273: Aaron Alexander on The Power of Movement for Mind and Body

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The Power of Movement for Mind and Body with Aaron Alexander of The Align Podcast
Wellness Mama » Episode » 273: Aaron Alexander on The Power of Movement for Mind and Body
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The Wellness Mama Podcast
273: Aaron Alexander on The Power of Movement for Mind and Body

Not only is today’s guest super inspiring and incredibly fit, he has a unique take on exercise and how to align our movements to the body’s natural design. Aaron Alexander is a manual therapist and movement coach who has helped the world’s best athletes, celebrities, and everyone in between to relieve pain, increase strength, and optimize their movement.

I’ve been trying various aspects of his approach, which he calls the Align Method. His program includes an integrated approach to functional movement and self-care, and I’m seeing changes already. In fact Aaron got me way out of my comfort zone right before this episode when he got me to try acro yoga for the first time!

Today Aaron and I go deep on what we can learn from our kids about movement, the real deal with sitting versus standing, and how the body holds something called “a motion intention.” For more, also check out when he interviewed me on his top-rated Align Podcast (link below), which was tons of fun!

Episode Highlights With Aaron Alexander

  • How Aaron went from body-bound to body-optimized
  • Why hitting the gym in the conventional sense may not always result in your best self
  • Why chronesthesia may be affecting you (even if you don’t know what it means)
  • How to sit on the floor, couch, etc. to improve circulation and digestion
  • The psychological connection between body and brain that allows the way we stand and move to change our thoughts
  • How moms can help restore and care for the pelvic floor after birth
  • Inversion therapy: who it’s for, benefits, and what to consider
  • The number one leading cause of disability worldwide
  • How to bend over/pick things up with correct form
  • Why sitting isn’t as bad as we think
  • What pain is really telling us
  • The benefits of squatting whenever and wherever you can
  • And more!

Resources We Mention

Also Mentioned:

Episode Quotables

“What does it mean to stand well? What does it mean to sit well? What does it mean to breathe well, and have awareness of my breath? We don’t ever have this conversation in school. So a huge gaping deficit in our healthcare system is the way that we inhabit our bodies from a movement perspective and the way that affects all the other layers.”

More From Wellness Mama

Did you enjoy this episode? What other questions do you have about movement? Please drop a comment below or leave a review on iTunes to let us know. We value knowing what you think and this helps other moms find the podcast as well.

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Child: Welcome to my Mommy’s podcast.

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Katie: Hello and welcome to the “Wellness Mama” podcast. I’m Katie from wellnessmama.com. And today, I am joined by Aaron Alexander, who is a manual therapist and movement coach who has helped the world’s best athletes, celebrities and everyone in between to relieve pain, increase strength, and optimize their movement. He is truly one of the best that I have found on this topic, and I have been trying various aspects of his approach. He is the founder of the Align Method, which is an integrated approach to functional movement and self care, and it’s helped thousands of people to relieve pain and move optimally in daily life.

And in this episode, Aaron and I go deep on ways to incorporate optimal movement into your daily life. What we can learn from our kids about movement, the real deal with sitting versus standing, and how the body holds a motion intention, super fascinating episode. Aaron recently also interviewed me on his top-rated podcast call the “Align Podcast”, which I highly recommend and you can hear my interview on that podcast, and find the link in the show notes at wellnessmama.fm. Aaron also got me way out of my comfort zone right before this episode when I got to try acro yoga for the first time. So super fascinating episode, and I can’t wait to share with you.

Aaron: Thanks so much for doing this.

Katie: Thank you for being here.

Aaron: Thanks for coming over.

Katie: Thanks for having me.

Aaron: Thank you for coming into my sauna.

Katie: Yeah, this is awesome. So I guess to just start Aaron, welcome, thanks for being here in your own house.

Aaron: Yes, very nice. Good to be here.

Katie: And for background, for anyone who doesn’t know you, I felt like I should say I first met you at Paleo f(x) when you were in some grass doing all kinds of weird movements. And then just now you hung me upside down and did all these crazy things. So I feel like we need some background on you like what is it? What is all of that?

Aaron: So my background originally started off with training, so helping clients get more muscle essentially and lose fat, and get six-packs, all that stuff. And I was speaking to you before of like previous history was a lot of insecurity which manifested itself as packing on lots of muscle. And along with that muscle, I didn’t have much awareness of the say, like, the mechanics of the movement, it was just packing on slabs of meat as protection.

You know, and then eventually if you go down that direction long enough, the organism starts to fight back, you know, and so that manifests itself as more anxiety and injuries, joint dislocations, back pain like pain in various different parts. And then that led me into being more interested how to put the parts back together. It’s now that’s kind of what I’m the most enamored by this that got into, you know, studying psychology and got into rolfing, structural integration, and different forms of body work. And now here we are, we’re all we’re doing it.

Katie: What kind of psychology did you study?

Aaron: Oh man. So I just basically like I was at University of Hawaii, and was just taking whatever courses they were offering. It wasn’t like a specific one that I was specializing in. I’m enamored by just the way the mind works in general.

Katie: Interesting. Was there a self-help motivation at all without getting, I mean, if that’s okay to ask with psychology, because I know I use that analogy a lot. I say, you know, I hear the people going to psychology to try to figure out what’s up with them and I went into health to help to try to figure out what was up with me. I’m curious was there like something you were searching for?

Aaron: Yeah. You know, I think there’s always been…I was talking to, you know, Aubrey. You know Aubrey Marcus? We did a podcast recently. We were talking about. You know, I feel like everybody has this like internal kind of like seed they wanna kinda get out of them. And if you don’t have a vehicle in order to express that thing out, then I think that internal chaos can start to ensue. I think I’ve always kind of felt that way as I think most people would, you know, of having something inside of them that they wanna get out into the world.

And, you know, I think that I didn’t really…I always felt very bound in my own body. We were talking about it before, if you bound in your body, I believe that you’re bounding your mind then you can start to tap into the physical structure via the way that you think and the way that you feel, and you can tap in the way that you think, the way that you feel via your physical structure. There’s a quote from Ida Rolf, she said… She’s the founder of Rolfing Structural Integration. She said we work with the body because it’s what we can get our hands on.

But what she meant with that is that you’re working with the whole human, you know, so when you put your hands on somebody’s body, you’re touching their whole story. You know, in the way they hold themselves in space is a representation of all those other different layers of themselves. You know, I think I was just kind of frantically reaching for anything that would allow me to understand how to express better.

Katie: Yeah. In your books like “The Body Keeps the Score” and you…

Aaron: Bessel van der Kolk.

Katie: So good.

Aaron: Great.

Katie: We talked about this a little bit earlier, but there’s so much now about realizing your emotions and your mental state can express in the body. But you actually phrased it the other way, too, when we’re doing body work that you can actually work on the body to help the emotional, spiritual state as well, which is fascinating. So you’ve basically like figured out how to integrate the psychology and also like the body work together.

Aaron: Yeah. You know, I’m working on bridging that conversation for it to be a more common thing. Like, if you think of, just for example, like, the way that we think and how that’s associated the way that we move in our bodies, there’s chronesthesia. You’re probably familiar with the term like that, because you’re like, good with all the books and the learnings and such, but it’s essentially like time travel. You know, it’s something that we do, you know, regularly. You’re thinking about the past, you’re thinking about the future, you know, you’re stressed if you’re thinking about the future, and you’re depressed if you’re thinking about the past.

When you are in that doing your chronesthesia dance and you’re looking forward, it literally starts, so that’s all that, it’s that tied into your sensory motor system. It literally starts to lean your body forward. When you start to think about, “Oh, you go back into the past, oh remember those times,” your body literally starts to drift backwards. You know, it’s like, “Oh, crazy.” So your physical body, it’s even, you know, it’s almost like a compass, and your body, the way as you change the ticker of your physical structure, it literally changes the direction of your thoughts.

Similar thing happens with memories. So when you are sitting in an upright position, you are more easily able to access “positive” memories. Positive being, like, quotation marks because like, it’s relative to what you consider to be positive, but like feel good times. And when you’re in a hunched over position, it’s easier for a person to access more of those like “negative” in quotation marks memories. So you’re always playing your mind via your physical body. And I think oftentimes, we become so myopically focused on, like, what do I put into my mouth, into my face as a means of changing my gut biome and changing my neurochemistry and such?

It’s like “Dude, you can change your neurochemistry just by standing there differently.” And if you start to spill some of those principles like what does it mean to stand well? What does it mean to sit well? What does it mean to breathe well, and have like, you know, awareness of my breath? We don’t ever have this conversation in school. So, to me, it’s just like this huge gaping deficit in our healthcare system is the way that we inhabit our bodies from a movement perspective and the way that affects all the other layers.

Katie: So give some examples of that like the ways the one could stand that would be beneficial neurologically.

Aaron: Sit on the floor. You know, so right now as we’re in the sauna, we’re starting like already get the get sweating and such. I’m gonna take a little sip. You know, so spending time on the ground, it doesn’t need to be the actual floor or you could just be like sitting on the couch or a raised surface or whatever as though you’re on the ground, you cross your legs up, put yourself into like a call like a 90/90 position where both legs are kind of going into like a 90 degree angle. You know, anyone of those essentially yoga positions, you know, as you’re doing that, you’re bringing your legs closer to your heart, so you’re making it easier for circulation of blood through the rest of your body. So that’s better for digestion.

You know, we’ve been eating on the ground since forever. It’s a very brand new thing for us to not be sitting around a fire, sharing food and sharing stories and eye contact and touching. Like, this is brand new that we’re in these isolated little containers, and we’re sitting in these chairs, you know, at 90 degrees with our hips, which is the only range of motion that we’re going through most of the day. Because your cars are same, your office is same, workout machines that you’re at the gym, they’re all the same, they’re practicing that same position.

So a simple act of just literally, get yourself a comfy rug, get yourself a couple like Moroccan poufs, you know, or some floor pillows, and spend more time on the ground is I mean, it would be billions of dollars of healthcare the effect of that would have. So osteoarthritis is even when you look at cultures in like Northern Africa, Eastern Mediterranean, Southeast Asia, they have minimal to no incidence of osteoarthritis with the hips and the knees. Hip disease or replacing your hips that’s like a manifestation of us sitting on chairs all day.

Katie: And that’s rampant right now. It’s on the rise drastically, right?

Aaron: It’s continuing to rise. As is incontinence. It’s not being able to hold your own urine in belly. That’s not just like a natural, like, yeah, of course, you got a body at some point, you’re gonna start peeing your pants, like, “No, no.”

Katie: Okay. Let’s talk about this because most of the people listening are moms. And so this is like a normal thing a lot of people experience after having a baby. It’s not something I’ve experienced, but I’ve heard from a lot of women who have, so is this, is like the pelvic floor responding, and obviously pregnancy itself is a stressor that’s a little bit outside your normal day-to-day. But is the body responding to like a movement pattern that happens during pregnancy or are there are things women can do to kind of undo that damage?

Aaron: Yeah, absolutely. So, you know, the body works in such a way that if you create imbalance at any level, you’ll create imbalance throughout the rest of the system. I’m gonna take my little hat thing off because I’m starting to get like the heating up. So the body, if you are imbalance in a level then that will trickle through the rest of the system. As you’re sitting in a chair and you’re kind of tucking your pelvis underneath, it’s essentially like imagine you’re swatting your dog with a newspaper, because they peed on your rug or whatever. It’s a pun, I guess. What do they do? They tuck their tail underneath, and they go into that kind of like defeated position, that same position that we’re in chair all the time.

That position literally, structurally, it puts your lower back in an imbalanced place. It’s for if you wanna like pick something heavy above the ground, it’s like it’s creating instability on the sacrum on the lower back. The shape of the L5-S1, the lower vertebra down there, they’re literally shape of like a wedge or wedge-shape. And then as you get up higher into the vertebra, that become more like a puck shape. So like once you get above that L5-S1 territory, you want the spine to be kind of long and stacked. Around that L5-S1 territory, you wanna have your butt kind of coming back a little bit, right? So essentially, it’s like it’s called anterior tilt to the pelvis or like J-Lo Booty, you know, you want your butt to be kind of coming back a little bit.

And what that does, you’re starting to get into your indigenous movement patterns, you’re getting into like your indigenous structure. So when you put yourself into to that position, so you’re sitting on the front edge of your sit bones instead of rolled tucked under into that like sad puppy dog position, balancing your low back and you’re also starting to open up those tissues around the pelvic floor. So instead of those pelvic floor muscles being kind of just like stuffed up in a corner and you’re not being able to actually fully go through their full range of motion, you’re starting to open them up into that full elongation, and then you compound that with going through a full squatting range of motion for lunging range of motion, getting up and down off of the ground as I think everybody needs to be doing. It’s like just no brainer, you’re taking all those muscles through their full range of motion.

And as you’re doing that, you’re healing those muscles, and you’re healing all of the fluids that they’re containing, you know, so that’s your pelvic floor, it’s at the base of your visceral system, your organs. So if there’s imbalanced clenched tension in that area, that’s gonna affect the flow of fluid through rest of your system. It’s also gonna affect your ability to engage those muscles correctly for you to not pee your pants.

Katie: Which makes total sense, yeah.

Aaron: Which makes total sense. So your muscles need to go through a full range of motion in order for them to function optimally. And if you don’t take them through that full range of motion, they’ll start to, you know, atrophy. And that’s what we’re doing.

Katie: That lines up with what I’ve heard from some like pelvic therapist as well that like, when you just focus on one aspect like kegel’s then like, you’re like tightening the same muscle whereas if you compare it to like your arm if you’ve like trained your bicep, and that’s the tight part. And your solution is to just keep training your bicep, you’re gonna actually, and I’m not a physiotherapist, but like, you’re gonna actually make the problem worse.

Aaron: Yeah.

Katie: Because it’s about balance and elongation and like a lot of other factors besides just tightness.

Aaron: Yeah. So you’re taking that system that the baseline of the system was imbalanced because the position that you’ve been in for the last X amount of time. And then from there, you’re just adding this new pattern on top, and you’re saying “Cool, the whole structures in a state of imbalance, now let’s just start contracting this one specific spot.” Because we read in, you know, some yoga magazine or something like that we need to tighten that muscle up.

So instead of looking at from the place of like, once the whole body comes on line, and it’s in more of a, you know, a balanced state, all the muscles are able to start to function and sequence together. It’s like a beautiful orchestra. So if your orchestra was out of whack and you’re like, “Okay, well, I think we need to just focus on the violinist,” you know, they’re just gonna put all the energy into the violinist, like, everyone’s just, it’s full cacophony, or because it’s just not like we don’t get the music at all.

But I’m gonna sink 100 grand of the violinist and get in the best lessons, we’re gonne sort of thing, you come back, violinist is amazing. You know, but, like, the whole orchestra, it’s still doesn’t play. And so our bodies are built to play like an orchestra, and there’s really simple things that we can do that essentially like coach up the whole team. You know, but sitting in a hunched over, you know, your dog, you’re getting swamped with the paper, and you like squeezing your kegels that’s not bringing the team together.

Katie: Okay. I wanna go deeper on this concept, and I hope that you will take this not as an insult and as a compliment. But I feel like watching you, you move like my kids, as a child, which is I consider a good thing because like, I’ve always…I’ve had six kids, so I’ve gotten to observe a lot of child movement. And they squat perfectly from the moment they can stand, and they move all the time. They don’t sit in one position for longer than like five minutes. They’re constantly moving and shifting and getting up and down. And I’m guessing that that’s probably something we are born with it, we’re good at and then we lose it because we sit or because of lifestyle factors. But what are some of those patterns like how do you make the whole team work together?

Aaron: Yeah. Well, so squatting is a huge one. You know, so going, making it so that throughout the day, you have opportunities to squat down on the ground like when you pick something off the ground for example. That’s a perfect opportunity for you to go through this archetypal range of motion that’s served your physiology since the beginning of you having a body. If you look at any animal, they’re like getting back on their hunches, you look at any child that’s like a huge component to their development as they’re going from, you know, being a fetus into like an adult. Without that position, it’s associate all sorts of neurological problems like you’re integrating your brain and your body through those movement patterns.

So when you have an opportunity, just pop a squat. And for most people, they’re gonna need help with that, and this is something they could do is they could raise their heels up to start. They could see through your heels under a couple books, just to raise yourself up a little bit. And then as you come down to that squat, you’ll notice it’d be a lot easier for you to maintain a better form. So like a longer spine and keep the knees from collapsing inward, lunging all the way down on the ground whenever you can, hanging. There’s a whole book called “Shoulder Pain” by a guy called Dr. John Kirsch. I site in my upcoming book. And he, in there, he’s an orthopedic surgeon, he claimed that 99% of the patients that he would see for chronic shoulder pain, he just them going through this hanging protocol just a minute and a half each day end up reducing their pain down to zero, which sounds pretty outrageous, but the book, I mean, check the book out, check the guy out, it’s like, it’s been accepted by a lot of really smart people.

And, yeah, I mean, it’s like I have experienced that my own self, from just spending some time reversing that pattern of shoulder impingement, because what you’re doing is you’re walking through the world, you’re immediately rotating your shoulders, you’re in this hyperkyphotic spinal position, you’re in that forward head posture. So not only does it not look very beautiful, but it’s also impinging all that connective tissue, and the nerves, and the arteries, and all that stuff around your neck, it’s like a highway.

And so when you start to let those creep forward, forward, forward, it literally pinches down on your nervous system and pinches down on your cardiovascular system, on your circulation. And so the simple act of just reaching up and grabbing a tree branch or getting yourself like a pull up bar and put it in between your office, you know, doorway, and just as you walk through this, a little like allow that length to happen to their shoulders, literally changes the shape of your shoulder girdle. And from what John Kirsch, orthopedic surgeon, shoulder pain, he said, “99% I find that like hard to believe.” But that’s what he states in the book.

Katie: Wow. When kids naturally do that, too. They’re on monkey bars.

Aaron: Of course. Yeah.

Katie: They’re on trees. What about inversion? Because that’s the thing that’s had, you know, sometime in the spotlight recently of hanging upside down? Is there a benefit to upside down hanging?

Aaron: Yeah, yeah, absolutely all of it. You know, bringing new blood back to the brain, you know, and bringing it back to the heart, and bringing it back away from…so think as you’re standing around all of day long, you know, like we do, we’re standing over sitting, blood is just pulling up in your lower compartments. So anything that allows that reverse to happen to re-purify your blood, get it really pumped back through the heart, getting rid of all that old lymphatic fluid that’s the stuff that’s just gunking up in your lower compartments, do anything. And, yes, like that’s good for you.

I think people should grab a yoga swing. It’s like a really simple thing I want hanging up my living room. And it’s just like a essentially like a silk thing that you have hanging from your ceiling. When you pull yourself up into it and open your legs and essentially like hang it like a bat. I find that to be amazing. So it’s really helpful with decompressing the lower back, decompressing, you know, the whole spine, and just getting those fluids circulating back in the direction that’s, you know, better than just them just festering in your feet.

Katie: Yeah. When I got advice once, I don’t know how scientifically sounds it is, but just by laying at night with your legs straight up against a wall…

Aaron: Yeah, that’s what I was gonna say.

Aaron: …90degree angle, it has changes in your cortisol, your sleep. I notice better sleep from it, for sure.

Aaron: Yeah. And you’re also elongating your tailbone, you know, so a lot of those muscles in your low back they chronically end up getting. So when I was saying previously like the L5-S1 that’s, you know, shape of a wedge so you wanna have a little bit of that tilt with the pelvis, you don’t want that forward tilt. You don’t want that forward tilt to go so dramatic that it puts you into it’s called a hyperlordosis or essentially like your bellies flayed open and they call it rib flare. You don’t want to be… Sounds like Rick Flare, the wrestler. Rick Flare, familiar with that?

Katie: Maybe.

Aaron: I think his name is Rick flare. Anyways, that’s remnant of my childhood.

Katie: I have to look that up in my show notes.

Aaron: Yeah. I used to collect wrestler cards when I was a little kid.

Katie: I didn’t even know there were wrestler cards.

Aaron: There were Wrestler cards.

Katie: I think it’s called baseball cards. I’m a total baseball geek.

Aaron: I collect baseball cards, too, actually, but…

Katie: Who’s your team?

Aaron: Oh, who was the team? I like the Yankees, but that was because of Seinfeld.

Katie: Oh, yeah. Fair.

Aaron: You know, George, he works for the Yankees, so it’s a big deal. But, yeah, the wrestler cards, I used to have a picture of Karl Malone in my bedroom. He is huge 6′ 9″ man just like staring down at me while I slept. Or the…. said the mailman.

Katie: Was that his, like, wrestler nickname?

Aaron: He’s not a wrestler.

Katie: I don’t know who he is.

Aaron: Karl Malone. He’s a basketball player.

Katie: Okay. See basketball. It’s not my strong sport. I’m gonna have to like, I won’t edit that out, I’m gonna be vulnerable.

Aaron: Better not.

Katie: Okay, so back to the yoga sling thing. Because I will say, from a parent’s perspective, this is one of the best things you can do for your kid’s mental state. So we have them in every one of our kid’s rooms.

Aaron: Amazing.

Katie: We have yoga swings, yoga silks and rings. And if you don’t give them tons of screen time, and they get bored once in a while, they will spend a lot of time upside down on those things.

Aaron: Oh, yeah.

Katie: And you can probably speak to this too, but I’ve had people on before who talked about the vestibular system and how kids but adults, too, are not getting enough vestibular input of movement and being upside down. And it actually has psychological consequences for our brain and especially for kids for development, so good to do for adults also really good to do for kids.

Aaron: Oh, yeah. Yeah, I mean, you become your environment, you know, that’s the thing is like the environment that we’re in presently for the most part, you know, we outsource most of that movement that’s crucial for your own neurological development, it’s crucial for, you know, your body development. I mean, it’s amazing that we’ve done it, like we’ve gotten to a point that you can literally lay down on your couch…you’ve seen the movie “Idiocrasy?”

Katie: No.

Aaron: You haven’t?

Katie: I’m getting all these ideas.

Aaron: Oh my gosh, “Idiocrasy.” I hope, I’m sure many of you will have watched it. Essentially, “Idiocrasy” is like, it’s a parody of what the United States could look like after I don’t know what year it is, sometime in the future, like, pretty far in the future, after we outsource all of the need to essentially like have any intelligence or have any physical capacity. And it’s just a, you know, what you would expect that to look like.

Katie: Wow, okay.

Aaron: Yeah, that’s great. But it’s a comedy. And so I’m gonna crack this feel it. I’m feeling it. What are we talking about? The swings. So we become our environment, so because we outsource all of that precious movement that is the foundation of our humanity, you know, all of those different movements. It’s not just movement for movement sake. It’s movement to literally feed your biology. If you don’t have those, you know, certain comic archetypal movements in your day-to-day, parts of your body will not be fed, but you need to feed all of you. You can’t just work on the biceps and the triceps and the pecs like your whole entire system wants to come on line.

You know, the strongest people they have really are they have a lot of strength in their back, their hips, their butt, you know, those muscles that you don’t actually see. And so it’s kind of like an interesting metaphor, I think that to be a really, truly strong person. And to feel strong in yourself, you need to work on the part that people don’t see. You know, all you do is focus on the superficial aspects that everybody sees, it might work for a little while, but eventually that system will fall apart.

You know, and so a lot of the parts of you that people don’t see such as like being able to squat down on the ground and have like the hip mobility and have no strength from the hips and a hip hinge and, you know, be able to have right mobility over your head, you know, all those positions, they’re foundational for the function of your whole physiology. You know, but they don’t seem so sexy right away. But as far as, like, in the long-term, they’re like they’re the foundation with you. What I say we form to our environment.

So if you want to change yourself, start looking at, observe your environment, see what would this environment create? Typically, if it’s a couch, you know, in a big table and a big flat screen TV, and some chairs around a bar, and granite floors, you know, and that’s your house, what would that create? Nothing wrong with it, but typically it’s gonna be a person that, you know, hunches over a couch and stares at a screen and then maybe gets a drink of alcohol and, you know, sits on the chair and hunches over, and that positions associated to literally feeling depressed. Depression is the number one leading cause of disability worldwide. Presently, that’s like a new, it’s a new thing. It’s a pretty big deal.

You know, and so we don’t look at we’re looking at it from “Oh, it’s an EMF thing, or it’s a nutritional thing. I’ll eat too much sugar. Sugar is killing us.” It was like, “Dude, what about mechanically your body is in a position that tells your own nervous system, your own physiology that you lost?” And when you’re in that hunched over position… There’s a study from Harvard, Amy Cuddy, that really popular TED Talk, I’m sure you’ve seen, it talks about like being a power pose. So when you’re in that upright, stacked position, you know, arms that’s overhead is called superhuman powers, that’s shown just after two minutes that it’s live examples. And they found that cortisol levels decrease, they found that testosterone levels increase, then the inverse happens when you go to hunched over kind of position, you know, I’m hunched over now.

Now, okay, well, now testosterone goes down, stress hormones go up. Because literally those are integrated patterns throughout millennia that okay when Katie’s in this position, it’s, like, okay, she either, you know, lost or she’s defending. When she goes up into this upright position, it means there’s nothing to defend, and I feel safe, I can expose my vital organs. So that’s tied into you saying, “Okay, cool.” Like, let’s juice her up with some like winning hormones.

Katie: That’s amazing. And it’s actually measurable like you said in that study.

Aaron: Yeah.

Katie: And so is it really actually that simple as just having ways throughout the day to consciously change your position and change your posture?

Aaron: Yeah. And I think it can be…

Katie: And, like, building from there? Is that…?

Aaron: I think it can be, but I think that the tendency oftentimes for people is if you just change your posture and go like more upright like that, oftentimes, you’ll just hide imbalance in your lower back. You know, so you’ll pull your shoulders back, you know, but then just your lower back blows out that hyper lordotic position is talking about. You know, something like you mentioned spending time on the ground, you know, and like put your feet up the wall, and start creating that length through your posterior chain, and start finding your breath into your lower back and into your belly, you know, something people can do right now is bring your hands around the sides of your ribs, and start to just feel like down low in your low rib territory, it’s from where the diaphragm wraps around, start to feel that diaphragm expanding outward with your ribs and really start to feel your diaphragm come on line.

If you can do that, you almost immediately start to feel your whole body start to down regulate and calm down and go into more of that like rest, digest, or paratype mode. So that would be like simple things like that I think create long-term effect. Whereas if you just all you do is just, you know, raise your arms up over your head and kind of do like a little wiggle, it’s gonna be really helpful. But I think that, you know, maybe seeing like a manual therapist of some sort or a physical therapist, somebody can kind of teach you some proper functional lifting techniques, they can start to reintegrate those new patterns in your body, changing your environment, so you can spend more time on the ground. That’s a big one, change your environments that you have. So you can hang regularly is a big one, learning how to hinge from your hips. You know about hinge from your hips?

Katie: I don’t think we’ve talked about this yet. I don’t know, I hope I can hinge from my hips.

Aaron: Very big deal. Everybody can hinge from their hips, but whether people do or do not is different. So most people when we’re in that like watch me pick something up off the ground, for the most part, they’re gonna kind of hinge more from like the thoracic spine area. So you kind of hinge in around like the shoulder, like between the shoulder and the heart area, and the hips are just offline. You know, so most of our life comes from working through this like thoracic territory. Meanwhile, the hips that’s the strongest, most robust joint complex you have in your whole body. You know, your glutes are just like full power.

You know, if you look at any like the athletes that we pay to watch do their thing, you know, dancers or football players, or hockey players, whatever, the reason we’re paying them just to watch the mechanics of their body, which is what we’re doing is they’re really effective with using their hips. You cannot make it through any demanding sport and not learn how to effectively use your hips. And so if you can take those same principles into how I cut a cucumber in my kitchen, or how I pick my kid up off the ground or, you know, how I get in and out of my car, you can start to insulate yourself with some of those health benefits of, you know, like an Olympic athlete might get.

So learning the process of just simply like me, it’s pretty simple, you just point your butt back behind you. If you come into a squatting position, you just bring your butt back, you know, and imagine your hips it’s kind of like an angle, so you’re kind of trying to have like a sharp angle with your hips. And you go into a squat position, you want to be able to look down and see your toes would be a nice little like mark that you could have.

So if you can see your toes, it means your knees aren’t going in front of your feet, which means your hips are going backward. So your butt should go back in space, like I described it like imagine you have little antennas on your butt cheeks, and they’re like curious about the world behind you. And they’re reaching back, back, back. As you’re going into that squat position, your spine stays nice long, the booty goes straight back behind you, the knees stay on top of the feet. That simple practice, that’ll spill into everything that you do. And you can start doing that while you’re working on the kitchen, while you’re picking your kids up off the ground. Common household activities can relate to bigger outcomes.

Katie: Yeah. I was just thinking through the practicality of that when you were saying like, I think how many times a day, not quite as much now with a three-year- old, but I pick up my child, I pick up something off the floor. I pick up food like I know the pantry on the ground anything that’s constant. So, yeah, if you just change that one movement pattern, you’ve actually changed like 200 movements in a day, not just one movement.

Aaron: And that for people that it like really matters. Say, I was just talking to a friend, he plays for the Colorado Avalanche. He’s actually over here doing the cold plunge and all that stuff, and we’re talking about like when you’re at such a high level with athletics, you know, where it’s like you’re being paid millions of dollars for your body to perform. Like, that’s what it is, you’re essentially like a piece of meat, they’re like your body needs to perform, you know, or you’re off.

Katie: Yeah.

Aaron: And when that’s the case like we don’t have that so much in typical day-to-day life. Like, we can allow a lot more money on the table I think physically to like “God, just keep us going through it, you know, but when you’re in that position, where it’s like, you’re literally like, you know, in some case, almost like your life is on the line, if your body doesn’t perform right, you start paying attention to where can I pick up some of that extra change any place that I can. You know, something that he finds valuable with that is paying attention to his mechanics so that you can start to make more of his day be one of training, so that when it comes down to game time, it’s not just like, “Oh, I could like put on like hockey, you know, self.” He’s like, “No, no, no. The whole day were opportunities for me to cultivate all these same mechanical principles that make me a better hockey player.” You know, so you can do that like you’re saying like as you’re working with your family or cooking vegetables or whatever you’re doing.

Katie: And I think the other important part of that is not separating movement in its own category, because I feel like that’s what we do in America a lot. It’s like we have life and then we have this like small part of life called working out, and that’s when we’re gonna move, and then the rest of the time we’re completely sedentary. Even, I’ve seen studies the most active “people” that work out for an hour a day, which most people don’t even do that but they’re still not doing the right amount of activity the whole rest of the day.

Aaron: That’s right. Have you heard a woman called Joan Vernikos? She works with NASA. She does there, what is her title? It’s something like…she does the health care of the astronauts. She’s looking at what’s the health of them whatever the fancier title than that would be, fill in the blank. And she’s been doing that for longer than anybody, I think it’s been like something like 30 years, she’s been working with them.

And in that time, what she’s seen, one of the things that stands out for what she’s seen is that they need continual exercise while in space, compared to front loading it or back loading it. Like, you think of it as like drinking water that you wouldn’t drink…you might have read this, I think this was in the introduction of the book. But you wouldn’t back load your water intake for the week on Monday with your friends, you’re gonna stand around, and we’re gonna pound as much water as you can. You know, squirting water out like having like a water war, and then the rest of the week you’re like, “Cool, I got my water in.”

Katie: Your skin dry faster in seven days.

Aaron: Dry it out. You will not do that. You know, it’s the same way like your body literally responds in a similar fashion of, like, your movement is nutrition. Your body needs movement to function on a regular basis. And with the astronauts, with Joan Vernikos, she has got a couple books. One is like, I think one is called “Sitting Kills.” “Sitting Kills” and one is like “Move Your Body,” “Save Your Life” or something. Anyways, what she found with them was that if they did the back-loaded movement routine, AKA, what most people do in daily life..with Equinox for 45 minutes, three days a week or whatever. And the rest of the time, it’s just like essentially sitting in a chair, focusing on making money for a lot of people. Maybe, hopefully some people have transcended that, but that’s very common. And then we think that we can do that, but what she found is astronauts that do the essentially did that similar pattern, they go into this rapid aging. So when you’re in space, all the deleterious effects of zero gravity, essentially, it looks like you just become really old really fast.

Katie: Cellularly, they do that. They had identical twins. Did you read about that, one was an astronaut and one wasn’t? And the one from not only looked visibly older after spending time in space, maybe on the space station, his telomeres had age, like his cells that aged really drastically and they were identical twins.

Aaron: Yes. Bones become brittle, like, it’s your muscle gets replaced with fat. You know, so that’s what happens, you know, space, I think it’s kind of like, essentially, it’s what’s happening here, it’s just timed up times 100. You know, so you can see the similar patterns, and that’s why Joan Vernikos’ books, you know, “Sitting Kills” I think it’s moved, anyways, check them out.

Katie: I’ll put those in the show notes.

Aaron: Yeah. But within that, that’s like that’s a main part of her whole like thesis in life is like we need continual perturbations. We need to continually got to rock, keep on rocking the boat, keep on rocking the boat. And then within that I think you can become kind of like an obsessed weirdo with always like fidgeting and being that guy like maybe that might like me every once in a while. But I’m trying to get better with that in that you can be in a strong sitting position and be completely still like I did a Pasasana meditation recently, really like five months ago. Are you familiar with that at all?

Katie: A little bit. But explain because people may not be.

Aaron: So Pasasana meditation, essentially, you sit in place. It’s like a 10-day meditation retreat, and pretty much all you do for 10 days is literally just sit in a room and meditation. So you do, you wake up at like 4:00 in the morning, and then you do like an hour sits, and then kind of take a little break in between there. You go for a little walk or whatever. It was around Joshua tree, so it’s just like cactuses and lizards and stuff. And, you know, so you take a little stroll and then, you know, you hang out for a little bit, but they come back we do another hour sit. This was like you had scheduled the whole day. It’s very interesting.

You know, but in that that time frame what I found was, for one thing, I had like pain in my body, in my spine specifically that was there, you know, pretty much as long as I can remember. And through the power of sitting, you know, which is pretty antithetical to most of what people in like my position like sitting is gonna kill you. It’s the new smoking. I was, like, “No, no, like sitting is a part of your humanity, you’re a sitter.” You know, you sit, you squat, you use the bathroom, you mate, you go for a walk, you forage, you reach up into the tree, maybe you climb it, you come back, you do all that over again. You click sticks together and make some fire. Like all those patterns like that’s, like, you’re a sitter. You know, as you’re making that fire, you’re squatting or you’re sitting on the ground as you’re doing so. What was I talking about? I got excited about.

Katie: We were talking about your meditation and sitting…

Aaron: Oh yeah that in the meditation. So sitting is a part of you. You got to sit. So within that, you’re gonna spend so much time of your life sitting, you need to figure out how to sit. So the way that you could sit well is the same thing we’re talking about before with the pelvic floor stuff, is get yourself into a position that your butts a little bit raised up off of the ground or your chair like sit like there’s nothing really wrong with chairs, just that we do it in such excess that that become a problem. You know, it’s like the poisons in the dose. You know, so we’ve have such a super massive dose of sitting in that chair position that now it’s super toxic.

You know, but if you start to pull yourself back away from that in the chairs like it’s really no big deal. So as sitting position that’s have benefit for your body that actually heals your body. There’s a guy called Phillip Beach that… What’s his book called? “Muscles and Meridians.” He calls it “Archetypal Postures of Repose,” so like repositioning yourself. That’s like when you’re resting, that’s a part of your movement practice. So we’re paying attention to the deadlift and the snatch and whatever exercises you’re doing, you’re paying such a cute attention to the mechanics and all that.

Katie: Like, videoing ourselves in the gym, making sure it’s right.

Aaron: Yeah, totally. And then we’re like, cool, sick guys, we knocked that 45-minute super hydration session out. And now I’m just gonna stop paying attention. He’s like “What? What are you talking about?” Your body is continually constructing itself all day long, it has no idea whether you’re in the gym or whether you’re in the office or whether you’re at the yoga studio, wherever you are, it just knows that you’re inside of you. You know, it’s always you have the fibroblasts, and osteoblast and you have these little cells that are building you up and breaking you down all day long. You know, and you’re the foreman of your structure.

So as you’re sitting at your house, you know, working on the computer, checking Instagram or, you know, writing something, you are literally, you could conceive it as though like you’re at the gym, because you are, you know, your body’s constructing itself. So something as simple as just getting on the front edge of those sit bones as you’re sitting down will align the rest of your spine, which aligns your nervous system, which puts you into a place of like, “Oh, cool like I’m winning, I’m doing well.”

Now when your spine, that central column, your central nervous system, if you have a like a local curve there like a forward head posture or like that hyper lordosis of the lower back that we’re talking about, it literally starts to down regulate the power that you can distribute through your whole nervous system, because it doesn’t trust you anymore. So if you put yourself into that strong stacked neutral spine, your body’s like, “Cool, we can go full power.” The second that you compromise any link throughout that system, your body says, “Woah, woah, woah. Back down. Like, we can’t go above 4,000 RPM or there is gonna blow.” You know, so throughout the day we’re practicing those imbalances and then we’re expecting for our bodies to be successful in like sport, or even conversation, you know, body language. Do you know Albert Mehrabian?

Katie: No. I’m getting all these new ideas.

Aaron: So Albert Mehrabian is, he was another researcher that he found that this rule of body language is 55 to 38-7 Rule, so 55% of our communication comes from body language, says Mehrabian. I think he was one of the fancier universities is like Harvard or Stanford, one of those guys. 55% of it comes from body language, and that includes like, the color of your skin and just like we’re seeing you. Not the color like your race, but the color like if your pupils are dilated, or your face is red or whatever.

And then 38% was the tonality. And so if I saw this and started talking like this, and I start going really fast, you’re like, “Oh, what’s going on?” You know, I mean, now it might be a little bit you might be like, “Okay, you probably did some drugs or something.” But it generally be like okay, he is nervous, you know, he doesn’t really feel confident. You know, he’s making me uncomfortable. And then 7% is, the actual words are coming out of your face. That says we’re communicating to each other, what we’re actually saying to each other is the tone, the pacing of our language, the way that our body moves. Like, that’s what we’re really listening to.

And what he found with that the 55-38-7 thing, it’s 55-38-7 if there’s incongruency. So if there’s anything incongruency and what I say versus my tone, and the way that my body reacts then you will not believe what I say. If I am congruent with that, then cool we’re on board. You know, and you can start saying some kooky stuff and start being like a cult leader. You know, people like “I trust them. You know, he’s congruent.” You know, the words they speak, their tone, and their body language are congruent, I think they’re on the something.

Katie: Interesting. That’s really fascinating. Okay, so you’re talking about that. And then you’ve used sitting as an example, I think several times, which makes sense, because that’s the biggest movement pattern that we do in modern society. But that applies to anything, right? Because, for instance, where we met at Paleo f(x), I was standing 12 hours a day on concrete floors, holding a 30-pound person on my left side. And my back got really mad at me for a few days, because that’s a non-natural movement pattern. So even though I wasn’t, you know, sitting, which is bad, I was standing but I was like…

Aaron: Sitting is not bad.

Katie: No, I know. I was being sarcastic. But I was standing and it was still had a negative effect, because I probably was doing one thing too much and not doing it correctly in some way by having a person one side or whatever it may be.

Aaron: Yeah. So, I mean, the simple fix for that, which is pretty revolutionary is to take a knee.

Katie: Actually, you did that. I think while you were talking to people, you were just like…

Aaron: All time. Yeah. And people like, you know, thankfully for me at this point, that’s like an on-brand thing for me to do.

Katie: I know, influences me like, okay, we’re talking, but I’m just gonna squat for a second.

Aaron: It’s on brand for everybody though. It’s like, you being cognizant of how to take care of your physiology as you’re doing the work of the day, it’s pretty cool. So if you’re a person where it’s like, yeah, you know, because I wanna stay engaged with this conference thing, I’m just gonna maybe form some blood clots in my legs. And it’s like, because I really care. It’s like you’re sacrificing your precious physiology to stand in place. You know, for whatever the thing is the conference in this case, that’s insane.

Katie: That is insane. Actually, I wouldn’t put it like that.

Aaron: We’re at a conference for your health.

Katie: That is irony; under fluorescent lights staying up too late. Everybody drinking alcohol.

Aaron: Yeah. You know, so the reality like at any one of those conferences, like one of the healthiest things that could possibly happen, which might be a stretch, you know, but realistically, actually it’s cheaper, would be to get everybody on the park, you know, like a concert, you know, like people have gone to concerts and parks and such like, that would be bar none, the healthiest health conference you’ve ever been to. The one where people bring blankets, and they bring their own food and, you know, they hang out, and there’s somebody clever up on stage talking about, you know, why the world’s coming to an end and why I need to eat more Omega 3 oil or whatever.

You know, and meanwhile, expert can say whenever they feel like but I’m like healing myself out here. I’m exposing myself to that sun, because my eyes at the sun, I took my sunglasses off, which all that’s associated to producing all the neurochemistry that makes you feel well. So we’re getting all that sun, maybe I take my shirt off even. I get sun on the rest of my body, you have photoreceptors throughout your whole entire system. So it’s not just your eyeballs that receive light, you know, and then maybe I get down on the ground because I brought a blanket, you know, I didn’t bring a chair, we just brought a blank. It’s way more efficient.

You know, and I come down and I’m sharing and I’m touching, you know, my friends and we’re, you know, pushing on each other. And if we do, whatever popup squat, do some yoga like that would be a health conference. But instead, it’s you sat in a plane, you hunched over in this position, you got bombarded by all sorts of radiation and stress and all that stuff on the way over there. And you sat in Uber, same position, then you go back to your hotel, you’re tired, you lay in your bed, that’s three and a half feet above the ground.

So you never actually need to go through full range of motion, or ankle range of motion. Then you call an Uber with your cell phone, more radiation, blue light whatever, I’m picking, like a very dismal picture. Uber back to the place, you shuffle, and you stand in place while you wait in line to get your ticket, and then you sit in that exact same position and watch somebody to talk to you about health.

Katie: Yeah. You don’t though. You stand outside in the sun shining.

Aaron: I stand outside. Yeah.

Katie: Well, in line with that, so there’s been all this media attention in the last five years of like, first it was, you know, sitting is “bad” again. So that everybody moved to the standing desk, and then they actually did the research, and they’re like, wait, it turns out if you just stand all day, it’s actually not any better than if you sit all day. And so I’m curious your take, I could guess that maybe the answer is don’t have a standing desk or a sitting desk, just get rid of the freakin desk. But…

Aaron: No. I think both is good. So it says standings, fine. One, if you do have a standing desk, one, it’s just gonna be kind of more expensive. You know, so I recommend getting like a low table like a Japanese style table or any chair is the perfect height of a floor sitting table, you know, and propping your butt up, sitting up on, you know, a couple cushions or yoga block, putting your computer up on top of that chair. Now, I’m literally, you know, in a sukhasana position, you know, where I could straddle my legs and go into like a straddle, you know, position and be mobilizing my hips, making circulation work for me as I’m in that position.

So I’d recommend getting on the floor. Stand desk, make sure that you have something to kind of toggle your feet on, you can bring your feet up on like a little step or you can bring like you get crazy like a rock, you know, and take your shoes off and start doing some reflexology in your foot as you’re standing in place. Your body’s needs adaptation. So if you stand in place as you’re at work in your hydraulic standing desk, and that’s the end of the conversation. Yeah, it’s not much different than sitting, you’re gonna burn more calories. So there’s that, but you’re still have just blood and lymphatic fluid and all that stuff just pooling up in your lower body.

Yes, it really what you need is you need to have that gait pattern, you know, or get your darn legs closer to your heart like the rest of the world’s been doing forever if you’re gonna actually spend an extended period sitting. If you do that, and that’s what I was getting at with the pasasana, you know, that’s my body felt better than it ever has from any of the crap that I’ve done. And I’ve done like at this point, like, I’ve professionally been doing the crap, receiving the crap like to all the different, like name a modality. At some point, I’ve probably exposed myself to it in some way, you know, from like body work and stuff like that.

And never have I felt anything as impactful as sitting with myself for 10 days straight. Which is like, “Oh, okay, well, that flips a lot of the belief systems that I had before that upside down.” You know, because I was kind of more from the thought of like, “Oh, you need a foam, roll it out, or, you know, myofascial release, ball it out, or band it out,” or whatever. And the reality that I learned from that one, sitting is not gonna kill you, it’s the way in which you sit. And the other big thing is that I think the pain and you just call it pain that you have in your body. I don’t think that it’s purely a mechanical thing.

You know, I think there’s a deeper conversation there that if something as simple as me just sitting in place, and just sitting with my thoughts allowing them to go through and, you know, be okay with that, and allowing that to go, and go, and go until finally like my thoughts became tired. You know, and they’re like, “Okay, I’m gonna do, okay, I’m just gonna sit down.” You know, then my whole nervous system started to calm from that, and that the pain that I was experiencing to dissipate. I’m like, “Oh, crap.” Maybe there’s something more, like, emotional to this pain that people experience. You know, over 80% of Americans experience chronic back pain in their lifetime.

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Katie: Yeah. And the interesting thing about that there’s everybody thinks it’s got a mechanical thing like a disc is out or vertebrae. But they’ve actually when they’ve done scans of people, tons of people have disc messed up and don’t feel it. And then other people have normal mechanic.

Aaron: Excruciating pain, fibromyalgia, yeah this freaking out. Yeah. So what is that pain? I think people mean it’s like a really, it gets into like a philosophical question. You know, in the Popamus, they call it somaskotus, and that’s like, if you sit and your body starts to send you this pain signal, like at one point, I was sitting and I felt like my hip was gonna be, like, need to be like amputated.

There was just like, “Oh my God,” like, I was like, “I am almost certainly doing permanent damage right now.” I’m like, “All right, I’m just gonna sit there. And they’ve described this omaskota as being essentially that like emotional resistance starts to come to the surface. And if you sit with yourself long enough, you’ll feel all of these kind of emotional verbals like coming up through and, now, okay, here’s the one that’s on the surface. And it’s manifesting itself as this place is stupid, I need to leave. This teacher doesn’t know what they’re talking about. I don’t like myself. I don’t belong here. My shoulder hurts, like any resistance.

And that’s like, oh, no, that’s the deeper thing. It’s at the surface, it’s speaking. You know, if you just allow it to speak what it needs to say and kind of go, go, go, eventually, it’ll talk itself out. And they’ll kind of, you know, move, and so I had that sensation. For some people, this might resonate directly, some people might like, well, this guy’s insane. But that’s okay, I’ll risk it. So I had this sensation of hip pain and last for maybe like 25 minutes or so. And, you know, it got to the point where just felt like, it was like a sheet like some was piercing my hip with it, like, a hot knife.

And all of a sudden, it just, it like, it felt as though it was like, I’m gonna say it was like an icy orb or something. And it like moved from my hip, and it moved in around my sacrum, and it moved all the way up my spine up, up, up, and then moved out into my shoulder. And then I had like some shoulder junk that had like dislocations and problems, like tensions around there. And it wanted to move through my shoulder, but it wasn’t quite able to make it through that channel. And it got stuck in the shoulder and then I had shoulder pain. But the hip pain, I thought this is it, you know, never walking again, literally in an instant, it felt completely clear, best it’s ever felt, and now my shoulder hurts.

Katie: Wow.

Aaron: It feels like I got to rethink some things.

Katie: If I have a lot of times do that over 10 days.

Aaron: A lot of time to do that.

Katie: And you have this whole movement around, what you call floor culture, and I want to talk about that a little bit, because you I noticed do not have a normal “kitchen table.” You have like a coffee table in your kitchen. So I’m assuming you eat on the ground.

Aaron: I eat on the ground. Yeah, that’s the way. Yeah, so it’s again, it’s just that your environment forms you, you know, so I have in front of the coffee table, you know, I have like cushions or whatever right now, I just have a foam roller, because that’s what actually what I like to use more. I don’t expect for everybody to do that. I think that might be a little weird. For most people, I’d say like, get, I think the Moroccan poufs are really cool. You know, like, make it cool and sexy and fun and comfortable. And, you know, you want, like, hang out with your friends don’t make it be like, you know, aesthetic, you know, I’m living an aesthetic lifestyle, and nobody wants to hang out with me, and I just live it like my black apartment like don’t do that. Not what I’m suggesting. But, yeah, I mean, I’m aware of the way that my home formed me. So I have a cold plunge freezer sitting directly in front of my door, you know, and I have a sauna sitting directly in front of that.

And I have a low table that I eat at, so I’m always anytime I eat or work on the computer or whatever, I’m essentially doing yoga like that is a yoga position. You know, and so a similar thing in front of my kitchen sink, I have like a little like mat thing that has different shapes and stuff on it, so I can kind of balance around on that as I’m like washing dishes. I have the yoga swing hanging up in my living room, I have a pull up bar hanging up between my bedroom door, so every time I can walk through there, I can just do a little hang and breathe into that same area that I encourage people to breathe into earlier. Yeah, it’s mean, that all minus the sauna, you know, cut out the sauna part it’s that all costs with the freezer 900 bucks, 800 bucks.

You know, and that’s like if that’s in your environment each day, your body will change more than any Equinox membership or whatever you would ever get, because that’s your life. You know, like the tidal wave that is the way that you inhabit yourself in day-to-day life will always trump the workout membership thing that you have. You know, and so that’s kind of the way that I’m looking at is like how can I make more of my life be such that, you know, it makes me a better person just by me being in the room?

You know, for most people we kind of just allow, we’re like dust in the wind, you know, we allow our environment to form us in these positions. Meanwhile, you know, all the medications have gone through the roof, all the pains have gone through the roof, all the depressions have gone through the roof. So if you allow yourself to just get pushed in that I would be surprised, if anything, other than those situations manifest themselves. So it’s like change your environment up.

Katie: Yeah. We’re like we were talking about earlier off the record like just spend more time outside in general. It’s free.

Aaron: Yeah, it’s free. Everything is free. The things that matter are free. You know, like there’s not a good affiliate code for like steamed kale, you know, or sunshine.

Katie: Or like friendship or taking a walk.

Aaron: Yes, any of those things. Making eye contact with the person at the register at the supermarket. Having a moment saying, “How are you?” And they’re like, “Fuck, no one’s ever really asked me like that.” It’s always like how you do?” “Good. All right. Cool. No receipt.” It’s, like, nearly every one of those people like it’s always an opportunity, because as you’re connecting with somebody else, you’re connecting with yourself.

So every single moment that you have an interaction with someone else, it’s literally an opportunity to follow the freakin icy cube that’s around, speaking for myself, your heart. You know, and so that’s what I was doing with packing on all the muscle stuff and packing on, you say you like protect with like with brain stuff, like, I do the same thing. you’ve just done a better job with it than I have.

Katie: I think you’ve done better job of the muscle side. So we’re, like, equal out.

Aaron: Even out. You know what that’s I was doing is I was just protecting myself, and I think it like a deeper level is protecting my heart. You know, and so you can look at that, you can look at your environment, like everybody’s a teacher. You know, when you’re walking down the street, every single person you come in contact with is an opportunity for you to connect deeper, I think. And that doesn’t mean like you need to give everybody a dollar and you need to, like, listen to everybody’s problems.

Katie: No, but I feel like I’ve always had that motto that you can learn something from absolutely everyone.

Aaron: 100%.

Katie: Yeah. And I think a lot of people listening have kids and they’re great teachers.

Aaron: Oh, man kids are the best, because they don’t have all the twists and the nuts and the filters and the bullshit. You know that’s like all the things is there. They’re all knotted up an identity and what they think they’re supposed to be like, you know, how much money they’re supposed to have and what their girlfriends supposed to look like, and their boyfriends supposed to do for a living. And they’re like, it’s all just freaking stories.

Katie: Right. And they come out like we’ve talked about already moving really well expressing their emotions. I mean two-year-olds are masters of expressing their emotions.

Aaron: Certainly.

Katie: Granted, we contain that as we get older, but like I feel like we forget that, we forget how to actually have emotions.

Aaron: That’s the problem is the taming of it. You know, that’s what we were talking about before is we’ve done some body work stuff is that you know, the awakening tiger, Peter Levine, amazing, amazing, amazing work in trauma. And he talks about, you know, when an animal goes through that fight, flight, or freeze, you know, freeze that immobilize response stress, too much stress they’ll go into a point where they conk out like becomes playing dead. Meanwhile, there’s a whole hurricane going on inside of them, but their body just stopped.

So it’s like the gas pedal and the breaker on at the same time, just full force. And when they come out of that they go through this tremors release thing that we would look, it would look very strange for you to do that in public. You know, but meanwhile, that tremors release, if you stop that, then during that process and the animal has to pack it back in. So they’re purging that energy, you know, energy being like the stress from that situation out, it looks a little funny. If you stop it from happening, they put it back in. And then from what Levine says, and I’m in agreement with, it’s just hard to really isolate and pin down and say like, this is the double-blind study, that’s what happens. But I feel strongly that that’s the foundation of a lot of problems.

You know, whatever, fill in the blank, whatever is problematic disease or stress or headaches or sleeping disorders, or fill in the blank thing, if you at some point had some traumatic things happen in your life, which everybody has, even if it’s just like being in the zeitgeist, you know, of experiencing the trauma of if you’re a sensitive person, you’re tapped into what other people are experiencing as well. You know, so if you have some stuck stress inside of your body, it’s not being moved, and you’re living in an environment that’s inherently essentially like a dam. Because you’re just damming up all of those joints, because you’re not taking through their full range of motion, that’s stuck stress will do what a dam does, or those dams will do what dams do and that stress will just build up, build up, build up until, eventually, you have like a real problem in your hands.

And then you potentially seek out some type of maybe like allopathic, you know, medicine type thing, where it’s working on the symptom, but it’s not actually looking like the root, root, root, you know, down there like where are these dams, where’s all this blockage coming from?

Katie: Yeah. And I think we’re only beginning to maybe start to scratch the surface of understanding this, like I think. Yeah, and I think that’s gonna be really fascinating next, you know, 10 to 20 years as we learn more and like are able to actually like work through these things both societally and as people like you doing this, and actually helping people through it.

Aaron: Yeah. I mean, people like you, too, and it would just have people listening, you know, having those conversations and a lot of the stuff that I’m aware of the last two minutes or whatever that little, like, you know, monologue rant of energy being trapped in the body and that manifesting itself into some form of disease. I’m sure a lot of people would potentially be like that’s just whoo, whoo bullshit. But the fact of the matter is like for science to make it into western medicine, into a doctor’s office or something like a 30-year gap.

Katie: Oh, absolutely.

Aaron: You know, so the information that we’re getting before it’s like good, it’s like it’s in the textbook. It’s like, “Dude, we’re 30 years behind.”

Katie: Yeah. When people question that, I always remind people go back to when they didn’t think it was important to wash your hands before delivering a baby or doing surgery after doing an autopsy. Like, they used to laugh at people who suggested maybe we should wash our hands, like, there’s no reason to do that.

Aaron: What is it called Semmelweis, what’s his name? Remember his name, come on.

Katie: Yeah, I do. But I don’t remember.

Aaron: Come on. I was just thinking about this morning.

Katie: And actually, in that case midwives were the ones going “Hey, maybe like we should wash our hands.”

Aaron: Yeah. So that guy ended up…Melinveiss, Smigel, Semmelweis.

Katie: We’ll look it up. It will be in show notes.

Aaron: Shoot. It’s gonna cut. They thought he was going crazy. Yeah, so he was Semmelweis.

Katie: There you go.

Aaron: So it’s actually called like I think they have a term for it was like Semmelweis syndrome or something like that. Essentially, it’s like, you know, I think that’s a big part like being willing to be a person that steps out of the norm, and say it’s like, “This is what I’m feeling.” Like, I know that most people aren’t really in agreement with this, but I’m like, “I think there’s something to this.” You know, and really just sticking to your guns like Semmelweis, that’s what he was doing, he’s like, dude, I think we’re killing people. They were like, “We are the medical model, sir.”

Katie: Right. They were like you are crazy. We want to like…

Aaron: Like you are one person that is crazy, we’re the whole structure, and we’re killing people.

Katie: Yeah.

Aaron: You know, so it’s like to have to be willing to be a person that’s having those conversations. You don’t have to have some big platform or whatever, literally just having those conversations with yourself.

Katie: Yeah. Or with people you care about in your life.

Aaron: Or people you care with your life. You know, and I think with that like that’s really what changes the grander zeitgeist of things. You know, I’m paying attention to everybody knows that you vote with your dollars. Now paying attention to the programs that you tune into and, you know, the places that you donate money to, and the food that you purchase. Like, those are the things that actually matter. You know, the things that you talk about, don’t talk about people. Stupid people talk about people.

Katie: Yeah.

Aaron: Go invest yourself in that.

Katie: Yeah, I think it’s like we’ve already gone through our time, but I’m gonna have to have you back on because you have a book coming out that I read a little bit of. And so I can’t wait to share that again with the audience.

Aaron: Do your people know that you can read a book in like couple hours, hour and half?

Katie: I don’t talk about myself very much.

Aaron: Crazy. Oh, my God. So we were sitting in my living territory in the living room, living territory. And Katie’s reading through my manuscript, and I was like, “Oh, cool,” like in my level, the amount of time that you would have had you had been able to read like the first two paragraphs, the introduction. And she’s like was able to bang out like the intro and that…You read through the fore read, I imagine.

Katie: I read through the first chapter.

Aaron: Okay. And the first like I was in all of your capacity. I’m very curious what the other treasures and gifts inside there are that I haven’t gotten to see, because that like literally blew my mind. Do you know Jim Kwik?

Katie: Yeah. Good guy.

Aaron: Have you guys ever shared reading tales?

Katie: I’ve had him on the podcast. He definitely like the reading part I’m pretty strong, and I think he for sure beats me memorization. He is fascinating. I use this stuff with my kids in home school.

Aaron: Oh, good. So you’re like a memory person.

Katie: I hide behind my brain. We can talk about that in your podcast.

Aaron: All right. We’ll talk about you. So we got to wrap this thing up. I’m sorry.

Katie: So I will link to all this in the show notes. Like, I said, you’re gonna be back on in December, but where can people find you? I know you have good resources on a lot of stuff we talked about.

Aaron: Yeah, yeah, absolutely. “Align” podcast. So if you just type that in so that’s like all the social media and all that stuff, Instagram is the most active one. If people have interest, they be interested like learning the fundamental movement stuff we were talking about, that’s the very first thing you’ll see in the website alignpodcast.com. There’s the five-day movement challenge, and just five simple videos breaking down essentially exactly what we’re talking about right now. And that’s what we’re talking about.

Katie: Perfect. And I’m gonna start tagging you when I sit on the floor, #floorculture.

Aaron: Yes. Please, yeah, I’m excited to see that spread. It’s so amazing getting pictures back from people. And I got one yesterday, I know we’re supposed to wrap up but I got one yesterday on the Instagram from this person that they had their daughter was like on the side of the wall doing headstands and all this wacky stuff and they are like pushing the floor. And I’m like this is what happens when you get rid of your couch. Their family just starts playing with each other as opposed to it being like we just kind of, you know morph into just loafing.

Katie: Totally.

Aaron: I have a couch my place by the way. I’m not saying you need to break your coach.

Katie: But we replace our coffee table with a rebounder, so that’s another fun thing to do.

Aaron: Nice. Yeah, I have rebounders in the book. Get a rebounder for your office.

Katie: Cool. Well, all those in more in the show notes on the wellnessmama.fm. You guys can stay in touch with Aaron, and again you’ll be back in December, but thank you today for the time and for hanging me upside down and doing bodywork. That was amazing.

Aaron: Of course. Thank you so much.

Katie: And thanks to all of you for listening and for sharing your most valuable asset of your time with both of us today, we’re so grateful that you did. And I hope that you will join me again on the next episode of the Wellness Mama Podcast.

If you’re enjoying these interviews, would you please take two minutes to leave a rating or review on iTunes for me? Doing this helps more people to find the podcast, which means even more moms and families could benefit from the information. I really appreciate your time, and thanks as always for listening.

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Thanks to Our Sponsors

This episode is sponsored by Fabletics, my current source for all my gym wear. In the last six months, I’ve discovered several new types of workouts that I’m loving. From group classes focused on flexibility, to high intensity work, to underwater weight and breath training, I’ve been loving trying new things and Fabletics has activewear for all of this. And I wear one of their pieces pretty much every day. Their mission is to make affordable high quality workout wear available to all of us, and I love being a VIP member, which unlocks special benefits. Here’s how it works… when you go to fabletics.com/wellnessmama and take a 60-second quiz, it matches you with a showroom of styles designed for your body type and workout type. Before I forget, Fabletics is offering my listeners an incredible deal you don’t want to miss: Get 2 leggings for only $24 ($99 value) when you sign up for a VIP. Just go to fabletics.com/wellnessmama to take advantage of this deal now. Also free shipping on orders over $49. International shipping is available and there is absolutely no commitment when you purchase your first order! Here’s a tip: make sure you enter your email address to get notified about new styles and special. I’ve found out about some amazing sales through that link. I also personally recommend the power hold leggings which are awesome for everything from lifting weights to yoga.

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About Katie Wells

Katie Wells, CTNC, MCHC, Founder of Wellness Mama and Co-founder of Wellnesse, has a background in research, journalism, and nutrition. As a mom of six, she turned to research and took health into her own hands to find answers to her health problems. WellnessMama.com is the culmination of her thousands of hours of research and all posts are medically reviewed and verified by the Wellness Mama research team. Katie is also the author of the bestselling books The Wellness Mama Cookbook and The Wellness Mama 5-Step Lifestyle Detox.


3 responses to “273: Aaron Alexander on The Power of Movement for Mind and Body”

  1. Caroline Avatar

    I’m also enjoying your interview on Aaron’s podcast! You are really a huge inspiration to me – I recognize a lot of myself in your thought processes. Thank you so much for all the work you do, Katie! It’s helped me enormously and I love trying to stuff you suggest.

  2. Heather heinz Avatar
    Heather heinz

    Loved this episode. Very cool! Thank you for sharing your knowledge!

  3. Leah Avatar

    Loved this episode! I’m telling everyone about it, partly to explain why I’m doing movements all the time to not stay stagnant lol. Definitely curious about the yoga swing. I see some online that are just the one ribbon without all the other straps and handles like the link you posted, would this work for kids?

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