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Workshop #2310

Archetypal Postures

2 hr 10 min - Workshop


Join Phillip Beach in his workshop where he shows how we can re-tune our bodies so we can move in the way they were designed. He shows different archetypal postures of repose, and shows how they have been lost over the years. After showing the simple movements we should be able to do, he gives us tools to incorporate them in our lives so we will be able to keep our bodies in tune.


- Learn the archetypal postures of repose

- Discuss the concept of "biomechanical tune"

- Learn why these postures are so important

- Learn how to prescribe these postures to your clients

What You'll Need: No props needed

About This Video

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Sep 11, 2015
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Chapter 1


Well, I'm over here from New Zealand. I'm an osteopath and an acupuncturist. Uh, and I've been in that game for more than 30 years. I studied in London, so I left Sydney in 1979 to go to London to study. Um, after a few years I then studied acupuncture and that was another three year study. And very, very gradually I started to fuse those different ideas together. It takes a long time, you get a little piece of the Jigsaw and then if you're lucky you find another piece and if you're really lucky, those two pieces create a third and gradually, gradually, gradually off. I went, moving away from what I was taught and I think partly I, I was aided in that because my father set up banks in developing countries.

So we spent a lot of time overseas in different cultures. Um, so I'd go back to Sydney and then off to Nigeria and back to Sydney and often Malaysia and back to Sydney and off to Papa New Guinea, back to Sydney and off to London. Um, and I think that background just helped me be a little bit more fluid in how I think. Um, today we're going to talk about archetypal postures. These, um, go through what I mean by that term and what these postures are. I'll be showing you why I think they're so important and how if you bring these into your professional lives, into your personal lives, um, your own physique will improve and you will, um, you'll have better results with your clients. And I get that feedback pretty much all day, every day from people that do really simple things. This is not rocket science.

Once you see the idea, you've got it for good and uh, it, it changes your life slowly, slowly. The other aspect of this, if you're sitting on the floor, so that's all these types of slow sitting postures and there's lots of ways of sitting on the floor. The other side of this is you've got to stand up from the floor. So a bit tongue in cheek. I call those the erector sizes. Um, partly because we are derived from Homo Erectus. You know, that's, that's what we did. We stood up and standing up preceded big brains.

It preceded language. It preceded fire. It preceded pretty much everything that we would call, what we know as being human now. So standing up was, was the beginning of extraordinary process. It's led to us dominating this world. And so that particular sequence, what I call the, the, uh, sitting to standing transition, that is a very powerful sequence to work on. You know, there's, there's exercise and there's exercise, but if you want to go to the guts of what every single little fiber in your body is designed to do, it's designed to get you up from the floor.

You watch babies, that's, you know, they, they work at it and work and work and work and work. You know, in the day they stand up on their own. That's a big day for them in the day they take those first steps. Um, so it's, it's, uh, it's a primordial need we have, and I'm going to go on to suggest that what we have done with these is, um, cut right into that process and take the legs of it off in a sense. You know, we never, we never go right down to the floor anymore. We're always just to here just to here. We'll exercise just to here and I'll be showing you how I think that started to distort our physiques in very important ways, very detrimental ways. Once you see this pattern, you'll start to see it in a lot of people. You know, I'm talking us, you know, and um, I'm talking most people that you meet in your professional practices. Um, so we've got a lot to get through. We'll go through the archetypal postures.

I'll introduce the idea, we'll go through some of the erector sizes. I plan to put you through, uh, 12 little movements and we're going to park each other one to five on 12 little movements, really simple things just sitting on the floor and, um, just want to get a benchmark of where you're sitting with these archetypal postures. And I've seen people make real improvements in that figure, you know, in, in two or three days. I've seen people make real improvements in two or three months, definitely. So I would suggest you come to Wellington and New Zealand and um, pay me a visit and do a workshop. They're all tax deductible. Of course. Great way of having a holiday. Uh, it's, it's a very sweet little city.

It's been voted by the U N as being one of the best small cities on the planet. Uh, two universities, good bookshops, great coffee, could be a good food. You can walk everywhere. It's a very livable city, which is why I went there. And it's right, it's at the bottom of the South Island, sorry, the bottom of the north islands. And that's the South Island. You can see in the distance and that piece of water between the two islands.

That's a rough piece of water. Um, but very scenic and that's on the coast. And this is areas where I can walk and run. Um, one of the things I like to do is walk and run barefoot and New Zealand's fantastic cause there's no snakes and there's no spiders or there are a few spotters, but they don't, they don't kill you. Whereas in Australia, everything tries to kill you. You've got to be much more careful. And here you've got cactus and that that again is a break on barefoot stuff there. My three areas of interest. Today we're going to be covering the archetypal postures that they're Kalahari, bushmen squatting down. Uh, we'll then move on to, in my longer workshops, I then introduce a new model of movement that I call the contractile field. If you're in the movement game, you really need those two days because it's, it's a, it's a beautiful model of how we move. I stress that it's a model.

It's not the truth in, in a sense, it's, it's, it's an attempt to deeply understand how hundreds of contractile tissues, your Fascia, your bones, your, uh, you'll, it's, it's how, how we move and to do it. It's taken me many years of thinking about primary movement patterns. So it's a bit academic, but once you've got your head rounded, it's, well, why didn't I think of that? It becomes a bit obvious, but that's about two days. And then I've applied both of these ideas, the archetypal postures and the contract al fields towards looking at acupuncture. Uh, when I studied acupuncture, I spent three years road learning all these invisible lines and they've got invisible points on the invisible lines and it takes a long time and it's, western science has looked and looked and looked for those lines and it just hasn't found them, which is a real problem. You know, it basically means when you study an acupuncture text, you're, it's faith learning. It's you just have to trust that the Chinese 2000 years ago knew something. So I've come up with a way of appreciating and understanding what the Chinese were mapping 2000 years ago.

And that is then helped me, uh, in my quest to understand archetype of postures and the contract on fields. So those three ideas who've fused for me, and then I use all of those ideas in manual therapy. Let's begin.

Chapter 2

Contractile Field Model

Here's a lovely quote from William Shakespeare to be or not to be, we could spend the rest of the day easily just going over that piece of writing. If you study English literature, you'd spend many months looking at that text and that play.

So if you looked at that and I said, well, what letters is Shakespeare using to write that? Okay, well, if you're really, you know, I would suggest to you that that's a really stupid question because of course he's using all the letters of the alphabet. If you just took one letter out of the alphabet, he couldn't do it. If you just took a w out of it, the texts would just fall apart. Likewise, if you looked at this chap was about to throw a ball very, very fast and you said, look what, what muscles is he using?

And we could draw her a couple of lines on his body and say he's working his oblique or is blah, blah, blah. We could name a couple of muscles in there, you know. But in essence, I would say that that's a stupid question. In fact, I'd go further. I'd say it's a bloody stupid question. You know, he's obviously using all of his muscles pretty much all the time they fire and just great. You know, it's like a wind passing through these things as a fire and um, briefly and then turn off the digit. It's just like a wind passing through your physique and anything that we named, they're a second from now would be different. Another second, another second, another second. As he winds up or winds down during his throat, you know, he's dealing with, we've got to think in terms of patterns. Your brain doesn't use individual muscles. Your brain employs patterns.

And so I've spent years looking for those patterns and putting them together. This is a three and a half year old. One of the first drawings and this is her mum. Okay. That tells us something, you know, that that's, we move because of faces, hands, feet. You know, when you're a little bit older you've got to put genitals in there.

But you know, we don't move because I want to use my biceps. You might go into a gym and try and do that, isolate a named muscle and do something like that. But really you move because you to touch something, you want to taste something, you want to smell something. Yeah. We moved because of those important parts. So we need to be able to put those parts together using contractile tissue. So I'm just spending a couple of minutes introducing the contract.

I'll feel muddle before we move on. So each contractile field has to course over you from pole to pole. The, the idea is very similar to what magnet. You can't have a magnet unless the charge goes from the North Pole to the South Pole. It's not a magnet if it just stops halfway. No, that's the way it is. So if we're trying to understand movement, everything has got to go from the very top to the very bottom. And the trick is to work out what's the very top and what's the very bottom.

It's not obvious unless you thought about it. The very top of you will be your sensory platform. So that's your eyes, your ears, your nose, your mouth, your tongue. That's, that's the top of you. That's the front of your brain. The nose is the front of the front. That's cranial nerve one. So that's right at the very front of your whole system. [inaudible] and the bottom of the bottom is not your feet. Okay?

The bottom of the bottom is your pelvic floor and your onus. That's the big, that's the bottom of the system. So in theory, all the fields that I'm, I would discuss over a couple of days have to go from the very top of you to the very bottom of you. They can't do otherwise. This model is really unusual in the that in fields I put sense organs gets a really novel idea. I don't think it's ever been really proposed before, but I think there's good reasons for at least in the modeling process doing that. So in Europe, the muscles that contractility that takes you up and down, I would put your nose in the contractility that takes you left to right. I would put your ears and I can build this story up and show you that these are command points in the fields. You know, if I really want you to go backwards, you know, if I push you here, Yep. You'll go backwards. If I really want you to go that way. And if I put a sharp fingernail in there, well you'll go backwards.

It doesn't matter how strong you are. Now you've gone to a command point. So it's a new idea. A I can, I'm just putting it forward to asset s an idea. And as part of the model in clinical practice, it helps virtually all of your movements need all of the fields. That's the way the system works. If you, if I start to bend forwards, as I bend forwards, my body starts to widen. As soon as it starts to widen, another group of muscles comes into try and stop that.

It's a, it's a deeply, deeply connected system. And the more you, you understand how we move, the more profound you see how these primary movement patterns Mesh together to create human movement. So long story, it takes, as I said, two days, the borders between fields are important. So I'm able to really delineate where these borders are in every field of life. Borders are critical. You know the borders between my money and your money, the borders between my property and your property. You know, the borders between my kids. And your kids, you know, all these sort of things. Borders, uh, essential and to control borders is an essential part of pretty much everything we do in life. So the Chinese were thinking about this 2000 years ago and they meridians have a lot to do with controlling borders. This is another nice part about the contract on fields. They, they rise. So this contractility, I use this word contractility because contractility is a generic term.

It's not muscle, it's not faster, it's not ligament, it's not, it's just movement in a sense. So the things that move you will rise to the surface and then further on the same field as it's causing its way down from the top of view towards the bottom of you as it moves down or it can work the other way, it can move up it asset moves, it'll go from up where you can touch it, see it, feel it to deeper. And then later on it'll re-emerge. So in this model there is no core arch suggests. Core is last millennium core is, is old hat. It's a, we've played and played and played around with core.

In so many different ways. I think it's a bankrupt I idea actually you know, you, if there was a core, we would all have gone to the section courses and you just open up the first layer, open up the second layer and both there would be the core end of story. All Neat, all tidy. It's not like that. Uh, so I expect things that are core in some places to become superficial in other places. So in my model, for example, your transverse Abdominis, you know here, yes, up here it is a deep muscle, but down here it's a superficial muscle. And if I wanted to lift this heavy bench up, you know, I would probably do the doing no, it's a very superficial muscle and that protects my neck. If I try and keep that relaxed as I lift heavy stuff up, I'll just hurt my neck.

It's a pattern running right through you. So I expected to go up and down like this. I also expected to widen and narrow. So as you're coursing through the body with this stuff, it'll go when it's wide, it'll slow down just like a river. And as it's going through a gorge or a canyon, it'll speed up.

So here for example, my rectus abdominis is wide and then it's going to cone down towards my pubis, which is narrow. So you've gone from pretty much that wide to that wide. That's a, that's a lot of force focusing. That's speeding up. So if I eat a lunch and have to run, I want to move this area slowly, whereas my pelvis has to move quickly to do the, the running or the jumping. So some parts of your body are designed to move more slowly than other parts. And once you start to look for this in the anatomy, it's obvious you can see it.

Okay. So contractility will go from superficial to deep and contractility will widen and narrow, wide and narrow, wide and narrow as it courses its way through your physique. So it's a, it is a different way of conceptualizing anatomy. And I say here that the fields are totally interactive. You know, the isolation of these fields is for our intellectual pleasure and it is an intellectual pleasure. You can, you can see these and you can, you can identify them and you can think about them and you can, and it's, it's very useful. Uh, but also good movement uses all of your fields. So I'm, in one way I, it's, it's interesting to tease the fields out and to stretch the fields and to contract the fields and to play in that way.

But intrinsically, the more you know about this, the more you see how you can't have one field without the other field. In the same way. You can't have language, you know, an alphabet missing a few of the letters. You've, you've got to have all the fields. But still it's, it's, it's nice to be able to think about them. So that's a schematic of the model. And in essence, I'm showing you a, what I call a, a lateral field at left lateral field and a right lateral field. So this in circles, me like this, so it's a figure of eight comes up at, crosses through here, goes through my eyes. And this one we inherit from fish.

It's a very deep pattern, bending to the side, bending to the side. It's still that fish ancestry is still in our physique. A, there's a lovely book out by an American author, your inner fish and I would recommend it. Um, there's, there's just no doubt about this. It's that that movement pattern is still deeply embedded in us. Okay. So, but you don't have separate lefts and rights.

The left has got across to the right, you know, your embryologically, it's not like, you know, send up the Pectoralis right now, send up the left door side, you know, sort of put the thing together like that. It's nothing like that at all. It's [inaudible]. It's much more field like where a wind passes through and just tissue gets heavier and sort of drops out and starts to manifest. So we have a left and a right, so we go into detail how that works, why it has to cross, how if it doesn't cross, if you just do this sort of thing around me, I'm never going to walk. End of story. No, this has got to do this.

If the model is going to be useful, then we have a, what I call a dorsal ventral field. I start with dorsal because dorsal is back and most contractility starts on your back body and then when you're an embryo and then it migrates around and so these are muscles that bend you forwards and backwards and again you don't have a separate front and a separate back. They fuse together, but you can look for where those bits fuse. You can begin to understand how and where this happens. It makes a real difference to your understanding of movement. And again, it's not a ring like this.

No one on the left and one on the right that sort of goes around me. It's, it's again, we've got that cross going up through the head. Sorry. It's a figure of eight thing and it's not two separate ones doing their businesses like two separate figure of eights. They cross again. So the left can cross to the ride and you can see where this happens when you know where to look, not biomechanically when you combine those two together. So if I bend, say to the side and I bend forwards or backwards, but let's say forwards, okay, I'm now into a movement pattern that involves talking t, O, r, Q, u, I n, g, twisting. Twisting is a compound movement. Biomechanically, it's a mix of bending forwards and backwards with left and right. You've got to combine both of those to twist.

And so that's why I put the plus sign there and I'm trying to show you this sort of idea of twisting. It's a beautiful field. It's a profound field. It's what humans have done with our physiques. We, we are twisters. That's what we, we use twisting to walk and to run. And we use twisting to throw. And throwing is as important to us as walking and running. You know, I'm, I'm, every time I come to the u s every single bar in the country, just beams this, either American is a baseball at you, you know, all basketball. It's throwing, throwing, throwing, throwing, throwing, throwing, throwing.

You know, most of our games involve, you know, some running and then some throwing. They're very primal movements that we do. Um, [inaudible] so that's, yeah, to try and work out how, how this contractility crosses the midline and how it wraps around your physique and where the top of this is and where the bottom of this is. So you've got a wrap going this way and then you've got a wrap going the other way. It's three-dimensionally complex and beautiful. And then I have limbs. Of course, you've got to have limbs in the field. Um, in the beginning of the modeling process, it's much easier if you, if you think about this without limbs. That was, I was very lucky that I, I decided to do that. Uh, because if you just straight away start to put limbs on you, you'll make mistakes in this. Now remember, you can be a good vertebrate, like a snake. You know, they've got all the vertebrate things that we've got and they've lost their limbs. Yeah. So, yeah. Yeah.

It just, it's easier when you're modeling to think about this without the lens in the beginning. But when you come to put limbs into the system, you've got to then use embryology and you've got to go back into how, start where they start. I'll be showing you some nice slides in the next hour. Um, cause if you want to understand human movement, you need to know what a limb is. Where does, where to limb start on you, on your embryonic body? How do they grow? If you don't know that, well then they're just you. You never really understand the history of what you're trying to train. And limbs, I divide into a front and a back and all the embryology books, they talk about a, what they call a Dorsal Moya. T Moria t means half a dorsal half an a ventral half.

And the extraordinary thing about this is that it's different from the arms to the legs. This is a key point. Again, if you don't understand this, you'll, you'll never really get to terms with bodies on the arm. The back stays the back and the front stays the front. But on the leg, the back migrates around to your front. So all this comes from your back body and the front migrates into the back. So your limb is Pref, your lower limb is twisted, it's tall. And that talking is essential to understanding moving and like all springs, it's got to be just right, you know, not, not to hardest spring and not to softer spring.

And that toners in that spring we have been working on for five or 6 million years to get that just right. Yeah, no, it's suggested our modern lifestyle is marking with the strip, with the s spring, all of those movements that I've talked about, we'll try to in a sense, break your spine. If you push a system too far, it'll start to break. And so what has happened is that you haven't what I call an anti buckling system. So if this is a simple simple body here and you bend it too far to just say that side, at some point this will start the pinch and a, that's called a slipped disc and that'll hurt you for many months. The spine doesn't like Tate going too far. Yeah. Twisting forward backwards. At a certain point things start to go bad on you.

So the system is found a way of trying to keep the longitudinal length there as you move. And that's really important. So if I went to lift up this heavy bench, you know, I would brace myself first or I certainly should because that helps keep my, my uh, the height of my spine as I go to do the lift. Okay. But it's not core strength. That's, that's, I call it the radio field. Uh, so it's in the circle down there. Cause I, I wanted to try and get across this idea that this, this can get smaller. If I'm going to brace, it's going to get smaller, but a lot of the time I want to have a big dinner tonight and I want to relax.

And then you want to let go of all of that. We can't stress one over the other. If you do, you'll get sick. We need both. Okay. So if I want to breathe, I need to start to dilate my radio field. So we go into what the radio field is again, where the top is, where the bottom is, how this might work, how it wraps in with all the other fields because it certainly does. The model then gets a bit as a Terrick and I'm reaching into the sort of unknown here with this modeling process. Um, if you follow it through, I would, your kidneys are strangely part of your muscle and bone system in embryology.

The other organs aren't but kidneys, ah, kidneys and your spleen. So kidneys, uh, somehow if you want to understand bodies, you've got to understand kidney function. So you know, for example, one of you could be a fantastic athlete. You could work for four years to represent the u s somewhere and to really muck your chances up. All I'd have to do is give you a tiny little diuretic tablet, a couple of hours before you went on. You know, just slip it into your drink. Both. You'd start urinating, it would all be over. That's all it would take. Four years of work, tiny tablet.

Same thing with a blood pressure tablet, unify if you're a weight lifter. And I gave you a blood pressure reducing tablet and you went on your ability to lift weights would just collapse. Okay, so we've got to, it's no good just looking at the outside Shell and thinking we're understanding movement. Uh, you've got to go, you've at least in the model, you've got to create space for other ways of, of understanding how the vast musculature and kidneys inside your system interact with the outside. So that's in essence, uh, the contract, our feel model it.

Chapter 3

Archetypal Postures of Repose

We are going to move on to talking about archetypal postures today and I would suggest that these postures are essential to the tuning of those fields that I've just talked about. It's tune, I call it a biomechanical tune, is what I'm going to be trying to show you today. So I call them archetype or postures of repose of rest.

There's this idea that you, it, you can't have movement without rest. You can't have rest without movement. You know, you flip sides of the same coin. These postures. Give me a real insight into how well tuned you are. The tuning that I'm talking about is a tuning that has evolved over millions of years from us as a species. And it's [inaudible].

It's absolutely inbuilt into your normal natural body unless you go and disturb it. And we've disturbed it using two things primarily. We've disturbed it with a total use of chairs and tables in our modern life. And we've disturbed it by getting a f I call this a sensory platform. Now we've got this extraordinary piece of kit here and we put socks on it and then we put shoes on it. And that has had a profoundly deleterious effect on our biomechanical wellbeing.

So between chairs and shoes, we are now living in a, an epidemic, a pandemic of musculoskeletal distress. Everyone's got it. You know, the teachers or the teachers have got it. Uh, we're missing something and I think, uh, what I'm going to show you over the next couple of hours is part of important parts of that jigsaw. So there's Louis, a friend of ours, and you can see, I would suggest to you that that posture in particular, that's if you are tuning a Steinway piano. Yeah, you've got the big piano here, all those keys, you would go to middle c and you're getting middle c sounding right. And then from there you're off, up and down through the octaves. Hmm. Well, for humans, that is a very important posture. And I would call that I'm Middle C. I think we've got two of them. I think that we've got that posture and across legged posture.

That's the way your system has tuned itself for millions of years. Losing access to these postures is losing access to something really important to you. Not just a minor thing, but it's, I've come to believe it's important thing. So what I hope you're going to come out of this couple of hours with is what some of these postures are to discuss this idea of biomechanical tune, see it in yourselves, see it in your clients. Start to help people towards better tune why these are so important. This, this stuff isn't exercise as normal. Yeah. By doing this, you're going right into the guts of your moving physique, your, uh, you know, so I look at you, I'm looking both of you as an embryo. That's, that's, you know, at this particular you've grown up in, you're at this particular stage in your life cycle.

Hopefully you'll go on and have more as you go on. And I'm also looking at you as an animal that's got a long evolutionary history and both of those imperatives, um, drivers towards these postures. So, and how to prescribe some of these postures to your clients. So in the time we've got, we'll get some way down this route. Let's talk about the words archetype. Archetype means the original or best example of something.

So the, you know, original soft drink would be a Coca-Cola, you know, the original weightlifter might be a Swartz n****r, you know, if you think about something, what's, what's a sort of an example that you would refer to? So here I, you know, if you think about a building that's leaning over you, most people would come up pretty quickly with the leaning tower of Pisa. Okay. And that building will fall over. It's just a matter of time. It's, um, so it's a, it's a f an example of something and the word often has another connotation to it. It's an assumed or ideal pattern. So it's, it's not just any old example, it's, it's, you're trying to find the, the, the guts of whatever it is. Something that's a fine example in essential example of it. And it often involves a slightly mystical sort of connotation, the word posture. So the archetypal postures, postures, as well as being postures for, you know, good posture, bad posture, postures of elation, postures of depression. Um, these postures often have a mental or a spiritual side to them.

So it's a, again, it's a quite a big word. I don't think you can really teach posture. It's no good going up to your kids and saying stand up straight. You know, cause they will for about three seconds and then they'll go back to where they normally are. But you know, good posture just comes out of you. And um, so okay, we'll be looking at how to free people up. And the word tune, which I use quite a lot, is used mostly in this way of being in tune or out of tune.

So we're going to start, it's really useful to not think about humans all the time. We are, we're an example of a vertebrate and we tend to think we are the best in the most perfect and blah, blah, blah. But look, we are just another one of them. So let's look at an another animal. And um, s Thies fantastic animals in the Africans, flower safari. When, when you get, when the Giraffe is upright like that, it's got virtually no, no enemies. Lions won't take on and, and adult giraffe or if they do, they know that they are risking, uh, probably a number of their lives in the attempt. I've seen one of these giraffes kill a lion and it was vicious.

You know, they start swinging those, those long necks with those horns. You know, the, it's like being hit by one of those trains that just went past, uh, sorry, you hit this line and then he just went up to it and it's on the ground. He's got this huge long leg with so powerful and you Jessica, and yet the largest did a few tweaks and that was it. Uh, they are vulnerable when they lie down. Okay. So the one behind is having arrest and they've evolved this physiology where they, they only need to rest for an hour or a bit more than an hour a day.

Cause that's, that's when they say a line could easily jump as high as the neck on the one there. And if you had a lion on your throat and you were down on the ground like that, it would be all over for you. There's no way you could stand up and the line would shake you so that they're vulnerable. So when they lie down, they, they certainly prefer to have a friend there standing guard. That's the way it works. They have a buddy there. Getting down is quite difficult for them. No, but they've got to do it every day. They've got to get down, they've got to stand back up. And so although they don't do it a lot, it's still an absolutely essential posture for them.

This is another essential posture, that degree of abduction where the two legs are widening here again, that's been evolved over millions of years to allow that animal to get comfortably down to water. So they need to be tall so they can get up here to get to their food and they also need some times to get down to grass and they certainly need to get down to water. So that again, that angle is finely tuned. If this animal developed arthritic hip joints or their shoulder joints up there and it couldn't take its legs wide enough, it would have real problems getting all the way down to the ground, whether it's head. So again, it's, it's a physique that's evolved to do a certain number of things to get down. Like this is the, one of the hard things for them to get up and down is quite, quite a challenge. Hmm. So what would happen if every time an animal like this tried to get done?

You and your wisdom took pity on this animal and you ran in with a big canvas sling every time it tried to go down, look in with a sling and it could just collapse onto the sling. Oh No. [inaudible] oh, thank you. Yeah, I quite like that. Yeah. This went on for day after day. Every time I wanted to go down in with the support in with the support in with the support, you know, year in, year out and then one day that animal tries to get down like this and you don't run in with the support. Now can you see those joints would be brittle though ligaments and muscles would have all shortened up through here. The ligaments would have all tensed up, you know, the animal would make all sorts of cracking noises as it went down towards the ground and it would have lost the inherent strength that you need that very particular strength to stand back up.

Now that's what we've done with chairs and tables. We've every time in the modern world, every single time I want to rest society offers me a chair. So look, I'd suggest you get rid of your boxes for a bit and just try sitting on, on the floor any way you want to. Just make it comfortable. So we'll just go. Yup. Then this is another animal I'm from. So these, these can be very big, strong animals.

I was camping a few months ago in Australia and there were lots of them around my camp site and there were about this big, well not really a worry, but later on that day I, I was going past a caravan, I turned around and suddenly there was their daddy. Oh Jesus. He was like, who was that big, you know, and they've got these big claws at the front and they sort of box when they fight and they've got these huge, huge legs and they have your Tommy out in one kick, big, big animal. This is the way they lie down. Hmm. They don't lie the way that your, after they lie on their side, you know, those legs are just too specialized now to lie the way that drafted. So they, they go for their side and, and again, they've got this whole way of propping themselves up. So the part of the design brief of this animal is its ability to rest like this and that sort of the ability to hold itself up. And you know, that's, that's part of this animal's life.

That's what I'm trying to show you is that these postures are as important to the animal as the running around, jumping, finding food. And it's always on the floor. So rest and movement are flip sides of the same thing. You can't have one without the other. So this is the way a physique has spent millions of years now. This, this modern lifestyle that we see here is, is a very thin veneer on a long history and [inaudible].

Well, last summer I spent eight weeks in France, in the south of France, uh, walking through the door Dorian region where they've got a lot of these prehistoric caves and the cave paintings. Quite an extraordinary place and lots and lots of artifacts going back thousands of years. And there's just no doubt that we, we lived like this. We had, we had furs, we got, you know, over the last 15 20,000 years, we got smarter and smarter. We started to use language. But the first thing we did when we started to get smarter, it was not build furniture. Yeah. That's, that all came later. So our physique is, is evolved around these postures.

Chapter 4

Prone, Supine, Side Lying, Squatting, and Toe Sitting

Let's just move on. So these postures, I'm going to put you through a few of these postures. We'll mark them out of five [inaudible]. So you're unable to do it.

It's stiff, painful, yet you are just able to do it. [inaudible] but it's quickly painful or you don't certainly don't like it. Yeah, you're, you can do it, but it's not your, your thing. Hmm. Hmm. Hmm. Hmm. Yo, you can rest there. But from my perspective with bad form and you'll get five out of five if you're as, if it's restful, if you can actually sit there and I'm at ease for five, 10 15 minutes. They're not, not for an hour, but you, you, you can sit there and be comfortable for awhile and we'll look at these postures, a prone supine sideline, squatting, et cetera.

So we'll just go through a few of these simple postures. So could I have one of you just on the mat here in front of me? Just perfect. So we'll just go through the through them. So if I could have you lying prone things. Okay.

So what we're looking for here is how comfortable you are lying on your front. So to begin with, turn your head to the side. Yeah. Even even one, one day old babies, if you put them on their front, managed to get their nose out of the terrain. No. So it's your systems designed when you lie like this, to not lie on your forage, but to turn your head. So the next part of this is how comfortable are you in the head region in this posture? You know, I'd like to be able to put a little bit of over pressure up here on your head and your neck feels fine.

Some people are totally comfortable like this. That's heavier on the other side with your head. Yeah. Yeah, that's doesn't, can you see that? That's not so comfy that okay. One of the things I look for is, is a value I call safety. You know, when you're comfortable, you're safe.

I shouldn't be able to hurt you, but, but see, I wouldn't want to push on that too hard and too fast. There'd be all sorts of cracking noises out of your neck and you wouldn't feel good about it. Yeah. Okay. Coming further down the physique, let's get your arms up a little bit just up like this. Just like that. Okay. Yeah. That sort of thing. Um, I look in general for if I take a plum line from here or straight line from there to the top of the Sacrum, uh, I'm looking for a fairly level response through that. No, some people are raised up here and some people are pushed down through here, but in general, um, I'm looking for fairly fairly straight line between those two spots.

I'm looking for ease in your shoulders. And again, that left one's just not as keen. Okay. Coming down this way, if, if we're really looking for rest here in this posture, I would like you to relax your legs. Okay. That's better. Okay. See that was quite a lot of holding that your femur runs up this way. And if you were to die this moment, please don't.

If you were to die this moment, your leg would roll that way. Okay. Cause it takes muscle contracting here to roll it up that way. Okay. The gravity will roll your leg like that. Okay. So just look at the way gravity would would roll your leg. I look for not too much space through here.

See that's quite a lot. Again, this idea of safety, you know, if I was to step on that, you may or may not get to the safety of the ground. You know before that weight got too much for you. Okay. So I just noticed that and I just said both of your legs are a little bit tight through there. If you're, if you're like this with the leg straight and I stepped on you here, can you see I break that Patella at the front. That would be a bad day. You know, that's a bad injury you suffered for a long time with the broken Patella. Okay. So, but if your leg was really turned like that, okay, now you, your Patel has got at least a chance of getting out of the way of that, of sliding out of the way. Okay. So, you know, I would be encouraging you when you're arrested, let your legs go this way.

And then if you come a little bit further wide then you're like, so and now you are on your Patella, that's pretty normal. And then if you come further still, then you get into the turnout posture. [inaudible] and you know, again, one of this leg looks easier doing this, but that one's not so easy so that they're simple. They're simple, simple things to look for. Just get someone to rest.

You get a sense of how comfortable their neck is on the left and on the road. How easy their shoulders. Yup. Left and right. Hmm. How are you? Yes. I touch you lightly like this. Are you comfortable all the way through? Good. Yeah. Yeah. So you know, just a bit of a light touch going all the way through and then you see how comfortable they are with their legs further down.

So I would give you all in all for this one. I'd give you about a three and a half for a fall because of your neck. Okay. If your neck was a little bit easier with this, then you're, you're up into a four and a half. Yeah. Okay. But I work a bit on that neck and I'd work a little bit on getting your legs to drop out cause that's, that's important for you to many years of training in Polato is I think in that. Um, so that's one you're, you're all going to be doing this. Um, I'd like you to work in pairs for a little bit and we'll just examine each other like this. Let's get you laying on your back please. Okay.

Let's take them up a little bit and then just relax them like that. I think it's quite valid to have your arms up when you're on the floor. It's if you're a skydiving or something, that's the way you, you'd be if you're out in space. And there is some talk about, uh, our upright posture was, um, preceded by hanging onto the branch above and that elongated the body. So you'd run along holding branches. So, you know, I think it makes sense.

So I look for how comfortable you are in your arms there and you look fairly comfortable there and you look fairly safe. If I stood on one of your arms, that'd be fine. Whereas a lot of men that work out in gyms, they're up like this. And to get their arms safe, you've got to bring it all the way down to here somewhere before it starts to find the safety of the ground. So, you know, I think you're, but you look fine there. Yeah. And I looked for the legs being comfortable, no part of it turning out or in too much and just see how your legs move internally and externally to give me a sense of, um, in every culture, all manual therapists turned legs in, in and out like this. That's just a something that humans can do. Are you comfortable like that? Your head's comfortable? Yeah. Okay. So you look, yeah, you look fine. Yep. Okay, so that's a, that's a five. You're doing well there.

Let's now have you sideline. Okay. I know we're not born with pillows. Okay. I would encourage you to start to get rid of your pillows at home. Produce them, reduce them, reduce them, get rid of them. Yeah, that's, it helps when we lie on the floor. We do like to keep our ears covered. Now if you put your ear next to you're sleeping outside there and you get some nasty and in your ear, that's, that would certainly be a bad waking up. So we tend to sleep with, um, cradling our head.

Sorry. Hi. Just so like that is fine. And another way of testing this is we just put that one there for a minute. Just try and cradle your ear with your hand. So take your hand forward. [inaudible] no, yeah, yeah. Okay. So you're cradling your head there. Is that okay for you?

It's okay. Yeah. I mean, it's like my neck. It's not the most comfortable position that I could make it comfortable with your time. Yeah, I think it would help. Yeah. Okay. So a lot of men again are too tight and their arm would be up like this. Okay. I'd like to be able to step on you there and not break your, your arm, but your neck does leukocytes a little bit tight in this posture.

Um, coming through here. Does this look comfortable? Yup, that looks fine. You feel comfortable enough there? Yeah. Yeah. Can I try you on your other side then? Okay. More comfortable. Less comfortable. Hmm. Do you want to roll out of it, don't you? Yeah. Yeah. Less comfortable, less comfortable. And see in here. See that space in through here.

It's surprising how simple things can give you a lot of information about people's fundamental relationships to the ground. Now this I call this big flat surface. I call this an esoteric surface. Now as I look at you, I don't see straight, no, your, all your fingernails might be a little bit straight. You know, your teeth like the a little bit straight. But other than that, we're all sort of organic round shapes. But at a deeper level, the first thing the embryo has to do when it's trying to organize it, it's future life is a bit like the Christian Cross. It has to work out, you know, uh, an upright and then across. It's got to sort out the front and a back and the left and a right, a top and a bottom. No like a coordinate system.

And these are tend to be fairly straight lines. So at a deep level, we're, we're still built around those, those imperatives. And so when you lie on a firm surface like this, you're really stressing how your system is in that alignment field. This looks different for you on the side. Yeah. And you, you really want to roll out of that. Yeah. And your shoulder looks, looks all caught up in that summer. Well, in that one I'd, I'd give you to say, uh, we just make these figures up there. They're not important really. But that's, let's say you're a four there. Okay, fair enough. All right.

So we've gone over a laying on your, your front are lying on your back. Lying on your side. Let's do a couple more. Can I try you in a full squat and on your comp? Yeah. Can you get your legs any closer together?

Okay. Sorry. Yeah, I think you're really struggling in your full squat. Okay, great. And so what do you think everyone, if we're looking at a two or three? No, I think it's going to be somewhere there. [inaudible] two and a half feet generous. Yeah.

Okay. And so show me how much you'd need to bring your heels up if you were to get your legs tighter in together so you get your knees forward. So that's it. Yeah. Juicy. Whoa. Yup, Yup, Yup. So you've got a lot of weight going forwards here. So just see what, what happens is when you lose access to the full squat, you get tense up here. As soon as you can't squat, you can start to get tighter and tighter on your shoulders. So every time you get stressed or you exercise, you'll tend to overuse this part of you.

Okay. So it gives you a strength that it also gives real vulnerability. Then the question is in the full squat, are you meant to be able to look forwards? Yes, absolutely. You don't want to be looking down at the ground. It's okay. So you're not particularly comfortable there. And I, over time I would be trying to show you exercises and et Cetera to help you in in the full squat fundamental posture free. And can you see how this, trying to get your knees in, activates your abdominal muscles. Okay.

You're really having to close in your abdominal wall to get those legs in. Hmm. So yeah, it's a fantastic posture. I show this too. I get people working on this one and really, really good for back pain. Really? Yeah. Super Posture. Okay, let's get you out of that one. You've been there enough now this one, I call this one toe sitting and it's where you go from a squat.

So you're being in a full squat like this and now we're going to come into toes and knees. Okay. And can you swing around? So your feet towards the, the camera and going forward to there. Okay. So again, I look for what I call safety. I would like to be able to stand on you there and not break all of your toes. [inaudible] can you see how that would be a very bad day if I stood there or that one? Hmm. I also look in this posture for a few set up. I'd want you to sit down on my hand. Okay. Okay.

I'd like not to be able to get my hand away that you've got so much weight on there. Yeah, you can that because see, gravity wants to, when you're sitting like this and you're a little bit up to, to turn these big muscles on is very expensive for your physique. So just sit up that far. Just, yeah. Now see how long you'd want to hold that for. Okay. You've turned on the biggest muscles in your body. And I would suggest to you that after two minutes you'd start shaking and after three minutes you'd um, you know, you'd give me anything to get out of there.

Turning on the big muscles is expensive. So the system is designed to, if you spend enough time here to really let yourself rest on the back of that leg, and the system's designed that this vulnerability isn't there, and importantly this starts to get all painful. No, and that shouldn't be painful. Not at all. Yeah. You better come out of that. I call this idea of, I call it a fair question. See If, if I'm sitting like this, I can't physically take my hand away. I'm really locked down on it. If you stood on me here, I might be upset, but I'm not going to break. And this doesn't hurt at all. Not, not even a tiny bit. In fact, it just feels nice. And that's normal.

That's not special in any way. That's just, I call it tuning. If you, if you've got a good task string, you ask a fair question of the string. That means going to the right part of the string, not too low and not too high, the right part of the string, and you pluck it not too hard and not too soft and you should get a decent noise. Okay. And so I, and I demonstrate it to clients this way. I say, can I have your hand for a sec? You know, and I'm just going to stretch your hand the way we stretched your foot. Okay, so are there, that's all I was doing to you, which is nothing. So it's, you know, I'm, I'm trying to show that I wasn't like digging in very hard in or your leg.

It is a fair question of someone. And once you start to learn to read bodies, these pains become understandable. No, they're predictable. It's a said language. It's a bit like a baby crying, you know, we, it's crying and we have to try and guess what it's upset about. It's obviously upset, but what is it upset about? So your feet, they're just a bit out of tune from my perspective. Okay. So for toe sitting I'd give you a three, three Max. Yup.

Chapter 5

Drinking Posture, Long Sitting, Tailor, Side Saddle, Cross Legged, and Half Lotus

Now back into tow. Sitting now we'll get you this way now.

Perfect. Okay. Yup. And now from the toasted and I want you to head down onto the ground. Okay. I call this a drinking posture. See this is the way for millions of years we would have got water. If you are really thirsty, this is what you do. You, if you weren't so thirsty, you might do this. Yeah. But if you were serious about drinking, you'd get down like that. Turn your toes the other way. Yeah, see that is you can't drink like that. It just doesn't work.

So this is a big difference and it's a fundamental thing. If you can't drink, you die. And the story [inaudible] so turning your toes up like this is, and getting your forward down is an essential movement sequence. As you start to get too overweight, too stiff, you start to lose access to this fundamental posture and then your body begins to break down. Okay. You're comfortable there. That's fine. Yup. Good. That's a five. Okay. Can I see now sit like a Japanese person, which is just sitting up from there.

Okay. And that looks comfortable. Could you turn round? So your feet are facing the camera? Yup. So what I look for here is the heels turning out and your body a little bit between the heels. So, so your heels cup, your bottom a bit and being fairly upright there, not being able to get my hands underneath here and I can't with you. So you look pretty comfortable. Would you be happy there for 10 minutes? She said that she'd be comfortable there for a few minutes, but if she came out her knees might complain a little bit about it.

So I would say four there, you know, four and a half, something like that. You know, you're, you're pretty good at that posture. Uh, just a little room for improvement. More time on the floor. That's all you need to do and keep shifting around from these different postures from one to the other. Okay. Let's have a look long sitting. So that's sitting with your legs in front of you. Yup. Comfortable. Yup. That looks totally comfortable. Okay.

That one's a five. Uh, I'm not fussy about long sitting. Long sitting can be like this. Now a lot of people around the world do this and a lot of people know, might bend their knees a little bit. Uh, so that's, some people take their legs a little bit wider. So they could sit. Yup. Both ways are a little bit wider. It's, it's just long sitting and you look completely comfortable there. You know, I find this quite a difficult posture. I'm a bit tight in my hamstring, so this would not be my, my favorite one. Yeah. You'd start to, to round your low back too much to get away from it.

Some rounding I think is normal when you're resting. So we went when we're walking, our back is, is in a low Dodick posture and the spine likes to rest in some flection, but particularly the flection that you get from this full squat where you're, it's inflection, but it's being traction and above and below. Okay. That's, that's the way you see the full squat is the antidote for walking and running for your lumbar spine. Okay. But yeah, in long sitting, you're fine. Can I see you try putting your two feet together like a Taylor posture. Okay. Comfortable enough. Okay. Yeah, that looks fine. Um, it's a fundamental posture. Uh, apparently neanderthals use this posture a lot when they were [inaudible] because they used to put things, whole things here with, with their feet and then they might hold the other end of it, the fiber with their teeth.

So they had marks on their teeth and then they used to use both their hands to make the fiber into something. Uh, so it's an, it's called Taylor's posture as well, cause Taylor's would hold the textile with their feet. So yeah, it's a, it's a human posture, human work posture. But about, you're good at that. I give you a five in that one. Can I see you do a sidesaddle so both your feet off to one to the side. Perfect. Yep. Okay. And comfortable there. Can you get, try it?

I'm kidding. Yeah, a little bit wider like that. So that's one posture and then turn the other way. So some people can't find this posture difficult and they have to put an arm out to hold themselves cause they can't, they don't have the lift to come back up over it. And another thing that I look for is here on the back heel. I like it if the back heel can turn that way. So in your, your leg is tight through there. Okay. Yeah.

And that spot becomes sore because that's, that's your bone is rolled in that way. You know, I would like it if your burn went that way. So at that point in Chinese medicine is really important. It's one of those control points. Okay. So yeah. So you're just, you're tight through there. So in sidesaddle yeah. Your heel turns in a bit too and you're short. Yeah. See I don't particularly like this one because see if I stood on that. Yeah. Yup. You'd be, you wouldn't be able to move. I'd absolutely pin you down and that's not good.

So I like it when it's in a fraction it much further if you could. Okay. Yup, Yup. Okay. And, and in tight, that's it with that turning that way easier for me. Yeah. Yeah. So your whole, you're strong. You're just a fraction tight in these postures. Okay. So for that one I'd give you a four and can I see you now sit with your legs crossed.

Okay. So you look quite comfortable in that, right? Do you feel okay? Yeah. Can I see you cross your legs the other way? Okay. Okay. And can I see you cross your legs a little more tightly so that one tucks in underneath a bit more.

Okay. And I look for how easily the ankle is here. You know, I'd like fraction more dorsal flexed. So, uh, to me, your, your sort of a four with this one you can, you can do it, but there's subtle things in your form that, that draw my attention. Should it be that, that Dorsey flection is relapsed? Of course. Right. And then I can relax. Yup. Yeah. I've relaxed also reflection, not, not, not an active dorsal flection, unless you're very tight in this posture. If your knees are up like this, see now you're giving way too much in your ankle and then to protect your ankle, you don't want to flex it. That protects it. If you plan to flex it, then you're just going to break at the ankle. You don't want that. Okay.

And finally, can I see you put one leg on top of the other? Okay. Yup. Yeah. Up a little more here because see, I think this is a, a fundamental posture for humans because you see from millions of years, I know from walking and running barefoot, if I've got a thorn in my foot, I really want to have a good look at my foot. You know, so it's an accessory posture, but it's a bit like lying on your side and getting your, your hand a cup, your ear. It's, that's an accessory motion of the shoulder. Okay. So this is the same sort of thing for the leg. Uh, but very, very important when you're a bipedal animal, when you've, when you've swapped four points of contact for two, you know, if you injure one of those, it just stops you and a small phone can do that. So it's very normal for us to be able to have a good look at our feet.

And again, your, your leg is just a little tight in, in this posture. I look for a relaxed, upright foot like that. And a lot of you I can see are struggling in this particular posture. So in that one I give you a, Oh, I don't know, maybe a four score. Why is more difficult for you? Yes. Okay. Yeah. Hmm. Yeah. And see the way your toe there is, that toe is very tense. See the bone is coming, we exaggerated your bone is going up like that, you know, and that's not so good. I want that further down. Yeah. So I would say something like a three and a half for this. It's, and see, I think the physique you were born with would let you do get really high marks in all of these. This is just training and, and life in shoes.

That's not enough time on the ground. So it's, it's not as though you're, you were born unable to do these. So, and you'll get those extra marks quite easily if you practice this stuff. The question is, is plantar fasciitis caused by shoes? And, well in part it is, but it's, Yup. Your plantar Fascia gets vulnerable when you've got diabetes. So it's, it's somehow tied into your underlying metabolic health as well. So it's not just a biomechanical thing. Uh, but certainly I've, I've seen plantar Fascia that are in bad, bad condition respond very well to these simple exercises. People just, yeah, spend more time on the floor and I'll show you, I'll show you a particular posture that I use for plantar fasciitis.

Try to get you facing that way and sitting Japanese style. That's it. And now if we could get this leg up onto that leg like that, and you put your weight on it and I want you to grind your top foot into the bottom one. Okay. That's it. Okay. So you can [inaudible] roll around from one foot to the other foot and sometimes see that's the bottom foot there.

If you get the knee of the bottom foot and lifted up, now you put even more weight. Um, do it. Try It the other way. Normally one way causes more grief than the other way. Okay. Difference. Okay. So one side's normally a five or a six out of 10, and the other one's in eight out of 10.

And as far as uncomfortable in this case, the question is, would children that have missed some of the developmental stages through flat floors and what did you call them? The walking thing is yes, put them in on their tippy toes. Yup. Hmm. Yeah, I think it's all a bad thing to do, but bodies are very resilient and they, if you show them the right things to do that you free your feet up and you start to spend more time on the floor. Bodies want to fall into these postures so you, I think you can get a fair bit of it back. Certainly make yourself feel better. So I, I coming back to you, I'd forgotten what we're, how we marked you all the way through there, but there's room for improvement and a simple things on the floor would really give you that, that improvement, that's, it's not rocket science. When you're uncomfortable in the postures, it's important that you don't overstretch your knees, your hips, your ankles. And so there I would use pillows and cushions to support someone.

You give them enough support until I could, I can say yes, I could sit there for five minutes. You mustn't don't you, if you're tight like this and not able to sit down, you must support and must support here. If you just get them to, you know, be tough and try and wait for it to give away. All they'll do is stretch their knee joint and then you get a hyper mobile knee and that's no good to you. Okay. So you support and then that gravity over the course of a few months gradually come down to it. The question, the question is, um, I did your workshop a year ago and uh, since I've been doing these postures, I've become more comfortable. But I do notice in the Japanese setting that I've got a bone that pushes into the, into a hard surface and a small mat just takes that pain away. And then I'm comfortable. Well, this is as you get out of shape, and I would suggest it's probably the, the ballet background.

Your bones start to come up from the surface and expose themselves and they don't like that. Yeah. And you know, so it's quite common that that when you, when you're in good form, you can relate very well to a hard flat surface. Your bones are soft enough to, to move into the flesh. But as you get out of shape, the bones get pushed towards the exterior to the point where I've seen ballerinas with bright, big lumps, you know, lumps this big on there, on the top of their foot from pointing and being on point and all that sort of thing. But I've also seen them reduce, I've seen Bunyan's reduce as people get easier in these postures.

Chapter 6

The Value of Dorsiflexion

Hi, we're back. There's a picture on the wall.

They're of stone age men and women and kids sitting around on the floor. And there's two, what I call primary archetypal pattern. One pattern is all these linear postures like this, like this, like this, like this. Yeah, like this, you know, all these fairly linear type postures in fact aren't linear when you, when you go into this, all the muscles of your legs are actually being twisted right up. This is a full twisting of your whole system.

And this is an untwisting of your whole system. So it looks as though it's twisting, but it's in fact it's an untwisting. And so you know, people that like this posture often don't like this posture and vice versa. People that like the linear ones often sit like this, cross legged, you know. Whereas in health, I think you need access to both. You know, the linear postures and them all turned out postures. So we need, we need access to both styles, but these are the way your body has retuned itself after exercise.

Now, if I've gone up and tried to walk, I wouldn't try and run one of those hills, walk quickly up one of those big hills behind us here in Santa Barbara, you know, at the top of the hill, the best single thing you can do is spend half an hour on the floor in a variety of postures. And as soon as one gets a little bit uncomfortable, you shuffle to the next one, to the next one, to the next one, and you ease yourself back into your norm. The worst thing you can do is get in a car and drive home. You know, because see now these hot wet muscles as they call down, they like Jelly. As they cool, they start to set and they stiffen up and see if I take the chair away, that's this posture. So my muscles are setting in their shortest, tightest position. And so what we're seeing now is a whole generation of kids that exercise hard. You know, they want to be part of the sports team, they're pushed at school, they exercise hard, but they never rest on the floor and see if you are like this.

And then on top of that you've got growth hormones. Your brain is producing growth hormones and that elongating the bones inside the leg tight muscle is now being elongated as well. So the leg starts to buckle and bones start to push out to the surface and fattiest starts to get all tight. It becomes a whole pattern. And we're seeing more and more of this in young, young people now. And I'm seeing it in athletes, I'm seeing it in, well virtually everyone. And I'm, I in my experience, pushing and pulling and rubbing and exercising doesn't really help it cause we're missing the underlying simplicity of what we need to do, which is spend more time on the floor.

And a big part of this is start to expose your feet to refer to rain. So I'm going to move on to that aspect of it now. So here's a, a newborn and there is a key angle. It's called Dorsal flection. If you go up to a new bond, you can take the heel of the foot and you can take it all the way back to the shin. In fact, a lot of kids that goes past the shin, it'll drift either inboard or outboard as well. So that's, and that only happens in the last month when you're really being squashed right up inside mum. If you're premature, then you end up as um, the first point. So a pediatrician will, if you give a newborn to a pediatrician and say, you know, is this kid full term or not? You know, this is one of the tests that they'll do. Yeah. Does that child have a full dorsal flection so that much you could never walk with if your ankles with that flop, you'd never be able to stand up.

So we have to lose a lot of that, but we end up with exactly the right angle we need. And this angle has been refined over millions of years of biological, upright walking. Yeah. And then kids in the beginning can't sit on the floor. They need support. Yeah. And then kids go through, you know, they start to develop these beautiful pastures.

They look so comfortable on the floor, they squat up and down so easily. Um, and then at about 10 months they learned a twist. And the twisting is a very important thing for humans. It's um, it's, it's a pro. It's a difficult movement, which is why it takes kids about 10 months before they start to explore it. But without twisting, you're not able to go from the floor to standing. That's a, so that's a very essential part of your childhood development.

And then we'll move on to squatting. And I started to realize how important this posture was because of the Dorsal flection, because this posture sets the exactly what you need to be in an efficient walker. Your whole body is built around efficiency and walking, not efficiency on a Palladio's table or efficiency and the splits or other things. You were built to be walkers. And so this angle of Dorsal flection is absolutely essential to you. And then I came across this man's work, Jonathan Kingdon, and he wrote a book or a series of seven volume set on the mammals of east Africa. So this man knows more about the mammals of east Africa than anyone else alive.

He, he's an artist and a zoologist. And he spent years, probably decades in the field giving me a complete description of the animals of east Africa. And then he wrote this book called lowly origin, which is the when, where, when, and why our ancestors first stood up. So this man with an extraordinary, not just about humans, but about about mammals, I don't go huge insight into, into what sort of animal we are. He could go along to a map of Africa and he could say, look, it'll be in that those valleys where I think it'll, it all started and he calls the book lowly origin because the whole thing goes back to an eight with that could squat C to B, our legs got longer and we started to be able to lift our bottom off the ground. Yeah. And that, and so that when we came out of the trees, we could use two hands to feed with. When we came out of the trees, we were vulnerable. We'd be like going out that door. And they were hyenas.

The size of small SUV is out there, you know, it, it was very, very frightening for us for a long time. So when we came down out of the trees, we had to be quick, we had to get what we wanted and then we had to get back up. And so being able to feed with two hands and also to be able to come up and look round. Yup. And then go back to doing what you had to do. So he started to see squatting. Then led to standing, standing then led to walking, walking then led to running. So he divides it up, passes it up into these different groups. So from a totally different perspective, here's a world famous psychologist who has come up with um, squatting as being as an essential human posture.

And so, um, our dorsal flection is just enough that we can climb trees if we need to, uh, stay biomechanically efficient walkers. So chimpanzees have a few more degrees of Dorsal flection than us. Not many, you know, but another five or 10 degrees. Yeah, we have lost five or 10 degrees because of heels, because of heels we have, we have marked with a very important angle, heels and then in shoes that see if I want Dorsiflexion, the best way of doing it is to put something sharp here. You know, if I push down onto something sharp, you know, I would try and go for all the dos affliction I possibly had. So we never expose our feet to the normal, what I call self corrective pushes.

That would in a line our dose of flection. So dos affliction is an absolutely essential angle. You lose Dorsal flection at your peril. So while I was, um, in Austin with, uh, Wendy Leblanc, uh, one of her students on the second time around gave me this tee shirt, which I'll just show you. It's very sweet and reflection. So you know, it's, I thank her for the tee shirt.

It's, it's actually a really important angle. And again, you don't understand bodies unless you understand the importance of Dorsal flection in your movement. So from a pilot's perspective, when I see feet pointing all the time, and I've just spent a few days going through some of the polarities, anytime website and you just look at the front pictures of dozens of workshops, so many feet, you know, all pointing, pointing, pointing, pointing, pointing. So on your hand, the equivalent is that Jetson, it's not just, it's not even that. It's right around like, so and that is a dysfunctional hand, you know, that's a badly arthritic, you know, functionally useless hand. You know, when you point your foot, and particularly if you do it strongly, you know you're right at the end of your range of movement and your whole system starts to switch off. It's whereas when you're endorsed Dorsiflexion, your whole system is so much stronger. So it's a, it's a critical angle. Can I have you opposite just as a model for a second?

Can I have you on all fours? So your head is facing that way just on all fours there. So I'll just show you this, that I let your feet go down. Okay. I was teaching in Switzerland at a, uh, what was it? It was a school of judo and they, I was talking about this and then the instructor came up and showed me this, which he had learned in Japan. So I want you to resist me. I'm just going to push. Okay. So just getting a sense of how strong you are.

Okay. You can feel it. Okay. And now I want you to Dorsiflex your feet. Okay. Make them strong. Okay. Firmer. Okay. You get stronger. Can you feel it? Yeah. Your whole system gets firmed up as soon as you drop that. Okay. It's just not as strong. So it's, it's not a local event. We, we tend to think, oh, it's just something happening down here.

But bodies aren't like that at all. What you do at the periphery is really important. Thank you very much. [inaudible] so I would suggest in the Peloton environment to start to stress a dorsal flection, get it or at least go through the range of movement. Yeah. But the Dorsal flection, most of us have lost a few degrees of it and that's why we can't squat. And I find it, if I'm doing an exercise, for example, I'll have another applicant, we're doing another exercise facing the camera.

Thank you. On your side. This is a, a little exercise where we look at the lateral contract Alfio, which is this big figure of eight that runs on the outside of bodies. Sorry, what's your name again? Sorry, Amy. Okay. So Amy, I'm going to get you to do an exercise where this hand is there and that's up like that and straighten your legs out. Okay. And just plan to flex your feet. Okay. I want you to lift one leg up. Okay. And then I want you to lift the other leg up. Right. Okay. So we're really working here, this lateral contract, our field now as flat out, you can feel it. Okay. And down you go. Okay.

Now this time I want you to Dorsiflex size fate and I lift up one and then lift up the other one. Okay. You feel stronger to me. Okay. You feel more secure and you feel just tighter, stronger, better. Okay. As soon as you let those feet go, your whole system loses a whole degree of strength here. Yeah. [inaudible] even though you're touching them. Feedback. Dynamic. Yeah. Yeah, yeah. I can feel too. Yeah. So you know, I would suggest to you that you start to bring in more dorsal flection into your repertoire. Yeah. I think if you go back to the original, I don't, I don't think polarez himself stressed, uh, planned reflection. I think that came in later with the influence of, of ballet. Hmm.

Thank you very much. So go for more dorsal flection in your, in your practice. Place a value on those reflection. You know, I'm suggesting where you need to do two things. We need to value those reflection and we need to value what I call flow life spending time. Whenever you get the opportunity in your personal life, whenever it's socially acceptable, go for the floor. You can't do too much of it in the modern world. It's impossible to overdo it.

So go back as you know, as far as possible towards what your system is designed to do. Look at these incredible men, these Kalahari Bushmen, the total ease they've got in their full squat. And I'd tell you, you would not want to outrun out, lift out, carry out, perform one of these men. You know, I, I you get an elite, you know, navy seal, you know, and ask him to do a day of this type of life. And I know where I'd put my money. Um, it's v profoundly tuned physiques and the churning is more important than anything else. And then these are way past their, their feet. You know, a few sit like this on the side unit, then my knee comes to here, their, they would be out through here somewhere and not, they can sit in a full squat and sit right. Yeah. Back Upright.

If you want to deal with core strength, whatever that is, you're certainly fine. Your lower abdominal muscles when you try and sit back when you're in a full, well, yeah, yeah. All that sort of thing. Then you're dealing with physiques that are beautifully aligned, balanced. You lose access to these fundamental postures and everything above starts to go wrong. This guy, South America, Sherman, I don't know. I think he must be on something with his backside. He's so, um, upright there, but I don't know, but it doesn't matter where you go in the world. It's the same, same group of postures here we've got the toe sitting and the toe sitting is a tremendously important posture because when you toast it, see here, if I'm right down like this and someone pushes me, now I'm weak.

I've turned my physique off. I'm, I'm in rest mode. As soon as I'm up like that, I'm in standby mode and now I'm ready to move and I'm strong and it's, it's really very different. So this is a work posture. It's a sort of standby posture and we are losing this because of shoes and because we never stress our plan to Fascia, you know Fascia is so fashionable. If you want to Fascia, you've got to understand where it comes up to the surface and it comes up to the surface in a few particular spots. And I would suggest you've got two little nodules here that are very important to your Fascia. All the muscles converge onto these little things called mod. All lie.

Just here, you've got another one in your perinatal body right at the base of you do not muck with your peroneals [inaudible]. That's where all his fascist sort of knots together. And then your hands, your palm of Fascia and your Plantar Fascia. That's otherwise it's all just fasher is everywhere. You know, I can't feel fasher, it's just, but some places it emerges. So when you start to make your plantar Fascia more responsive, stronger, flexible, all of you gets better. So here I am in Wellington, I'm at a plotting studio and we're working on using some of the equipment, but bringing in plant, uh, dose reflection and sitting on the toes.

So conventionally doing these sort of exercises, you'd have the feet down. Okay, start to change that you'll get better results. This is the drinking posture. Fundamental posture is long sitting, often used as a work posture in different parts of the world. He is cross-legged and there's lots of different ways of sitting, cross legged. And then half the half Lotus I think is not a yoga posture.

I think that's a normal Watson, my foot sort of mobility.

Chapter 7

Retuning Your Physique

Here's a bit of a stupid thing to quite a boy type analogy. You know, if I said, look, there's a two cars out here. If you drive to New York right now, you go out of here and drive to New York, I'll give you $1 million time. And so you go out and you know, here's a new BMW and you think all this won't even be hard work. This will be fun. Um, but that car is out of tune that the tires are flat, the handbrakes are a bit sticky. You can't really let go of the handbrake, the headlights. So European pointing the wrong way, you know, just little things. The car is 100% there.

It's got every single one of its 30,000 parts. It's all there. It's just a little bit out of tune. Okay, where's this old car was intune? You just have to get in that car and start driving. The tune is more important than anything else. People tend to think the tune is, oh, after I'm flexible and after I built up my insurance and after I've got more strength and more stamina, you know, then I'll sort of put it all together.

I don't think it works like that. It's far better to stop the tune yourself up and then you work on whatever you might be interested in. You might be interested in dance or strength or endurance or flexibility, but you'll reach your real potential if you chewing your physique up. So these postures that I've been showing you, showing you tune your physique. Okay, there is, I call it the, they empower yourself corrective capacity.

We all tend to get out of shape and these postures help push you back towards, they resist the tendencies that we all have. So for example, if I've got a tendency to roll in on this foot, you know, walking bare foot, I soon realized that's not a good look. I soon realized that that's, I have to find the muscles to lift myself out of that, whereas with normal Nike shoes on, etc. Um, I can just let that arch collapse and we'll just go the way it, you know, my tendency would take it, you've turned off a self corrective capacity. These postures are wonderful after recovery. So even if you've done a Peloton class, I would suggest that spend 20 minutes on the floor straight afterwards.

Now you've worked all your physique, you've done, you know, I've seen how hard you can work out on these in polarities. So afterwards just sit around like this, talk to someone, ease your system back into its norms. And the Nice thing about this is that once you're down here, you have to get up. And the getting up is the active side of this idea. I've been showing you mostly the passive side, which is uh, sitting on the floor. The active side is up and down from the floor.

And so I've developed a whole series of exercises that I call the erector sizes that are a way of stressing or practicing the up and down from the floor. And I can modify these for old men and women and I can modify them for elite athletes. And they're the single most important sequence of, of strength that I would suggest you, you want to work on for the rest of your lives. And you know these getting up and down from the floor, you are fighting gravity. So if you want to keep your, your uprightness as you move into your sixties, seventies, eighties. Okay.

This is the way to do it. No, Yo, when I get up from the floor, um, I'm working in kilos at the moment, but you know, I'm lifting 60 kilos up off the ground. Yeah. So it's their fantastic against gravity. So here's a little boy who's just, these are his first steps. I've actually got the video of him taking his first steps and he's beside himself with happiness. He's going completely berserk at his own what he's, what he's just done.

Okay. He would have done it two weeks earlier if mum had put less socks on him. Okay. Even from a very early age, now we're putting kids into little shoes and little socks and that terrible. So I'm going to go through a little bit of this. Um, this idea of the getting up and down from the floor. We can get upright from the linear postures like this and coming up, there's, you can start to make these quite difficult.

So you can start to do things where you come straight up like that. So you can play with these and make them more difficult. And then there's all the cross leg postures. So your cross legs like this and ways of either spiraling up or just coming up like that up and down, up and down, you can start to make them quite complicated. Um, you know, this little boy when I first met Louie, he would drag his left leg so he would get round on the ground like this.

He would, he'd be doing this, I don't. And Mum came up to him and said, you know, Phil, somethings wrong with Louis. He just won't that left leg. He just won't use it. Tell you two days on grass. Like that fixed him on a floor here. He could drag his left leg, but a couple of days of getting his, uh, knee grazed and, and um, muddy, he quickly realized that that left leg had better come in and um, and then he was fine. We have to start working on the ability to get up and down from the floor with strength and with grace and we needed to start taking our shoes off more often.

This is another essential part of this idea. I call a shoes sensory deprivation chambers for our feet and I want to stress for you just a second. I'll show you. Yeah. If I put those on my hands, I will have crippled my hands. No, it would be very easy for me to lift this up and play with it and do all sorts of things with this. Alright, you put these on and now suddenly suddenly to do anything with this is becoming difficult and at the end of the day I would end up like this.

I'd be so stiff in my neck and shoulders because everything you lose at the periphery, you fixate centrally. That's how you compensate and so for your feet that is your low back. It's l four l five and s one they're the segments that we are constantly hurting that are having all the operations and the disc prolapses and all that sort of thing. With we are, we've gone up to a full sensory organ, which is what your foot is, and we've hobbled it, crippled it with these, I'm not against shoes when you need them, but again, it's a bit like floor settings, not socially acceptable, but it's actually very, very good for you. Reno, walking around without your shoes on is not socially acceptable, but it's in fact profoundly good for you. So again, I would suggest when it's socially acceptable, when the terrain allows it, take your shoes off and start to explore your feet. And you will notice that all these postures that I'm showing you will start to improve quickly. Whereas if you try and do all this, but you keep yourself, you keep your soft feet soft, distorted feet. Yeah, it's, the process takes a lot longer if ever.

So sensory deprivation chambers and they dumbed down particularly this low part of your bank. So nerves that go from your foot target, l four l five s one. So that's, that's where all the distress guys. So to tune yourself up, you realize that tune is not the icing on the cake. Yeah, it's, it's essential to what you do and start to realize that shoes are a fairly recent phenomenon that's a set of shoes from a 13th century London. I found them in the mud of the tims and they're just moccasins that they use twine up here too to go on shoes. Used to be fairly expensive and you would wear them when you had to.

Right. Good. We're moving up about 200 years now and the shoes are getting more sophisticated, but they're still sort of moccasin type things. But if you've invested a lot of money in a set of good shoes like that, it's this back corner where you'll tend to wear out your investment. So they started saying, look, just put an extra piece of leather here, a sacrificial piece of leather. And then, well, I'm a little bit short. How about you put two bits of leather there? No, I'm a little bit shorter.

Still put three bits of leather there. And so three bits of leather became the norm. So every man's shoe is now three bits of leather. Okay. And then women who are a bit short said, well, put five on, you know, just give me a little bit more height. And then five becomes the norm for you. And then some, you know, six, seven, eight, nine, 10, 11, 12. You know, you start to Jack yourself up like this, and then you combine that loss of Dorsal flection, you combine that with feet that are never properly stimulated and you end up in this bad spiral and anything to do with your hands, your feet, your face or your genitals becomes a fetish. Of course, your brain is so interested in these, those parts of you. So we end up with, you know, shoes becoming fetish objects.

So here's a picture of a book from 1957 I think it was. And it's a, it's about physical education for kids. My point is, if I did a book like this and I sent it to a publisher, they'd send the picture back saying, put shoes on the kids. Okay. On my book, which is a partly a tirade about against shoes. They put shoes on the model. Who's sitting there, you know, it's, um, it's bizarre. You can't go onto a, an aircraft with, without your shoes on, but if we have a crash, take your shoes off before you try and get off. You know, it's, it's a funny thing. So, so between that and chairs, you know, look at this, that's sort of the idyllic life. You know, you've walked up a hill and it's sunset and you're about to have a beer and you're all comfortable there, you know, and you've, you, you've got your car in the back of the SUV or you a chair in the back of the SUV or these people sitting around, you know, having the good life again in shares. So I see people, they arrive at the beach and the first thing they do is set up all their furniture, um, that Chaz look at this poor little kid, look at the size of those shoes that he's got on delicate, sensitive, informative feet covered with a big thick piece of rubber.

[inaudible] yeah, this, this kid's got, um, problems. And so this is advertisement for a special chair that you can buy that locks them in. So she's got her ankle strap to the chair so they can't go down. She's got this thing here so her hands can't go lower and she's got a big harness on here. So she's really locked into that chair. And you know, I think if she had problems before she sat in the chair that she has certainly going to make those problems worse.

So I guess my, my point here is chess at less, you know, when you, when it's socially acceptable at home, stopped to get rid of your furniture. Start to spend more time on the floor. Yeah. And liberate your fate. And so that is my kitchen floor at home. I've made the whole floor into a, what I call a rock garden. Some of the, some of the rocks are so sharp, they would draw blood if you stepped on them too hard. So those ones I've painted with red nail Polish to sort of warn people out there, they're sharp. So you've got to walk carefully on this thing.

And some of them are big stone, so you can really get your plantar Fascia and grind away at them. I don't notice this Florida all now I'm just, it means nothing to me. Whereas I've seen elite athletes get halfway onto the floor and then just seize up. Yeah, this is another example of them. That's another example that's from a Japanese um, spa. This one is in Tel Aviv.

Fantastic. Do exercises while you're standing on these things. You know, if you were standing on on that while you were doing some of your equipment workout, fantastic for you. The more stimulation you can give through your feet, the better you are. This is a nice long one and these ones are loose, so standing on those while you try to lift weights tell you when you come off those, the weight seems so light because you've really ramped up your brain by standing on that sort of surface and I would suggest you much more effective at this. Then I'm being on a Swiss ball, no stone age and women weren't on Swiss balls. The only time the earth really moved underneath them was during an earthquake, you know, with, but our feet are designed to manage this sort of thing.

This is from Tonya Hood Arts Pilati Studio in Wellington and she's made rock mats, um, for her clients. There's this one that she's made and then she's made these ones which are portable ones and she gets fantastic results with them too. Tanya has become a total, um, advocate for this way of thinking and working using [inaudible] a big difference to her own physique and um, real improvement in, um, in our clients is with those reflection of the feet. The other side of that is start to make your hands more functional when you're doing things. So Tanya calls these Coffee Cup hands and if you do Coffee Cup hands, it's far, far more effective for your physique than doing this sort of thing.

Once you're there, your system sort of locked out. You're, you're at the end of the world. That is a functional hand. Your whole system is ready to do the, the work of life. So if you're doing this, if you're doing a roll up or that sort of thing, just play, you know, reaching like this universal is reaching like that. A little bit of extension here. Not Too much. Too much. You've locked it. Okay. But not straight either. So a little bit and yeah. Coffee Cup hands.

So you're reaching through. Let's get you up. I'll just show you. Can I just see you doing lying on your back and just doing a roll up? Hmm. Okay. Yes. Okay. Do it. Do it conventionally, how you are doing. Yeah. Okay. And up your com. Okay. And back you go. No.

See from my perspective, that's not the way to do this from a functional perspective. Okay. Yeah. Dan, you come. Okay. I'm going to make it a lot easier for you. Yeah. Okay. Okay. So the first thing we want to do is we want to work on some dorsal flection. Okay. And I want you to ask you come up, I want you to bend your knees that much and I want you to pull against the mat.

Okay. Like that. Okay. So and I want you to come up with Coffee Cup hands. Okay. So you're coming up that way. So there's a, there's something you're going to go for there. Okay. And come up. Yeah. And then you go again. Try. Yeah, that's it. Let yourself drag down that your feet drag you down. Okay.

And try once more. So you, you're coming up [inaudible] [inaudible], [inaudible] and a new com. So that would be the way I would work with you. And See, I think you're going with more control up and down. Yeah. This cause this, this makes you so much stronger. You obviously want to do a bit of flex knee with this cause that tips your pelvis. If this initiates so much movement, if you've got this in the wrong place, everything above it has to work so much harder. If you're flexing well then flex room all the way down. It just makes sense.

So allow yourself this whole idea of neutral spine. That's another whole thing I've got. Or You, you know, you can't, that's like saying I only want a car that's got neutral. You know, car that's only got neutral is a useless car. Your spine has got to move. So it's learning how to move it properly. So anyway, I would work with Dorsiflexion, not with sickling. It, no, not, not that you know, but real dose selection. Right. And I'd let yourself bend those knees a little bit and I'd make your hands a little bit more. Look for the angle. Not so much that, not so much this, look for that right angle and roll yourself up from there. Pulling the one my way up. Yeah. Yeah.

Pulled it a little bit. That might help you. It's easier for me going, yeah. Yeah. Okay. So it's relaxing. Okay. So when you start to come up, then you start to do all this business, that's it really work there and yeah, yeah, yeah. So that's an a a few weeks of that you would notice a real improvement in your strength. So you can easily make these sort of things. I think they make a real difference to you.

So we're going to wrap up two to reach your and your physiques. Yeah. Sit and lie on the floor as much as you can of whole variety of postures depending on your client or depending on yourself. Give the support you need. Don't just hang on joints, you know, do it carefully. Give yourself 18 months to ease into the floor. Again, get up and down from the floor.

We haven't spent much time on this session covering that. That's another another lecture. Get up and down from the floor with good style value. Dos flection. That's all I'm saying. Just place a value on that. It's, it's, I'm trying to show you that it's a fundamental angle to the whole way your physique has been put together and by changing it, by making that now the default, particularly for women, that's, that's you. It's like saying, look, I want your blood pressure to go from one 20 on 80 to one 40 on 90 and make that the new norm. You could do that, but your, your heart will be at risk if you do that for too long. Know, so valued. Also reflection. Yeah, and when it's possible, you know, walk on rough ground. Whenever you can start to tone yourself up.

So finally, yeah, keep coming. Squat on. So thank you everyone. It's been a pleasure. Thank you very much.


Malak ~ Thank you for your forum post. When you go to the workshop on the site, there will be a Buy Now button above the video. This is not available on the app, so you will have to be logged in to the site to see it. I hope you enjoy this workshop!
2 people like this.
Thank you so much for providing this workshop! And thank you Phillip for making such an important contribution available. I am enjoying these postures so much. And so are my clients!
4 people like this.
This is probably one of the best workshops I have seen on pilates anytime. It really bring in a fundamental aspect of what we are trying to achieve for our clients. Functionality!!! More of this please.
Gia - ( I know we cannot do this with classes) but is it possible to download this workshop and view it offline? as it is over 2 hrs long?
Diana ~ Unfortunately we do not offer the option to download workshops at this time. It is on our list of projects for the near future to work on limited downloads with the iOS app.
Fantastic workshop on moving the body as a whole and functional posture. Great concepts and application for rehabilitation and creating a truly well-tuned body. Thank you for including Phillip's work here, would love to see more!
Would love to see more like this. Thank you Phillip .
Dear PA. Could you give an update on downloads on iOS for workshops. We are now 8 months on which presumably means we are getting there in terms of the near future. Love your workshops and would love them so much more if I could have them on hand to watch when travelling and no wifi... Watching a workshop is by far my preferred type of video viewing at, for example an airport or pool. When your techs look at this could they also give the option to delete one video at a time when managing a download list. We are limited to 5 downloads (which is fine), but it appears the only way to remove a single video from the download list is to sign out, lose everything and start again from scratch (please correct me if I'm wrong!!!). Thanks.
Absolutely wonderful!!! Thank you, Philip for bringing this information to PA. Please, more.
I am so thankful for PA, the amazing classes and workshops you provide. Thank you.
Dear Moderators. Any update on the comment made back in June (following on from Diana's request in this thread last year). There were 2 points raised. (1) Update on when we can download workshops, and (2) how we can remove a single video from the download list without having to sign out and lose everything. Thanks, David.
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