Since my yoga intensive with Kathryn Bruni-Young, I’ve been looking for more information on mindful movement. I started with the reading list that our instructor gave us and bought the book, “Move Your DNA”. Katy Bowman’s book has blown my mind! This book isn’t about exercise. It’s actually about how we move and how we can improve our movement to reduce strain, injury and stress.
While I’m two-thirds through the book, I’ve already started making some small habitual changes in my day-to-day lifestyle. These changes do not take extra time:
- Sleeping without a pillow: Here are some reasons to ditch the fluffy stuff. I have been now sleeping without a pillow for 25 nights now*, with only one cheat night. I’m not doing it for gimmicky reasons; in fact, I’m trying to fix my the neck position as my head is often pitched forward away from my shoulders**. After reading the blog post, I looked at some vacation photographs and was quite appalled when I saw how bad my head posture was. So if I’m in a neck-forward position for 8 hours at night, would it not affect my daytime posture?
- Developing calluses on your hands and feet: What? Having calluses on our hands are good? Yes, the increased thickness on your skin actually allows you to adapt and feel various surfaces better. If you don’t work in manual labour though, you probably have soft and sensitive skin. While I had a great summer, the worse part of it was that I lost my calluses from disuse!!! I noticed they were sloughing off 3 week ago …. so my palms are baby smooth again. Kinda mad. I was working on them too while weight-training for 7 months!! I suppose it has been no surprise since I’ve been on summer break …. sigh. Take a look at your own palms; it’s likely you need some work too! Take your shoes off and run on the grass. Climb a tree! If you’ve got a chin-up bar at home, go hang on it for a couple of minutes. Give your skin a workout.
- … which begs the question, what about barefoot walking? I’d love to start this, but no, I won’t be barefoot walking soon, although I did do a bit in the city. Up north, the gravel is waaaay too sharp! But I’ll be making my students walk barefoot (with socks) in my classroom this year for the first time.
- Walking for nutrition: I don’t walk a lot in the north; over the past three years, I have been driving a lot for food. The native reserve is literally about 1 km long, so it shows how lazy I’ve become. Even J. chides me but it didn’t sink in until listening to Katy Bowman’s book. Nutrition doesn’t include just the macronutrients, micronutrients and the vitamins; it should include the task of acquiring and collecting food. Think of the ancestral habits; you had to forage, hunt, gather and walk. Even as a university student, I remember sweating as I carried large bags of food back home. I didn’t have a car then. Not that I’m going to become a farmer anytime soon, but I’m making a better effort to walk to the grocery store. I know when it gets cold and I get very busy, this may change, but while it’s warm, we will definitely be walking to the store (see picture above). J. pointed out that when you are carrying the necessities, you don’t have as much space in your bag to carry junk food.
If you’re not interested in the book or are not able to get access to it, you can also check out her podcasts, called Katy Says. It’s done in a dialogue format and are about 30 minutes long each.
*The boyfriend complained that my head was sneaking up and trying to get onto his pillow the past two nights. Maybe it was my body unconsciously navigating itself to a source of heat …
**The issue might be linked to my rounded shoulders and weak serratus.