Frustratingly my Loves, our alignment isn’t quickly or easily fixed. Bummer. I mean you bought the program, you ditched your heels and started walking in barefoot shoes. You did those stretches every day (ish) for at least 2 weeks. You pretty much did as you were told for the whole 12 weeks, so how come this alignment thing isn’t fixed?
I started to read about alignment in 2011, as in, the biomechanics of how our bodies move and how that affects everything from our feet to our pelvic floor, and then I began studying it in earnest, committing to study and full certification as a Restorative Exercise Specialist™ in 2014. I initially found the process both revelationary… and slightly depressing. For every light bulb, missing link moment (and there are many), there was a feeling of ‘How many months of daily stretching before this hamstring is in the right darn place, let alone strong enough to enable the perfect posterior push-off natural gait pattern when I walk?’. ‘My scapulae are where? And they should be… where?‘
Oh yeah. Not only is my dinner table conversation a joy to behold, but I am not *perfectly aligned*. I study this stuff endlessly and work on it daily, because now I don’t find it depressing at all. I find it absolutely bloody fascinating. (Told you. We should have dinner. I’m captivating …).
Our bodies have become this thing we’re supposed to fix, to make aesthetically pleasing to ourselves and others, to satisfy a cultural ideal of what is or looks fit or sexy. But very often that goal is totally flawed. Not only are we measuring all the wrong things, but we refer to real or imagined images of so-called perfection as our end goal. If I could just get there, then I’m done. I can congratulate myself on a job well done, others will admire my commitment and discipline, I’ll be happy with myself.
But we know this doesn’t really apply when it comes to being buff and toned and super fit – we know that if that’s what we want, we have to work very hard, and keep on working very hard to maintain that look, function or level of strength . And to take a much less complex principle, we don’t clean our teeth twice a day for 12 weeks and then say – ‘So that’s my teeth clean. Won’t have to do that again‘. Whatever we are aiming to achieve – health, toned arms, clean teeth… we keep doing what works. To get it and to maintain it.
So why wouldn’t that apply to alignment? We don’t get fixed – we keep adjusting. And don’t feel bad (I’ll confess my errant scapulae revelation did get me down for a while, but with therapy I’m working through it ;-) ) Because those short hamstrings, the tucked tailbone, those ribs way out in front, the feet turned out or the head 3 inches in front of your neck… have taken years to establish themselves. Hey, we don’t walk 10 miles a day across rough terrain carrying our children and squatting regularly to rest or bathroom. Our bodies may have been designed to be able to do that…but well, we haven’t exactly been doing it, have we? Chairs, cars, heeled shoes, stress, caffeine and forgetting to actually listen to our body’s signals – that all happened.
So don’t get frustrated with learning about alignment, that just adds stress, which incidentally is terrible for your alignment.
Take one layer of information at a time – back up your weight over your ankle bones, untuck your tailbone, bring your ribs down over your plevis, straighten your feet up, stretch your calves – just add one layer at a time. And every time you do any one of those things, you’re shifting yourself into a more functional place where diastasis, pelvic floor disorder or aches and pains are less likely to find a home.
Don’t take on more information than you feel ready to deal with or than you really want to. Shifting your alignment isn’t a chore, its just moving right. Geeks (and terribly boring dinner guests) like me love to study the detail, so that we can pass on the ‘if you do just one or 2 things do these’ instructions so you can get on with your life. You want more science? Bring it on. Let’s eat.
But that’s what MUTU is here for my Loves…. to give you the information you need, to take control. In maybe just a little over 12 weeks…