In this episode of the undercurrent podcast, Aaron Alexander @alignpodcast and I talk about the two-way relationship between physiology and psychology, or how the mind affects the body and how movement of the body (or lack thereof) affects the mind. Aaron is a very experienced manual therapist and trainer across multiple movement disciplines, and he shares some simple movement and mindset tips to help us all more gracefully navigate daily life, plus he shares his unique perspective on how the Neubie complements his work, and more.
Welcome to the undercurrent podcast, I am joined today by Aaron Alexander, who is a multifaceted manual therapist, movement, coach, author, and podcast host, his book is The Align method. And he has a wonderful perspective on movement on manual therapy, and on the bridge between our physical experience and our psychological perspective, interpersonal relationships, I mean, a lot of wonderful content on his podcast and in his book. I’m excited to dive in here today and see which direction it goes. Aaron, welcome.
[Aaron Alexandar] 1:28
Thanks for having me, man, I love this place, I see that our bulb has, has gone out, I wonder what the deeper universal significance of that is, oh, my gosh, this long experience with these bulbs going on and off.
So we had to work through it, though. So if you’re listening, you can’t see me pointing here. But if you’re watching, you’ll see. So we had this Bob in this socket here, and it went out. And then we move it to another socket on this lightning bolt.
And it worked again. So we thought there was this wonderful lesson, about the environment in which we’re in and how it influenced us. Maybe epigenetics, you know, brings up the story from The Biology of Belief from Bruce Lipton’s book about the bacteria growing in a petri dish or out of cells, bacteria cells growing in a petri dish, and how if they could be bacteria, if they, if they were dying, their instruction from the laboratory supervisor was to check the environment, check the fluids, the milieu. And if, if the cells in the culture were dying, they needed to change the environment. And so this just kind of reminded me of that good, profound, profound lesson. That’s
[Aaron Alexandar] 2:35
Like the perfect segue into talking about the way that our environment informs us at a structural level as well, well,
Let’s go, there were about eight different directions, I thought we’ll get started this thing, that’s a good one, let’s, let’s go there.
[Aaron Alexandar] 2:50
Yeah. So that’s, essentially that’s what the Align method is, it’s kind of like a, like a philosophy on how to integrate more effective movement into who you are as a person, as opposed to a thing that you do in a gym. And so most of us, most of our intentional movement is relegated to this like 45-minute period, three to four days a week at a studio someplace, you know, or a gym or, you know, a dojo or someplace of the sort. But your body doesn’t know any of that, like for your body, your training 100% of the time, you know, you got your fibroblasts, and your fibroblasts and osteoclasts and blasts and you have all these little these, these engineering cells that are constructing you at an at a neuromuscular, you know, bony like all of the levels, your body is always under formation.
[Aaron Alexandar] 3:38
So as we’re sitting here, our body is forming to the shape of this seat, you know, and so what that’s called it like the term for that as Makino transduction. So your cells respond to different pressures and twists and turns and torques. And there’s a chemical relationship, that that there’s a response to that. And throughout the day, we can start to pay attention to how we breathe, for example, the way that we walk or the way that we communicate. And if you go to different countries, you might notice more or less hand gestures or just stipulation, you get to Italy, where people seem to be kind of healthy, you know, as as a whole, in comparison, that sites slash lots of places. And when they communicate, there’s this like, there’s like this passion. It’s like a pizza. They’re like, they’re out here like this.
[Aaron Alexandar] 4:35
They’re animated. They’re like, electrified, you know. And so that would come into a conversation of electrical stimulation therapy like they’re their e stim. They’re their newbies or 10s units as they’re moving through the world. Do you know that Jawad Aviv, that essence that they moved through the world with based off of cultural learnings? You know, it’s the indoctrination of the culture that they’re steeped in. It forms their bodies into being more like well-circulated systems, and more upright systems. And aware as you go to maybe someplace else, where maybe the culture, maybe somewhere in like China or something or someplace where it’s like, you know, it’s more of a factory type system where it’s like, okay, just get in, kind of turn the human, not China as a whole, obviously, but certain places, you turn the human into, like a gear, you know, and we’re trying to extract as much resource out of that person just kind of put them in a repetitive position, you know, put them inside this place, and just wind them out in that position all day long.
[Aaron Alexandar] 5:41
And then on the other side of that, you see a different equation. You know, and so it’s like, both of those scenarios. It’s the same cell. It’s the, it’s the milieu, it’s the, it’s the culture that they’re indoctrinated in, or that they’re living in, that changes the structure and the function in the feel, and the experience of that cell, you know, and so within all of that story, then you could say, Okay, interesting, like, how do I change or augment the culture of my own in my petri dish, and some really simple things that a person can do with one just beginning the process of paying attention. You know, so as you’re sitting down, you know, maybe you’re thinking about the future, thinking about the past, or you’re stressing, you’re winding yourself up.
[Aaron Alexandar] 6:33
And in whatever way, there’s been different research that shows, you know, just the act of attention in and of itself is calming for the nervous system. Now, there’s one specific, I remember, this one came out, but it was with people washing dishes, and they had a couple of different groups of people are washing dishes, and the one group was told to notice that you know, the temperature of the water, and you know, the quality of the air in the room, and like the bubbles, and the light glistening off of the bubbles, and all of that.
[Aaron Alexandar] 7:01
And those people end up afterward, reporting, feeling calmer, they score higher creativity tests, you know, and then the people that are just kind of like, just getting the job done. Afterward, they don’t get any of that, like that. There are benefits from the experience, it just works. You know, and so, I think the first I mean, we can keep on unpacking this. And I could just keep on talking for the next 30 minutes, which probably isn’t appropriate. But I think the first point, maybe a fine starting point is just saying like, okay, like, lowest, lowest hanging fruit like knuckles dragging on the floor, hanging fruit, is just beginning to engage with a little bit more attention in your day-to-day life. And let’s see what happens from there.
That’s, I like that. Yeah, if you’re focused on the dishes, the temperature of the water, the act of what you’re doing, being intentional and attentive to it, you don’t have as much bandwidth in your brain to ruminate on the main thing someone said to you earlier in the day, or to stress about the meeting next week, or the paper that’s due or the whatever I mean, you’re focused, that’s, that’s a wonderful place to be focused.
That’s a good, good, good. The first point there. I like that. And when, you know, it’s interesting when you’re talking about a factory worker, like a sweatshop worker in China, who’s treated like a resource from which to have the most productivity extracted, and who might be, you know, in a hunched over position, at an assembly line are working in a particular job all day long, and how they adapt to that.
It’s not too far of a stretch, to equate that to, you know, a hard-charging executive here in the United States who, you know, we may have more freedom, and instead of a factory supervisor forcing us to do it, we may be our factory supervisor who forces us to sit at a desk that long, or sit behind the wheel of a car for that long and be in the same types of positions and create that same style cellular, that’s a milieu of, of movement, or lack thereof.
And so for those of us over here, who find that we’re, we’re locked in, we know we know, there’s some issues we know we may only have maybe that resonate with us, we you know, we’re at our desk or behind the wheel of a car all day long, except for our 45 minutes in the gym, or the little bit here and there. What else can we do in addition to attention now we’re being aware of what we’re doing and how we’re feeling what else can we work into our daily life to start to tap into movement and then we can you know, talk about where that can lead but what else can we do to help ourselves create a better milieu so that we get better output for ourselves and our bodies?
[Aaron Alexandar] 9:56
Well, so the one thing that’s interesting before going directly to the more structural part of the question, which I think is invaluable. But as also the concept or idea of freedom, you know, which also is a story that we, that we tell ourselves. And that is a major difference in a person, say, for example, in a hospital needing pain medication, if the person has the freedom to choose how much pain medication, they use, and suddenly they need less pain medication. Whereas if you’re in that place of like, Oh, I’m out of control.
[Aaron Alexandar] 10:31
And again, there’s a neuromuscular structural conversation here as well, the concept we were talking about this before on, on my podcast, you know, the way that our cells operate, and our autonomic nervous system operates. Now, that’s how we operate with our personalities and our relationships, you know, as below so above. So that’s a really interesting thing is just like, What is a person rehearsing in their mind of who they are, who they think they are, their role in the world, and, you know, their, their, their freedom to be, be what they want, or, you know, choose who they want to love?
[Aaron Alexandar] 11:10
And, you know, or do you feel like you’re a person that maybe since grade school, you’ve always been told that, you know, you won’t be successful or loved unless you’re a lawyer or a doctor, you know, or you have these like, six pack abs, and you look like the person on muscle and fitness, or you have this much money, and you’re, you know, featured somewhere in Entrepreneur Magazine, you know, that, in and of itself, I think there’s a lot of potential pain that can be inflicted throughout the culture, directly or indirectly, just as a product of again, that that the, you know, that culture or milieu that our cells are steeped in, and that the story of who is the cell?
[Aaron Alexandar] 11:51
So there’s the environmental still. And then there’s the concept of the cell itself, like who am I, you know, and there’s a quote from Das, it says, who you think you are, is, is vulnerable and who you are is invulnerable. You know, and so I think having a’s a good one. Yeah, I think having quotations, like a spiritual practice is very important. And your spiritual practice could just be your life, you know, but acknowledging that like, hey, like, you know, this experience now matters more than maybe I’ve given a credit to this breath matters more than I’ve given credit to.
And just to kind of close the loop and connect the dots, you know, when you talk about the study of people who are paying attention to dishes, as opposed to thinking about something that happened, you know, earlier that day, or thinking about what they’re doing later, that week. They turned their dishes, and dishwashing sessions into a spiritual practice, I would suggest floors. Yeah. So I love that you said that, that, you know, life can be your spiritual practice. And I think that that was that’s a good example. We’ve already talked about it in the first few minutes here.
[Aaron Alexandar] 13:03
Yeah, yeah. Ellen Langer is a person I’ve done a test with her on mine, when’s the Align podcast? It was from two, or three years ago, or something that we recorded, sure to book called counterclockwise. And she
Had she brought the people, the older people to that living environment, right, where he’s,
[Aaron Alexandar] 13:25
Yeah, she went on she’s done a bunch of different ones, I was going to talk about the house-made study. But yeah, the counter, the one that the counter-clockwise book was, was named after was bringing a bunch of, you know, 80-something-year-old people into this, there’s like a hotel or some conference space. And they, she posted them up there. And she turned the place essentially, as though it would be from 20 years ago.
[Aaron Alexandar] 13:52
So she had the football game, probably from 20 years ago, the President was, you know, talking on the TV from 20 years ago, and the newspapers and, you know, the style of the room and everything. And what they found within that, which I think there’s this is kind of like a, there’s a lot of, I don’t know, like noise in this in this study or a lot of other variables, but because I think a big part of it is a community, and it’s just bringing a bunch of potentially neglected people together to be a part of something bigger than themselves and be hanging around each other and have like, play and all of that. So I think that was a major, a major constituent in the whole thing. But regardless, what they found was that suddenly there, you know, their, their fingers would get longer and osteoarthritis would start to diminish, and their vision would become better and, you know, just every like, it’s just like, wow, like, they like round the clock back based off of this story. You know, this, like this diagram of a world that they put themselves into. So that’s pretty cool.
And then you were going to mention her other study.
[Aaron Alexandar] 14:55
So the other one within that was the, I think they call it the housemaids helps me study And within that, it was they had a couple of different groups of maids. And the one group, they just, you know, let them keep on making, you know, vacuuming and sweeping and walking up and down stairs. And then the other group, she suggested to them, I believe is showing like a movie or something suggested to them, that what they’re doing is like this, it’s fitness, like you guys are athletes, you know, you’re doing all these steps every day you’re hinging, you’re like, you’re going to your TV, like, you’re like, you’re an athlete, you’re like this is you’re working out all day long. And what they found was that just changing the narrative of the people’s perception of the way that they navigated being in their bodies throughout the day, the story that they were running, suddenly, they burn more calories, and they burn more fat.
[Aaron Alexandar] 15:48
And, you know, you can see this objective change based on their subjective experience. And then we’re all this stuff comes interesting comes into a kind of like the, you know, the reason I wrote the line method book, and just the things I’m interested in, in general, is that bridge between the mind and the body, you know, in that relationship, and it’s pretty fascinating how, you know, William James, the psychologist, he talked about how, you know, as he was one of like, the pioneering thought leaders in the conversation of the bottom up conversation, like how your physical expressions and physical body augments and changes and produces, or perhaps is the source of the way that we think and the way that we feel.
[Aaron Alexandar] 16:34
And then you could also just as easily go top-down and say, Well, the way that you think they feel informs the way that you hold you, your shoulder carriage or you’re whatever, if you feel defensive and afraid, then you’re going to maybe curl up, you’re going to go into that more this combative, defensive posture. But he would suggest that it’s the posture itself that induces the sensation. And I think, I mean, it’s a really interesting thing, just to kind of stew on in general for yourself of like, okay, am I moving into the way that I feel? Or am I feeling myself into the way that I move? And I think, ultimately, it doesn’t matter.
[Aaron Alexandar] 17:13
You know, it’s like the chicken or the egg question. All that matters is, you know, we have a chicken and we have some eggs, like, which came first, like, it’s kind of just minutia. And we have all of these toggles, you know, as a human being, that we have access to pulling on, to change the way that we think to change the way that we feel to change the way that we produce ourselves, you know, at a cellular level, and a hormonal level and all the different levels. And, you know, it’s like, we’re like a theme park of physiological toggles, we just haven’t been given the guidance on how to start to pull those guys. So one of them we postural patterns. Another would be breathing patterns. Another would be maybe visual patterns, the way that you’re using your eyes, throughout the day. Yeah, so that’s an interesting kind of like, on board to kind of more of a structural conversation of like, interesting, like, our body doesn’t form this physical experience.
Absolutely. If anyone is, is questioning that, as you’re watching or listening to this, I would invite you to try, you know, try putting yourself in a position as if you were you were crying or sad. Yeah. And you know, you’re kind of slumped forward. And, I mean, I go into that position, I almost feel like I’m starting to tear up, like, I’m not sad about anything, I’m having a wonderful day. But, you know, I actually, just getting in that position makes me feel a little bit sad. I would, I would invite anyone who’s, who’s listening to this to try to get in that position. And then try to feel try to try to feel happy, try to feel like you’re celebrating something. So I mean, I’m in this position, but I’m going to think about how, how happy how excited I am. It’s like, I can’t, I can’t do it. Like,
[Aaron Alexandar] 19:07
Yeah, and so we’ve anchored those positions for, you know, ever millennia, you know, depending on your belief system of, you know, evolution, human evolution. But, you know, any creature, you could say, a dog, you know, if a dog thinks they’re in trouble, they don’t, their ears don’t perk up in their head perks up and their tail wags, you know, they’re, they’ll kind of, they’ll go into that, like hyper kyphotic, you know, deeply posterior tilted pelvis and kind of their tail will go underneath, like, oh, you know, I hope they don’t get like spanked depending upon, you know, who their people are. And that’s like, that’s not them.
[Aaron Alexandar] 19:45
That’s not something that they learned. That’s like, out of the box, you know, and Paul Ekman implemented, Paul Ekman, where he was he was big on facial expressions. Yeah, he studied he went to like, Papa New Guinea, I think was his the place that he was. I was enamored going because there were specific tribes that have been untouched by other cultures. Yeah, I’ve Yes, go on here, I did a podcast with him. He as well as a similar timeframe as Ellen Langer. And so researching into his work is interesting, because it’s our facial expressions or something that’s there, you know, their native their innate.
[Aaron Alexandar] 20:22
And so he mapped out something like 10,000 different facial expressions for each person, each having kind of a specific kind of tone or meaning. And what he found was going to these untouched places, people all had the same consistent facial expressions, we’re all happy the same way, we’re all sad the same way, we’re all surprised the same way. You know, if someone wins a race, we all win the race the same way, if they lose the race, we all lose the race the same way. You know, and so those are kind of getting into, like, the analogy of these toggles, you know, I like to try to simplify things wherever it can, and kind of like make like visuals. And so we have access to these things if we start to pay attention, and maybe have like, a little bit of know-how, and that’s the way that we’re communicating all the time anyway.
[Aaron Alexandar] 21:09
You know, there’s I’m like being excessively quotations of stuff. But Albert Mehrabian is another. He was a psychologist from like the 60s, he came up with this concept called the 5538 seven principles, which was that 55% of our communication comes from body language, and 38% comes from voice tonality. And then seven is like, the actual words that we’re saying. So if there’s any incongruence, between those, those factors, with 93%, consistency, we’re going to trust voice tonality and body language.
[Aaron Alexandar] 21:46
So if somebody says a thing, but their tone and their body language don’t match, you don’t trust the words, you trust the body, then it’s much harder for the body to lie, you know, and so it’s like, Okay, interesting. So there’s almost like, there’s like these, like, physical laws, in a way with the body, when you feel a certain way, it expresses a certain way. And then it’s interesting to see modern culture, you know, depressions up there with being the leading cause of disability worldwide, you know, each seems like day or month or year, statistically, Americans are consuming more anti-anxiety medications and antidepressant medications, and, you know, self-harm is increasing. And it’s like, what is that? Is that just like, we’re eating too much sugar?
[Aaron Alexandar] 22:36
You know, is that that we’re not getting enough natural, direct current, you know, like sunlight? And, you know, is it? Is it some circadian rhythm conversation? Is it that we’re getting all this blue light stuff after? You know, the sun goes down, and then we’re up till really late? Is it you know, what, like, what’s, there’s a lot of different levels of the conversation. But I think one that’s, that’s rare for people to investigate is that the movement conversation and I think that that movement is, you know, it’s foundational to the way the person thinks and feels. You know, I don’t care how big a cup of coffee you had, or how, you know, fat nootropic supplements you had, unless it’s going to be like LSD, LSD seems to take over, which is also considered inotropic.
[Aaron Alexandar] 23:18
But what happens if that inotropic does take over is, so you take the LSD microdose thing, which is becoming a popular thing. Maybe it edges into macro enough to cause you to say, I got to get out of this position. I got to get out of this chair. I got to get out of this room, I got to get out of this box, I need to go out and be with some fucking trees, man. Like, I’m going to jump in that pond. Like, I know, it seems crazy. But I’m going to go do some, you know, cold thermogenesis. I’m not going to call it that. Because, you know, I’m just experiencing this moment. You know, but in reality, there’s all sorts of science to validate and back up, those inclinations that may manifest as a product of a person doing something crazy, like a microdose of LSD.
[Aaron Alexandar] 24:10
Not that this is about a microdose of LSD at all. But it’s interesting that to evoke those realizations, or epiphanies or downloads or whatever person may have, they’re probably not going to just do that thing. Drink that coffee, to use a more like a tame example, and more legal example. And they don’t just sit there, drink the coffee and suddenly get turned up the coffee catalyzes the movement which perpetuates the feeling, you know, and so, the way that modern culture is in large part is, you know, they’re sitting in hunched over positions, and they’re kind of setting their physical bodies up to be you know, disinclined for any kind of like expression of power or flexibility or longevity. Video durability.
[Aaron Alexandar] 25:01
And they’re just rehearsing that pattern day in, day out. And it’s not just a physical structural issue if you’re on a chair too long. And it’s also not even an issue of a person’s sitting too much. Because sitting isn’t a problem. It’s how you sit, you know, and there’s been research about that as well. We can talk about setting hot set people and like the amount of rest time that they have throughout the day. It’s pretty consistent with industrialized populations. The research they saw was from the University of California.
[Aaron Alexandar] 25:31
And they measured the amount of time that that hot set people in northern Tanzania were sitting throughout the day, and it’s like, or rests in resting positions, and it was something like it was like 9.8 hours on average, which is pretty similar to most Americans are industrious populations, but the way that they’re sitting in its active rest. So they’re kneeling for a good chunk of the day. They’re in like a deep squat for a good chunk of day or like a Malaspina-type position. If you’re into yoga. They’re in like a cross-legged position. So like a Succasunna. You know, and they’re also outside, you know, so when you’re outside, so this gets into so there’s that there’s just a very specific endeavor, individual structural movement conversation.
[Aaron Alexandar] 26:17
And then there’s the environmental movement conversation, right? So I’m moved by my environment, I moved by sun exposure to my eyes, you know, my super charismatic nucleus and said, you know, and connecting with my skin cells, and, you know, it’s like your skin is like it like an endocrine organ. Now, when it’s consuming that light, it’s changing who you are. So I was a long rant but yeah, it’s all movement, called thermogenesis is movement. Sauna is movement. Being outside during a windy day, like if a tree and I’ll show it because I realized I’ve been talking, you know, we’re probably like done with the podcast.
[Aaron Alexandar] 26:55
But if you put it if you grow a tree inside of a room without wind, the tree just falls over, you know, becomes this week, flaccid kind of shitty expression of a tree. You know, a human being needs that resistance in the form of not just wind, but like, you know, life needs to kind of nudge it around. And if you can have that experience regularly by being a little hot, being a little cold, you know, taking a walking meeting, as opposed to sitting on the same freak in the chair all day meeting, taking a walking call. Not just taking a walking call around your office, but getting outside. Specifically putting yourself around trees is helpful from like a bio-electric perspective. Putting yourself around water.
I wish we had done that for this podcast episode. Can we shadow rocking around? I love that you
[Aaron Alexandar] 27:46
Guys have it? Yeah, yeah.
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So, if I could kind of summarize one of the themes here, I think you’ll be fair to say if I feel stuck in my life. It could be because I’m stuck in my movement in some way.
[Aaron Alexandar] 28:38
There’s a there’s going to be a connection. Going through
it’s a two-way street here if I’m how I so and movement, we’re also expanding to mean not just physical movement of the limbs, but as you said, you know, getting sunlight beat you know, experiencing cold and hot temperature swings, because that invokes movement inside of our bodies changes in, in blood vessel constriction, and dilation and movement, you know, movement of blood flow, movement of tissues within the body, which is all valuable and all important. And it causes us to break out of that, that same, you know, is when we’re sitting at a desk, and we’re kind of stuck in that one position and just, you know, focused on emails or whatever is coming at us that day.
We’re also typically in a, you know, a 70 to 72-degree room, we’re also you know, in that type of environment or changing any variables in that environment, we’re inside, right, and we’re under fluorescent light, changing any of those variables is good is valuable. And I liked that. I think that’s so important for people to understand how much that movement, how much the environment or the experience that we’re in how much that the petri dish, the environment the petri dish informs our cell. In, you know, where the cell and our environment we’re in the people we interact with the room that we’re in the space that we’re in how we move, that’s, that’s our environment. And I love that you’ve you’d broadened that definition to include those other things.
Let’s go into the movement because I know you’ve read your book, The Align method, and you’ve expanded it to include some more in the new version, some more work specifically on movements that people can follow along with. And so can you talk about some of the ways that you like to introduce, you know, talking about some of these environmental changes already, some of the ways that you like to introduce movement, body movement, into people’s day,
Some of your kind of go-to strategies in that regard? Definition to include those other things. Let’s go into the movement because I know you’ve read and redone, your book, The Align method, and you’ve expanded it to include some more in the new version, some more work specifically on movement that people can follow along with. And so can you talk about some of the ways that you like to introduce, you know, talking about somebody’s environmental changes already, some of the ways that you like to introduce movement, body movement, into people’s day, some of your kind of go-to strategies in that regard?
[Aaron Alexandar] 30:37
Yeah, the first thing would be being more, so I think it’s interesting. Or maybe I think it can be obnoxious, rather be the, like, the heretic, you know, and be like, the person that’s like, cultures, wrong, cultures are broken, everybody sucks, you know, like, like, our whole mentality is broken. And this is the path forward. I don’t love that. Personally, it doesn’t like to suit me, well, I like to sit with that when people are that way, it does stir the pot, which can be helpful having that polarization.
[Aaron Alexandar] 31:16
But I think there’s a way to marry, you know, old and new, you know, or past and present. And so within that, like, just integrating into your home, a really obvious thing would be filling your home with visual cues to naturally move your body just by being there. So an obvious one that I am, a massive advocate for is spending time on the ground in any capacity. And so that could be on him. So we’ve you know, we’ve done now we’ve recorded to this will be our second conversation recording.
[Aaron Alexandar] 31:52
And the whole time I’ve been like, I’ve been like dipping myself up, you know, picking myself off of the chair here to switch my leg position, I’m crossing them in different directions. Yes, I’m getting a lot of movement, almost as though I’m sitting on the ground as we’re having this conversation. So it doesn’t mean that you need to burn your couch or get rid of your dinner table or anything like that. You can just augment and follow your lead there, too. Yeah, it’s cool, it’s good, and it feels good. You know, and then and then within that, when you are sitting on a chair, make sure that your hips are up above the height of your knees is a simple cue.
And what that does is it sets your pelvis up and your lower back up to be in a more stable position. So as opposed to the kind of hunching yourself over and the pelvis tucking underneath kind of like that puppy dog position, we’re talking about the bottom vertebra, the L five s one vertebra there, they’re a bit more of a shape of a wedge. And so they’re like, native structural pattern to just sit and relax into your, your skeletal structure slash year, hope the temerity of your whole body would be for that pelvis to be just ever so slightly tilted forwards. So you can kind of just be like, just ever so slightly in the front edge of those sit bones. And then from there, you can feel if someone were to like, you know, drive weight down through your shoulders, you put you know, whatever a barbell on your back, you can find that orientation of the pelvis that feels just like, this is easy is this, this is totally easy. So be in that position more often. Like it’s like sitting kind of higher up, like if you can sit on a stool or
[Aaron Alexandar] 33:27
Higher up without flaring the ribs. Yeah, yeah. So then the next part of the conversation from there, some kind of, there’s kind of two, two intersecting conversations. One is spending more time on the ground when you’re on the ground, get yourself like comfy floor cushions, or you get like some Moroccan poops, or whatever you’re in to get like maybe like a comfy rug, like a shag rug or something like that. So it like actually feels good, put some cushioning underneath the rug. So it’s like, it’s like, Ah, it’s like inviting to be there. And then when you are sitting on the ground, at home, hanging out with your family or girlfriend,
[Aaron Alexandar] 33:58
whenever you’re doing if you have a space like that, it’s inviting to like play, you know, and you’re laying down and you can kind of twist over and you can kind of go through this broader range of motion, just because there’s a spaciousness to do so, you know, and you’re like a, like a, like a goldfish growing to the size of it’s of the container that it’s in, you know, so we are growing to the size of the container that we elect to put ourselves into. So if the size of your container is just a lazy boy sofa, and then you know your, your bucket seat of your car, and then your seat at your office, and then you go to a movie and you sit in the same seat, like that’s the size of your container. That’s the shape that you’ll grow into.
[Aaron Alexandar] 34:39
That’s the shape that you’ll adapt into. And everything else will just atrophy and disappear. You know, starting to change the environmental situation so that you’re able to just by being your body is more restorative, you know, and you’re healing more and you’re creating more mobility and more, you know, the potential for strength and restoration So make the ground comfortable. So it’s inviting hanging out there, you know, check your emails down there, whatever. And then, in the Align method book, we break down exactly how to do that effectively in different positions. And then if you’re on a chair or wherever, make sure that your hips are up above the height of your knees as often as possible.
[Aaron Alexandar] 35:17
If not, it’s not the end of the world, it’s fine. But just as a general principle, it’s going to be supportive. And then other things, you know, like, open your windows in your house, you know, allow yourself to get full spectrum sunlight, again, that direct current, you know, there’s, there’s, there’s something very healing about being exposed to that, to that direct current, you know, that DC coming off the sun. It’s it your autonomic nervous system, it’s like it’s, it’s soothing to it like you can feel it when you go outside, or at night-time, instead of having alternating current blue lights on, you know, light some candles, or, you know, maybe even light a fire someplace, like there’s nothing more soothing to the nervous system than sitting around a fire. And you just stare into it.
[Aaron Alexandar] 36:04
Oh, yeah. You know, and it’s one of those things again, it’s like, it’s innate, it’s, like, we have this ancestral wisdom, that, for the most part, has been, you know, shrouded or covered up by modern noise. You know, but it’s not very difficult to reintegrate those ancestral practices into your modern life, lighting some candles in your house at night is cool, it’s sexy.
And I have to let everyone know. So just before, this episode, we recorded an episode of Aaron’s podcast of the line podcast, and he came up with this wonderful metaphor that, that I like and, and will start to use. So we were talking about differences between direct current and alternating current, which, if you’ve listened very familiarly with, you know, our work here, you know that that’s part A big part of new fit the new fit method, nude the newbie device, why it’s so valuable and beneficial.
And Aaron was equating the direct current of the newbie device with how it’s, you know, how congruent it is with the, with the human body and how it mimics our signals that we send naturally, equating direct current with sunlight or, or the light from candles from, from burning fire, and how that makes these profoundly positive physiological effects about how they read an infrared light, you know, reduces inflammation, improves energy, ATP production has all these excellent healing benefits, and then comparing alternating current, which is foreign to the body to fluorescent lights, and how that can be you know, being inside under fluorescent lights all day is stressful to the body. And I thought that was a beautiful metaphor here. But just to kind of give context on some of this, this line of conversation we’re having here.
[Aaron Alexandar] 37:46
Yeah, it’s just agitating. So it’s not like a moralistic bad, good. Yeah, you know, anything, it’s just is what it is just agitating. Now, you know, if someone runs a strobe light, while you’re just like, hanging out having some tea, and, yeah, it’s like, okay, agitating. Yeah. I’m not mad at it, I’m not happy with it. It’s just, that’s, that’s what it is.
And we talked, you know, we talk a lot on this podcast, and we talked on the one that we did for your podcast about the concept of the threat bucket, about how these different stressors get thrown in there. And some are physic physical, some are psychological, and how when that bucket fills up, the output is pain. And that is, you know, the light is part of the environment, that’s something that even if it’s just a little bit, it’s a little bit of extra stress, or it’s a little bit of something that goes in that bucket.
And if that if it’s already nearly full, you know, just being under fluorescent lights during the day, can be something that triggers pain, if that bucket is already full, we’re already having trouble dealing with other stressors, that little bit of agitation, there could be the straw that broke the camel’s back could put us over the edge too, to where we have pain or have some sort of negative reaction. Yeah.
[Aaron Alexandar] 38:58
And then it’s the same thing. You know, in the, in the physical body. It’s if any, your body essentially is comprised of, you could say, like, however many muscles there are, it’s different fibers, like 640 Odd muscles. They’re like these, you know, these bags are capsules, so there’s like, aqueous capsules, you know, and so, aqueous being like, they’re wet, you know, and when they start to dry out, you know, or become agglomerated or stuck or, you know, dehydrated all that they function less well, and they started to get matted and suddenly that dexterity and articulation that you know, maybe like a high-level dancer or figure skater or something that’s or maybe martial artist has. It’s like they have well-hydrated differentiated water capsules.
[Aaron Alexandar] 39:50
And so within your body, your body is a pond. It’s like a pond of ponds, and a healthy pond is a well-circulated pile. God, you know, and so, typically what we have in a healthy body is the well-circulated body, but to be able to circulate new hydration, you know, in synovial fluid and you know, hyaluronic, you know, like all the different stuff, to be able to, to perforate those tissues, we need to have we need, they need to be available to receive new hydration in the first place. And so sometimes it’s like, Okay, we got to go in and do some work to reactivate perhaps inhibited muscles or agglomerated kind of like bound stuck connective tissue that it’s just kind of like beef jerky in that place.
[Aaron Alexandar] 40:38
You know, and you can go through and just the practice, as I mentioned, just spending more time on the ground, that’s going to start doing it, you know, so you can see a great PT, or you can do a session with the newbie, or you can, you know, whatever, all these different things. And or you can also just living, start living your life in a way that organically gets into those nooks and crannies of your pelvis and your adductors, and your hamstrings and your shoulder girdle and your thoracic spine, and, you know, and so that’s the thing, it’s like, how do we start to marry these clinical tools and practices with just who we are, you know, like, my background has been predominantly manual therapy and training.
[Aaron Alexandar] 41:23
So Rolfing is one of the things that I went to school for, and, you know, several different modalities, manual therapy. And that was the thing that drew me to start being more about educating people on how to take care of themselves, was just like, having effective results with clients, you know, and being like, Oh, this is pretty cool. Like, we’re like, this is working like this is this is exciting. And then pretty consistently, not 100% of the time, but consistently enough for it to be annoying for people to kind of return with the same thing. So we create the change, they’re stoked, it’s awesome. And then, you know, five days, two weeks later, it’s kind of comes back, or maybe it’s, you know, maybe that’s gone. But now there’s this other thing, and, you know, it’s like, Perry. Nicholson is a, he’s a, he’s a, he’s a buddy, we’ve done a bunch of podcasts together. And his brain has called Stop chasing the pain, you know so that he’s got
Good, good content.
[Aaron Alexandar] 42:24
Yeah, he does a good job. You know, and so it’s like, it’s like, what is it, it’s, this intervention isn’t enough to change the system to set the Domino’s off to change, you know, the environmental conditions that that cell exists in, you know, so it’s, and sometimes it does, you have an intervention that’s so meaningful, that the person suddenly does want to go home and reorganize their house, or they do, you know, want to change the colors on their walls, for some reason, or suddenly, their relationship feels kind of stuffy, you know, or there’s like they create real meaningful change because there was structural change in the body, for there to be structural, true structural change that like that persists and continues.
[Aaron Alexandar] 43:06
Oftentimes, that will catalyze, the broader change in the person’s life. And I know that sounds maybe a little out there for some people. But it’s just I mean, if you just work with enough people, you’ll see, or I have seen consistently that that happens. But then the broader conversation, I’m interested in saying, okay, cool, let’s work from both sides, let’s work clinically, you know, and get the structure into a better-oriented position. So it can heal through movement. And then also, let’s say, what is it about your petri dish and environmental conditions, or your thought patterns for that matter, that moved your body into that position in the first place? And so let’s address the shape of the mold that you exist in. And then that’s also a just address the model that’s being produced from the mold.
I like it, and you’ve got me sitting cross-legged in this podcast chair for the first time, I love that we’re doing it man, I love this. And for, for, for anyone who’s hearing this, whether you’ve heard these concepts before, or they’re kind of new to you, I feel compelled to share a couple of experiences I had. So one of my mentors was a physiological psychologist. And I would do some sessions there. And we were looking at the how the feedback from the body how we move the body, how that influences our brain, you know, our brain through proprioception is constantly monitoring where our body is in space, how its oriented, the position it’s in, where the patterns of tension are. And all this feedback comes up to our brain and is interpreted as us, that’s us.
And so if we change that there are times where I saw someone you know, by changing something about their body their bodily state would, you know, cough up just the worst stuff or go into convulsions or, or, and come through this, like, this these crazy, like emotional release type of experiences, and, you know, feel like look like and present like a new person, because they changed some element of that. And you know what it doesn’t necessarily have to be such a dramatic thing. But even little bits of that at a time moving in new ways, and changing our brains experience, the way that our brain the information that we send to our brain so that it changes its interpretation of who we are is this beautiful bridge between physiology and psychology,
[Aaron Alexandar] 45:44
I went to an anecdotal story of somebody I was just working with just it was like, five days ago. And typically working with people I’m doing more manual therapists do like acro yoga, pick people up and twist them around, you have several different tools to work with people. And with this person, particularly, for whatever reason, well, the reason was I wasn’t being paid to be at the place that I was at. It was like this body work party kind of thing that I got invited to where they’re like they had to pay clients, it was a really good friend. Name’s Jason Emery the co-founder of acro Yoga people remember that group?
[Aaron Alexandar] 46:24
I don’t know, cool. But he hosted this, this event, where, you know, paying clients to come to this swanky nice place. And they just get to like, essentially, like hanging out with these like, like, quite effective bodyworkers. And he invited me to come as just to like, come and hang out. And because I wasn’t a paid person, you know, which I didn’t want to be paid. I just wanted to come and hang out. But I wasn’t compelled to like, do what I would typically deem to be like, manual therapy or bodywork. But I was it was still kind of a fun thing to explore, like, different approaches and such. And so one person, he was like, he was a cellist. And, like a very high-level professional cellist, and he was saying he had issues with his shoulder for like, the longest time. And so I was like, oh, like, you know, let’s just play let’s explore, some, just lay down your back.
[Aaron Alexandar] 47:21
And I’m kind of watching him breathe. And the way that he was breathing, you kind of tell it was like, contrived, in a way. It was like, it was like, and he was breathing himself. And now he’s, like, learns, he’s he learned how to breathe. Do you know? So he’s like, okay, like, it was breathing into the belly, and it’s got, like, the belly is descending. And he’s got to do this right, doing that, right? I’m doing, I’m doing the breathing. Yeah, you know. And so instead of what might my typical tool and I’m sure there’s like practitioners of whatever different sorts, listening to this, instead of going to my typical tool, which would be to maybe go through and, you know, start to open up space around the intercostals, or maybe do some, you know, whatever, whatever I would do with my hands. That just started subtly suggesting, you know, a few little breathing cues.
[Aaron Alexandar] 48:07
And the main gist of it was, was kind of opening up the potential or the space or the invitation for the person to allow the breath to be easy. You know, so as opposed to you doing the breath, is it available or possible to just kind of observe the breath, you know, observe the breath, kind of coming into the side of the ribs, and maybe just watching the breath, come back into the scapula and the low back. And, like, I don’t want you to put the breath there, don’t put the breath there. Just observe it happening. If it doesn’t happen, and I love that, you know, but just be in the place, of witnessing how easy it is to be breathed.
[Aaron Alexandar] 48:48
And in that really short amount of time. It became like this, like, kind of unbelievable thing to watch where you like kind of started going into like this catharsis of sorts. And it’s like the breath for the first time, and I don’t you know, I don’t know, I don’t know his story, how long suddenly it was in this thing that I have to do, you know, and I think that that trickles out into the way that we navigate our lives in general. But it’s not that I have to be here doing anything. Like it’s safe just to be in that moment, his autonomic nervous system and his neuromuscular system got that in a way that he hadn’t had for I don’t know how long but some amount of time it didn’t have at that moment. And it suddenly turned into this thing of just like this like pause like deep release and is like shoulder drops and you know, the SCM and scalenes and all that like, you know, the elevation of the shoulder suddenly comes down, and I never touched anything.
[Aaron Alexandar] 49:49
And I didn’t do anything. I just gave him a couple. I just gave him permission to like, relax, and suddenly his the intelligence of his autonomic nervous system His ancestry in his, like your old, who like the wisdom inside of your body and inside of your spine and inside of like your mitochondria, like this shit is old, you know, and it knows what to do, is this a matter of creating the spaciousness of the container for the person to be able to start to get out of the way of themselves to allow that deeper intelligence to come online? That sounds like some crazy shit. But if you are with enough practitioners that have been with enough people for long enough, they’ll probably have stories like that. You know, and it’s like, if you’re just with enough people that have paid attention to being in their bodies long enough, they’ll probably have some stories like that.
Yeah, absolutely. I mean, we see often hear people will a couple of different types of things, someone will scan over an area for doing our mapping process with somebody. And we’ll say, oh, did you ever hurt your ankle or something, you know, they’re in for something else to hip, low back shoulder or something else was in, they’ll be like, Oh, my gosh, that happened like 15 years ago, I forgot about it, or you know, stuff, the old stuff will come up in the body like that, or we’ll be working through something and someone will have an emotional reaction and they’ll start, they’ll start crying or start laughing or something. And it’s, it’s cathartic. Like,
[Aaron Alexandar] 51:18
Those forget, yeah,
Those are it’s, you know, held in the body for sure. I love this. And I encourage people, to check out the Align method book, The Align podcast. One thing I’m curious to ask you here, while we have a few more minutes, is your perspective on given your experience with, manual therapy, with movement, from a variety of, of disciplines, and even the non-discipline of just working, you know, more movement in naturally to daily life. With your perspective, how do you feel about your experience, having used the newbie now for a month or two, with yourself with some clients? How do you feel like it fits into your work and your perspective?
[Aaron Alexandar] 52:09
Yeah. I think it’s cool. I’m grateful that you busted into the world. What I like about it is it’s a helpful way, like a reminder, to be able to activate portions of the body that may have been forgotten, or, left at the wayside at some point. Either they then, you know, they learned that is unsafe to engage those muscles, or there was some kind of like, old bracing that’s been around that, you know, it’s like the used analogy in my, in my podcast, previously, of, you know, there’s the actual Cobra snake that it makes complete sense to maybe jump in contract and clench all your sphincters and kind of go into a fighting moment.
[Aaron Alexandar] 52:51
And then there’s the rubber snake, that it’s like, oh, no, like, that’s too much twosome, too much sympathetic drive, like, like, calm down, we’re good. You know, it’s, I think that the newbie device, in my experience working with clients and myself, and just the general idea of it, I think it acts as an as a, a beautiful tool to act as like a reminder or like a refresher to the nervous system to present it with a new opportunity. And also a beautiful tool to kind of almost like, act as like a flashlight to go through into the dark. In places like dark, dark neurological, or electrical places, the nervous system is disengaged or inhibited and can kind of shine a light in that space.
[Aaron Alexandar] 53:38
And then what I appreciate about the programming that you incorporate with it, is it’s not just the, you know, the electrical stimulation, but it’s also the integration into movement. You know, and I think that oftentimes, you, one would see this in like, maybe a physical therapy world, or in a massage therapy world, or manual therapy world, sometimes manual therapists don’t know anything about movement. And physical therapists don’t know anything about manual therapy. And when you meet a good physical therapist that knows the ins and the outs in the workings of Kinesiology in the body, like the way the body should move, ideally. And they’re sensitive and intuitive, and they can like make contact with tissue, and, you know, read re-engage it. I think that’s a really powerful combination. And the same thing with a manual therapist, that’s, that knows what the heck’s going on in the body. So the fact that you’ve, you’ve married those two disciplines together, I think is great. So it’s cool.
Awesome. Well, thank you. And it’s been a pleasure getting to work with you and getting to know you here over the last couple of months. And for anyone interested in learning more about your perspective and the Align method, yeah. I would recommend the book. The best place to find that is your website, Amazon.
[Aaron Alexandar] 54:55
Yeah. I mean, bookstores are great. Amazon is probably where most People are going to go but you know, ideally, walking to a bookstore would be the healthiest, most vital version of
Where is it? So if people are in different cities, I mean, are there Barnes and Nobles or your local bookseller and
[Aaron Alexandar] 55:12
Target and Barnes and Nobles and all that stuff? I mean, so that so the new release comes out January 11, 2022. So I had imagined it will be in bookstores at that point. But yeah, Amazon would be a likely place for most people to go, maybe if you do work from Amazon, you know, take a walk while you’re at it, you go outside. But yeah, that the book, I’m immensely proud of the book, in large part, because it’s not just the influence of, you know, my own experience I brought together, you know, people that I found to be, I mean, they’re like the elite thought leaders on the planet, and the different conversations with the way that sound effects our nervous system, the way that touch affects our nervous system.
[Aaron Alexandar] 55:53
The way that our visual system affects the way that we think and feel and express ourselves. So you know, had Brian Mackenzie and Patrick McEwan help with the nose breathing chapter and Andrew Huberman helped with the visual chapter had no Kelly, Dr. Kelly star at he did the foreword for the book and was been, you know, he’s been a supporter of the years. There are so many brilliant minds that are infused into the line method book.
[Aaron Alexandar] 56:17
So that’s the thing that I’m excited about. Because again, I think that what we crave is the community, you know, tribe connection. And for me to have an opportunity to create that in book form, for me is very exciting. Yeah, so the line method book, you can just, you know, type that on the internet, you’ll find it. And then the line podcast, that’s all the social media, so Instagram is likely to place, and then obviously, people can jump over to listen to your conversation on the line podcast and or the Ellen Langer or the Bruce Lipton episode. I think those be good places.
Because Bruce is on there, too. Oh, cool. Yeah, very good. Yeah, I know, you’ve had some great guests and awesome collaborators in the book to Huberman’s brilliant neuroscience. Mind.
[Aaron Alexandar] 57:02
I’m very grateful for humans. Humans are great.
Amen. That’s good. That’s good. And with more movement, we can be even greater
[Aaron Alexandar] 57:11
With that. Yeah. And it’s not just more movement. It’s how do you move? Yeah. So it’s never the thing you do? It’s what’s behind it, you know, why are you doing it? And how are you doing it? So that comes back to the, you know, the whole, the hunter-gatherer ancestral, you know, Hazza stuff, it’s not that they are moving so much more, you know, they’re having like, average, over 10,000 steps a day or whatever. But there, they’re resting a lot like, like, humans rest. Like we’re lazy creatures. That’s what makes us so intelligent.
[Aaron Alexandar] 57:43
And so if you’re not utilizing a part of yourself, your body will just say, cool. Like, let’s cut that out. Because we don’t want to waste resources on that. You know, and so throughout the day, that’s the thing. It’s not that you’re sitting too much. It’s saying we cool, like, it’s not that you’re doing anything too much. It’s saying how are we doing the things that we’re doing? So just kind of a reframe, you’re not a naughty boy. Or naughty girl. It’s not like I think we have this like, kind of Catholic. Like we deserve lashings. You know, we need to go and apologize. It’s like, you’re doing great. You know, and since the latest, this is going in and say like, how can we kind of tweak things a little bit to, to do even better?
It’s a great note on which to close the conversation here today. And I am excited to hear what people think about this episode. Please. Share it with everyone about we’re talking about burying periods, tripping on LSD. Talking about we had a lot of fat, a lot of
Good topics here. Yeah. People going into convulsions. That’s right. Yeah, it was wonderful. Thank you so much for being here. Thanks, everybody for tuning in to the undercurrent podcast, and we will see you next time.
[Aaron Alexandar] 58:58
Thanks. So good times.
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