So these two stories that I want to tell you about are two good friends of mine. They started off as clients and ultimately became quite a bit more. One of them is a brilliant, brilliant physicist, somebody that’s had a hand in most of the advances we’ve had in modern technology in the past 30 or 40 years. This is a brain that is capable of breaking down phenomena that none of us can understand, making something out of it and then putting it in a way that we can understand. Yet, he couldn’t understand his body’s own fundamental movement pattern and the breakdown in that movement pattern that was leading to his every-day chronic pain and at 60 plus years old, he was in chronic pain for a very long time. And he had the ability to seek answers from the top people in the world but he was still in chronic pain, because he was seeking help instead of helping himself. He was not actively adapting instead of complacently adapting to the rigors of everyday life of sitting. When you’re a physicist, when you’re an engineer, you sit all the time.
The other person I want to tell you about is a very good friend of mine, one of the top triathletes that has ever been. In fact, this man has won the world’s toughest triathlon twice; that’s a pretty serious beat. This guy runs and bikes and swims and can’t sit down for the life and he hates to sit down, he will not stay still. He also happened to train a number of the top athletes in the world. This is a super athlete. He is not like any of us; he is what all of us that are athletes strive to be. Yet he shared the exact same movement breakdown, the exact same common denominator — this inability to hinge at the hips.
And this ugly thing that happens when you bend forward and put all of that force that should be absorbed at the hips, the butt muscles, the hamstrings, the muscles that are designed to absorb the force of gravity throughout the day, every day of your life, instead of using those you bend at the spine — they bend at their spine and suddenly they had the exact same problem as each other, even though they had completely different lifestyles. And these extremes are what we see sharing and that means that every one of you, most of you know somebody or are currently yourself experiencing this exact same breakdown pattern, this inability to hinge at the hips instead bending at the spine, and again putting into play this very typical expected series of events starting with back pain leading to an eventual overall deterioration of the physical body.
So what can you do about this? What happens when you’re in back pain like this? What can you do? How do you learn? Do you go to yoga and do these things? You learn, you have to understand anatomy a little bit and sometimes when somebody is teaching you about your own body, doesn’t always make all that much sense. It’s kind of like, it’s almost like you’re learning a second language, like something just doesn’t click. You know, you didn’t go to medical school; you didn’t go to chiropractic school; you’re not a physical therapist; you’re not a personal trainer. You’re just somebody that wants to get out of pain. But there’s something that you can do to get started.
I can’t teach you everything I want to today but I can teach you one thing about this common denominator. And because it can be a little bit difficult sometimes to understand this anatomy lingo, this learning about your body, I would like to bring out today’s chief anatomy translator Brian. He’s going to help you guys see what it looks like but ultimately feel what it feels like to move the way your body is designed to. So while he’s coming out, I’d like all of you to stand up, we’re going to get a little active. So go ahead and stand up.
So this is Brian, your anatomy translator today. So what we’re going to show you first before anything else is all I want to do is just kind of open yourself up a little bit. I want you to take two big deep breaths. We’re going to do this slowly. I want each of you to feel this. When you start rolling your shoulders, what I don’t want you to do is roll your shoulders forward. When you roll your shoulders forward you’re going further into that little snail pattern, your head is going to go forward like this and all of a sudden you’re right where I don’t want you to be. So I want you to roll backwards and as you’re rolling your shoulders backwards, I want you to picture this length from the center of your sternum out to the sides of your shoulders expanding, with every breath you take and with every shoulder movement you make.
From here on the next breath, I want you to put your thumbs right at the base of your ribcage. It’s going to be a little harder for some of you to find it but eventually you’ll dig deep enough and get there, I promise. So dig in there a little bit, find somewhere around the bottom rib. And then I want you to put your pinky or ring finger right at the front hip bone. And all you’re doing here is measuring the amount of length you have in the front of your body, because if you don’t have enough length at the front of your body, if you don’t stand tall, if you don’t expand the front of your body, you cannot be strong at the back of your body. And if you can’t be strong at the back of your body, you can’t be strong.