Start At Your Feet

Want a better life? Start upgrading your personal experiences and your health by improving the relationship you have with your feet.

Seriously, many of us don’t understand the vital connection between the science of healthy feet and our overall expression with all aspects of life.

Doesn’t it make sense that when our foundational base is strong (a.k.a. our feet) our ability to increase our performance and our joy is strong as well?

Consider the following metaphorical statements used by some who approach me for coaching:

  • I’m ready to take a stronger stand for myself.
  • I want to step up my game.
  • I want you to support me while I lengthen my stride.

Within each metaphor, an individual’s relationship with the foundational part of themselves is going determine the trajectory of their outcomes.

So just take a tiny risk and trust me. Accept at least one of the following four challenges and start enjoying a healthier and happier existence.

  1. Go put your feet into a fresh patch of grass. Stand there and imagine the gravity and anchor of earth attaching itself to the soles of your feet. Feel the fresh air above you. Allow the sky to touch the crown of your head and then reconnect to what it means to be alive by standing between heaven and earth while feeling the energy of life conducting through you.
  2. Purchase a pair of five-finger shoes or socks. This activity will wake up your toes. It will alert them that they can get smarter and more independent if they don’t rely on always being part of the herd we lump together into a regular shoe. Truly, you can revitalize your brain and your feet by helping your toes learn to move on their own again.
  3. Read the following blog and practice a few of the exercises recommended by bio-mechanist Katy Bowman.
  4. Or, purchase her book Every Woman’s Guide to Food Pain Relief and practice her suggested exercises on a daily basis.

I’d love to hear what you experience when you take on one of these challenges.

So, do you want a better life? Jump in feet first!

 

Got Feet?

Let’s start with two questions:

Were you born with feet?

Do you still have them?

If you answered “yes” to both, you’ll want to read on.

Chances are you are like me and you’ve had a limited perspective on how complex those two things living below your ankles are. For example, did you know that we have about 200 bones in our entire body?  And did you know that 25% of these bones are found in your feet (25% of all the muscles and motor nerves in your body are dedicated to your feet as well)?*

Sounds like I know what I’m talking about right?

Well I do, sort of.  Stay with me on this one and you’ll understand.

I thrive on supporting the entrepreneurial spirit. I consider it to be one of the most powerful forces reshaping this country. In my opinion, it is one dynamic that has constantly remained more of an art than a science no matter how many textbooks try to put their arms around it. And, I believe that entrepreneurship was flowing through the veins of this nation’s founding parents.

So over a cup of tea, on a Sunday morning I put down a current copy of Entrepreneur long enough to go wandering around the Big Cartel website. Ever curious to see what some of the artrapreneurs (yes I made that up) were up to, I viewed Susan Peterson’s mini documentary about her company Freshly Picked.

My partner heard the music and came up behind me to see what I was watching. As soon as Freshly Picked footwear for kids came on the screen my partner exclaimed, “Those are perfect. Parents need to be more aware of what they put on their baby’s and children’s feet.”

My partner, Susan McLaughlin, is a Physical Therapist trained in Restorative Exercise™ by Biomechanist turned Entrepreneur, Katy Bowman. Between these two women’s highly educated influence in my life, I have come to better understand the benefits of having a proper fit from a well engineered pair of shoes. I’m learning the type of “toe box” my feet need. I also know how important it is to avoid long days in elevated (heeled) footwear.

I’d like to say that this is the reason I also took time to watch the Big Cartel mini documentary for Zuriick footwear.  That would be a lie. The sole, upper, toe box and most of the heels provided by Zuriick shoes are not only extremely well designed from a creative standpoint, they are pretty hip on the wellness scene.  And I think it is incredible because there is something out there in the innovative new business scene that is not just about how things look. There is something that is considering the integration of quality, design and wellness. I think it is more than a trend. I think we’ve traveled far away from “what’s good for us” in terms of food, water, shelter and clothing. And today I see a grassroots movement among the free-agent thinkers toward having a more mindful means of living our lives and loving the process.

That’s why I can mash-up my thoughts about shoes, entrepreneur, and health and believe that I’m posting something worth reading. That’s the reason I would promote Freshly Picked, Zurrick and Katy Bowman all in the same blog.

That’s also the reason that I’m reminding my friends and connections that my company, SoulSalt is hosting a Katy Bowman event here in Salt Lake this Saturday the 4th from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. at Sugar Space. 

If your knees hurt, if your hips bother you, and if your back aches, you can’t be as creative or entrepreneurial as your potential would allow you to be.  You need to pay attention to your feet and listen to what Katy has to say:

Your footwear can absolutely affect the performance of your body… (I’m adding this last part)…and the way you experience your life.

 

*This paragraph was adapted from Katy Bowman’s book Every Woman’s Guide to Foot Pain Relief see page 8.

Hat Tip to Susan McLaughlin at Align, Integration and Movement

This morning the alarm went off at 0-crack-hundred-hours. It really didn’t need to. However, I wanted to be sure to make it to a ground-breaking event. Salt Lake City’s first ever Restorative Exercise™ class was starting at 6:30 a.m. And I not only wanted to be there, I wanted to walk there.

Actually it was my partner Susan’s idea to walk the ten minutes to Sugar Space Studio for the event. I agreed. This was a fitting way to honor the practice of integrated wellness that Susan is bringing to Salt Lake.

Susan McLaughlin P.T. is the mastermind who discovered Katy Bowman’s work, then trained and certified in Katy’s Restorative Exercise™ program. Susan’s company, Align Integration and Movement is the pioneering company that is bringing this exciting gift of health to Salt Lake.

The theme for this month’s classes is “Trim Your Waistline” and that we did in a very wise, effective manner this morning. Muscles all over were activated mindfully, bones in our feet were gently spread, nerves were mobilized and flossed in both hands and arms, and waist-lines were lengthened and reduced.

It is hard to describe the glowing feeling experienced upon leaving the class. It is not unlike what you sense after yoga and not unlike what one has after a hard workout and yet it is decidedly unique. The best I can say is this: Restorative Exercise™ leaves me feeling aligned and subtlety stronger. It supports me with a deep awareness that I just did something extremely good for myself. I just made an incremental, solid deposit in my own personal bank of wellness.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m9FcwnxuMLQ&list=UUz5cmwGtsK5VuCkNaytpQjA&index=1&feature=plpp_video[/youtube]

Read a related articles on Susan McLaughlin P.T.

Dealing With Pelvic and Neck Pain By Jasen Lee, Deseret News

Tension, Bad Posture May Be To Blame For The Pain By Lois M. Collins, Deseret News

Incontinence, Back Pain can Be Alleviated By Carrie A. Moore, Deseret News

Stand For Yourself, Or At Least For Your Health

Take a stand for your health! Yes take a stand literally.

 Stop sitting so much.

Most of us spend a great deal of time planted in front of a computer, T.V. or desk without understanding the consequences of such a position.

Ask yourself:

Does one or more of my hips feel displaced and unable to hold weight when I first get out of a chair?

Do I suffer from regular lower-back pain?

Would I like to have a healthier heart, without adding more exercise to your day?

Would I like to have stronger abs without having to purchase a gadget from an infomercial?

If you said “yes” to any of these questions there’s good news. Read on.

I have become aware, through the work of Aligned and Well expert Katy Bowman M.S., that excessive sitting is harmful and unnecessary.  Two detrimental affects of sitting are:

First, it can contribute to heart ailments.  Katy tells us that sitting “rearranges your muscles into a position that prevents the smaller blood vessels from holding their share of blood. The end result of sitting excessively is that more blood stays inside the larger arteries. Thus making it harder for the heart to work.” If you’re thinking that because you have a strong “cardio and weight” schedule as part of your exercise program you don’t need to listen to this advice? Think again.

Those of us who lift weights and regularly participate in cardiovascular activities may not be any better off in that concern than our buddies who are couch potatoes. According to Katy, “Muscle activity needs to be happening all day long!”  And, I believe her. I’m starting to understand that we can’t just go to the gym and then sit all day at work and expect to be truly healthy.

Second, excessive sitting often causes pain. As Katy asks:

Have you ever gotten up from a sitting position and felt a little tweaky in the hip? Hear an audible click when taking your first few steps after being seated, or a pop when kicking your leg out to the side?

This is a condition (cleverly) called “snapping hip.” Here’s the basic low-down. There can be two things going on. Either your iliotibial (IT) band is snapping in and out of its groove (called external snapping hip) or it’s the tendon of the psoas muscle snapping over a bony protrusion (internal snapping hip).

She goes on to point out that healthy muscle is lengthened muscle and sitting simply shortens and thus weakens your muscles. If we want to recover from this “snapping hip” syndrome or improve the condition of our IT band, standing more than sitting is a cheap option to physical therapy and or surgery.

So now that you know this, the unanswered question is: What are you to do about it?

The obvious answer is to sit less and stand more. However, a more productive answer is to incorporate a cheap, simple adjustment to your work life – get a standing work station for you and your computer.

You can purchase some pretty cool and highly functional options on-line. Case-in-point the one at our home (see above) and was purchased at www.airdesks.com

If you want the cheapest faster route, create your own like I have with materials already at hand. As you can see I simply converted a wire file box into a desk top prop and I have my own functional standing station.

My creative assistant Jessica Draper caught onto the idea and scrounged up an old CD tower which offer a height that works extremely well.

 

Now all you have to do is make sure that the new practice of standing is “good” for you. Here is a diagram that can help you understand good posture. If you make this simple adjustment to the way you spend a chunk of your work time, you will begin to experience results instantly. Some people have to pace themselves at first by standing at their computer for an hour, then two, then three, and so forth. Good luck and find your way wisely.

Here’s to your health!

And here’s to standing for it!

Listen to Katy Bowman’s related  interview.

Read Katy Bowman’s blog to learn more on “snapping hip” condition. 

 

Interested in Reading More About This Topic?

What Katy Says About Goal Setting

Sometimes the things we learn come from people both younger and smarter than ourselves.

Enter Katy Bowman. Katy is an up-and-coming bio-mechanically oriented genius (for more information also see “author’s note”). Even at birth it seems she had mensa written all over her. While most of her followers are raving fans of Katy’s wellness and alignment information (which I admit to enjoying as well) what really fascinates me is her scientific/engineering/practical approach to elements of human performance.

I’m kind of a geek when it comes to learning what maximizes an individual’s capacity. So when Katy starts talking about topics like how to set better goals I take note.
What Katie says about Goal Setting by soulsaltinc
Here are three strong pieces of Katy’s advice in terms of the first step in reaching a goal – the goal setting process:

  • First, resist being so lofty when you initially write down a goal that you defeat yourself on the spot.
  • On the flip side, don’t dumb your goals down – the idea is to challenge yourself enough that you can feel a stretch toward progress and positive change. Find the middle ground between stretching and actually accomplishing what you know you can accomplish.
  • Finally, remember that a goal is not the outcome. The outcomes are the result of hitting your goal. So when you set your goal write down your intended outcomes at the same time.

Oh there is much more that Katy says about how to write and reach your goals. And I will certainly share these later. In the meantime, sit down and try your hand at setting an incredibly strong goal for yourself. If you want feedback, send it our way and Katy or I will let you know how solid we think it is.

Author’s Note

Katy Bowman, M.S., is an expert in analyzing human movement. She applies the engineering principles of biomechanics to quantify and analyze the every-day use of the HUMAN MACHINE, and in so doing fulfills at least three critical purposes.

First, she assists us in learning how to reduce common diseases and other ailments. Secondly, she makes all this scientific, mathematical, physics-oriented information actually easy for the us common folk to understand. Finally, she’s damn funny. No really, she’s hilarious.  To learn more about Katy’s background and innate love for anatomy/physiology visit: www.katysays.com and www.alignedandwell.com.