Do It YOURSELF: The Story of Break-Neck

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I don’t live in your body, YOU DO! If a pose doesn’t feel right, it is down to YOU to listen to your body and back off. I’d rather you sit here the whole hour and just breathe, rather than get yourself into a position that contradicts your well being.
— Me
I also shock people with swarthy sailor talk. It is a blast of truth that affects your nervous system and allows you to repattern.

I also shock people with swarthy sailor talk. It is a blast of truth that affects your nervous system and allows you to repattern.

Thats usually how I introduce myself to a yoga class if I am subbing, or if there are newbies. Of course I expect some or all of the class to slip into 'DO WHAT YOU'RE TOLD' mode, without regard for your body's signals.  Thats why I walk around the class to remind everyone to breathe, and listen to themselves.  I also verbally shock participants with strategic sailor talk.  Its swarthy comic relief, with a blast of truth that hits home, HARD!  It interrupts rigid patterns we have created, and opens up a door for a new way to experience yourself/life.  Plus its fun!

Recently, a great opportunity arose during a Long Island yoga class that I subbed for. 

Let me set the stage.  Its mid-class, I'm sarcastically pushing everyone's buttons, with light-hearted reminders while they move and breathe. Saying things like:

Do what feels good. Don’t push past sensation. If your body is saying no and you’re ignoring it, thats rape. YOU’RE RAPING YOURSELF!
— Kim
Everyone was in their version of shoulder stand

Everyone was in their version of shoulder stand

3/4 of the way into class, everyone was in their version of shoulder stand.  I walked by a young girl who was looking uncomfortable.  She said aloud as I passed, ". . . this hurts my neck.".  What could I do?  How was I to proceed?   She vocally drew attention to her predicament, and I felt inspiration COURSING through me like a comedian during an encore.  I couldn't pass this up.  Here is how I responded:

Ok, push harder then. . . Further. . . Is that all you’ve got?  I wanna see blood! 
Are you fucking kidding me?!!!  If your neck hurts THEN STOP!
— Said a Yoga Instructor
Awareness gives you a CHOICE

Awareness gives you a CHOICE

Of course I said this loud enough for the whole class to witness.  Once all of the students noticed that sarcasm was evident, we shared a great laugh.  We are FAR TOO SERIOUS in yoga sometimes.  But this opportunity was perfectly placed to receive immense value from the experience.  Opportunity for:

Enlightenment

You actually create your own freedom, and what is better than that, America? :)

You actually create your own freedom, and what is better than that, America? :)

It is the 'ah HA' moment when you go from being unaware to full realization of what you are doing/practicing/feeling.  Call it clarity.  You are mindful enough to realize a pattern, because you see it from a new perspective.  Yoga doesn't want to change you.  It simply wants to make you aware.  Why?  Because that awareness gives you a CHOICE.  Before the awareness, what you do or think is just the way.  You know the saying "its just the way its always been."  But when you see another perspective, options open up.  You actually create your own FREEDOM.  And what is better than that, America?  

 

There are always choices in EVERY situation.  But they may not be easily spotted if you've trained yourself to think a certain way.  Thats like feeling forced against your will.  And the funny thing is, its all our own doing!  We create our lives every day by what and how we practice.  If our practice is strong enough, it becomes a story.  That story is SO GOOD that we define ourselves by it.  Its our story!  We can't detach.  It is who we are. . . . . But is it really? 

There are ALWAYS choices in every situation.

There are ALWAYS choices in every situation.

The funny thing is, it is all US!

The funny thing is, it is all US!

You are the creator of your own reality.  Much like the situation I described, yoga didn't hurt that student, I didn't hurt that student, SHE WAS HURTING HERSELF!  Suffering is optional.  You might have to experience your own painful motivation to help you realize that, but it IS a choice.   If you're not aware of it, don't worry it will get louder.  Hopefully it doesn't get so loud that you're actually snapping your neck before you stop the momentum, but you get the idea.  The momentum is YOUR momentum.  YOUR story.  YOUR experience.  Make sure its one you enjoy, because you're writing the next chapter right now.

I'm Ready to live a new chapter

Alkaline Water: Voltage is SHOCKING people

I was listening to a couple of ladies talking over lunch this afternoon.  Their conversation turned towards health as they discussed Alkaline Water and pH (a big health craze thats slightly misunderstood/mislead and I’ll tell you why).  Their conversation turned towards the benefits of drinking alkaline water, and though they used some technical jargon like alkaline and pH, it was clear they knew very little about what they’ve been sold on. 

"Its supposed to detox the body or something."

"Its supposed to detox the body or something."

Their talk degraded into speculation.  "Its supposed to detox the body or something." Of course I expected to hear that.  It is what convinced them to purchase this water in the first place.  The seemingly infallible scientific concept that the product is based on.  But what did they actually purchase?  Do they understand what its doing?  Is it doing anything? Is it the righteous upliftment we all feel when we eat, drink, or take something we think is good for us. (placebo effect-which by the way is a perfectly valid effect-more in another blog). 

They didn't know how alkaline solutions behave inside the body, but they know that someone said 'alkaline is good', and they feel great about their water choice.  

Very few health articles mention pH as a factor of voltage. They persist on explaining everything through the lens of chemical reactions only, leaving us to continue believing only in the paradigm of mechanical (surgery), and chemical (drugs) solutions to issues.  We are missing a HUGE component!

Very few health articles mention pH as a factor of voltage. They persist on explaining everything through the lens of chemical reactions only, leaving us to continue believing only in the paradigm of mechanical (surgery), and chemical (drugs) solutions to issues.  We are missing a HUGE component!

What is alkaline?  What is pH?  What is the mechanism behind pH in water, food, and our bodies?  Lesson 1:

pH=VOLTAGE

Take a moment to integrate that.  pH is a measure of voltage in an aqueous(liquid) solution. 

But voltage is measured from a battery, right?  We get voltage in our homes, and cars.  We measure that stuff from wires.  Thats electricity!  What is it doing in water? 

Great question, I’m glad you asked.  Because since I was a kid, I didn’t get the concept of electrolytes in gatorade, and why we had to replenish with them.  Electro. . . . Doesn’t that mean electricity?  Why do athletes drink electrolytes?  Lesson 2:

ELECTRICITY

We don't know what electricity is but we sure as hell know enough to use it.

We don't know what electricity is but we sure as hell know enough to use it.

 

Electricity describes the behavior of charged particles.  Charged particles are EVERYWHERE in the universe! (more on that in another blog).  Electrons are negatively charged.  Protons are positively charged.  Electricity is used as source of energy. 

We don't know what electricity IS but we sure as hell know enough to use it.

We are used to measuring voltage (think of that like potential electrical pressure) as it exists in wires to power our devices.  Thats conductive electricity.  The flow of this voltage is called the current.  One electron excites the neighboring electron and so on down the line until it hits your toaster.  Like a particle orgy without the wine.   Lesson3: 

Even Wikipedia doesn't mention voltage as a component of pH.

Even Wikipedia doesn't mention voltage as a component of pH.

pH

We are used to measuring solutions (liquids) as pH.  Which is just a math equation, superimposed on another math equation to make it easy to understand.  See the pretty colors?  Simple right?  So simple that even Wikipedia doesn't mention voltage anywhere when they describe pH. 

In solutions, the behavior of particles is different than what we see in wires.  Instead, there is the opportunity for the solution to either be an electron donor, or an electron stealer.  A good pH meter can read in millivolts (mV), or display the values we are used to seeing, 0 through 14.  Just like rulers can read inches or centimeters depending on what side you use.  Its just a difference in scale, both measuring the same thing.  

pH is a measure of VOLTAGE? This changes EVERYTHING!

pH is a measure of VOLTAGE? This changes EVERYTHING!

If the solution is an electron stealer, you put a + sign in front of its value. If it is an electron donor you put a - sign in front of it.  If it reads +400mV it is an electron stealer, or pH=0, its an acid.  If it reads -400mV it is an electron donor, which is the same as pH=14, its a base.  If its neutral it is pH=7.  Just like the ruler, we are using different scales to measure the same thing.  In this case Voltage.

Did the teachers avoid talking about this because it went against conventional models?  Or did they just not get it?

Did the teachers avoid talking about this because it went against conventional models?  Or did they just not get it?

*Very few health articles mention pH as a factor of voltage. They persist on explaining everything through the lens of chemical reactions only, leaving us to continue believing only in the paradigm of mechanical (surgery), and chemical (drug) solutions to issues.  We are missing a HUGE component to the model of our bodies, health, and the universe!*

**They don’t teach you this shit in school everyone, because even the teachers don’t get it, or at least didn’t get it when I went to school.  Thats what made me a pain in the ass.  Is your head feeling alright?  Me too.  I had to leave the room and walk around at this point when I learned this.  "pH is a measure of VOLTAGE?  That changes EVERYTHING!"  This new understanding is a called a paradigm shift.  Regardless of whether its been there and understood for over a century, its new to you, and probably just blew your mind.  Take a deep breath, lets continue.**  Lesson 4:

Biological cells are designed to run between -20mV and -25mV

Dr. Tennant explaining pH and charge as it behaves in a solution, and the body at Electric Universe Conference 2017

Dr. Tennant explaining pH and charge as it behaves in a solution, and the body at Electric Universe Conference 2017

That means pH of 7.35 to 7.45.  Do the math and you get -20mV to -25mV for a cell to work.  Theres a shocker!  Cells need energy to work, thanks.  (Just incase there are some geeks out there reading this, I am aware that you get  -90mV when you measure across a cell membrane in a petri dish with one electrode inside and one outside.  But we don't work in a petri dish, and the environments are HUGELY different I'm sure you'll agree.)  Whats MORE, if a cell needs to repair it needs twice the voltage, because its going to make a new cell, duh.  So -50mV is required, along with the basic components of the cell itself.  Just like building a house.  Components, and then energy to make it run. (more in another blog)

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Coming back to water.  Now that you're schooled about what pH is, you might have a better understanding of why some smart asses decided to sell you charged water. 

But thats NOT what they said when you were sold on it

Most likely someone pointed out studies showing cancer cells that thrive in an acidic environment. (NOW you know what acidic means-but THEY probably don't).  You've heard that drinking alkaline water improves digestion, and reduces inflammation, and the body works better if it's alkaline.  Sounds like all the things you'd want for your health.  But questions arise: 

Why can't my body balance its own voltage the way it was designed to?  (more in another blog post)  Aren't certain areas of my body designed to have different voltage levels?  Were these studies conducted in a petri dish?  (Because I now know that doesn't mean much).  Do I really need special water to increase voltage, if I decided it helps me? What other ways can I give my cells the voltage they need?

GREAT QUESTIONS, and I'm glad you replaced pH with the word VOLTAGE!  You learn fast grasshopper.  Very few health articles mention pH as a factor of voltage. They persist on explaining everything through the lens of chemical reactions only, leaving us to continue believing only in the paradigm of mechanical (surgery), and chemical (drug) solutions to issues.  We are missing a HUGE component to the model of our bodies, health, and the universe!

Dr. Pollack at Electric Universe Conference 2017 explaining the 4th Phase of Water.  E-Z water, exclusion zone water or structured water. H3O2 It forms shapes, due to charge!

Dr. Pollack at Electric Universe Conference 2017 explaining the 4th Phase of Water.  E-Z water, exclusion zone water or structured water. H3O2 It forms shapes, due to charge!

Well, the jury is out on the whole 'alkaline water' thing and its direct effects on health, so its down to you to make an informed decision.  However we DO know that the water in our bodies has special properties.  Its actually not H2O.  Inside our bodies is H3O2, the 4th phase of water called E-Z water or exclusion zone water.  Guess what. It holds a negative charge!  Sound familiar?  (more in another post-because they didn't teach THAT in school either) You see why some teachers would have been frustrated by my questions?  They were GOOD QUESTIONS at the time, but they had no answer for them.  Hint: their model was wrong

So the hypothesis is, if we can give our body the voltage it needs to sustain cells, and repair cells, then our toasters work.  But let me clue you in on how the body does this on its own, and why we might be losing precious voltage that is our birthright. (yes there will have to be another post about it too.)

Here are 3 things you can do to increase voltage:

1. Breathing

Quote by Wim Hof 'the Iceman'

Quote by Wim Hof 'the Iceman'

Thats right.  Stop taking those stupid oxygen pills!  Thats the dumbest thing I've ever heard to buy, especially when most of us don't F-ING BREATHE!  Its the smartest thing to sell because no one takes advantage of this free resource, so you'd be stupid not to market it in pill form. 

BREATHE everyone!  I want you to take a moment, stand up if you can, and if you can't, put a nice arch in your spine, pull your shoulders back and take 3 deep breaths.  Feel light headed?  Tingly?  Thats the spirit!  You're accessing your birthright, and charging your body. Accessing hormones you might not touch on a weekly or monthly basis. You wanna be alkaline (create voltage)?  All you have to do is breathe.  Its why I implement this modality in my classes.  Posture certainly affects the quality of your daily breath, so realignment techniques are foundational, but a few rounds of deep breathing will actually increase voltage in your blood.  No special water needed.  Take THAT to your local pHountain store!

2. Exercise

Dr. Tennant  at EU2017 Conference explaining electrical components of the human body, and how the system ties together.

Dr. Tennant  at EU2017 Conference explaining electrical components of the human body, and how the system ties together.

Yes it requires breathing, but what you MAY NOT know, is that your muscles generate electrical current. You're electric people, plain and simple.  Bones and muscles are piezo electric (look it up), collagen and fascia are semiconductors (look it up), so when you don't move, you're not charging efficiently. Your muscles act as one of multiple battery packs in your system.  Exercise is about more than looking toned, and attracting your partner.  Quality movement plays a HUGE role you already know about, because you experience it in the field!  Feeling low on energy?  Exercise!  Its what you do with your car, and if you leave it in the garage without running it for a while, you come out to a dead battery.  Grandma knew what she was doing when she slapped you upside the head saying 'get outside and play'.  KEEPING YOUR BODY CHARGED!  The benefit list is endless.  Get out and move.

3. Eat Green Food

Conventional Science models do not explain what we observe in the  actual  sky.  Instead of making up fairytales like dark matter, and black holes, the Electric Model is not only scalable, and predictable, it is TESTABLE/PROVABLE in the lab with real results (rather than computer simulations which equate to 'garbage in garbage out')  Read why the dominant force in the universe is ELECTRICITY, and why you should care.

Conventional Science models do not explain what we observe in the actual sky.  Instead of making up fairytales like dark matter, and black holes, the Electric Model is not only scalable, and predictable, it is TESTABLE/PROVABLE in the lab with real results (rather than computer simulations which equate to 'garbage in garbage out')  Read why the dominant force in the universe is ELECTRICITY, and why you should care.

Ready for this one?  Veggies help bring you charge because they get it from the SUN!  Thats right, the sun is ELECTRIC! (more in another blog).  Its no mystery that we presently use it for power, but you can't get charge from a bonfire.  Thats because the sun is more like ball lightning.  It is plasma, created by charge, and plants use it to create energy too.  When we eat the plants, we take on the charge.  Remember grade school science? Chlorophyll is a prime component for plants to synthesize light/electricity into energy for the plant.  Its why there is a link between the green foods, alkaline water, and health benefits.  You now know. . . . They hold CHARGE!  

Put down your pencils. Test is OVER.

I know I dropped a few brain scramblers in this blog.  Study Hard.  You'll do just fine.  The final is next week.  But seriously, research, and field testing is a GOOD THING.  If you're going to buy a product, make an informed UNBIASED decision, and quantify all of the results.  In the very least you'll learn something new.  You might even end up like me. . .

on the leading edge of thought sharing with the world

 

I'm Ready To Come To The Edge

Experts of Dismissal: Dismissing the Experts

How Seeing the Big Picture Helps the Global Population   

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My mom went to the doctor the other day to explain that she was experiencing daily back pain.  She is not the type of woman who sees doctors often, and it takes a good amount of sensation to motivate her to schedule an appointment with a professional. You know what he told her?  After casually looking her over, he stated ‘you’re fine, just take some aspirin’.  

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Sometimes I forget how dismissive the ‘experts’ can be.  I’ve been teaching various effective modalities, albeit cutting edge and dare I say controversial, for so long, that I consider it common knowledge.  Reiki is being taught in colleges to nurses and doctors.  Acupuncture is accepted under health insurance. Posture has become an assessable and addressable concern in the fitness industry.  So how is it that this expert sent my mom home with no answers?

One of the factors is HUBRIS.  (I'll wait a moment so you can look that up, I had to get a dictionary too.).  We get so cozy with our beliefs, and routines that we seldom allow them to be challenged by contrasting observations.  The new thoughts are deemed unsafe on a psychological and neurological level.  Often we react harshly towards new concepts because they do not match our notion/belief of the way things are.  We become irrationally dismissive, and cast the concept aside.  We glaze over it, and press on with our comfortable beliefs and pride intact.  This reaction disallows new information to be understood and is coupled with accelerated forgetting, even if the new observation rationally contradicts our belief.  The term for this series of events is called

COGNITIVE DISSONANCE

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and it is VERY unscientific.  But what we find nearly across the board, is scientists, doctors, professors and a slew of experts doing this on a daily basis.  This is not healthy skepticism (whatever that means).  This is straight up DENIAL. And this type of thinking does NOT belong in healthcare, science, or really anywhere.  

Since most of us suffer from cognitive dissonance on a multitude of subjects, you've most likely experienced it.  This pattern usually begins when we are small.  We are told how things are and discouraged from questioning it.  School systems further this pattern by teaching one school of thinking, and then test a student’s ability to regurgitate it.  Thats not genuine learning, we are simply copying and adhering to the same concepts and beliefs our teachers have.  That is not progress, and it is the reason why conventional SCIENCE is so FRIGGING SLOW to keep up with the trends.  They are ‘surprised’ at every turn, and say 'we have to go back to the drawing board' (which they never do.)

Thats right folks, SCIENCE is not advancing. Technology is. 

Wallace Thornhill plasma physicist EU2015 Explaining the holes in the current model of gravity

Wallace Thornhill plasma physicist EU2015 Explaining the holes in the current model of gravity

They are very different.  We are still working off of science that began and ended in the 19th century.  Everything ‘new’ in science has been little more than hypothesis full of holes that are dismissed and glazed over as we ‘push ahead’ holding the same stagnant view points. (more on that in another post) 

On the contrary. . . . ASK WHY!  Not enough of us ask WHY!  We concede to the experts and dismiss ourselves as having access to the solution.

On the contrary. . . . ASK WHY!  Not enough of us ask WHY!  We concede to the experts and dismiss ourselves as having access to the solution.

The doctor my mom saw was not trained in psychology, he was not trained in mechanics, he was not trained in geology, this doctor specialized in drugs.  He is so specialized in fact that he missed the bigger picture which a child could see.  My mom is completely off balance!  He followed his everyday routine, and his (belief) systems gave him the green light to push ahead.  ‘Nothing amiss here, move along'.

Any investigation into her experience would have yielded important information that could result in a logical conclusion, and a pathway to solution.  My mom had experienced physical trauma to her shoulder last year requiring surgery and over 6 weeks in a sling.  Those 6 weeks impeded her ability to move properly.  It forced her nervous system to re-route patterns around the immobile joint while it healed.  This contributed to her gait being thrown off.  (The body works a unit).  Her nervous system created a new pattern of movement.  It adapted, and without restoring motion properly (which includes THE WHOLE BODY not just the area of the shoulder) her back is now signaling her that something is wrong.  Her shoulder is STILL in an impaired state.  Her hips and legs are receiving the 'impaired' signals from the shoulder.  Her back is stuck between a rock and a hard place, compensating for it all.

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This would be comparable to getting into a crash with your car, limping it to the mechanic to figure out why its not going as fast as it was before, and him looking at the engine for the problem.  Meanwhile your wheels are pointed in 4 different directions, one of them isn’t even spinning, and your frame is bent.  What do you do?  Put a new turbo on it?  Or realign the frame?

With technology allowing us to see deeper and deeper, we are losing the global perspective, and its costing us. Specializing in one area of study is also costing us.  To be a real expert is to be humble enough to ALWAYS BE THE STUDENT.  Explore other subjects and perspectives. Integrate knowledge from a broad base of experience.  Understand that there are things YOU DON’T KNOW, YOU DON’T KNOW.  

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In the end, I know I am part of this integrative solution.  More and more questions are being asked that stagnant thinking just can not keep up with.  It is not large groups of people that are inspired with fantastic new ideas and gadgets, it is the rebellious thinker.  The forward feeler who moves in the direction of the leading edge.  These are the leaders, these are the experts.  Paving the way from sluggish beliefs, towards ever-evolving understanding.  They’re often young, and ambitious, passionate and energetic.  Engaging and enigmatic.  Philosophical and alert.  Observant and curious.  Flexible and steadfast.  

Perhaps the doctor once thought and felt like this at one time, perhaps not.  I don't live in his shoes, so I can't know. But my point is this: If an expert dismisses something without fair scrutiny, DISMISS THEM and move on.  No one is a real authority/expert because the final authority is YOU. Be wise enough to be the BEST expert you can be.  Research, Test, Observe, Verify, Experiment, Stay Open to New Concepts, Quantify ALL Results, Trust Your Instincts. 

Are you ready to trust your instincts?  Prepared to put yourself back in the drivers seat?   I'm no expert, but I play one on youtube. . . . . 

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Text Neck: Keep It Up, By Working Down

Loaded title, I know.  I did that on purpose.  Read on to find out why.

The internet was alight with a new BUZZ word a year or so ago.  A pigeon-hole description of an avoidable postural misalignment 'caused' by looking at handheld electronic devices.  (Notice I place 'caused' in quotes).  The term is:

TEXT NECK

This was such a perfect example of what more and more teens are displaying posturally, but I'm NOT jumping on the 'shame on you' bandwagon like other people.  As an alignment therapist, I do NOT believe this condition is caused solely because of texting.  We are giving texting a bad rap, just like sitting.  Let me explain why.

The Human Body Is Designed to Text

This kid has been texting so long, his body adapted to this position.  And Rightly So!  Any repetitive motion will be memorized in the body.  Its designed to do that

This kid has been texting so long, his body adapted to this position.  And Rightly So!  Any repetitive motion will be memorized in the body.  Its designed to do that

Just like the human body is designed to sit.  The body is designed to back bend, swim, run, twist, sleep, bicycle, throw, and sit some more.  It is repetitive motion ANY MOTION or REPETITIVE POSITION that gets memorized in the body.   Its called adaptation.  It happens because your body is a lazy piece of shit.  It is trying to expend as little energy as possible, as per its efficient design.

 Its not the texting that caused this, instead he is NOT giving his body balanced stimulation in other forms to interrupt the pattern displayed in the photo.  You see not everyone who texts, ends up in this position.  So it can't be the texting that is causing it.  Instead lets understand

THE BODY WE BRING TO THE TEXTING

There is much more going on here than a neck in deep flexion.  The hips are dictating flexion through the spine, to the shoulders, and finally at the head.  Its not just the head's fault, so we can't chase a symptom of a deeper problem.  When this kid stands up, his shoulders stay just like you see in the photo, because his pelvis is tucked under and bailing forward of his knees.  Not a big deal, because we are designed to do that too.  But if he is experiencing pain, lethargy, foggy thinking, depression etc, his position is becoming a limiting factor in his life experience.  

When his mother makes an appointment for him, smart woman that I suspect she is, I'm not going to go after his phone addiction.  He can either keep this pattern going, by continuing to work facing down in his lap, or he can facilitate a new head position (ie. keep his head up) by working down in his hips to strengthen the underlying structures that hold his spine, shoulders and head in alignment.  (Does the title wording make sense now?)

Here is what I'd give him on the fly, since I never actually talked to him or his mom ;-)

Picture 1: You can text all you want while you do this, and support a more aligned head over time (photo by Egoscue)

Picture 1: You can text all you want while you do this, and support a more aligned head over time (photo by Egoscue)

Picture 2: Real easy to hold a phone here while you do this.  Or put the car on cruise control and do this. (photo by Egoscue)

Picture 2: Real easy to hold a phone here while you do this.  Or put the car on cruise control and do this. (photo by Egoscue)

1. Put something between your knees. A fat pillow, your own fist, or even a water bottle (filled with water and cap off, so the joke can be on you, literally). 

2. Get your feet and knees in line with your hips. 

3. Get your feet under your knees.  I'm talking 90 degree angles here, as you see pictured.

4. Roll an arch into your low back from the hips, and relax your shoulders.  Remember I told you its about working down?  We are getting ourselves more HIP DRIVEN here.  Wake up the foundation to support the rest of the structure. 

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5. Now that you're sitting more like picture 2 , do your best impression of THIGH MASTER.  But since you're a teen, you have no friggin' clue who Suzanne Somers is, so just squeeze your knees together on your object of choice, over and over.  Even if you have nothing, put your ankles and knees together, it still works!

Its enough of an interruption that will over time strengthen your base.  Then the top area (head) which people keep complaining about, SELF CORRECTS. 

Thank you grandma, for telling me to put my phone away and keep my shoulders back while I sit.  You’ve got the right idea, but this is a new millennium. 

I’m gonna stick with Kim at SHIFTALIGN who supports what I love to do, and helps me do it BETTER with easy moves that result in sustainable change that won’t cramp my style.
— The Teen in the Photo

What I Saw In Palau: Shocking Feet

In 2004 I had a wonderful opportunity to travel for the first time out of the country. I was a licensed boat captain and was offered a 6-7 week job working on the set of Survivor.  Needless to say what I experienced there imprinted me for life.  At the time, I felt the happiest I had ever been.  

Boat Captain in Palau 2004

Boat Captain in Palau 2004

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A terabyte was not yet a ‘thing’, and film cameras were still around so my 3.0 Megapixel point-and-click was pretty good.  I took over 3,000 photographs capturing everything my lens could focus on.  With a sharp eye for photography (its in the family) and also for things unusual, my quick trigger finger secured stills in digital limbo until I returned home.

One subject that stood out to me was a local crewman.  More specifically it was his feet.  Back then, I said to myself ‘Ew!’, wondering why they looked so different.  I thought my feet were fairly functional, and athletic (a doctor once told me).  I assumed there was something amiss based on the discrepancy I observed. They were so strange to my eye, that I took a photo while he was on the boat.  

One subject that stood out to me was a local crewman.  More specifically it was his feet.

One subject that stood out to me was a local crewman.  More specifically it was his feet.

10+ years later, I’m teaching workshops and leading seminars on function, alignment and posture and guess what. . .   I’m pointing out how dysfunctional my feet and indeed all feet are whose toes are NOT aligned like what you see.   

Its more than a culture clash, although that is what triggered me to take the shot at first.  Was it my european genetic background vs his pacific ancestry?  Nope.  It was, and IS a musculoskeletal response to environmental stimulus.  

In short,  Americans have our feet crammed into shoes as soon as we have feet to put them into.   

ENTER: DEVELOPMENTAL IMPEDENCE

Think of it like growing a seedling inside a snug box.  You ultimately affect the form and structure  by manipulating its environment.  It crowds the box.  It can’t develop like a plant outside in the garden due to the contrasting stimulus, or lack thereof.   (more on childhood development in another post)

Similar to the bones in our hands, the bones of the feet spread outward to form what we know as the widest part of the foot, the ‘ball’.  But its not designed to stop there, actually the toes should be the WIDEST part of the foot.  You can see in these photos what can happen over time with narrow shoe boxes that crowd the foot.  This is a stark contrast in comparison and one that can create symptoms felt up the musculoskeletal chain to the top of the head. 

The toes should be the widest part of the foot.

The toes should be the widest part of the foot.

Although footwear inhibits full function, it is NOT a death sentence.  The body will jump at the chance to realign itself the moment you provide stimulus.

Although footwear inhibits full function, it is NOT a death sentence.  The body will jump at the chance to realign itself the moment you provide stimulus.

Bones were forced to create the form of the shoe.  Muscles can move bones to a more functional position

Bones were forced to create the form of the shoe.  Muscles can move bones to a more functional position

 

Try walking at home in regular shoes.  Focus on how you feel, head to toe.  Now try with no shoes.  Notice the difference?  Does your strike sound louder? Feel the change in your shoulders or head?  Now try another type of shoe, maybe a flip flop or a heel.  The change occurs through the entire body.

Try something else.  Lift your toes up and walk on your heels.  Now walk on the balls of your feet.  Try walking on the outside edges of the feet.  Now the inside edges.  Its extreme I know, but my point is, if you change one part you affect the entirety.

Stimulus most definitely impacts the form our body takes over time.  Though it is crucial to develop fully especially as children, we can still bring fuller function to our bodies and lives. All it takes is a little different stimulus, a bit of interruption, and the body jumps at the chance to align itself and restore its own function, no matter what shoe you're wearing.  If this is an area that you feel you can improve on, why not sign up for one of my classes or a private session?  All you have to lose is your shoes, for a little while :-)

TOH Pool Safety and Health

Its summer for the northern hemisphere.  Levittown residents know this means the pools are open!  You've got your towel, flip flops, goggles, water bottle, but forgot your sunscreen.  DON'T WORRY!  Town Of Hempstead Health Department cares about keeping you well.  Something new at the pool is FREE SUNSCREEN! 

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Something not new is BAD POSTURE.  Take a look at the background action.  What do you see?

You might not notice at first glance, but these people are off balance.  They're leaning so far in one direction that their body has to compensate in various places just to hold them upright.  Do you know what that means for their health (and yours) down the line?

Look again.  What do you see?  They're all standing with their hands on their hips.  Familiar?  Have you found yourself standing for a period of time and either crossed your arms over your chest or propped yourself up on your hips?  If you're like most people, you've done it without even thinking of it.  Your body does it on its own, its called compensation.

The postures in this photo are of people displaying rounded upper back and shoulders, and excessive lower back curvature, to name just a few deviations.  Even the lifeguard falls into this category, and he is living an active lifestyle. 

So whats the big deal?  Plenty of people look like this.  Its normal right?  Well it most certainly is typical of what we all see these days but so is this:

Lower Back Pain is the #1 Cause of Disability WORLDWIDE

Does that sound typical?  How about normal?  How about something is wrong here, and we are missing a huge component to our overall health!

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Just like the postures above, this building is off balance.  Its falling down.  But it doesn't have any cool compensatory responses to keep itself upright on its own.  Instead it is getting propped up to stop the decline, at least for a little while.  Notice anything familiar?

This is exactly what the people in the top photo are doing for themselves.  Their muscles aren't working to keep them in accordance with their original design.  Some are 'asleep' while others are OVER WORKING, and the body is falling down.  It supplies the props just like the steel supports on the building, but it uses your arms instead.  

But we are different than the building.  We can adapt, heal, twist, run, jump, crawl, climb, push, pull you name it.  You see most of us lack QUALITY motion in our daily lives.  You are probably saying, 'I workout every day'.  But so is the lifeguard, and so is the other family beyond the frame of the photo. 

Michael Phelps a tremendous athlete, displaying musculoskeletal compensations.  

Michael Phelps a tremendous athlete, displaying musculoskeletal compensations.  

Most of the motion we give ourselves is repetitive motion that gets patterned into our body and stays.  Even the workouts we get at the gym are focused more on encouraging EFFORT rather than QUALITY.  Burn CALORIES, rather than have FUN (more on that in another post).  Do what the instructor says, rather than explore all motion.  We rarely take our bodies through full capable range of motion, much less strengthening it there.  So it holds tight to the pattern it considers 'safe' and forgets the rest.

Gyms focus mostly on effort to burn calories, not quality movement that creates sustained health.

Gyms focus mostly on effort to burn calories, not quality movement that creates sustained health.

If you WON'T move, you CAN'T move over time, and we head past compensation into dysfunction.  Sounds scary right?  Its not.  

Its just another adaptation that our body has in its bag of tricks to keep us as well as it can.

Thats right, compensations, dysfunctions, and adaptations are all in the plan. 

Because if we couldn't adapt, we would be like that building, hopelessly stuck waiting for someone from Monster Garage to weld upright stilts onto our falling torso.  The building needs to return to its blueprint design.  It won't last long with those beams holding it up, and it certainly won't perform like it did before, ie. holding hundreds of people inside safely.  

Your body needs to return to its design too.  And it can do it more easily than you think (more on that in another post).  If it does not, no amount of sunscreen will help get you to the pool when your back is out!

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