I’m delighted to introduce Carol Robbins, RES-CPT for this month’s Health Series. Carol teaches movement in person in Toronto’s Beaches area and by Skype worldwide. She holds monthly workshops on various topics and twice yearly a 2-day Move Your DNA workshop under the umbrella of Nutritious Movement™. She is a teacher trainer for Nutritious Movement™ at certification weeks and mentors the certifying students by Skype. She writes a blog on her website and articles for various publications.
Corrective Exercise for the Masses, or, How Restorative Exercise Can Help You.
I teach movement. Although there are many kinds of movement teachers (dance, yoga, Pilates, martial arts, boxing, skating, gymnastics, weightlifting, track, running, circus, etc., etc.,) humans move in very similar ways. Some of them move more often and some of them move in more ranges of motion. There are people who do incredible feats that make them famous, unique and admirable, but all humans are capable of those kinds of movement, more or less; just as horses all move the same, but some are better jumpers or runners. A huge draft horse is capable of pulling enormous weight, but a tiny Shetland pony moves in the same ways across its joints.
So, what is special about what I teach? What crosses all those boundaries and applies equally from the greatest athletes to the most sedentary among us?
It is called Restorative Exercise (RE) and is the brainchild of bio-mechanist Katy Bowman. Bowman has written extensively about human movement and movement ecology (how we have outsourced movement in our culture and how that affects us). She has certified a number of teachers to bring this message to others. Unlike some movement techniques, where the real money is in certification courses, Bowman wants to keep her band small and educated, and I’m lucky enough to not only be one of them, but to be a teacher for her organization that teachers others.
Instead of focusing on teaching for specific goals or performance, RE looks at the body in terms of biological needs. What kind of movement and how much and at what frequency, duration, direction. do you need to move in order to meet biological functions like digestion, circulation, lymphatic waste removal, cellular turn-over. All the body’s parts are considered. Are the eyes getting the loads required to stay optimally healthy? How do you load eyes? Is the pelvic floor working appropriately to let things in and out and support your organs? Can you go to the bathroom without straining? There is a heavy accent on the health of the feet, part of the body that the rest of our systems depend on (“no foot; no horse” goes the old saying).
It isn’t new to look at loads and forces in terms of how disease develops, or to improve performance (golf, baseball and other high-income sports use biomechanics coaches all the time). But in terms of basic function, our culture has a high incidence of diseases of behaviour (sedentary and active sedentary; defined as those who sit for work all day and workout for a brief, but intense duration), and RE is trying to bring more movement to more of you.
It’s a fascinating journey of discovery where using a grid that allows a practitioner to measure the relationship of parts to see where chronic muscle adaptation has occurred as a result of habit and behaviour, we start to move those parts in small increments designed to eventually increase mass and not introduce creep to the tendons. It looks deceptively easy, but although simple in principle, it is often challenging, and a tool of self-empowerment, whereby you can address the root cause of so many issues that afflict us today.
The ultimate goal is a healthy functioning body who moves frequently and abundantly and lives in an environment that supports that lifestyle (shoes, clothing and furniture are all considered as influences to move or not).
I teach private sessions in person and by Skype, offer small group classes, 2-hour and 2-day workshops and community movement opportunities in Toronto’s beaches neighbourhood.
Carol Robbins, RES-CPT
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