Mobility/Stability Movement Exploration – Mar 9

Something I love about these movement sessions… I never know what it’s going to look like.

I went into this session planning to do the general Movement Exploration. However, as soon as I dropped into a squat, my body asked for something different. It was still Movement Exploration, but with a lot more stability and positional work. My neck feels pretty much back to normal. No pain… not even at the end ranges of motion. I had a neck pain issue that lasted about five days. It never raised into pain above a level 4 on a scale of ten. In the past, before I learned how to apply movement, this kind of neck pain would have been a level 8 and lasted 2-4 weeks.

My left knee was very talkative at the beginning. I had to ease into a deep knee bend at first. If the pain amped up from the position, I would have backed off… The position actually felt really good and I could feel the knee soften and release into it. As it opened up, I started exploring more movements from that position. By the end of the deep knee bending sequence, the left knee felt 80-90% better. This really set the tone for the rest of the session.

During movement sessions like this one, I like to think about my body in position. I ask “what positions can my body support and more importantly, cannot support. I feel my connection to the ground from all points of contact – hands, feet, knee, shoulder, or spine. Am I able to transition from one base of support to another? Is it efficient? Is it different on one side of my body compared to the other? If it is different, is it a mobility issue or a stability issue? Can I improve it by focusing on it? Can I slow it down and control movement?

How I Move with Acute Back Pain -Feb 5

For all the moving I did on Saturday, I did not on Sunday, and today I paid the price.

Some days I just don’t. I allow the little voice in my head to tell me “I don’t need to today” or “one day off won’t matter.” Sunday was one of those days. It’s not that I didn’t move. I went on a bike ride; played on the obstacle course and slackline; and did some work on the garden. But I didn’t do any Movement Restoration work.

Well, Monday had a message for me. I do need it every day and it does matter. My knee has been mildly painful for a few weeks. I can feel how much it affects my gait, which in turn leads to hip, back, and shoulder issues.

When I woke up, my mid to low back was feeling a bit tight. I had client sessions from 6a-4p, which provides me with a ton of moving opportunities. By mid-morning, however, the tightness became more pronounced as the day wore on. Thankfully this wasn’t the same level of back pain I’ve experienced in the past, but it was enough to give me pause. On a scale of one to ten, I’d place it around a 4-6… manageable but disconcerting.

I continued to get my micro movements whenever possible throughout the day. By the end of the day, I felt exhausted and ready for bed. Knowing that Tuesday means a day of walking across campus with a heavy backpack, I committed myself to this movement session.

In this session, I start off with the foam roller to loosen up the back. Then I go into full body Movement Restoration. As I’m moving, I’m reminded of something I said to a client earlier in the day. “Learning to draw outside the lines.” I love this concept with my exploration movements. There is no “right” way to move. I am being playful and learning how my body wants to move.

By the end of the session, I was able to move more freely with less discomfort. On a scale of one to ten, the pain was at a 1-2.

Update: After a long day on campus, my back feels considerably better than yesterday. It is still a bit twingy at the edges of rotation.

A Gift from The Art of Fitness


Due to the overwhelming response to this gift offer (December massage sessions booked up within 24 hours), I am extending this offer for sessions scheduled up to January 31, 2016.

Since I have your attention, please take a moment to check out what The Art of Fitness philosophy on Movement Therapy is all about.

Thank you for sharing this with your family and friends.


About six years ago, I practiced gift economy. I did not charge money for my work. I had no hourly rate. I had no suggested donation amounts. I offered my work for free as a gift with no expectation of a return of value.

I loved practicing gift economy

I loved how it allowed me to work with everyone, regardless of whether they could afford my services or not. I loved it because everybody gave back in heartfelt ways. Most people would give money. Others would offer vegetables from their garden, home-baked goodies, or help with electrical or plumbing work. Best of all, many would forward their gifts to others.

I moved away from gift economy as my life and family needs have changed, but I continue to be inspired by the concept. There is something simple and sweet in the idea of living my life as a gift to others, and I aspire to this each and every day.

In the Spirit of Giving

Since it is officially the season of giving, I am returning to the gift economy. For appointments scheduled during the month of December  through the end of January 2016, I am offering deep tissue massage therapy sessions as my gift* to all current, former, and new clients.

Click here to schedule a deep tissue massage therapy session for yourself or a loved one.

*In a gift economy, goods and services are provided with no expectation of payment, or with payment being “forwarded” for another’s benefit. It is my preferred way to give back and to express my gratitude for the trust and faith you place in me.

These sessions are offered as a gift. You will not be expected or requested to provide payment. (FYI my normal fee for deep tissue massage therapy is based on a sliding scale up to $150/session.)

Massage therapy appointment availability is limited. Sessions are first-come first-served, so up and book your appointments now.


Using Movement as Therapy

Movement as therapyHow do you want to move when you’re 90? This is a question I ask myself every day.

Do you want to be capable of getting up and down from the floor with ease and without Pain? Can you do this now? If not, using movement as therapy may be what you need.

I want to run, jump, climb, crawl, balance, catch, throw, and most importantly play up till my last breath. I want to be able to move with ease. I want to be a fully functioning human mover well into advanced age.

Using Movement therapy

Movement as Therapy

The reality is that I cannot do some of these things on any given day today.

If you cannot perform these movement skills today, they won’t magically appear in 20, 30, or 40 years. Which means, if you want to move well into older age, you must learn and practice them now. You must use movement each and every day as therapy to restore the skills you have lost from not moving enough.

This is what I call Movement Therapy.

Hanging and Climbing

A MovNat fitness class Hanging and ClimbingEver wonder why we have playgrounds designed to promote healthy human movement for kids, but not for adults?

Kids don’t walk up to a playground and plan how many sets and reps of each exercise their going to do. They simply play and move. It is through this play that they develop great movement skills.

Children who explore and play using their natural skills become great movers. But then adulthood begins and we sit and we sit and we sit. We stop exploring. We stop playing. Instead of play we go inside a box, stair at the TV’s on the wall, and get on equipment that takes all the fun and joy out of being a human mover. That’s why we call it a “workout”, because it IS Work. And our movement abilities suffer. This is not a recipe for healthy lifelong movement ability.

Exercise should be fun. We need to build more playgrounds for adults.

Hanging and Climbing

Hanging and Climbing

This is a nice little movement video from a fellow MovNat coach. These are all movements that I practice and teach in personal training and coaching sessions.

MovNat Snapshots 12 – HangingMovNat Snapshots 12 – Hanging

Posted by MovnatMunich on Sunday, October 25, 2015

I love hanging and climbing work. Adding it into my daily practice has had a huge impact on my overall strength and movement abilities. Plus it’s fun!

Movement is Function

Be strong to be helpful. Movement is FunctionI believe that the skill of healthy natural movement enables us to be strong and helpful in the world. To be of service to others. This is a mindset that flips the current fitness culture on it’s head. Too many “fitness” programs revolve around vanity rather than function. If our fitness is primarily designed around selfies and looking fit and strong, chances are, it will lack depth and function. It is possible to have the outside look of being strong and fit, but beneath the surface lack competent function.

Looking good is great, but being strong to be helpful has more impact (and is more sustainable). Fitness in our culture has become too contained, too artificial–we want to be fit so that we can feel good in the gym environment. But the true fitness necessary in the real world doesn’t exist in a gym. If my neighbors or family need me to be there for safety or support, I want to be able and capable to really serve them. Pushing a car, getting someone to safety who has fallen on the trail, saving someone from a fire, running to catch a child who is in danger–these are the real moments that our fitness is truly tested.

Our current fitness culture focuses on conditioning–high intensity workouts to burn calories and promote weight loss, with very little focus on quality movement or skill. That approach may lead to a quick fix, but it will also most likely lead to injury that will sabotage the hard work you’ve done.

Movement is Function

Movement Therapy, on the other hand, focuses on a concept of movement restoration and exploration. We start with a movement assessment to see where your movement is limited; and then using MovNat principles, develop solid skill and form with a strong emphasis on quality. We move on to conditioning only once we’ve established solid skill and good form.

Are you ready to be more than an appearance of  just fit? And instead become strong to be helpful? It is time to train so that your movement is function. I can show you how.

A Lifetime of Movement

A older man performing a planche maintaining a lifetime of movementHow do you want to move when you’re 90? Do you want to be able to get up off the floor with ease? Pick up your grandkids? Have balance without the fear of falling? Can you do these things now?

All of these are skills of movement. If you don’t have these skillsets now, and you don’t develop them, you won’t magically have them later. One big secret of movement is that when you don’t use it, you’ll literally lose it.

A Lifetime of Movement

It’s important to explore the full potential of natural human movement throughout your entire lifetime so that you can move well and age well. This is especially true now in the age of sitting for long hours in front of our technological achievements.

Unfortunately, most people stop moving and lose their skills of movement as they get older. They become more cautious and conservative, and over time, their range of motion shrinks. This is not the way it is meant to be. Receiving support and feedback from a skilled Movement Therapist, personal trainer, or coach can make a world of difference.

You are a natural human mover. The time is now to reengage with what that means. Move like a human.

Restore Your Movement Function

3d rendered illustration - painful neck
3d rendered illustration – painful neck


Over the weekend, a client contacted me complaining of neck pain when moving her head in flexion and extension. I find the common tendency with these kinds of symptoms is to massage and stretch the neck specifically in the direction of the discomfort.
She wasn’t able to come in for a session for a few days. So I gave her some movement tips based upon what we’ve been working on already. Instead of focusing on the neck.

I had her work on bigger movements through the spine and hips, with an emphasis on rotation and lateral flexion.

Last night I received a text:
“You are a wise dude. The lateral movements are totally helping.”

Bring Back Movement Function

We move in three deminsions. Sometimes the deminsion of movement that feels tight, restricted, or painful is just a symptom for what isn’t working in another dimension. And the specific location of pain or discomfort is actually the area of the body that is working well. The problem is that it is compensating for a deminsion of movement elsewhere that isn’t moving well. The painful area is working so hard that it becomes cranky.

Using a deep squat to bring back movement function
Bring back the movement function elsewhere and the localized symptoms of pain improve. This is why a skilled Movement Therapist, personal trainer, or coach is so valuable.

Pain Free Movement

images-3 Freedom from Pain

Pain is often a manifestation of choice. Once we identify the “why you hurt”, we can begin to change the choices you are making around movement. It’s incredibly important to move well with good form. Receiving support and feedback from a skilled Movement Therapist, personal trainer, or coach can make a world of difference. The bottom line is, if you learn to move well, you’re going to experience less pain. If you move poorly (poor form), eventually, over 10, 20, 30 or more years, it is going to hurt to move.

erwanjumpClients often tell me that they’d like to be more fit or active, but previous injuries, painful workout experiences, or fear of pain and injury holds them back. If pain, is affecting how you move, it’s important to identify the root cause, and just as important… that you can keep moving. I assess my client’s movement to find the “why” they experience pain, and teach them how to restore the missing movement pieces to improve movement quality and bring back full pain-free function.


Pain Free Movement

Contrary to popular belief, It’s rarely the movements we do too much of that causes pain. In my experience, it is the movements we don’t do enough. During our sessions, I look at how you move and observe where your body isn’t moving well, and then together we use specific exercises to bring those movements back into your body. For example, if you can’t drop into a deep resting squat, an incredibly important human skill , we can break that movement down into its smallest fundamental progressions in order to rebuild and restore the skill of squatting. Once you’ve got the skill, we can continue to build on top of that and eventually add in elements strength and conditioning .

Are you feeling unsteady and fearful around movement? I begin with small safe movements and teach you how to open your body into fuller ranges of the human experience. I focus on movement quality, efficiency, competency, skill, and safety. I’m less concerned with whether you can do it, but more concerned that you can do it well.

Yoga is Not a Competitive Sport

Yoga is Not a Competitive Sport

I’m a big fan of Yoga–I believe it is an excellent movement practice, and I incorporate a lot of yoga movements into my personal training and coaching sessions; as well as my own personal movement practice. However, I work with many clients who hire me to help them heal and recover from yoga injuries and there are a some common themes I have noticed over the years.

As with most movement related injuries, I find that the driving factor leading into an injury is one’s mindset. With Yoga injuries specifically, I quite often sense a level of competition (either with oneself or in the dynamics of a group class) that pushes them to move beyond their body’s ability, placing them at physical risk.

Competitive Yoga stickerAt its essence, Yoga is about developing a conscious connection with your body to explore movement both externally and internally. It is about listening to the body’s subtle queues of what is a healthy vs an unhealthy movement. It is not about looking just like the instructor, the person next to you, or pushing through a painful movement to achieve a “perfect” pose. If you’re trying to compete or “do it right,” you are in fact doing it wrong, and possibly hurting your body. Which, by the way, goes completely against the whole point of a healthy Yoga practice.

Practice being present with yourself through YogaTo be present with yourself, focus on the exploration of movement and less on the the end range goal of a pose. Pay attention to your thoughts and check in for healthy pain free movement with questions such as: What am I experiencing in this moment? Is this movement painful? Does it feel safe? Exploring yourself from a very mindful space instead of “I’ve got to beat my last pose”, or “look at that person next to me. I’m not doing good enough”. If you listen to your body and use it as a tool for gradual change, Yoga is great. It is a fantastic exploration of self through movement. But if you are exploring Yoga through judgement or competition, you may be wading into treacherous waters

Want to learn more on how to develop a healthy Yoga movement practice? Check out this great article written by my good friend Amanda Patti Out of the Frying Pan, Into the Fire: Bridging the Gap between Yoga and Movement.

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