into the wonders of realigning your body one of the most startling light bulb moments is the connection between the abdominal muscles and alignment. Core integrity will not generally come from lots of sit ups and, in fact, lots of sit ups could contribute to many issues.

The tight muscles that pull on the hips and the shoulders also effect your ability to access your true, reflexive core strength. It is possible to feel a reflexive engagement of your deep abdominal muscles just standing well.
This is a photo of our Lou having a good time at the Move Your DNA weekend with Natalie at Well Aligned Body studio in Richmond. Lou has some great reflexive core action going on here.

This is a photo of our Lou having a good time at the Move Your DNA weekend with Natalie at Well Aligned Body studio in Richmond. Lou has some great reflexive core action going on here.


I really enjoyed teaching the workshop on the core relationship to the shoulder girdle and thought some of the posters from that one might translate into a 1/2 decent blog. They could also translate into an excessive load of BlahBlah, so I'll give you the nuts and bolts, and then I'll suggest an exercise you can do right now to feel what I'm talking about:

Tight shoulders and hips mean that everyday movements can overload the Linea Alba - impacting core function. So we could look to:

- create good habits that reduce tension

- unwind the tension that exists (create space and maintain it)

- consider alignment before adding load

I think the last one is key. It's so much ingrained in our culture that to fix something you need to pummel it into submission. Trust me, I've tried it, I know many many people who've tried it. I'm yet to find a case where that has worked without a huge tax on the body in some way.

as Katy Bowman says in Diastasis Recti:

The best amount of force is not AS MUCH AS YOU CAN GENERATE, but the amount that allows your body to function optimally.

An Exercise (also one we'll do in class this week):

Let's feel how the shoulders and the abdominal muscles work in tandem (and how tight muscles cause us to compensate in the first place).

Here I am at a bluegrass music festival, so no shoes (the best value minimal footwear!) and it was really hot - so forgive the drapey top - but see if you can back your ribs up against a wall like I have in Photo 1. Go on, really do it, can I slide my hand behind there (or park a small vehicle in that space)? You'll need to let your head come away and bring your feet about a foot away from the wall. Your belly and lower back should be relaxed (so your natural lower back arch should be in place).

In Photo 2, I've raised my arms without lifting my ribs away from the wall. They didn't go beyond the shoulders and when I got to that height I knew I would have to lift my ribs to go any higher. So I didn't, and I could feel something stirring in the centre of my body (mmmm reflexive core anyone?). 

In Photo 3 I let my chest and ribs lift and my arms come up much higher, but you can also see the tension in my neck and shoulders if you look closely. Also, I felt whatever was going on in my abdominals switch off. Go back and have a look at that picture of the Linea Alba again and try the whole exercise one more time. What did you sense in the centre of your body? Go on Luke.....Use the Core!


THIS WEEK'S ENTRIES IN OUR COMPETITION (we are drawing the prize in the Tuesday Focus class next week - so get a wriggle on):

1st photo: from Bettina. What a lovely place to release your Psoas!

2nd photo: Robyn and Jeanette, our early morning monster walking on a massage mat warrior women!

Written Entry from Paula:

At the end of all my ocean swims lately I have been inspired by Mel (as always) to practice angel arms while floating.  They are much easier to do in the water without the restriction of the floor.  All the principles are the same, I need to ensure I remember Mel's blah blah of only sweeping my arms up to the point where I'm not flinging my ribs and I can feel my core kick in. This brings a conscious awareness of how your body feels in space which is lovely in water.  I also recommend focusing on keeping my thumbs rotating down.  Angel arms feel so easy to do in the water and my shoulders feel like they have extra space without the floor.  However I haven’t figured out how to get a photo as I’m too busy enjoying the moment.  I suggest giving it a go now that the weather is finally warming up.

and another from Glen with some more great bath stretches (we have a water theme this week, which makes sense given where we live!):

 ...Glen finds that her bath is just the right length to prop legs on end with heels pushed away....awesome hammy stretch!! She can hand stretch at the same time...and also passive post tilt roll backs work pretty well with the water support too........(if you don't know what they are, we'll be doing them this week in class)
HEY ALL YOU LOVELY FOLK WHO CAN'T GET TO REGULAR CLASSES - THIS ONE'S FOR YOU. YOU CAN JUST BOOK ONE, AND FOR THE WORKERS, THERE IS A 6.30AM FRIDAY CLASS. THE CLASS WILL BE SUITABLE FOR PEOPLE WHO HAVE NEVER WORKED WITH US BEFORE, OR WORKED WITH US LOTS! YOU DO NEED TO BOOK IN AND GIFT VOUCHERS ARE AVAILABLE FOR ALL OF OUR CLASSES.

HEY ALL YOU LOVELY FOLK WHO CAN'T GET TO REGULAR CLASSES - THIS ONE'S FOR YOU. YOU CAN JUST BOOK ONE, AND FOR THE WORKERS, THERE IS A 6.30AM FRIDAY CLASS. THE CLASS WILL BE SUITABLE FOR PEOPLE WHO HAVE NEVER WORKED WITH US BEFORE, OR WORKED WITH US LOTS! YOU DO NEED TO BOOK IN AND GIFT VOUCHERS ARE AVAILABLE FOR ALL OF OUR CLASSES.

 

 

 

 

 

Walk This Way with Nic - Part 2 (Week 6, Term 4, 2016)

In classes this term we've talked about our exercises supporting our ability to move differently in every day life. So it's not so much you are trying to radically change how you walk while you walk, that can be a little intense people! It's more that after doing your Gait Essentials exercises (or just a calf stretch) you have woken up the muscles you'd like to get involved (and given them some extra space to do so without strain).

Last week in classes we practiced pelvic listing (a key to walking well) before and after our exercises - and found it felt a lot smoother. The week before we worked on external rotation before and after a series of supporting exercises, and, again, found it much easier at the end. Nicole has summed this up in Part 2 of her walking series. Remember, Nic is not saying go out there and immediately change your gait to look exactly like this. What we work to do is recognise where our current patterns might limit us and change them to support our ability to walk more like this. More on changing habits next week!

Some Components of walking well…

•Walking is like a jet propulsion forward, a push from behind. {We tend to walk nowadays by putting one foot out in front of the other (with the knee bend driving the movement) and using that to stop us from falling forward}
 
•Smooth/easy pattern
 
•Torso is above the legs not out in front of them or bent over
 
•Arms swing to the rear (rather than out in front)
 
•Pelvis and head are relatively still
 
•Legs are straight both on push off and landing
 
•Hamstrings are required to be at their full length and strong
 
•Hip adductors are strong
 
•Gluteal muscles are naturally strong
 
•Relaxed psoas/hip flexors/quads so that stride is long behind you
 
•Optimal pattern is heel / toe

So we need the length and the strength in our muscles to allow the impetus for healthy walking to come from behind us - but a lot of the aspects of a Western life mean the opposite tends to be true. Don't take our word for it though - do your Gait Essentials practice before you go for a walk and see how it feels. Or do what I did the other day, run upstairs to do something having only calf stretched one leg. Actually don't, it felt terrible! But it really emphasised to me how important that one exercise can be.  Thanks for some inspiring classes and Blogs Nic!

This weeks entry in our Standing Massage Mat competition comes from the lovely Annette. Annette had asked about the Strap Stretch. While it is great to do it utilising your upper body strength to hold the strap - there is also great benefit in a longer release. Here we are using a door frame for support and this week in classes we'll also try using a chair. Don't forget to put the strap around the ball of the foot and draw it back towards you (elbows in and shoulders down away from ears) - that way you'll feel that delicious sense of opening from the back of the foot all the way up the back of the leg - and keep your neck and shoulders happy too.

This weeks entry in our Standing Massage Mat competition comes from the lovely Annette. Annette had asked about the Strap Stretch. While it is great to do it utilising your upper body strength to hold the strap - there is also great benefit in a longer release. Here we are using a door frame for support and this week in classes we'll also try using a chair. Don't forget to put the strap around the ball of the foot and draw it back towards you (elbows in and shoulders down away from ears) - that way you'll feel that delicious sense of opening from the back of the foot all the way up the back of the leg - and keep your neck and shoulders happy too.

A group entry for the standing massage mat competition? Might be tricky to share. This is post Nic's brilliant Neck and Shoulder workshop on Tuesday. We had our coffee and a catch up on the floor afterwards, rather than sitting on chairs! Haven't had a chance to work with Nic yet? She's teaching some Summer classes. If you crave a blend of Yoga wisdom, deep relaxation and a biomechanically based, functional approach to movement - look no further!

A group entry for the standing massage mat competition? Might be tricky to share. This is post Nic's brilliant Neck and Shoulder workshop on Tuesday. We had our coffee and a catch up on the floor afterwards, rather than sitting on chairs! Haven't had a chance to work with Nic yet? She's teaching some Summer classes. If you crave a blend of Yoga wisdom, deep relaxation and a biomechanically based, functional approach to movement - look no further!

For Pain Free Knees We've Got To Stop Living Over Our Toes (Week 5, Term 4, 2016)

I'm pretty happy with my recent Saturday night project. Some people might say I should get out more, others might say....no, I think it's best she stay home with her textas - but any way - here is the poster I made for a recent 'Save Your Knees, Build a Butt Workshop'.....

Stunning isn't it?......isn't it? It's so quiet out there.

Stunning isn't it?......isn't it? It's so quiet out there.

So what does that strange mixture of lines and baguettes really mean?

1. The top right red baguette shape represents the quadriceps muscles. The tighter they are, the more upward tension that pulls the patella (your knee cap) back into the joint space - grinding away on the soft tissue, increasing friction and inflammation. To release this pressure you need to stand with straight legs and relaxed knees. To achieve that let your hips slide back and feel the weight shift from your toes into your heels.

2. The red baguette on the bottom left represents your calf muscles. The Gastrocemius attaches from the lower leg to above the knee. There's a little black line there with an asterix to show you that attachment. It means that unless your leg is straight for at least some of your stretches that tension in the back of the knee never really gets released. As it shortens, it causes the shin to buckle forward, which keeps your quads tense all of the time. See part one for what happens when that happens.

3. One of the main alignment kinks I see in people is the pushing forward of the hips. So that the mid and front of your foot are bearing the brunt of holding you up (not to mention your knees, your poor old lower back and so on). It also means it's darn near impossible to have a straight leg and relaxed knee. See Part 1.

Okay Mel, I get the drift. Can you make that a bit shorter for daily life. You betcha!

We need to be standing most of the time with:

  • Straight legs
  • Relaxed knees (quads off)
  • The weight back over the heels (so you might need to lose the heels.....bad shoe pun, sorry!)
Post Melbourne Cup Day last year, Bart found these shoes abandoned by the river.  A great move towards happier knees (and feet and hips and ankles and everything else too.)

Post Melbourne Cup Day last year, Bart found these shoes abandoned by the river.  A great move towards happier knees (and feet and hips and ankles and everything else too.)

The gorgeous Melody (resplendent in a red fascinator and matching hoodie for Melbourne Cup Day!) is this weeks entrant in the Sensa Mat competition. Love your work Melody!

The gorgeous Melody (resplendent in a red fascinator and matching hoodie for Melbourne Cup Day!) is this weeks entrant in the Sensa Mat competition. Love your work Melody!

 

 

Special Bonus Blog - We'd Love to Hear From You

The demand for movement health education is growing and so is our teaching team. As we dream about future adult size parks and playgrounds we'd love to give you a chance to have your say.

In classes this week I'll be handing this notice (just click to open), but I know not all of you can get to our current range of classes, so please do let us know what you would like to see down the track. We are working on new class times and more variety, so go on, put in your 2 cents worth.  Email, text or even send an actual note.

Or you could take a leaf out of my book and just go climb a tree. This was at a recent Move Your DNA with the gorgeous Nat from Well Aligned Body in Melbourne.  You should have seen it when the group hit the playground. I'll share more photos in another post. It was priceless! There was more than one Grandma and Executive hanging upside down off the monkey bars, not to mention swings and slides and climbing anything they could.

Walk This Way with Nic - Part 1 (Week 4, Term 4, 2016)

I'm so happy to hand you over to Nicole Kees this week. Nic's recent Walking Workshop was brilliant so I asked her to condense some of her gems into a two part blog. You'll have to stay tuned for Part 2!


We had a very interesting chat about just how we learn to walk and stand.

As babies we insitinctively practice reflexes and responses that build the foundation for both the body and the brain to take us into an upright posture. We work towards rolling over, lifting the head off the floor and crawling cross-laterally. Reflex movements such as grasping with our hands, flaring our toes when the sole of the foot is touched, the startle reflex (arms out wide, back arched) when there is the sensation of being dropped. These are only a few but they occur, are worked on, then the response or reflex appears to pass or give way to other movements. Each response or reflex builds upon the other for that ability to stand.

Think about all the wobbling a baby does in the first couple of months of standing up, all the corrections being made, reflexes and responses that are all being utilised.

So where else do we learn our postural skills?

As it turns out very close to home. We mimic those with whom we have most contact with, especially in the early years. If you have access to photos of yourself as a toddler, pre-primary, primary school years check out how your parents, grandparents or carers stand in those photos and look at yourself. Watch for when any (if any) habits creep into your own posture.

Other places we evolve our standing and walking habits could be from dance or gymnastic classes (our little ballerinas and budding gymnasts arching their backs, thrusting ribs…), horse riding, who we hang out with in our teen years – we were laughing about the guys in their jeans where the crutch hangs down to the knees! How difficult must it be to take a full step! Used to be girls in pencil skirts…

Our injuries can shape us.

Within the class we had a Highland dancer, ballet dancer, acrobat who was told to walk thinking they had lights in both heels and solar plexus (so feet turned out, pelvis over her toes and ribs thrust out in front of her)! Another person described walking like their grandmother who was paralysed down one side. All fascinating insights.

Musculo-skeletal habits form…which I guess covers all the ones that assist the body and those that detract and long term, cause discomfort. 

Stay tuned for Part 2..........What Walking Well Looks Like

On a recent walk with Nic we went barefoot in the rain and had so much fun suspending being sensible for an hour or so!

Here is Heather's entry in our Sensa Mat (foot massage mat) competition. She's done a brilliant job of demonstrating an untucked pelvis position in a cafe chair. We practiced this in class last week but its really easy to come back into old habits. Remember for the sake of your back, your nervous system - and really all of your other systems too, untuck!

How Can Doing So Little Achieve So Much? (Week 3, Term 4, 2016)

Our exercises mobilise areas of the body that are then much more likely to participate when we move through the rest of the day.
Hey a prop is a prop! Plus Bart loves it - so long as he is in the picture he is a happy man. He actually put himself there.

Hey a prop is a prop! Plus Bart loves it - so long as he is in the picture he is a happy man. He actually put himself there.

After our recent hip unwind workshop the feedback was all about how great walking was feeling. The participants didn't feel like they had to alter the way they moved - the work they'd done on their tissues in their class had made better movement accessible naturally. Try our Gait Essentials series before you go for a walk and see how it feels.

One invaluable exercise that we do each week is the Psoas Release (it's almost an un-exercise tensions are undone as we rest!).  We start our class here (so lots of clever people come early for more of this gem) and we come back to it in a myriad of other ways during the class too. Why? Because so many things we do each day inadvertently shorten the Psoas and that, in turn effects how we move, how efficiently our body can work and how we feel (Psoas tension can resonate throughout the body from your feet and all the way up to your neck and shoulders),

What Shortens the Psoas?

  • Pelvic Tucking (lots of sitting in chairs or standing with bent knees)

  • Other Postural habits (egs. standing with pelvis over toes, ribs pushed out in front, sitting hunched or slumped)

  • Heels in our shoes (any rise in the heel of your footwear. Many so called flats have heels - especially running shoes)

  • Stress is a big one (the startle reflex - fight or flight)

What Lengthens the Psoas?

  • Not doing the activities that shorten it! So many things we do mean bent knees and sitting (hip flexion). Nothing wrong with bent knees, we just don't want to live there (sitting in chairs, bike riding, a lot of exercise equipment - bent knees are not the enemy, but where is the balance in everything else that we do?).

  • Increasing movements that include hip extension - as well as working on the tissue space to make this feasible. We'll be doing that today!

  • Releasing it (as opposed to stretching)

  • Recognising what stress we can work to ease - or at least taking some time to Psoas Rest / Release every day.

BONUS HOME PRACTICE VIDEO: Either set yourself up in the Psoas release and hang out there and enjoy - or continue on and enjoy a number of exercises that can be approached from the same position.

Mastery of the Squatty Potty! Well done Trish who is now in the running for the Acupro Sensa Mat. Get your entry in now (read week 1 Blog post or ask Mel if your not sure about our competition each term)

Mastery of the Squatty Potty! Well done Trish who is now in the running for the Acupro Sensa Mat. Get your entry in now (read week 1 Blog post or ask Mel if your not sure about our competition each term)

What if bathroom breaks were an exercise opportunity! (Week 2, Term 4, 2016)

Nic is teaching a sold out Pelvic Floor and Core workshop this week and in honour of the high demand, I'm bringing my squatty potty in for you to try (optional and no audience required!)

We'll be putting it in the bathroom and on Tuesday it will be a feature in the class as well. Are we bonkers (do you really need to ask that?)...but think about how often you go to the bathroom each day, and the potentially wasted opportunity to enjoy a good squat.

The average Western toilet has been designed to mimic the chairs we use all day, but this is not the ideal (or the most natural) posture for letting go.  Squatting is the way we were designed to go to the toilet. You can buy a squatty potty, or you can build your own - utilising a box or a small step stool. You might need to take your time to adapt to this new way of toiletting, but you'll get to the point that you can't imagine going any other way. The preparation for squat we'll be doing in classes this week is a great way to get yourself ready.

Squatting (within the range available to you now -  it takes time to adapt to new ways of moving) can be great for your ankles, hips and knees - but it also unkinks your bowel making elimination that much more efficient. Straining on the toilet puts a lot of pressure on the pelvic floor (potentially as problematic for men as women.) Did you know that many women who have never had children have problems with incontinence?

Now I could give you the full Mel style 'bla bla' on what makes it work, or I could direct you to this video - where it is somehow just made that little bit more engaging. Instead of poo we get icecream - and that's not a human on the loo but a unicorn!

Remember all you need is a platform of some kind to help you raise your knees above your hips (it mimics a squat but you are still sitting down). I've seen lots of homemade devices work beautifully. If you would prefer a squatty potty though click anywhere here and you'll go straight through to the Australian distributor.

Getting Stronger Through Every Day Movement - Week 1, Term 4, 2016

Wherever you are on your movement health journey you are truly welcome. Our program is designed to support your growing understanding of the mechanics of your body and the empowering realisation that there are simple things you can do differently every day that can have a profound effect on how you feel.

There will be no growling if you don't do your homework, but really it's not even homework. Brushing your teeth makes you feel good and keeps them working, these daily doses of movement vitamins do much the same for the rest of your body.

Why did we ever stop climbing trees!

Why did we ever stop climbing trees!

You can choose to do less, you can choose to do more. You can choose to let it gradually evolve over time, or you can get a little more involved from the outset and read more, listen to more and do your exercises more often. It really is up to you, and there is no wrong or right way to approach it. If all you have space for in your life is the weekly class you will still benefit. But if you could do your weekly class and calf stretch every day (twice, while you brush your teeth!) you will benefit even more. If you add to that sitting less and walking more - even better.  Start transitioning into minimalist footwear and you are really on your way.

We have lots of material right here on this website (most of it is free) to support you. You can even sign up for this weekly blog so that you don't miss anything.

But Wait There's More! Free Videos! We have a Youtube channel. Here you can watch clips of the exercises we do in classes. There are 3 new ones waiting there for you now and more coming. The first one contains all of our Gait Essentials exercises and more. It only takes 8.5 minutes to do. Daily practice done!

Here is Laura's entry to this term's compeition (for an Acupro Sensa Mat). Get yours in now. How do you move more out in the world?

"we planted about 350 trees in our paddock wind breaks this weekend - a WHOLE LOTTA dynamic and varied squatting and lunging, walking and carrying. Body was pretty tired last night and thought it'd be pooped for my walk this morning but gee whiz my legs and hips felt terrific! Very open and able to fully extend! 2 day dose of nutritious movement - with a side benefit of planting trees ;)"

A LESS TECHNICAL BOOK ON MOVEMENT HEALTH? YES PLEASE!

Katy Bowman's new book - "Simple Step's to Foot Pain Relief" is on sale at Fishpond and will be sent to you postage free. This book is ideal for people just getting started on their healthy movement journey - or perhaps those who like their dish served with less 'bla bla'. My family would sign up for that one for sure.

Simple Steps to Foot Pain Relief: The New Science of Healthy Feet

  • Just click on the little book to go straight to the right page to purchase an actual book, that's right - with pages and everything. You can read it in the bath!

Latest News From The Hub Healthy Movers!

If you were after the film clips I promised you in classes yesterday, go to the next blog post down, which really is the last one for the term - but I already missed nagging you - so this is an update to let you know about a great new book that has just come out, as well as the gorgeous Jenny O'Driscoll's classes.


SOME LOVELY CLASSES TO ENJOY

Jenny is a wonderful teacher who works with Restorative Exercise and somatics. She has a devoted following and I highly encourage you to go along. You will enjoy yourself and feel wonderful for it.

Jenny has some workshops coming up at ST LEONARDS:  on Saturdays 3rd & 17th September from 9.30 - 11.15am. and in QUEENSCLIFF: on Mondays 12th & 19th September from 8.30 - 10.15am. The cost is $35 per workshop - please book to secure your place. Jenny also has weekly classes in Term 4. Email Jenny at: jen.mindfulmovements@gmail.com


A LESS TECHNICAL BOOK ON MOVEMENT HEALTH? YES PLEASE!

Also Katy Bowman has just released a new book - "Simple Step's to Foot Pain Relief". The chart below explains how it differs to Whole Body Barefoot - which is a great book - but it can be a bit technical for some tastes. Apparently the new one is less so. Ideal for people just getting started on their healthy movement journey - or perhaps those who like their dish served with less 'bla bla'. My family would sign up for that one for sure.

Fishpond has them both at good discount prices and with free postage.

That should keep you busy for a few weeks. See you soon! X Mel

choosefootbook.png

Every Little Bit Really Does Count! Week 8, Term 3, 2016

It's been a great term in the new studio with many new folk joining us, and the value added benefits of the mirrors, the monkey bars and the KYOSK cafe!

About those mirrors, we all have an idea of how we think we are our bodies are positioned. And there can be a strong sense of what feels normal or feels like home. But when we start thinking about alignment many of us find twists, kinks and tensions in our bodies that we were unaware of.

Your growing ability to check in regularly and make micro adjustments throughout the day will go a long way towards creating a new home base - where your daily activities form the key part of your exercise program. Every little thing you do counts. At the very least calf stretch twice every day.  Remember this has benefits that reach from the feet to the neck and shoulders. You could leave your 1/2 dome in the bathroom, or be like these weirdos and double up in the kitchen!

ANY IDEA WHY THERE ARE TEETH MARKS ON OUR KITCHEN 1/2 DOME BART? WHO ME?

ANY IDEA WHY THERE ARE TEETH MARKS ON OUR KITCHEN 1/2 DOME BART? WHO ME?

Remember, when asking ourselves when we will get better, it can be helpful to ask some realistic questions. Click here to read this blog post on just that.

You could follow it up with this one where you ask yourself what you are willing to change to feel better?

That's enough reading (hope you were stretching at the time!). Following are 2 videos from some masterful Restorative Exercise Specialists I wish weren't so far away! Lucy and I are working on putting a few videos together for you for next term. When it comes to self care out in the world, keep it simple and come back to your Gait Basics often. When in doubt, grab out that sheet, and refresh yourself again and again.

Enjoy the break and I'll email you a week before we go back (online booking is available now for all Term 4 classes).

THANK YOU TO ALISON CROUCH OF BOOMERANG PILATES FOR THIS GREAT DAILY DOSE OF RESTORATIVE EXERCISE. MANY OF YOUR FAVOURITES FROM THIS TERM ARE HERE!

THANKS ALSO TO SUSAN MCLAUGHLIN OF ALIGN FOR HEALTH, FOR ANOTHER FAVOURITE THIS TERM - UNWIND YOUR UPPER BACK, NECK AND SHOULDERS WITH THIS ONE.

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The Way Forward, Is To Ramp It Back! Week 7, Term 3, 2016

IT'S BONUS VIDEO TIME. CLICK ANYWHERE HERE TO GO TO THE NUTRITIOUS MOVEMENT VIDEO PAGE. IT'S ALL FREE, AND THE FIRST EXERCISE IS CLICK CLACK, WHICH WE'VE BEEN WORKING ON THE PAST TWO CLASSES.

This week I've been thinking a lot about my head. Not about the way overdue haircut, but where it is actually situated above my body as I'm going about my business. We all have an idea of where we think we are in space, and then we look at our actual, objective alignment markers and realise that we might have been a little off in our estimation. This is normal, we all do it, me included. Which is why we utilise the mirror as much as we do. You can check in and see where you are really at, make whatever adjustments your tissues are ready for and work on the motor skills needed to create a new 'normal'.

Tight leg muscles (in this photo, my Dad is addressing his quadricep muscles in the front of his leg) are just one of the many reasons we have a tendency to pitch forward when we walk, very much impacting on the shoulder girdle and head alignment.

Tight leg muscles (in this photo, my Dad is addressing his quadricep muscles in the front of his leg) are just one of the many reasons we have a tendency to pitch forward when we walk, very much impacting on the shoulder girdle and head alignment.

Many of you have let me know that you are also starting to really sense how you are holding yourself out in the world. This is brilliant, a real step towards healing and strength building. Don't worry if you are not there yet, it just takes practice. It will sneak up on you. Keep checking in and celebrate every little victory. Take, for example, the idea of standing with your weight backed up over your heels. You know that when you let your pelvis move back over your toes, the front of the legs tighten, maybe the knees bend and you can feel your toes and the tops of the feet tighten up.You can feel it, so you can change it. The head ramp is another great place to explore this.

By Anatomography - en:Anatomography (setting page of this image), CC BY-SA 2.1 jp, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=27274995 The Suboccipital muscles at the base of the skull take on the task of lifting the chin whenever our head has come forward of the shoulders. This is exhausting over lengthy periods and can cause great strain, headaches and foggy brain.  

By Anatomography - en:Anatomography (setting page of this image), CC BY-SA 2.1 jp, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=27274995

The Suboccipital muscles at the base of the skull take on the task of lifting the chin whenever our head has come forward of the shoulders. This is exhausting over lengthy periods and can cause great strain, headaches and foggy brain.  

Let your head come forward of your shoulders and nod your head very gently, move it a little side to side. What muscles are you using, slow it all down and ask yourself, how does that really feel? Then gently ramp (or I really like the word glide) your head back so that your ears line up with your shoulders (or as close as you can comfortably get for now, tissue needs time to change). Feel the back of your neck and make sure it is still long, that your chin has not tilted up. Remember to leave it a little in towards the chest.

Now move your head gently up and down again, then try side to side. Make sure you've still got the ears in line with the shoulders. Then back to neutral and observe, what muscles can you feel working now? What has relaxed?

The old way (forward head) is going to feel pretty familiar and kind of like 'home'. But it is a home that can cause so much pain and dis-function. So head ramp and head hang as often as you can (go gently people, and if you keep your pelvis and bottom ribs lined up your core muscles will help out too.)

For the anatomy geeks (I know you are out there!): In Physiology of the Joints, Volume III, Kapandji determined that your head gains 10 pounds in weight for every inch it moves forward. That's a lot of extra work for the muscles in your upper back and neck.

For the anatomy geeks (I know you are out there!): In Physiology of the Joints, Volume III, Kapandji determined that your head gains 10 pounds in weight for every inch it moves forward. That's a lot of extra work for the muscles in your upper back and neck.

Any time you have your arms out in front of you or you are focusing on something (driving, typing, chopping, watching TV or a show) there is a good chance your head has come forward. Any time you have rolled the pelvis under (say seated or when you stand with your pelvis over your toes) there is a good chance your head has come forward. It happened to me while writing this blog post. So I'm now calf stretching and head ramping at the same time.

The more that you wake up an awareness of what your body is experiencing, this less you will find that you can tolerate the positions that might be stressful for your body. You'll sense instinctively that it's time to move.

Pokemon Neck: Paweł Kuczyński’s image of a Pokemon player is very apt. Please avoid this posture when checking your phone!

Pokemon Neck: Paweł Kuczyński’s image of a Pokemon player is very apt. Please avoid this posture when checking your phone!

BONUS VIDEO TIME (PART 2!) if you read this far you get a bonus clip. Remember, it's meant to be funny. Don't strap a ball around your neck!!

To Shoe or Not To Shoe? Week 6, Term 3, 2016

There is no doubt about it, the shoes you wear will play out in the way your whole body feels. There is no one solution that will suit every body but it can be incredibly useful to have a good think about your footwear. I am pretty inspired by the number of minimalist shoes on see on the rack outside our classes these days. Here was the shoes on offer at a post class coffee - impressive huh!?

These shoes all have minimal impact on how you move. To ready more about what that means click anywhere on this image.

These shoes all have minimal impact on how you move. To ready more about what that means click anywhere on this image.

SHOES MATTER

Your feet are the foundation of your ability to move well, move more and move without pain.

The shoes we wear are frequently one of the reasons our legs are so tight. Any elevation of the heel (in our part of the world this is evident in most shoes, including runners and so called 'flats') will signal to the muscles of the back of the legs that the length of muscle there is just not being used. Your body is an efficiency machine. It won't fuel something not needed, so your tissues will shrink around what is asked of them. An additional factor is that so many of our shoes restrict natural foot movement, with very solid bases that limit the movement possible for the many joints and muscles of the foot.

 

CONSIDER THE MOVEMENT COMPENSATIONS THAT CAN BE CREATED BY HEELS. IN THE THIRD IMAGE, NOTICE THAT THE PELVIS HAS COME FORWARD, THE RIBS HAVE PUSHED OUT IN FRONT, THE KNEES ARE BENT AND THE HEAD HAS COME FORWARD.

CONSIDER THE MOVEMENT COMPENSATIONS THAT CAN BE CREATED BY HEELS. IN THE THIRD IMAGE, NOTICE THAT THE PELVIS HAS COME FORWARD, THE RIBS HAVE PUSHED OUT IN FRONT, THE KNEES ARE BENT AND THE HEAD HAS COME FORWARD.

Imagine a world where every single step was strengthening. You didn't actually have to turn anything on. It just happened. The way your bones were stacked enabled muscles to fire of their own volition and created optimal loads to enhance bone health too. Sounds good doesn't it? It's a big part of our work together, but a fair proportion of our facility to get there has got to come down TO what we are stepping out in.

Remember, you can't change everything overnight. It takes time to transition safely and nothing is right for everyone. If you haven't read my article on shoes then please do (click right here to find it), and the best place to start when looking at moving to minimal is Katy Bowman's book, Whole Body Barefoot. The e-book is only $7.99 US dollars and you can start reading straight away. Click here on image below to go straight to the correct Nutritious Movement page.

 

 

 

  

Reflexive Muscle Response - Week 5, Term 3, 2016

IF THE SUCKING IN IS A POTENTIAL PROBLEM THEN A REFLEXIVE MUSCLE RESPONSE IS THE ANSWER

What we're working towards is a body wide reflexive muscle response. Ideally we shouldn't need to turn things on and off - when we're lined up in the best possible way - our muscles fire naturally. But unfortunately many common lifestyle traits in our part of the world, along with cultural beliefs around what looks good - have led to us carrying a lot of tension in the centre of the body that restricts its function.

Take sucking your belly in (just for an example, relax your belly, no really, relax it). Weakness comes from that tension. To work well, muscle needs to be able to both contract and relax. When it's constantly under tension it gets to a point where it is no longer able to do its job (which is generate force).

These two 'volunteers' are utilising equipment at the local park. Lucy's getting a hamstring stretch, and Ian is releasing tension in the side body. By keeping his ribs lined up with his pelvis he is also getting nice sense of core engagement without having to suck anything in!

These two 'volunteers' are utilising equipment at the local park. Lucy's getting a hamstring stretch, and Ian is releasing tension in the side body. By keeping his ribs lined up with his pelvis he is also getting nice sense of core engagement without having to suck anything in!

SO HOW DO I GET MY CORE MUSCLES TO DO THEIR JOB?

The space between the rib cage and the pelvis has very little in the way of bones for the muscles to attach to. This makes sense, because if our ribs went down to our pelvis we would lose much of our mobility. Think of twisting and reaching and a myriad other movements that would be impossible were this true.

But we do have a bone like structure for the abdominal muscles to attach to in the centre of the body - the Linea Alba (and to right and left sides, the Linea Semilunaris). The muscles attach to these connective tissue strings, connecting the pelvis to the rib cage. These tissues area actually very strong - but only when they have just the right amount of tension - and that comes down to having neutral pelvis and ribs.

If you rib thrust or tuck your tailbone under - that optimal tension is lost and can no longer help your trunk muscles to generate force.

Your number one limitation to core strength is your alignment

PRACTICE YOUR ABDOMINAL RELEASE FROM THE DAILY MOVEMENT MULTIVITAMIN!

PRACTICE YOUR ABDOMINAL RELEASE FROM THE DAILY MOVEMENT MULTIVITAMIN!

Our latest entry in the alignment sock competition comes from Trish and Britt. Click the image above to see the next photo. Trish is wearing minimalist shoes, so her feet can absorb the many benefits of walking across a variety of terrains. And apparently "Britt also prefers to walk off the path - I guess she also enjoys the different textures under her feet." Good one Britt! They are on the Rail Trail which is a great idea, there are heaps of textures to explore there.

Trish also noted that "I've been doing head ramp while driving and noticed that it changes my body posture (less tail tucking), and that my head pops up and body tenses if anything of concern is happening on the road." Once you become more self-aware you really can regain that sense of control of how your body feels. We tend to spend so much time in our cars. You can use that time to do some restorative exercise!

 

Don't Suck It Up! - Week 4, Term 3, 2016

I've had many people remark on the instant freedom they feel when they stop sucking in their belly, pushing their pelvis forward or thrusting their ribs. The most consistently hard thing to come to terms with though, is our requirement to 'look a certain way'. There is such a strong cultural link between a flat tummy, shoulders pulled back, and the idea of success.

A recent private client told me that the biggest breakthrough in her first session was relaxing her belly. Within days her back pain was much reduced, and over the following weeks (and with a lot of continual self-reminders to relax her belly) she noticed that her elimination function improved dramatically. Sucking your belly in can cause indigestion, constipation and pelvic floor problems too.

A relaxed belly does not mean your core has turned off. Instead, you are no longer holding onto artificial tension.

PRACTICE YOUR ABDOMINAL RELEASE FROM THE DAILY MOVEMENT MULTIVITAMIN.

PRACTICE YOUR ABDOMINAL RELEASE FROM THE DAILY MOVEMENT MULTIVITAMIN.

More on the why next week.......

How Often Do You Check In?
Those micro adjustments that you do all day (backing your pelvis up, spreading your toes, dropping your ribs, relaxing your knees) will really speed up your progress. Our physiology means that we adapt to what we are doing most of the time. So we need to create new habits.

NEWS FLASH - WE WELCOME THREE NEW MONKEYS!

After this Tuesday's Pelvic Floor and Core Focus session I looked out to the sunshine and heard the monkey bars calling me. A bunch of people followed me out there and were soon hanging and some even swinging.

They had all been studying with me for quite some time. So they've done lots of Gait Basics and more. But it's important to note that age is no limit, one of the ladies has just become a grandmother and the other is in her 60's. They both look like 30 year olds, but hey, it is still awesome! One of the other ladies had never swung on monkey bars before and even managed to get hand over hand going by the end of our session. It was an exciting moment that was incredibly inspiring. With the right amount of preparation you can really go back to that childlike, joyous sense of play in movement......and it all starts with the calf stretch. Have you done it today? Great, maybe do it again! (The forces created by lower leg tension have a big impact on how the upper body functions. Calf Stretch rules!)

Safety First! Please don't go and jump on the bars before you know that your body is ready. We progress slowly and in clear stages - alignment and tissue readiness are huge factors in hanging safely. If you have any questions have a chat to me, or sign up for next terms shoulder workshops. This terms sessions are sold out. 

We were so excited on Tuesday that I forgot to take photos, so here are some I prepared earlier of some other monkeys you might know. Click on the photos below to scroll through.

Vertical What Now? - Week 3, Term 3, 2016

You've just wrapped your head around the idea of a vertical leg, might be getting better acquainted with the idea of a neutral pelvis - and now she wants to add a vertical sternum!

It's ok, take a deep breath and go easy on yourself - nobdody absorbs all of this information in one go, but the more you work with the different aspects of alignment (along with their supporting exercises)  the more it all makes sense. Especially when you start to feel so much better and stronger.

Please be patient. Tissue takes time to respond and consistency is the key to success, not force.

We've considered our alignment in some detail from feet to hips. Now we go onwards and upwards - with the key player here being the ribcage. Many of us have very tight legs and shoulders and, as a result, an exaggerated Kyphotic curve in the upper back. We unconsciously disguise this by 'thrusting' our ribcage forward - creating a muscle sheer that weakens our core, stresses our spine and throws off our alignment. A huge number of modern diseases and chronic pain conditions can find at least some relationship to this movement habit. Your spinal chord is definitely stressed by this movement and that means your nervous system is also involved (even things as common as headaches and foggy brain can be resolved by discontinuing your subscription to rib-thrusting!).

Oliver Braveheart loves his Mum's new minimal shoes. They are Vivobarefoots and came from Sole Mechanics. Oliver's Mum is in the running to win a pair of Alignment Socks. Looking Good Oliver! See week 1 Blogpost for details.

Oliver Braveheart loves his Mum's new minimal shoes. They are Vivobarefoots and came from Sole Mechanics. Oliver's Mum is in the running to win a pair of Alignment Socks. Looking Good Oliver! See week 1 Blogpost for details.

THE EXERCISES ARE BOTH THE CORRECTIVE AND THE ASSESSMENT TOOL AT THE SAME TIME.

One of the keys to correcting this situation is to recognise it - but it's also important to lengthen the tight muscles in the back of the legs and the chest, while strengthening the lateral hip muscles - this means we have access to the tissue length and the strength to stand tall without pushing the ribs out in front.

Read this great blog post (with pictures) from Biomechanist Katy Bowman.  Additionally this article  explains why pelvic listing is so helpful in correcting this common problem in modern movers.

TWO ENTRIES THIS WEEK! I told you that you can be anonymous. Just crop! This is a brilliant way to strap stretch without having to hold your leg up. Still use the strap though, so that you can work the ball of the foot back and extend through the back of the leg. Keep the back of the supporting leg down. If hamstrings come up, your other leg is TOO high.

TWO ENTRIES THIS WEEK! I told you that you can be anonymous. Just crop! This is a brilliant way to strap stretch without having to hold your leg up. Still use the strap though, so that you can work the ball of the foot back and extend through the back of the leg. Keep the back of the supporting leg down. If hamstrings come up, your other leg is TOO high.

CALF STRETCH FOR YOUR NECK AND SHOULDERS! (Week 2, Term 3, 2016)

I'm Calf Stretching for my neck you say? I know that sounds a bit peculiar. We tend to think of body problems as being isolated. We aren't necessarily aware of the forces we are creating by how we stand, sit and walk.

We spend a lot of time on Calf Stretch because the forces created by lower leg tension create body wide problems.

Next time you are calf stretching (and let's face it that's at least twice a day while you are brushing your teeth right?) - try turning sideways to your mirror and take a bigger step than you usually do - making sure to keep your pelvis back. Did you notice that your whole upper body developed a forward tilt?

Now look down to your feet again - it wasn't that big of a step but when you kept your hips back where they should be (for optimal bone health and all the many other benefits we began to talk about last week) - your upper body responded by jerking forward. The muscular tensions in the calf can cause an almost whiplash effect in the upper body when we step out with tight resistant legs. We are generally unaware of the accelerations occurring in the neck with each step (although we might notice the headache of stiff and sore neck and shoulders that tend to go along with it).

IMAGE 1 - VERTICAL LEG, BEFORE THE BEG STEP

IMAGE 1 - VERTICAL LEG, BEFORE THE BEG STEP

But hang on....I don't walk around with a 1/2 dome under the ball of my foot. Well that's good, because that would be really weird. We calf stretch in this way because it mimics optimal walking. That means being able to utilise posterior push off - and you can't really engage the muscles of the back of the legs effectively when they are so tight you can barely get your heel to the ground.

IMAGE 2 - THE BIG STEP, KEEPING PELVIS BACK, LOOK AT THE UPPER BODY TILTING FORWARD. NORMALLY WE TEND TO PUSH OUR PELVIS OVER OUR TOES.

IMAGE 2 - THE BIG STEP, KEEPING PELVIS BACK, LOOK AT THE UPPER BODY TILTING FORWARD. NORMALLY WE TEND TO PUSH OUR PELVIS OVER OUR TOES.

THIS IS OUR 2ND OFFICIAL ENTRY IN THE ALIGNMENT SOCKS COMPETITION. PRACTICING SQUATTING IN THE GORGEOUS GARDEN AT THE HUB.

THIS IS OUR 2ND OFFICIAL ENTRY IN THE ALIGNMENT SOCKS COMPETITION. PRACTICING SQUATTING IN THE GORGEOUS GARDEN AT THE HUB.