Propriometrics Press, © Katy Bowman 2013. 447 pages. Softbound. This informative book retails for $21.95, or $9.99 for the electronic version; both are now available on Amazon.com. Bowman is also the author of Every Woman’s Guide to Foot Pain Relief: The New Science of Healthy Feet, another great reference for your home library.
Gail E. Dennison
When I first heard Katy Bowman lecture some six years back, I immediately knew that she is a force for positive change. And now, reading Katy’s latest book has affirmed for me the value of her innovative work as a biomechanist and leading expert on alignment. I so appreciate her unique understanding of physical function and her commonsense, humorous, and altogether appealing vision of wellness and vigor.
Besides all that, Katy is a no-nonsense coach, even getting people (like me), who weren’t chosen in childhood P.E. games, to do squats every day and take on new movement patterns for physical resiliency.
Katy’s new book, Alignment Matters, is a collection of blog posts from katysays.com, written during the five years that began in 2007. While teaching us to keep ears over shoulders over hips over knees over ankles in optimal alignment, Katy weaves a narrative fabric to explain how the musculoskeletal structure of the body ideally functions as a unified collective. Did you know, for instance, that the way you walk could be damaging your knees or that the way you position yourself at your computer screen could be the cause of headaches as well as back or hip pain?
Katie emphasizes to her readers that “Your muscles are not just for exercise (they’re not even FOR exercise!), but drive every function in the body.”
A passionate movement advocate, Bowman explains that how we move our muscles is ultimately how we nourish our blood, achieve osteogenesis, restore oxygen to our tissues, and keep our electromagnetic human physique in prime working order.
To build bone and muscle, we don’t need to lift weights, Katy clarifies. Since we’re already carrying our body’s weight, why not learn to carry it correctly, with our large muscles, instead of burdening the small muscles of the back (whose job this isn’t)?
In this in-depth assessment of human movement, Katy also includes an important section on pregnancy, childbirth, babies, and children. Her research is invaluable in helping us guide infants and youngsters toward wellness and resiliency, as she navigates such diverse daily-life topics as why to go barefoot, alternatives to sitting, and the difference between baby “wearing” and baby carrying. Regarding shoes, clothing, furniture, and baby gear, Katy points out culturally induced habits that can create a long-term trajectory away from organ vitality, bone health and density, and optimal circulation of blood and lymph. She gives us viable remedies for the sedentary patterns our culture has fallen into, and explains how even a child’s tennis shoe can create structural misalignments. She shows how the example we adults are setting is preventing our children from being as strong and active as they could be, and points us toward viable alternatives.
Katy Bowman began her teaching career right here in my California town, so I had the good fortune to learn from her directly. She opened my eyes to the difference in wellness that a mere fraction of an inch of positioning can make in one’s ability to straighten the knees, untuck the pelvis, point the feet forward, and keep the body’s weight back over the heels. Katy points out how the sacrum, pelvic floor, and gluteal muscles play a central role in supporting nearly all bodily functions, and shows us how to strengthen these vital areas. (As she says, “It’s simple, not easy,” and it begins with not sitting so much.)
Bowman’s work reflects her conviction that exercise and movement are two entirely different things. She provides the research and the logic to help us shift our mindset from “fixing” ourselves to making beneficial lifestyle changes. She tells her readers how to stop using exercise as compensation for sedentary hours and rediscover their natural enjoyment of moving and breathing, giving us a wealth of options for discovering the new territory of dynamic movement.
As Katy so eloquently puts it, “. . . not moving is not an option for those of us who know that the body is a self-winding clock. . . . Pain with movement is a signal to be heeded. The signal is saying, The way you’re moving is doing you harm. The muscles on your frame are not supporting you. You can fix the way you move or you can just lie down now. Which makes more sense?”
Reviewers note: Click here to read Katy Bowman’s original blogs online for free.