Click the banner to go directly to Katy Bowman’s Alignment Snacks or scroll down to read my notes on each of the snacks.
When I see clients in my private practice, I give them alignment homework usually in the form of a PDF containing the exercises that they’ve learned during our sessions. Alignment Snacks are another fantastic way to get alignment homework and take your practice to the next level. Not to mention, you get to take a class with Katy Bowman! Alignment Snacks are 30 ish minute alignment classes. The snacks are a great way to squeeze focused Restorative Exercise™ into your day. At $5 a snack, they’re a bargain and yours to keep to do anytime. You can also save and buy the set of 25 snacks for $95 ($3.80 a snack)!
*Special Note No one area of your body works in isolation. Alignment Snacks are meant to be supplemental to your personalized Nutritious Movement™ Restorative Exercise program, they are not meant to be a replacement for professional guidance. I offer sessions in Portland, OR or via SKYPE.
I cycled through all 25 snacks. While doing the Alignment Snacks, I had plenty of “ah ha” moments. I’m a certified Nutritious Movement™ Restorative Exercise Specialist and have been studying with Katy for years, yet I learned something new in each of the Alignment Snacks.
Before doing the Alignment Snacks I would like to remind you of what a neutral pelvis and a neutral ribcage are. A neutral pelvis is when the ASIS and the pubic symphysis are in the same plane.
Neutral ribs are when the ribcage is in the same plane as the neutral pelvis.
I wrote these notes to remind myself which Snacks covered what.
- Adductor Madness focuses on the inner thighs and quads, some psoas, and a bit of shoulder / scapula work. Exercises include, but not limited to cobbler stretch, an outside the box piriformis stretch, lunges, rhomboid push-ups, triceps push-ups, femur rotation and some yummy thoracic openers. Good stuff!
- A Balanced Approach to hip strength This is a great snack for working on strengthening your lateral rotators to get your femurs in neutral. Also includes some delicious shoulder openers. My neck was bothering me before starting this snack. It’s amazing what a little Restorative Exercise™ will do to release tension and get the blood flowing.
- A Real Pain in the Neck Love this class! Probably because my neck gets so tight from years of forward head position and internally rotated humeri. The class is about 30 minutes of focused, relaxing neck and shoulder stretching. You really get to see how your tight shoulders affect tension in your neck and jaw. You may even notice how your neck tension translates tension all the way down your back! This is a great class especially for those who have desk jobs, are bodyworkers, or those who breastfeed. The nice thing about these stretches is that you can do many of these while you’re on the phone, or computer or even while breastfeeding.
- “All around the thighs we go!“ 35 minutes of stretching all around the thighs. The interesting insight I had while doing this snack was that I noticed different lengths of my adductors and piecing together how it contributes to my gait pattern.
- All Fo’ the Pelvic Flo’ So far this has been my favorite Alignment Snack (or at least in the top 22) ;-). It’s really tough to pick a favorite depending on what’s going on with you specifically in the moment and what your goals are. This one is about 23 minutes on pelvic alignment and honing your motor skills. The way your pelvis moves during gait can tell you where you’re creating stress on your tissues and wearing out joints before their time. When the pelvic alignment part of the video is over stay tuned in, there’s an extra bonus 10 minutes of A-hole work. No, not that A-hole, your armpit hole! Katy talks about how atrophy of the pectorals and latissimus muscles can lead to lymph congestion and how to evaluate your A-hole.
- Balance….with Lateral Hips This one focuses on balancing, standing, stepping up on one foot and getting those lateral thigh muscles activated. Katy mentions four top factors for those who fall and fracture a hip. Guess what, age is the last factor out of eleven factors! That’s good news because that means you can do something about it. So whether you are trying to strengthen your lateral hips to get your femurs in neutral, strengthen the pelvic floor, prevent osteoporosis, reduce wear and tear on your knees and spine, or improve your balance this is an excellent class for you. This could also be considered walking 101 for adults. And 90% of you reading this could be improving in that department!
- Can’t Get Enough Shoulders 35 minutes of shoulder awareness with some adductors mixed in. This is a great snack that helps you see hidden tensions patterns from the hands to the neck. It helps you see where you have lost ranges of motion in the shoulder girdle. There are ways we tend to hide hyperkyphosis, but doing so creates other problems and never addresses or corrects the exaggerated thoracic curve. It’s interesting to see how tension in our shoulders affects tension in our hands. Katy mentions keep the ribs dropped several times. If you are unfamiliar with this cue, what she means is to keep the bottom of the ribs in line with the neutral pelvis. In other words, don’t thrust the ribcage (see Ice Man above). Thrusting the ribs is another way we compensate for the lack of range of motion in the shoulder girdle.
- Everybody Needs a Little Shoulder Bolster Another one of my favorites! 35 minutes consisting of shoulder openers with some posterior leg muscles thrown in. For this snack you will need a Yoga Bolster or a stack of wool blankets and perhaps your Yoga Strap. Katy demonstrates how internally rotated humeri affects the pecs and thoracic area and she talks about how it can negatively affect shoulder girdle range of motion, heart and lung function and lymph drainage. If you drive, work on a computer or are worried about having a hunched back this would be a great snack for you because most likely you spend the bulk of the time with internally rotated upper arms. It may also be an eye opener for you yogis out there who may think they are flexible in the shoulder girdle, but actually distort their ribcage and thoracic position to make up for lack of range of motion in the shoulders.
- Gotta Get Down to (Arm) Swingtown Wondering why you have “bingo arms” (lack of tone on the back of the arms)? It could be that you are swinging your arms all whacky while you walk, or not at all. In this 27 minute video, Katy helps you get your swing back to a natural reflex driven swing. This snack is also important for reducing stress on the spine during walking. You will want your styrofoam dome handy or a thick book or rolled up yoga mat. A yoga strap may also come in handy, but not absolutely necessary.
- Hips Don’t Lie They Sit In this class Katy focuses on stretching the muscles that serve the hips from a seated position, mostly adductors and psoas. The class is about 27 minutes. Have a bolster, block, or half dome handy to sit on (anything to prop you up a little will do). It’s so interesting to compare how the two legs differ on where you feel the stretch. Many of these stretches I do automatically while I’m on the floor watching a movie or hanging out with friends drinking tea. That’s one of the many things I love about Restorative Exercise™, it’s easy to work into your day. My favorite quote from this one is “Alignment is immune boosting.”
- Leg Goes Forward, Leg Goes Back In this 37-minute class, Katy focuses on the psoas, quadriceps, and hamstrings. These are the muscles that if shortened restrict the range of motion of your leg swing during gait. If these muscles are restricted in their range, the spine may have to flex and twist with every step which can lead to disc degeneration, low back problems, and pelvic floor issues. It’s all connected!
If you don’t maintain the ideal muscle length, you may lose the ability to put on your own shoes or the ability to care for your own feet as you age! Who wants to hire someone to come in and clip your toenails? No thank you, sir! You will want a yoga strap for this class. A long towel, or belt will do if you don’t have a yoga strap.
- Let’s do the Twist Do your truck muscles have yield? Unyielding trunk muscles negatively affect the internal organs, spine, back muscles, abdominal integrity and overall blood flow. Too often people in our culture focus on tightening the abdomen and lose mobility in the process, leading to all kinds of issues down the road.
- Quads and Hams If you do the stretches in this video, you will never get bored with the same old hamstring stretch again. The stretch may look the same, but by making slight variations to the angles of your pelvis, femurs, and feet you get an entirely different stretch. You may also have some interesting ah, ha moments when it comes to your quadriceps muscles.
- Rhomboid Madness Love this video, even made my triceps sore (in a good way) the next day. This will be one in my regular rotation of Alignment Snacks. I would recommend this one to anyone working on getting their ribcage down out of a rib thrust, or working hyperkyphosis, core strength, and breast health. No equipment is needed.
- Stretching The Standing Muscles Mobilize the muscles that are needed for walking and standing in a way that is beneficial to your pelvic floor! This snack focuses on the hamstrings, gastrocnemius, soleus and glutes. Take your pelvic listing to the next level! This is a great class for those who want to be able to walk instead of having to rely on a wheelchair or walker when they’re older. This is also essential for the pelvic floor, low back and sacral health. Have your yoga block (or thick book) and your styrofoam dome handy. If you don’t have a dome, or if you have really tight posterior leg muscles, you can start with a rolled up towel or yoga mat
- Take A Load Off The Chest And Your Hips Too Loved this one as well. My hip and shoulder range of motion increased an inch or two after 30 minutes of this Alignment Snack. My ribs also came back down into alignment. I noticed something about the difference in my left and right hip rotators, I didn’t notice before. Once you do learn these stretches, they are easy to do them while watching Downton Abbey. You will need a yoga bolster, or stack of wool blankets, or a rolled up sleeping bag may work. I highly recommend investing in a yoga bolster if you can.
- The Back Bones Are Connected To The Other Back Bones Learn how to lift your head correctly without wearing out the cervical discs. Are you masking hyperkyphosis at the expense of your spine? Katy shows you how to get the abs you want by keeping your ribs down. Hang out a minute after the snack, Katy explains muscle cramping.
- Twisting The Night Away Ahhhhh, yessssss! My spine likey, likey this Alignment Snack. Especially after doing 17 massages this week. I think all of you office workers, mechanics, cyclists, soccer players, breastfeeding mamas and rib thrusters in general, will appreciate it as well. Great for alleviating constipation too.
- Walk This Way, Stand This Way All you weak lateral hip folks out there, this is for you. Weak lateral hips, internally rotated femurs, lack of balance, low bone density in the neck of the femurs and walking with your feet too close together are all related. Have your styrofoam dome (or rolled up yoga mat or towel) handy. But gosh darn it get a styrofoam dome already! In fact, get one for each room in your house.
- Just A Dab Of Abs These few exercises in this class should make your abs burn if done correctly. Mind your objective markers (neutral ribs over neutral pelvis), otherwise, you won’t be targeting the abs. Rib thrusting is what is getting in the way of core strength. Great class for you Diastasis Recti sufferers or anyone else who wants to build core strength. This class is a little shorter than the others but packs a punch. Stay tuned after the 15-second dance party opportunity for a couple of educational segments on shoulder mechanics and natural movement vs. exercise.
- Within Reach This is another one of my favorites for breast health and more! It includes exercises to get your arms out of internal rotation and address hyperkyphosis (hunched back) as well as some squat prep work! Did you know that there’s a relationship between your tight computer claw hands, internally rotated arms and weak abdominals! No equipment necessary.
- Frankie Says: Relax The Psoas Are you releasing your psoas between your psoas releases? Katy teaches several releases to get your hips out of hip flexion. I love this illiacus release. When you pay attention to the objective markers, you get an actual picture of what’s really going on with the psoas and illiacus. This is great for anyone who sits a lot (school, cars, couch, desk job anyone?). I would also recommend this to my cyclist friends and soccer players- okay, I guess that covers everyone. Have a dome or yoga block handy. If you don’t have one, use some stacked books.
- Unduck Your Feet Katy has such a gift for explaining the mechanics of how your body works (duh, she’s a biomechanist). Not all foot turnout is the same. So unducking your feet isn’t as simple as turning your feet in! Katy explains the different ways we turn our feet out and how you sit on the floor affects your gait. She teaches you ways to get your floor sitting working for you all of the time not just while you sit on the floor.
- Your Toes and Your Calves 33 minutes of focused footwork. Boy oh boy did this reveal a lot about my femur position relative to my feet that I didn’t notice before! This Alignment Snack will help you strengthen your feet as well as increase foot mobility and responsiveness. As Katy says it “clears out the gutters of your feet”. Don’t do the same ‘ole foot on the ball stretch reinforcing your old patterns. Start to mobilizes areas you want to use in gait that will reduce unnecessary strain on your feet, ankles, knees and hips. You will need a tennis ball, or yoga tune-up ball. A variety of balls should work.
- Ball Blast This snack is 18 minutes long, but holy cow, it packs a punch! The exercises in this snack are strengthening to the posterior leg muscles, abdominals and butt! I felt the burn after a couple of reps! These will be in my regular rotation, even if it’s a couple of minutes here and there while watching a movie, or between emails. Have a one of those inflatable stability balls ready.
To download your Alignment Snacks, click on the banner below. Let me know what your favorites are! At $5 a snack, they’re a bargain and yours to keep to do anytime. You can also save and buy the set of 25 snacks for $95 ($3.80 a snack)!
P.S. Bonus: There is a mini dance party opportunity at the end of each snack.
I often recommend Yoga Tune Up: QuickFix Rx – Upper Body Series to go with any of the upper body Restorative Exercise™ snacks. Great combination! Don’t forget the Yoga Tune Up Therapy Balls. I love these things.