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Book Review! “Alignment Matters” by Katy Bowman

Alignment Matters: The First Five Years of Katy Says

Get a load of that alignment!

Get a load of that alignment!

(To just find out about the actual book, skip the first 8 paragraphs…)

We can be very clear from the start that, as a graduate of the Restorative Exercise Institute, of which Katy Bowman is the founder, I will not be entirely unbiased in the review of Katy’s latest book. I knew before I received it that it was going to be good. In fact, I had already read all of the material in the book before I ever had a copy in my hands… Which brings me to the beginning of this story.

I found Katy’s blog, KatySays.com, while searching for answers to my questions about my body and health and healing. I had found many other blogs and websites, and had spent a fair amount of money buying books and DVDs and the like, trying to find the information I needed.

When I discovered KatySays.com, it was clear to me that I had found the answers; I just needed to read enough to get the information from the blog posts into my brain. And all of her information was just there for the taking!

And so I read. At the time, I had a desktop computer, set up at a standing workstation* in the office, away from the living room. The time that I had to read was, most often, in the evenings, after the kids had gone to bed. That was also the only time I had to see my husband, and so I didn’t really want to be standing in front of a screen in another room. I wanted to be on the couch (horror!) next to him. But, no laptop or smartphone or tablet. Thus, I would complain: “I wish all of these posts were in a book I could just take with me everywhere!”  Just ask my husband. He’ll testify.

Then, aside from the inconvenience of my computer setup, I found it annoying and challenging to keep track of which posts I had read and which I hadn’t. After seeing a few posts, I had taken myself back to the beginning of the blog and was reading through the archives, in chronological order, from the first post. I had to remember which month I was in, and which of the titles I’d already visited. I know, you’re thinking “oh, poor poor baby!” But this information for me was like bacon for a starving dog- I couldn’t get enough, and anything that slowed me down was Highly Annoying.

Fast forward almost five years. I’ve read every post, old and new, at least twice. I’m certified in Katy’s alignment program. I teach her exercises. And still I refer back to old blog posts frequently, both for myself and to share information with friends and clients.  The electronic version has it’s benefits: the search function and the categories are helpful. Also, it’s free. Free is great. But if you’ve caught the alignment bug, you’ll probably agree that a price tag of about twenty bucks is totally worth having that blog at your literal fingertips.

Actually, one of the reasons I love this book so much is that I can give it to people who HAVEN’T caught the alignment bug! You know, because a really in-depth book about something you don’t have much interest in is a Great Gift Idea! Much easier than constantly sending links to your friend, or husband, or parent, and never knowing if they read them or not. So, friends and relatives reading this, you’ve been warned. :)

Quote on back

But back to my story. I feel quite vindicated, now that MY idea has finally come to fruition. The book is the entirety of the first five years of KatySays. (As it says in “About This Book,” it’s every post- the good and the bad!) I can now read while lounging on a bolster,  during takeoff and landing, or while standing outside (not) watching my kids chase chickens. I can patiently ignore my husband during our evenings together, while sitting right next to him (on the floor!)! And improving my health all the while!

In all seriousness, though, this book is amazing and worth getting. You may never read it cover to cover (Then again, you might. I did.), but you’ll reference it over and over. And it’s not chronological, it’s organized into general body sections and systems, which makes it great for concentrating your attention on one area. If you have a friend with pelvic floor disorder, you can lend her the book and just say “read that whole chapter.” It will give her (or you) a deeper understanding of what’s going on, rather than just a quick explanation on one aspect. Or if you’re trying to explain to your husband why cardio exercise might not be the best way to spend your time, you can re-read the chapter titled Cardiovascular System to brush up on all the specifics. There’s even a chapter on Motivation- When You Need A Kick In The Pants. Because who doesn’t, sometimes?

If you’re not already a follower of Katy’s blog, you can easily see for yourself if you’re going to like the book. Just go read a few entries on KatySays.  She’s easy to follow, and (best of all) laugh-out-loud entertaining. Katy has two primary strengths as a writer: she’s brilliant, and she knows how to explain things to those of us who aren’t. Which isn’t to say she dumbs anything down— well, actually, she does because she has to, but— and this is important— not too much. She pulls the reader along into better understanding, without leaving out the important stuff.

There is SO MUCH information packed into this book. It is 447 pages long. But the information is pre-packaged into little bite-sized portions. Perfect for a mom who only has 3 minutes at a time to read, or for reading on your breaks at work, or (dare I say it?) for bathroom reading?** It’s a great format for digesting a whole bunch of new information without going into overload.

You can turn to page 94 to learn why Australia is pertinent to conversations regarding your pelvic floor. Or visit page 167 to learn why you should have an egg-hole in your armpit. And on page 242 you can listen in to a conversation between bone and muscle. There are countless photos (and descriptions) of  exercises that will help your body get healthier, as well as some gratuitous cute baby pictures. SO much good stuff.

And if you’re already a Katy Disciple and want a good chuckle, look at the copyright page at the first entry for the Library of Congress cataloging information. I’d like to find the person who wrote that and refer them to the first paragraph on page 14.

BONUS!! For reading all the way through this, I’m giving away a copy of Alignment Matters on my Facebook page! If you’d like to get this book into your hands, head on over there and leave me a comment. Newsletter subscribers have an email option, as well, if you’re not a facebooker.

My recommendation: Get this book. If you don’t want to, then just head over to KatySays.com and read it all there. READ AND BE ENLIGHTENED AND ALIGNED!

 

She tells it like it is.

She tells it like it is.

* Yes, I had stopped sitting in front of my computer long before I heard that “sitting is the new smoking,” or had started getting rid of my household furniture. It was my own method for stopping myself from sitting mindlessly in front of the screen, web-surfing, slouching. I figured if I were standing, at least I would be more conscious of how much time was passing, and wouldn’t get sucked in quite so deeply. At home alone with two small children all day, the internet was a tempting seductress, distracting me from both my children and the work that needed to be done. My plan worked, and then I was so pleased with myself when everyone started recommending standing workstations for health reasons!

** TMI Alert!! I will advise that if you are using any sort of footstool or squatting-toilet-simulator (like the Squatty Potty) that reading on the hopper isn’t advisable. Your legs go numb much more quickly… And I do recommend using some such device, so maybe this book isn’t cut out to be a bathroom reader…

 

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