I got to meet Katy Bowman in person this week. A huge moment for me
and yes I was star struck!
I had the luck that she was running a workshop just an hour away from me. And before that I was at our annual Home Education Circus Camp. Camping in a field, lots of walking from one place to another and the chance to try out trapeze, silks and arial hoop as well as brush up on some of my hoola hooping skills.
One of my goals since the last one was to develop my shoulder strength enough to be able to pull myself up onto the trapeze. My awareness of my body in space is not well developed and it was even worse hanging upside and gently spinning.
I was really interested in the warm ups for each discipline, some of the exercises really made me think about how we should be aware of our body’s limitations when it comes to warm ups and exercises in general. It was also something Katy spoke about during our workshop.
The quality of the exercise is important rather than how far you can push yourself
She promotes a very questioning attitude to exercising – how do I manage to do the exercise asked of me, now how can I do it if I attempt it in proper form – can I do it? Sometimes not – you realise that you have adapted to your body’s weakness and can easily work around this. Is this a problem? Depends. If you are wanting to be as fit and healthy as you can then maybe it is best to be able to do the exercises in proper form. It is especially important if you are trying to correct an issue such as pelvic floor weakness or diastasis recti. Or you are pregnant and want to ensure you are completely ready for birth and can allow your baby to have the space to move into the best position for birth AND prevent pelvic floor weakness postpartum.
All exercises can be performed in various ways, but which one is right for you and why?’
Generally, we measure the success of an exercise by how well we can perform it, take touching your toes as an example. Just by its name we assume the purpose of the exercise is to touch your toes. We can manipulate our body to achieve this result.
However, you have to look at what cost this might have on your body. If, in order for you to touch your toes, you are tucking your pelvis, rounding your lower back and holding your breath this is going to create extra unnecessary pressure on your pelvic floor.
If we looked instead at how much you are able to hinge your pelvis over your legs and keep it untucked and your ribs also in alignment (not an incredibly catchy name I know) it creates an idea of exploration, how much can I? Performing the exercise this way helps to increase mobility of the pelvis but ensures you stay in correct alignment and does not put pressure on your pelvic floor. In turn by practicing this exercise regularly you will be gaining more mobility in your pelvis and in turn creating a stronger more functional pelvic floor.
Avoid or reducing issues by being mindful of how you perform an exercise
By just changing how we think about an exercise can mean we can create a more functional exercise. It also means you lose the unnecessary idea of being ‘good’ or ‘bad’ at an exercise. It can be very easy in a class to see that everyone else can touch their toes, but I can’t and therefore ‘I am crap’ which can be pretty demoralising. But if everyone is attempting an exercise from a place of questioning and exploration the sense of competition is removed (apart from with yourself – how long will it take me to achieve a bit more movement here?)
Movement classes are a chance to explore and become the pilot of your body, building trust and confidence that you can do things
For me this is why I so love movement classes – I am no longer the one who ‘can’t do’, but now the pilot of my own body, knowing how I need to modify an exercise, what I need to work on to improve the mobility in a certain area and have my own sense of achievement as I make small steps to a more functional body.
Join me for my new pregnancy and postpartum movement classes
If you would like to come along to an exercise class that is more movement and exploration based, that is designed to prepare your body for birth or to help you recover postpartum. One that can prevent or reduce common issues surrounding pregnancy and birth; whilst, building a strong core and pelvic floor to enable you to be strong and functional then click the links below to join my newsletter, I will be letting people know when booking opens and those on my newsletter will be able to take advantage of an early bird special offer.
Pregnancy Fundamentals – a weekly class to help you become fit and functional and prepared for birth
Postpartum Essentials – a weekly exercise class to strengthen your core and pelvic floor after your baby is born
She runs Pregnancy Exercise classes and Restorative Post-natal Exercise Classes in Woodbridge and Ipswich Suffolk