Stand up for your rights. Love me some good Bob Marley. Did you know that I sing that song to floppy toddlers when they are puddles on the floor? Playful parenting at it's finest, folks.
This post is about standing up. REALLY standing up. There are many different alignment markers. But for this post, in honor of the winter olympics, we're going to talk about one item in particular... BACKING UP.
And not being a ski racer all the time. Because, really, we shouldn't be standing like this:
unless we are actually in a ski race. In that case… lean down that hill baby. But otherwise…. back that thang UP.
Get something weighted. It doesn't matter what. A rock tied to a string (well that doesn't sound safe… beware, toes!), or a random kids toy tied to a string. Whatever. Next, find the midpoint of your hip. Hold the string on the midpoint of your hip and see where the weight falls on the ground. Note how I am pulling a "ski racer" and leaning forward. Also note that I just took a shower after being up all night at a birth. And that the photo is taken by a preschooler.
Now. Shift your weight back into your heels. Watch the weight move back over your heels. Note that you can lift up and wiggle your toes. Now… can you lift and lower you knee cap? If you can't, it could be that your quadricep is used to always be "on" and so it's trying desperately to be the one to hold you up all the time. So, lifting and lowering the knee cap is a way of seeing if the quad can stay in the relaxed (knee down) position. It's also a way of seeing if you're standing with your knees bent. You will not be able to lift and lower your knee cap if your knee is bent. So straight that leg, baby. Note how when I shifted my weight back into my heels, my knees bend and my feet came up. My quads were trying to say "hey wait a minute here, what do you think you're doing? I wanna WORK!" And then I told them to simmer down, that they get enough use and I'm trying to be a fair parent and give Hamstring and Glute a job too. And besides standing is really a job for Glute and Hammy anyway. Quad is like that big overachiever who does all your work for you before you actually get a chance to try. I'm sure my shortened psoas from sitting all the time and from stress didn't help matters either. But more on that another time. Psoas deserves her own post.
Here is another pictures of me backing my weight up onto my heels, from today's series of photos/videos compliments of the 4 year old:
You are now on your way to standing up/BACK better! And yes, my 4 year old took the video and the baby was very intent on being held. And what I really meant to say was that to hold our babies we tend to create a "shelf" on our bodies and thrust our weight forward. Or our weight simply gets pulled forward during pregnancy because of the weight of the belly. Or because it's just our "normal" or what we're used to doing all the time and pregnancy or baby carrying just exasperates it.
SO… THIS WEEK (and always) when you are standing… in line at the bank, while cooking, or WHATEVER…. check in with yourself. It's so easy to go back to our normal way of standing. It takes a lot of times of checking in with yourself and making conscious changes. Eventually you will start to just go to the backed up weight in the heels position without even thinking about it! But, in the meantime. Just consciously adjust yourself.
Keep a look out for Restorative Exercise group and private classes coming up at the space!! I am getting full length mirrors installed at the space TOMORROW which helps SO much so that we can SEE what our bodies are doing and help our brain figure out where we are in space and where we need to be in space. Pretty nifty.
Look familiar? The pregnant waddle. Is this a requirement of pregnancy?
Well, yes, if the muscles along the back side have compensated for the increased load on the front side of the body (baby!)... then an individual most certainly will walk like this. But is she walking like this because she is pregnant or is it possibly because her body has compensated for lack of posterior leg strength with the increasing load on the front of the body by doing the pregnant waddle? I think it's the second one.
It's interesting that people who have never been pregnant have the same issues that are commonly associated with pregnancy. This leads me to believe that they aren't a requirement of pregnancy, but something that occurs because of the way the body moves throughout the amazing journey that is pregnancy.
But who cares how I walk, you say? Well, I do because I want to save you lots of money on your auto insurance, ahem, I mean adult diapers. Just think of me as the gecko of Depends. I also want you to have the widest space for a baby to for through. Because I'm cool like that. There are *super* simple things that we can all do (I'm talking to myself right now… Lindsay- go for a walk!!) to keep the back side strong and help reduce/eliminate some common ailments that tend to go along with pregnancy in our society.
I'm here to tell you that this stuff is not just something you have to put up with because you're pregnant! If we make the shift towards whole body movement in an aligned fashion, we can begin to minimize some "normal" pregnancy ailments. Normal, not natural. These ailments are not, in fact, caused by pregnancy. Despite the common opinion that they are. "I pee my pants because I'm a mom" or worse when a pregnant mom tells her provider that her back hurts (or whatever the ailment may be) and they tell her "sorry, but that's just a normal part of pregnancy." Normal…yes. Because if you look at the general population of preggies… most have the same complaint. But is it a natural requirement as the result of the state of pregnancy? I call B.S.! These ailments are caused by how the body is being carried around. Adding the load (baby!) on the front side is going to exasperate the problems caused by an individual's daily living and moving habits.
Pregnancy is a natural state, but we live in an unnatural world. How our ancestors moved during their childbearing years is drastically different from the way we move today. Or should I say how we DON'T move. What is a natural state has turned, for many, into a state riddled with back pain, SI pain, urinary incontinence, and diastasis recti to name a few. These ailments are normal parts of pregnancy right now because it's also normal to sit all day. To tuck the pelvis. To suck in the gut.
It's simple (and also sort of not, but that's why this is a blog meaning there is much to come!).
1. Get out of your chair! Get a standing work station. Take a walk every hour. If you must sit, sit in various different positions so that your body doesn't get used to just one. Choose the floor to sit on instead of the couch. Park in the back of the parking lot. Walk to close errands. Be creative! Usually the biggest roadblock to change is ourselves. You don't have to go crazy right away, every time we choose to move a little bit differently or more is going to give great benefit!
2. Walk, walk, walk...did I say walk? We are really designed to walk way more than we do. It's the best form of exercise out there! That doesn't mean go from no walking to 5 miles a day. It means work up to more and more daily walking. Several miles a day is best, and it absolutely can be spread out over the span of the day. In fact, I think that's better. I would love to try one of those mile tracker things that so many people have (is it called a fit bit?) because I would love to have my miles added up! And see how little or lot I am getting! It's not just about a once a day thing… it's more about a lifestyle change. More movement throughout the day.
3. Do Restorative Exercise! Stretch , strengthen, and learn proper alignment! The posterior leg muscles are shortened in most non preggies too, so that increased load of pregnancy can really do a number on them without proper alignment. Pregnancy should actually strengthen the back side. Pregnancy=best booty workout of all time. More on that in another blog post sometime in the future. I'll be sharing my fav exercises too, I promise!! I'm speaking at ICAN in March and plan to teach them some of the basic, most important ones. It's free and open to the public and you don't have to be a cesarean or vbac mom, or even pregnant to come. I'll come back and edit this post with the info when I find it!!
4. Read this blog and others about alignment!! katysays.com is a must read for everyone who has a body. So you ghosts are off the hook. I am committed to putting as much information out there on the web as I can in my "spare time." The bulk of my work will always be free to the public. So yeah, read some good alignment blogs!! But also... find a restorative exercise specialist (many do Skype sessions if you can't find one in your area). There is nothing like having someone teach you the intricacies of an exercise so that you can get more bang for your buck out of the exercises. This is coming from someone who was doing the HEAD HANG wrong before my certification week.
Now…go for a walk (I know it's cold, but bundle up or go to the mall or something!) and have a fabulous pregnancy and birth!
Note: very pregnant youtube woman, please contact me and I will give you a free Skype session!! You are beautiful and awesome and I appreciate your willingness to put the waddle on the inter webs! I had my 4 year old take a movie of me pretending to be pregnant and waddling but have not yet figured out how to post it onto the internet. Plus, he's kinda a shaky camera man.
Is this thing on? Hello! Welcome to my new blog. I feel very strongly that the knowledge that I have should be available to the masses. I will, of course, be offering services such as classes, workshops, and private sessions. And those are awesome and SO beneficial. I can say from first hand knowledge since I just got back from a week of daily private sessions with a master teacher. WOW. Whole new level to my practice. BUT back to what I feel strongly about. I feel very strongly that this gift of knowledge to me is exactly that… a gift. And I want to be able to share with the masses (or the three people who will read my blog, whatever). So, I plan to attempt to blog regularly in between the million and one other things that I am doing. Feel free to send me your questions or topic suggestions, as some have already done. And I will get to bloggity blogging!! Working on a post about my Restorative Exercise ™ homecoming week… it's was transformative and has made me feel SO passionate about the importance of this work!
Mama Aligned is Lindsay McCoy.