MOVE WELL STUDIO


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Squatty Potty for beginners

I clearly remember the day the squatty potty became a part of our lives. I went to the bathroom, only to see a strange plastic piece in front of the toilet, with a note: “How about that for a sh**ty gift?”

My husband, a man of humor and love for health, had made the purchase for me. I tried to pretend no feedback was expected over the next few days. There isn’t much poop talk in our home – we have good poops and we aren’t obsessing with impoving them. How about sleep? Or productivity? Let’s talk about something that really needs improving.

Enough poop bragging. I was already sold on the squatty potty – I will take up any chance to move more! A couple extra squats per day – I was in. What I found in the next few days was that my time in the toilet became even faster and elimination felt even easier. I also enjoyed the nice workout for my hip joints. As my legs went up I also got an unexpected massage for my belly. See, when you are “squatting” instead of “sitting” to poo, the mechanics of it all look and feel very different. On the inside, muscles and organs are churning in a new, closer to their natural way.

Check out this fast-gone-viral video from Squatty Potty, which beautifully explains the action of the puborectalis muscle – one responsible for the anchoring of your poo pipes (picture here). You squat – you free up the pipes, you sit – you pinch them. Let the unicorn show you below…

Of course, I was excited we owned a squatty potty and that we were eliminating paleo style, so I was eager to share with my clients and friends. Many of them purchased one, only to come back and complain that they were uncomfortable getting in the “feet up” or “squat position”.

See, our bodies are shaped by the way we move, and if you haven’t been squatting multiple times a day, your squatting parts may be rusty. Doing some basic biomechanics observations, I found that most of my squatty potty averse clients were the ones with limited ankle dorsiflexion (the ability to flex the foot) and quite limited hip flexion (the ability to bring the knee to your chest). Add general lack of mobility through the spine, and you have a never-squat-to-poop scenario.

Here’s the pickle. The average person, pressed by urgency, won’t even stop to think about why they can’t get comfortable on the squatty potty. We live in a culture which has conditioned us to think like that. Today, people plan to get higher toilets as they get older, assuming their ability to squat will keep decreasing. We have it all backwards.

Want the truth?

  1. You can restore your ability to move at the ankles and hips in order to take a human poop. Your organ health depends on it. How about that for motivation?
  2. In order to restore your ability to squat, you need to first start mobilizing your ankles, hips and pelvis.
  3. In order for those small corrective exercises to work, you need to do them daily. You know, just like water works for you when you drink it daily.
  4. Exercises won’t work unless you also start to change the positions you habitually find yourself in (sitting in chair, sitting on couch, sitting in car).

 
 
Like anything simple, it takes some diligence and time, but every time you practice you will get a degree closer to your squat to poop natural design.

Here is the program that I put my aspiring squatty potty athletes on:

  1. They learn the calf stretch, kneeling hip flexion, and strap stretch to improve the mobility of the ankles, hips and knees. Then they use the baby squat and roll to stabilize the new positions.
  2. They sit on the floor – try the V sit, the indian style sit, the cross knee sit. That allows them to take time off chairs and couches – improving their hip mobility as they rest.
  3. I teach them to bolster the squatty potty. We find a comfortable height that their body is willing to bend to and start to use props to allow their body to adapt. See – between squatty potty and floor there are many levels that most people are already able to bend to. Little by little they are able to move their feet higher and get deeper hip flexion.

 

THE CORRECTIVES

 

THE FLOOR SITTING POSITIONS

 

BOLSTERING THE SQUATTY POTTY

Hooked yet? Start on your program to become a Squatty Potty athlete today 🙂 And let me know how you do!

To get a full introduction to this life changing tool, check out this video:

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The big toe matters

When I see a new client for the first time, much of the session can be spent explaining the mechanical causes of different aches and pains. See, when your knee hurts, the cause may be at the foot, ankle, hip, core function and honestly, anywhere in the body. The way our culture works, having knee pain has you putting on a knee brace or seeing a doctor for the knee problem, and oftentimes interventions only give temporary relief, because the root mechanical causes do not get addressed.

I encourage you to be continually curious about what makes you feel better and what makes your condition worse. I also encourage you to always ask questions, look for solutions and trust that the body can heal with appropriate help.

I wanted to share this fantastic video of Dr. Ray that word for word matches what I teach in my foot education sessions.

Enjoy!


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Training the forefoot – a video from the beach

If you are training with me, or have ever even talked to me about my shoes, or lack of, you know I am very foot-centric. ”Why the foot?”, you may ask…if it’s your knee, hip or shoulder bugging you.

You can’t ignore the foot for long, that would be very much like ignoring the tires on your car. If you ever got a flat, you probably pulled off on the side of the road and did what you could to save yourself and your vehicle.

We do the same with training your feet – we take your shoes off, see how stiff the foot has become from wearing shoes and misuse and take the steps necessary to make it a healthy and functioning piece of equipment so you can hit the road. Oftentimes, your other issues, like that bum knee and nagging low back pain, go away by themselves.

One way we misuse the feet is by pointing them out. In this video Katy Bowman, founder of the Restorative Exercise Institute and my dear mentor, explains what that does to your knees. Check it out and see how you can get your feet straight!

Now, once you have your knees straight, oftentimes placing the femur  and the foot where they belong lifts the inside of the foot off the ground. The forces in your hip and the foot don’t exactly match because you have been using your foot as one whole piece stuffed in a stiff shoe for a majority of your life.

To the rescue comes forefoot eversion. This is a fancy way to say that the front part of the foot, where the ball of the foot is, moves in (or toward the ground) relative to the back side of the foot (the one that has the heel). A lot of the muscles we use for that action are weak or asymmetrically developed and that can lead to a host of issues.

Last week while playing on the beach in Ventura with some of my colleagues, we experimented with a fun way to use seaweed and the sand to train the foot. Check it out and let me know what you think!


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Upcoming workshop – The Pain Free Office

Are you one of those few lucky people who works walking, climbing, rolling, ducking, diving, chopping, carrying, then resting, digesting, sleeping, savoring the break and going at it again? Are you one to change 50 postures throughout your day?

If not, you are probably stuck in a chair, or in the best case, on a Swiss ball or ergonomic chair, in front of a screen, for many hours of your day…

If that’s you, you need to inspect how you are sitting, because the way you posture yourself can determine how your body feels and performs. We can argue all day about the benefits of a stand up workstation, but if you are posturing yourself poorly there as well, there is little benefit to making that lifestyle change.

In just two short weeks I am teaching a free workshop on how to stand, sit and move in your modern office, and if you are in the Orange County area, I would love to see you there! In the meantime, watch this short video we shot a few months ago and start to understand how important alignment is to your health and performance!