Have you ever wondered how your body (and your health) is different from that of your ancestors? Have you wondered about the ‘cost’ of our easier, more efficient, machine driven society?
Katy Bowman’s new book Move Your DNA: Restore your Health through Natural Movement spells it all out for you.
Let me tell you, it isn’t pretty, but neither is this a doom and gloom book. Katy tells it like it is, but also says that if you don’t like where you are, you can change it. And then shows you how, without shaming or bullying. Because the thing is we are all pretty much in the same boat whether you consider yourself a regular exerciser or a couch potato. How can that be?
In a section called Movement, Outsourced, Katy says:
Over the last ten thousand years, most humans transitioned from a migratory, hunter-gathering population to living in sedentary farming communities, then industrialized nations, and then our current technology-based culture. You and I dwell in a time when movement has been almost entirely outsourced. A moment on our phone can secure food, delivered right to the door. We can seek shelter on Craigslist from the comfort of our chairs. Heck we can even find a mate online these days, securing a partner without flexing anything but our fingers on a keyboard. While the abundance of food and money varies around the globe, for almost all populations, the current global environment has changed in at least one way, across the board: Moving is not required.
If you think about it even the most manual of labourers have machines for at least some parts of the work they are required to do. And the rest of us? We use labour-saving devices without thinking twice. I was putting together a table we bought at Ikea over the weekend and my husband offered me the electric screwdriver because “putting the screws in by hand is tedious.” I did it by hand (yay, me!) but if I had to do that motion all day (especially since my body isn’t conditioned for that kind of work) I definitely would have wanted/needed/whined loudly until I got that electric screwdriver.
Moving-not-required is a problem, Katy tells us, because total body health requires the same amount of movement that hunter-gatherer populations would have been getting. Exercising is certainly better than no movement at all, but even exercise doesn’t come close to creating the environment that our bodies need. She says,
It’s clear that there is a major mismatch between the loads we make in modern life (sleeping in our beds, driving our cars to work, sitting in front of our computers, and vigorously exercising for sixty minutes a day, then sitting in front of the TV, repeat, repeat, repeat) and the loads we would have made (searching for, gathering, and preparing our own food, walking for water and building materials, carrying our home and children in our arms, repeat, repeat, repeat) were we living more in nature.
Christiane Northrup said “Move Your DNA” is groundbreaking. It certainly is because it will challenge what you thought you knew about health, fitness and exercise. Yes, there are exercises in this book but this is not an exercise book. The exercises are to help undo our ‘sticky spots’ and prepare the ground for more natural movement.
I am not an unbiased reviewer: I’ve been doing Katy’s Restorative Exercise™ work for about a year and am in the last stages of becoming a Restorative Exercise Specialist. I’m obviously a huge fan now but when I started doing this work it was with my ‘exercise’ mind, which is to say compartmentalized: this series of moves will fix this problem and so on.
As I saw changes and improvements in my body, my attitude, or more correctly, my understanding, changed too and Move your DNA brought it all into the ‘big picture’ for me. It is hard to describe, but I find the work playful, and take it from one who knows: leading Nia dance classes is very playful! This is a different kind of play. It is like being given permission to be a kid again, or at least leave the serious, composed adult-world behind, even for a while.
This DNA moving person now has ‘permission’ to sit on the floor, makes a beeline for the kid’s playground to practice swinging and hanging (like my colleague Petra Fisher here), hangs off of the side of doorways whenever possible, walks on the grass instead of the path, and seeks out hills and uneven terrain instead of flat ground. In other words, turns out the 21st century version of moving your DNA is pretty cool, and once we get the ‘hang’ of it, might turn out to be the best of both worlds.
To order your copy of Move Your DNA, click here:
For more information on Restorative Exercise™ go here.