Children’s Posture Then and Now

Published on April 11, 2017 by in Blog



Big Changes Over 30 Years 

Each one of us arrives in the world with all the same working parts that humans have always had. There’s a lot of variation, of course, and some humans may have shorter or thicker bones and other differences, determined by our genetic inheritance. Yet the way our bones and muscles function together as a system of pulleys and levers is always the same for everyone. It’s the natural human mechanical design, and in the same way that all squirrels run and jump like squirrels everywhere, and all giraffes lumber about like all other giraffes, all human babies, everywhere in the world, when given the opportunity to engage in instinctual developmental movements, discover, or teach themselves, how to move like natural human beings.

Sitting Then

These class photos from the 1950s and 1960s show students who were supported by aligned skeletons. These children might appear rigid and stiff by today’s standards, yet they’re supported by naturally aligned bones that allow the muscles attached to those bones to be elastic—i.e., neither too tight nor too weak. Just like good old Goldilocks, or a child carrying a younger sibling on his back in Ghana, the natural tension is such muscles is “just right.”

Sitting Now 

If we could see the skeletons inside the young bodies of the children pictured here, we’d see a somewhat chaotic collection of misaligned bones that are incapable of providing natural structural support for the body.

The Physics of Alignment

As a modern-day culture, we have all but forgotten what genuine, relaxed uprightness looks like. In fact, we often consider postural collapse to be the standard expression of what it means to be “relaxed.” This sort of relaxed posture, however, puts a lot of stress on the body, as certain muscles are forced to compensate for the structural misalignment of the underlying framework of support.

When the bones of the skeleton are arranged in line with the vertical axis of gravity, children are able to sit upright with ease, without effort or strain. They are better able to be present, without restlessness, and more capable of being focused and calm.





The vertical axis of gravity is the body’s natural “home base,” the center around which the skeleton is meant to arrange itself. This natural alignment readily engages homeostasis—a state of equilibrium in a system or structure. In earlier generations, most children lived in a state of easy natural alignment, whether sitting or standing, at home or at school, and so they inhabited their bodies easily and gracefully. They climbed trees and play equipment with ease, ran and played ball without so many of the limitations, physical “awkwardness,” and pain problems many children experience today. There were always exceptions to this, of course, although, today, children who inhabit the body with solid uprightness and move with easy flexibility are more likely to be the exception than the rule.

Changing Times, Changing Habits

Children’s lives today are far less ruled by strict regimentation and formal standards of dress or conduct—and that’s a good thing! Fortunately, the adage that children should be “seen and not heard” has lost favor, now that it’s widely recognized that children flourish when they’re respected and encouraged to freely express themselves. Those who are fortunate enough to be acknowledged in this way develop greater confidence and self-acceptance, as well as a capacity to respect and value others. They sense that they belong to the larger community and demonstrate a capacity for expressing themselves clearly and deliberately.

While relaxing rigid rules of conduct is progress, collapse of essential skeletal support is anything but progress. Hours spent sitting in front of digital screens or in classrooms with poorly designed chairs or on the floor without an understanding of how to sit, greatly compounds the posture problems our children face by reinforcing poor habits.

Thoughtful, conscious parents make their children’s emotional and psychological well-being a priority. They inform themselves about nutritious food choices and go out of their way to provide for their children’s overall health and safety. Even so, through no fault of their own, most parents miss the boat when it comes to understanding one of their children’s most basic physical needs—natural structural support.

The Challenges We All Face

It’s not just parents who misunderstand this basic physical need. In spite of all the advances in modern medicine, most doctors remain unaware of the importance of natural posture, or even what this is in the first place. Too many of their young patients struggle with sensory processing “dis-orders,” various learning disabilities, poor coordination and balance, diminished physical stamina, and a host of behavioral challenges. Physicians can be as overwhelmed as parents and teachers in trying to manage these problems, while working to discover causes and solutions that work.

What is often missing from the equation is an overall understanding of how early the seeds of these problems are usually sown in children’s bodies, extending, in many cases, all the way back to the earliest months of life, when instinctual neurodevelopmental movement plays a key role in establishing a healthy framework of natural support. 

The Magic of Movement

Therapists who work with children in helping them overcome, improve, or manage many of these challenges, have recognized for a long time that movement therapy is essential in this healing process. It’s no surprise that many of these movements revisit and recreate steps along the way that were missed in children’s early physical/neurological development.

Such movements are discussed in detail in my upcoming book Healthy Posture for Babies and Children, which will be published this summer by Inner Traditions. 


I’ll be discussing natural standing in a future post, with more dramatic images that reveal the widespread collapse of children’s legs (pillars of support for the body above). I’ll be following up in future posts with lots more about natural posture, the epidemic of collapse facing so many children today, why it matters so much, and how we can improve your child’s (and our own!) posture in the only way that truly works—by sharing the knowledge of how the mechanical body works. So stay tuned!

kathleen-photo-green-top_edited-1Kathleen Porter
is a posture and movement coach. She is the author of Natural Posture for Pain-Free Living: The Practice of Mindful Alignment (Inner Traditions, 2006 & 2013) and Healthy Posture for Babies and Children (July 2017). She has traveled the world researching and observing populations who live in naturally aligned bodies and who move, work and age with ease. She is the creator of UpRightNOW, an online program she is developing for adults and children alike, and her company Natural Posture Solutions manufactures several small posture aids.





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So Small.  So Simple.  So Effective.



The secret to living on The Wedge?  PHYSICS!


It’s a secret worth telling—the reason this small, simple cushion is so effective in helping people sit comfortably and pain-free. It’s also the reason I spent years wishing such a cushion existed. Once I began wishing this out loud, The Wedge was born.

The original Wedge was filled with buckwheat hulls, making it lightweight and a perfect fit for a backpack or carry-on bag. Today it’s called the Travel Wedge. Our other signature product is simply The Wedge, filled with heavier-duty rubber “sand” that’s made from recycled tires. This one is typically found on a desk chair or the front seat of a car (ever notice how most car seats dip down in the back?). All the Wedges are interchangeable, however, and work great in almost every sitting situation—provided, of course, the instructions are carefully followed.

How our Wedges work is quite simple, really. The pelvis is designed (please don’t ask by whom) to be positioned in a gentle forward tilt that sets the correct angle of the platform at the top of the sacrum, on which the spine sits. Without this specific angle of support, the spine is misaligned, forcing straining muscles to compensate. For some people, the simple fact that The Wedge helps them sit more comfortably is good enough; there’s nothing more to know. For others, understanding a few simple details about the role of the pelvis as the foundation of support, can come in handy. If this makes you want to keep reading, this blog post is for you!

It’s useful to understand why and how this little cushion is so effective, and the images below tell the story.

The pelvis sets the stage, quite literally, for the integrity and health of the spine and everything else above it.

Yes, it’s true that we humans are living, breathing creatures that move around (and do lots of other things), all of which makes us very different from inanimate architectural structures such as houses and skyscrapers. Still, our bodies are ruled by the same exact natural laws as buildings, and our skeletons are made to align along the vertical axis of gravity.This is a key feature of your skeleton’s role as your underlying framework of support, and it’s something all well-developing babies and toddlers figure out on their own when teaching themselves how to become upright.

Since humans are upright critters, you could say that having a human body is much like living in a pole house. 

Without an aligned foundation to support vertical “poles,” the entire structure is thrown off kilter.

It’s an overlooked fact that much of the current epidemic of pain is caused by basic structural misalignment. 

The point of this post is to help you understand the importance of natural skeletal alignment and the role a small, simple cushion can play in helping to support youwhile you work at your computer, drive a car, watch a movie, sit in a classroom, attend a concert or sporting event, or engage in just about any other activity that requires sitting. Special mention should be made related to the use of The Wedge for meditation: The Wedge can be quite useful when sitting on the floor, but only if your hips are comfortably “open” enough for your knees to rest on the floor. The Wedge works really great, however, if you sit on a chair while meditating. 

Watch the Video “How to Sit on The Wedge

You can also read product reviews from a sampling of our happy customers.

Each review is verifiable by clicking the link on the review. While The Wedge doesn’t work for everyone in every instance, my experience has shown that when someone reports The Wedge is too hard or is uncomfortable in some way, it is almost always because they are using it wrong, with their pelvis not tipped “forward” enough. Think of The Wedge as an angled doorstop that comes in from behind, in order to tip your pelvis forward. And, of course, The Wedge is fully refundable, whether it is purchased directly from us or from Amazon.

I hope you found this helpful. If this information has inspired your interest, there’s a ton more information about all this in my book Natural Posture for Pain-Free Living.

Wishing you Happy Sitting!

Kathleen Porter is a posture and movement coach. She is the author of Natural Posture for Pain-Free Living: The Practice of Mindful Alignment (Inner Traditions, 2006 & 2013) and Healthy Posture for Babies and Children (July 2017). She has traveled the world researching and observing populations who live in naturally aligned bodies and who move, work and age with ease. She is the creator of UpRightNOW, an online program she is developing for adults and children alike, and her company Natural Posture Solutions manufactures several small posture aids.




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Pain-Free 101

Published on March 30, 2017 by in Blog





Take a minute to examine these three bodies and their matching skeletons.

What do you notice? 


We all know what’s wrong with THIS picture, right?

Collapsed Skeleton

We see people standing like this all the time. Maybe you, yourself, spend time in a similar state of collapse. Many people do, since standing upright naturally has been all but lost from our modern day society. A closer look reveals legs that are diagonal instead of straight, the tailbone is “tucked”, the spine is collapsed, vertebral discs and internal organs inside the torso are compressed, and the shoulders and neck are struggling against a heavy head that hangs off the front of the body.

Many words come to mind to describe this way of standing—collapse, weakness, tired, defeated—and it’s not just a matter of not looking great, it just doesn’t feel very good to stand this way.

That’s why so many of us work really hard to pull ourselves  “up straight,” like the woman below, right, in all the ways we were first taught by parents and teachers (“Chest up, shoulders back,” sound familiar?) and later by sports coaches, dance teachers, and many yoga and fitness instructors. A wholly different set of words come to mind to describe this corrected stance—strength, upright, good posture, tense.


Over-corrected Stance

Tense? Yes, tense. 

“Upright,” by today’s standards, is indeed tense.

This is the familiar “tuck-the-butt, suck-in-the-belly, lift-up your-chest, pull-your-shoulders-back” stance that our society-at-large currently believes is what “good posture” looks like. Standing (or sitting) with the chest lifted up this way causes the back to arch (i.e., compresses the spine) and requires constant muscular effort. Even though this is unnatural for human bodies, and is a mostly modern adaptation, it goes largely unquestioned by many fitness trainers, yoga and Pilates teachers, parents, teachers, doctors and other health professionals. 

Take a closer look, and you’ll see the legs are still not straight, unable, architecturally, to support the structure above. The rumpling of the shirt in the back match shortened, tense extensor muscles, used to “hold” this overcorrected body upright. This is because bones that are not aligned along the vertical axis are unable to do the job they are meant to do in supporting the body, so certain muscles that would otherwise be “elastic” in their support, must instead struggle in a chronic state of tension.

Both of these postures—collapsed and overcorrected—contribute to most of the back and joint pain experienced by millions of people today.



Until recently, we didn’t understand that our current way to prevent slouching is all wrong.

True models of naturally relaxed posture are well-developing babies and toddlers, and people in rural societies who still carry heavy loads on their heads (the ones who do this well), and people who have aged into their 80s and 90s with supple spines, authentic strength, easy flexibility, and enduring vitality. Truly authentic natural posture can only be learned by modeling how these people inhabit their bodies.

                  Our general ignorance of the skeleton’s natural alignment has caused us to overemphasize muscles, as if they are a system unto themselves, instead of part of a musculoskeletal system.

Aligned Skeleton

And so we focus on either stretching or strengthening muscles, activities that would seldom be necessary if we inhabited our bodies in an truly aligned way, allowing our muscles to take on their natural elasticity while doing their primary job of moving our bones. 

When people learn how to stand, sit, bend, walk—even sleep— with a long, open and relaxed spine, like the one pictured at left, many pain problems begin to resolve themselves and often disappear for good. Stiffness gives way to muscles that gain renewed flexibility, and we are more genuinely strong—bone deep strong—as we find the profound natural support granted by a solidly aligned skeleton.

If you revisit the three bodies pictured at the top of this post, along with their matching skeletons, you probably have a better understanding of what it means for the the weight-bearing joints (yellow dots) to align along the vertical axis of gravity (“plumb line”). Can you see how this places the legs in a vertical position to support the “pole house” that is your body? How the pelvis is shifted into a more anterior tilt, to better support an elongated spine above it? How the entire musculature is evenly elongated and relaxed, and there’s no compression of weight-bearing joints and internal organs?

There’s lots more about these concepts of natural alignment in my book Natural Posture for Pain-Free Living, More and more people are discovering that when they re-learn how to align their bones in this natural way, a host of pain problems and other health concerns are improved, and in many cases, completely resolved.  This is because as our bones align, joints also align, tense muscles are able to relax, internal organs function efficiently, the spine elongates and no longer compressed, and disruption of the nervous system by pressure on the spinal cord is resolved.


kathleen-photo-green-top_edited-1Kathleen Porter is a posture and movement coach. She is the author of Natural Posture for Pain-Free Living: The Practice of Mindful Alignment (Inner Traditions, 2006 & 2013) and Healthy Posture for Babies and Children (July 2017). She has traveled the world researching and observing populations who live in naturally aligned bodies and who move, work and age with ease. She is the creator of UpRightNOW, an online program she is developing for adults and children alike, and her company Natural Posture Solutions manufactures several small posture aids.




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Guiding Our Children by Empowering Them


Almost every parent has experienced the frustration of telling their child to “sit up straight,” only to see them sink back into the same familiar collapsed heap within minutes, if not moments. This is because the way we’ve all been taught to “correct” our slouching posture—lifting the chest up and pulling the shoulders back—requires a lot of muscle tension to maintain. In no time at all, we, too, like our children, are struggling against collapse.

What if there were an easier, more natural way of sitting “up straight,” that was truly more comfortable and required no effort? It turns out, there is such a way, and it is discovered by all well-developing babies when first becoming upright. This same upright posture that babies discover is also the secret to those legendary women in the world who carry enormously heavy loads on their heads without strain. Moving with ease and  […]

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Toddlers as Our Teachers

Published on February 3, 2017 by in Blog



What Toddlers Can Teach Us About Back Pain & Healthy Aging

Toddlers may need grown-ups to teach them how to tie a shoe and use the potty, but when it comes to knowing how to sit, stand, bend and walk with ease, toddlers become the teachers. Moreover, toddlers, in spite of their tender age, hold the secret of how to age comfortably.  Sound crazy?  Read on.

All healthy babies teach themselves how to stand and walk by discovering how to align their bones along the central axis or “plumb line.” A comparison of people who age into their 80’s and 90’s with long spines and no back pain with the typical American who experiences chronic back pain reveals that the back pain sufferer is far more likely to have veered off from alignment along this axis. The shocker is that true natural alignment is surprisingly different from what your mother may have taught you about sitting or standing “up straight.”

5 Things Toddlers Know that Most Adults Have Forgotten

1. Toddlers don’t “tuck their tails” as many people in our society are taught to do. Tipping the pelvis back like this disrupts the angle of the sacral platform on which the spine sits.

2. Toddlers don’t have “killer abs” or sucked-in bellies. Their superficial muscles are relaxed, which allows breathing to be free and natural and deeper “core” abdominal muscles to function as an “inner corset.”

3. Toddlers do not actively lift up their chests, nor do they slouch. To do either would cause them to lose their balance.

4. Toddlers do not pull their heads up and back.  The fact that their heads are proportionately larger and heavier at their age forces them to discover how to delicately balance the head on the spine (somewhat like a bowling ball on a stick).

5. Toddlers breathe into their entire torso.  Toddlers don’t just breathe into the upper chest, but experience a gentle natural breath in the lowest and broadest part of the lungs that not only fills the abdomen, but fills the back, as well.

Children are losing their natural alignment at increasingly younger ages. Much of this is due to being put in poorly designed strollers, car seats and school desk chairs, along with many hours slumped in front of television and computer screens.

5 Things You Can Do to Align Like a Toddler

While specific instructions for how to your bones is beyond the scope of this article, a few simple explorations can help you get started.  Keep in mind that the steps outlined below may feel awkward, weird or just plain wrong at first, especially if your muscles are accustomed to doing the work of holding you up.

1. Sit on the front of your sit bones or “butt bones.” Sit on a firm, level surface. Slide your right hand, palm up, under your right buttock.  Let your weight come down onto your hand and roll around until you feel a boney “knob” pushing into your hand.  This is one of your sit bones (there’s another one on the left side).  A baby or toddler always sits perched on the front edge of these sit bones.

2. Park your pelvis turning forward. Bring your weight onto the front edge of these bones. You can pull each one back manually, or you can lean from one side to the other as you “walk” them back behind you. Your “pubic bone” should be aiming down, into the seat.  Lifting the pubic bone up away from the seat will cause your spine to collapse.

3. Relax Your Belly.  This can be one of the most difficult things to do when we are told constantly to “suck it in.” However, tightening the  “abs” (rectus abdominis) interferes with natural breathing. Give it a try. Suck in and hold your tummy in for a few seconds, long enough to notice that you’ve stopped breathing.  Now relax your belly ever so slightly, then a little more and a little more, and you will experience how breathing returns quite naturally. Ironically, the surface muscles of the abdomen must relax for the deeper “core” abdominals to be firmed.

4. Let your breastbone (sternum) settle “in.” This can be hard to accept if you’ve been taught to sit up straight by lifting your chest. However, lifting your chest not only arches the spine, it compresses the spinal cord through which every nerve in your body passes. For many people, longstanding back problems are resolved almost immediately when they imagine the breastbone floating back and up behind them. Pay attention as you do this to sensations of increasing width coming into your back as muscles release tension.  Note: It is essential that you park your pelvis in neutral first (Step #2 above) or moving your breastbone back will result in slouching.

5. Let your neck be soft and free. Lift your chin and notice how the back of your neck (and your cervical spine) shorten. Next, extend your chin forward and notice how this only worsens the compression. Now slowly drop your chin and imagine the back of your neck ever-so-softly floating back to meet a scarf that is held just behind it. You should feel your spine straightening and lengthening inside your neck as you do this. It can feel “weird” when you begin to experience new ways of inhabiting your body.  Put the emphasis on how much more relaxed and lengthened the neck feels, instead of what you think you should look like.

Slouching and sitting “up straight” represent two opposite, extreme positions that interfere with an ability to live in the relaxed center. This simple fact explains much of the tension and pain experienced by millions of people today.  By remembering what you once knew when you learned to stand and walk (in other words, embracing your inner toddler!) you will be able, once again, to rely on the underlying framework of an aligned, living skeleton to provide all the support you need be naturally strong, easily flexible and pain-free throughout your lifetime.

Kathleen Porter is a posture and movement coach. She is the author of Natural Posture for Pain-Free Living: The Practice of Mindful Alignment (Inner Traditions, 2006 & 2013) and Healthy Posture for Babies and Children (July 2017). She has traveled the world researching and observing populations who live in naturally aligned bodies and who move, work and age with ease. She is the creator of UpRightNOW, an online program she is developing for adults and children alike, and her company Natural Posture Solutions manufactures several small posture aids.



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skeleton.meditationThe “Sixth Hindrance” is Unnatural Posture

Mindfulness is finally becoming mainstream!


And not a moment (pardon me : ) too soon, for little else could be more beneficial to our individual health, our relationship with ourselves and others, and the overall wellbeing of our planet.


Characterized by a quality of attention to one’s experience—without judging it to be good or bad, right or wrong—mindfulness is the  observation of whatever is, in any given moment. Mindfulness rests at the center of the Buddha’s remedy for the end of suffering.

Meditation isn’t easy for anyone. It’s a common misunderstanding that meditation is about emptying the mind of all those pesky thoughts that swirl around inside our heads and disrupt our peace of mind. Unfortunately, many people overlook the important role that awareness of the body can have on anchoring the mind in the present moment. Too often, This belief leads aspiring meditators to sometimes give up almost before they’ve begun, believing they are poor candidates for success, since sitting still with their eyes closed only highlights how wild and crazy their thoughts really are. It helps to know this scenario is true for everyone when they begin to meditate. In addition to noticing these thoughts and accepting the way things are right now, attention can be also be brought to awareness of the body and its sensations. Thus begins a shift from habitual patterns.

The rise in popularity of mindfulness is largely due to its success in managing stress and chronic pain, as well as building concentration, enhancing learning, increasing productivity, and managing emotions. Mindfulness meditation has shown to be at least as effective as medication in alleviating symptoms of depression. So it’s not surprising that mindfulness is now routinely taught in schools, hospitals, corporate boardrooms, churches, and small business employee wellness programs.

Physical pain is a major stumbling block that causes many people to give up meditation. With the right kind of practice, however, meditation can be tremendously helpful as an approach to pain-management, particularly for chronic, intractable pain caused by an injury or serious illness. Sooner or later, all meditators experience physical pain, as deep internal tensions in the body/mind are brought to awareness.

Much of the pain people experience while meditating is avoidable. Most Americans today do not enjoy the benefit of skeletal support that aligns along the vertical axis of gravity—the physical center of one’s being. This is the natural human design that all healthy babies and toddlers discover on their own, but in today’s world, children lose this alignment at an early age. This is a common deterrent to positive meditation experiences. Knowing how to “park” the pelvis according to the natural human design, so that it can support a relaxed upright spine, is a tremendous advantage. Without this support, the nervous system that travels through the spinal cord is dominated by the sympathetic “fight or flight” mode, while certain muscles must strain to compensate for this lack of aligned support. It is not uncommon for many people, including long-time meditators and meditation teachers, to struggle needlessly with chronic back, neck, knee or hip pain, without realizing this is simply caused by misalignment of the skeleton.

The importance of physical alignment is discounted by some meditators as being too ordinary or mundane in comparison to the more lofty “goal” of mastering the mind. This echoes a belief you may have heard that is often repeated like a mantra: “We are not our bodies.” While there might be truth to this in an ultimate sense, current reality for most of us is that we exist here and now as living, breathing bodies. What’s more, the more peaceful, relaxed aspects of the parasympathetic nervous system are more readily available to us when we can rely on a solid framework of support (our aligned skeleton), just like any other physical structure in this world, inanimate or living, that is governed by the same natural laws of physics.

It can be especially helpful to remind ourselves that the Buddha encouraged reflection upon the body many times each day. The mind cannot be mastered, he said, without mastering the body.* It’s hard to imagine, in fact, where the body ends and the mind begins, or vice versa. 

While many Buddhist teachings serve as guideposts for accessing what might be considered a spiritual realm of consciousness, mindfulness, in and of itself, does not rely on the familiar deities or “agents” of most religions. In fact, mindfulness relies heavily on the (small) “self” and its own resources to drive the success of the practice. Nowhere are such internal resources more readily available than through flesh and bone (our musculoskeletal system), where physical embodiment makes up one half of the convergence of body/mind, while being a key factor in unhampered flow of oxygenated blood to the brain, movement of energy throughout the body, and anchoring of an open, expanding awareness in the mind. 

Traditionally, one sat on the floor with legs folded in a way that required flexible hips and knees. The spine was long, straight and relaxed. Today, due to widespread joint stiffness and structural collapse in many people, it is acceptable to fold the legs in less challenging ways, or to sit on a chair, with feet flat on the floor, if preferred. Surprisingly few teachers of mindfulness or other forms of meditation (Zen being an exception) put much emphasis on the sitting posture in meditation. I have sat in long meditation retreats where the body was barely mentioned, other than to offer tips for meditating on pain. Once, during a two month-long retreat in Burma, I watched a monk encourage a group of meditators to “sit up straight.” When everyone responded by pushing out their chests and lifting up their chins, he looked out across the hall in obvious confusion. He, himself, had no difficulty sitting upright with ease, yet he didn’t know how to guide these people toward the same relaxed alignment he enjoyed.


What would the Buddha think about the millions of people who struggle to sit up straight while meditating, forced to rely on constant muscle tension or mounds of pillows, blankets, chairs or specially-designed benches to make up for a lack of natural structural support? Don’t get me wrong, these kinds of props can be enormously helpful—essential, for some people—but if our adult bodies had remained as naturally aligned as they were when we were toddlers, most of us would still be able to sit comfortably on a thin pad, our knees in contact with the floor, our backs long and straight, our bodies relaxed.

In the Buddha’s time, most people still inhabited naturally aligned bodies. They didn’t drive cars or have to sit in traffic after working all day at a desk job. They didn’t sit in front of a television or computer screen for hours, tweeting or posting on Facebook or playing video games. They didn’t exercise and workout with misaligned bones that only embedded the misalignment ever deeper in tightly bound musculature. The Buddha’s contemporaries were likely to spend much more time on their feet, engaging in a multitude of physical tasks that required such activities as walking, bending, reaching, lifting, squatting—and when they sat, they sat on the floor, with folded legs, supported by an aligned pelvis that set the stage, quite literally, for an elongated and supple spine that rested atop it.

Would the Buddha Now Add a Sixth Hindrance to the existing Five Hindrances outlined in his teachings?

The Five Hindrances to effective meditation that the Buddha referred to in his teachings are:

1.  Desire/Attachment — seeking pleasure/happiness through the senses

2.  Aversion — rejection and avoidance of what is; hostility, hatred

3.  Restlessness — agitation of the mind; inability to remain calm or focused; rumination

4.  Lethargy — fatigue or sleepiness; heaviness of body; laziness of mind

5.  Doubt — Lack of commitment or trust in the process; thoughts of giving up

Each one of these hindrances is a mental factor that interferes with progress in meditation. While not a mental state per se, UNNATURAL POSTURE has become such a common detriment to effective meditation in today’s world, that it can, in some cases, drive the Five Hindrances as follows:

1) One is desiring of and attached to the wish to find relief from physical pain caused by misalignment;

2) One feels aversion toward the physical pain being experienced;

3) One’s mind is agitated and restless when faced with chronic pain caused by poor posture;

4) Collapsed posture sets up the nervous system to experience fatigue, lethargy, and sleepiness;

5) One wonders if so much discomfort and pain is worth it and considers quitting the practice.

Unnatural posture interferes with the effective progress of many modern-day meditators, while fueling and driving the Five Hindrances. Thus, it is somewhat “tongue-in-cheek,” that I propose that Structural Misalignment/Unnatural Posture be recognized as an honorary Sixth Hindrance. This suggestion is made in deference to and with all due respect to the Buddha and his infinite wisdom.

The good news is that relaxed, natural posture relies on knowing rules of alignment that can be learned by anyone. Moreover, in order to put these rules into practice, one has to be mindful! After years of meditating and struggling with chronic pain while sitting and walking, my recurring confrontation with the Five Hindrances was reduced substantially as I learned how to support myself with greater ease. This wasn’t the end of all physical pain, of course, but it diminished greatly, and my confidence and commitment grew with the knowledge that whatever physical pain I did experience now was an unavoidable part of the process. Overnight, my struggles with the Five Hindrances were greatly reduced, and not something that was unavoidable and therefore necessary. It could be addressed with a new awareness, of the sort that the pain I experienced was unand then being willing to apply those rules to oneself—by being mindful! Thus, m

Mindfulness and natural alignment are like two friends, each enhancing the other. The more I was able to inhabit my body with ease, the more I seemed to possess a willingness to be mindful. And as mindfulness grew, so did an ability to be anchored in an aligned body. It’s hard to be effectively mindful when one is in pain, or in a a state of collapse—or, conversely, to be striving to “hold” oneself upright with tension—all of which interfere with the flow of energy through the body/mind. And it’s hard to be aligned with the center of one’s being while lacking a willingness to be mindful.

Mindfulness is finally hitting the big timenow that it’s countless benefits are being recognized. More and more people are enjoying the spillover effects of discovering a nameless stillness that resides within. Hopefully it won’t take as long before we come to understand the essential role natural alignment plays in cultivating, enhancing, and accelerating the benefits of mindfulness.

Happy Sitting!

* Sutta 36 of the Majjhima Nikaya


Kathleen Porter is a posture and movement coach. She is the author of Natural Posture for Pain-Free Living: The Practice of Mindful Alignment (Inner Traditions, 2006 & 2013) and Healthy Posture for Babies and Children (July 2017). She has traveled the world researching and observing populations who live in naturally aligned bodies and who move, work and age with ease. She is the creator of UpRightNOW, an online program she is developing for adults and children alike, and her company Natural Posture Solutions manufactures several small posture aids.





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Why Sitting Is NOT the New Smoking

Published on September 17, 2016 by in Blog


Sitting is Getting a Bum Rap


You hear it being said everywhere these days: Sitting is the scourge of modern living, the cause of so many of our aches and pains. It makes sense that we might think so, given the hours of uncomfortable sitting people everywhere experience while working at computers and desk jobs.

One approach to addressing the epidemic of sitting-related pain is to work standing up. This idea has spawned the sale of dozens of “standing desks” that have begun to flood the ergonomic furniture market. Standing may work for some, but many people find standing to be just as stressful, or even more so, than sitting.

One group of researchers in Scotland came up with the idea that we should give up sitting altogether and, instead, take the entire load off our backs by lying down while we work. These enterprising researches have come up with elaborate reclining desk chairs, with attached adjustable racks for computer monitors and keyboards, to take any and all weight off the spine. The assumption is that being upright is the problem, not the WAY we are being upright.

Don’t get me wrong. There’s nothing inherently bad or wrong with standing, or even lying down while you work at your computer, if this works for you and you like it.

But let’s put a pause here on the anti-sitting movement and remind ourselves that the real issue is not whether or not you are sitting or standing at your desk but HOW you are sitting or standing.


baby sitting posture natural alignmentIf you’re sitting like a baby—in other words, sitting with the weight of your body on the front of your pelvis rather than the back of it, and you are supported by bones that are in the naturally aligned relationship to each other as intended by the human design, you will be able to sit comfortably for long periods of time.

Ditto for standing. If you stand like a toddler, with your butt out behind you and your legs directly under your body like vertical pillars of support, your spine can elongate, your core abs can engage properly (no gym workout required for this), and you will be able to stand quite comfortably.

We live in a muscle-obsessed society where we have been taught to believe we must either strengthen our muscles or stretch them often or do both. We’ve lost sight of the necessary role our bones play in providing the support we need to be solidly upright and comfortably relaxed.

The Wedge - Back Support CushionI designed The Wedge, a small and simple sitting cushion that costs pennies compared to expensive ergonomic furniture, to provide just enough of a reminder for keeping your pelvis tipped at the angle that allows for comfortable sitting almost anywhere.

Try it for yourself and find out why this little gem of a cushion is so popular among people who sit in front of computers (and drive cars, watch movies, attend concerts and sporting events . . .).  We will happily refund your purchase if you don’t love it as much as much as we believe you will.


Kathleen Porter is a posture and movement coach. She is the author of Natural Posture for Pain-Free Living: The Practice of Mindful Alignment (Inner Traditions, 2006 & 2013) and Healthy Posture for Babies and Children (July 2017). She has traveled the world researching and observing populations who live in naturally aligned bodies and who move, work and age with ease. She is the creator of UpRightNOW, an online program she is developing for adults and children alike, and her company Natural Posture Solutions manufactures several small posture aids.




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When we fall in love with natural posture, it’s because we have found, within ourselves, the human “home-base” of skeletal alignment that allows us to finally—deeply and wholly—relax.  

What a relief! This is especially true when we’ve been struggling for years to hold ourselves up with muscle tension, knowing that if we relaxed that tension, we’d collapse and slouch. Sound familiar?

Up until now, we just didn’t know, as few people do, that if we aligned our bones in their intended relationship with each other, per the natural human design, our muscles would be free of all that unnecessary tension. We know it now, though, and with the zealotry of any new convert, we now want to share this information with everyone we know, most especially friends and family members who struggle with chronic pain or obviously poor posture. A frequent lament I hear from people who have benefited from learning natural posture is this: “I wish I could get my husband/wife/friend/co-worker to show interest in this,” or “My sister told me to never mention the words ‘posture’ or ‘alignment’ ever again!”

There are many reasons why some people are resistant to any mention of posture, alignment or changing the way they inhabit their bodies. Let’s take a look at what some of these are and what each one means in terms of what we might say, or when it might be best to say nothing at all.

1. Posture can be a dirty word.


Hunched over with Poor PostureIn some people’s minds, the word “posture” conjures up images of our mothers nagging us to sit or stand up straight. If we could have a show of hands right now, we’d see that nearly all of us had the same mother when it came to being told to sit up straight. It turns out our mothers were mostly mistaken about truly good posture (sorry, Mom!)  


You might say how happy you are to have learned a way to sit and stand that is easy and relaxed. You can offer to demonstrate some nifty new tips you learned that have helped you to sit comfortably for long periods of time without slouching or struggling to pull yourself.  



2.   Previous attempts at “good posture” proved to be too difficult, stressful or painful.


Straining to Stand Up "Straight"Trying to maintain “good posture” is always doomed if we don’t realize our cultural standard of good posture is wrong in the first place. We have to be able to demonstrate that the current standard of “chest up/shoulders back” can be as problematic as slouching.


You can share how much more comfortable you feel since finding out about a much more relaxed way to sit and stand. You might mention that our current cultural standard of “good” posture is an over-correction that requires a lot of tension to maintain. Lifting up the chest pulls the body forward of the vertical axis, shortening and tightening the back (you can see it in the wrinkled shirt in the image), thus shortening the spine that runs through the back.


3.  Doctors or healthcare practitioners have already diagnosed one’s posture challenges as a “condition.”


Toddler with Innate Natural PostureSome people have gone to doctors and a host of other health practitioners and are still in pain. They may have been told they have a herniated disc or degenerative disc disease or spondylolisthesis or some other scary-sounding condition and might even need surgery. It’s going to be difficult for these people to believe you could possibly know about an approach to their problems that all these other health professionals didn’t know about.

The truth is that the training received by doctors and other health professionals is based on the old, mistaken (“tense dog”) standard of how the body is designed to work. Doctors do many great things, but this is one area where their expertise is sorely lacking. In reality, healthy toddlers throughout the the world set the actual standard when they discover, through a process of trial and error, how to align their bones along the vertical axis of gravity while learning how to sit, stand and walk. Toddlers are the real gurus for how to conform to the actual human design that is governed, like everything else, by basic scientific principles of physics.


It can be helpful to explain that babies are acting on instinct when they move through infancy into toddler-hood. They teach themselves how to inhabit their bodies through a self-directed process that conforms to the natural laws of physics. Once a child is standing and walking, his or her skeleton provides the underlying framework of support that allows for the muscles attached to the bones to be relaxed, yet elastic enough to work as intended. Their joints are free of compression, the spine (and nervous system) is an open channel for neural efficiency, and the tubes, valves and organs of all the systems of the body—circulation, respiration, digestion, etc.—can function without being compressed or distorted. It’s not hard to understand how the health of millions of people will change drastically when these principles are finally understood.


4.  The masses preach exercise as the solution to poor posture.


Many people have worked out at the gym, practiced yoga, done Pilates, taken up jogging and followed the familiar instructions to stand up straight by lifting the chest up and pulling the shoulders back, and they still struggle with tension, stiffness and poor posture. Being addicted to stretching and feeling one has to stretch almost every day to relieve tightness in muscles, is not uncommon for people who are physically active. Such people find it hard to believe they could gain greater flexibility and freedom from stiffness by stopping stretching altogether and aligning their bones. It can seem hard to believe that something as simple as how we sit, stand, bend and walk could bring us such relief. This is, however, exactly how it works.

When we finally grasp the truth of structural alignment, we might feel disappointment at the realization that much of what we have been doing in the name of trying to be fit and healthy has been “wrong.” In fact, when done with misaligned bones, working out and exercising entrench unhelpful habits into our musculature. When we first come to understand this, it’s easy to feel cheated and misled for having invested so much time and energy in physical activities we were told were necessary for good overall health and fitness. Exercise does offer a number of benefits as long as structural alignment is maintained throughout.

Stretching Can Sometimes Be Harmful to the Spine



Throughout the world, small women who successfully carry enormously heavy loads on their heads with ease, demonstrate authentic strength that is not just in the surface muscles of the body, such as is the case with body builders, but rather bone deep strength that comes from an interplay of aligned bones and elastic muscles. Such women have never lost what they first discovered as toddlers. Ditto for people who age into their 70s, 80s and beyond with elongated spines, easy flexibility and enduring vitality. Exercise routines that strengthen and stretch targeted muscles are a fairly recent phenomenon in the several hundred thousand years of human existence. Think about this: those places in the world where women carry heavy loads on their heads and people age ease-fully, are places that do not have gyms and exercise classes.


5.  One may feel judged or defensive.


Most of us feel criticized, judged or defensive when we think someone is telling us that there is something wrong with us. Matters are made worse if they suggest they know “the way” to fix us, whether it’s pain in the body or in the mind.

One powerful example of how the body/mind connection works is that emotions have a way of living in our muscle fibers, where they might have been planted when we were very young—when we were terrified by a thunderstorm, humiliated by a mistake we made, or devastated by hot anger directed at us. We held our breath and tightened our muscles, and some of these feelings became trapped in the defenses we developed for surviving in a challenging world. Maybe we protected ourselves by lifting up our chest like a shield and holding it up with deep-set, chronic tension. Maybe we’ve been pretending to be strong ever since. Or maybe our defense was to collapse the chest and slink away as best we could. Either way, our bones were no longer aligned in a way that could provide us with the support we needed to feel genuinely safe and strong.

An Aligned Skeleton that is Free of TensionWHAT TO SAY:

Making changes to ones’ structural alignment can stir things up a bit for some people. They may not be aware of long-held emotional patterns and defenses embedded in their musculature. Letting go of these may not be an option for some people, so it’s important that anything you say is about you and your own experience. If the following is true for you, you might say something like, “I’m amazed at how hard it’s been for me to start letting go of the tension I experience in my body.  I’m having to work at it all the time, but it’s really paying off. I’m not only feeling less tense in my body, my mind is becoming calmer, too.” If you sense that saying something like this is not being received well, it’s best to back off and change the subject. In the end, each of us must decide for ourselves what is best for us, and we don’t know what that means for someone else.


The bottom line to all of this is that nothing can inspire interest in natural posture more clearly than the example you demonstrate through your own transformation. Those close to you will see it for themselves as you gradually change your own body and mind through changing the way you sit, stand, bend, reach, sleep and, literally, walk your talk.

I expand greatly on all these ideas in my latest book, Natural Posture for Pain-Free Living: The Practice of Mindful Alignment (Inner Traditions/Healing Arts Press, 2013) and at my website:


Kathleen Porter is a posture and movement coach. She is the author of Natural Posture for Pain-Free Living: The Practice of Mindful Alignment (Inner Traditions, 2006 & 2013) and Healthy Posture for Babies and Children (July 2017). She has traveled the world researching and observing populations who live in naturally aligned bodies and who move, work and age with ease. She is the creator of UpRightNOW, an online program she is developing for adults and children alike, and her company Natural Posture Solutions manufactures several small posture aids.



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*Belly up = bankrupt, obsolete


A baby’s sleep position—whether on the back or the belly, in and of itself, may not be a huge deal—
provided, of course, that each baby spends ample time on the belly while awake. The reasons for this are discussed below. What IS a huge deal, however, is the fear about prone positioning (on the tummy) instilled in the minds of many parents as a result of never-ending cautions issued by countless health professionals in response to the “Back to Sleep” campaign. Unfortunately, too many parents now believe that putting a baby on its belly, while awake or asleep, could be dangerous and might even cause a baby to die of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome), in spite of the fact that pediatricians have tried to undo some of the damage caused by  in “supervised” Tummy Time to offset the consequences that have been caused by not enough time on the belly.

Any single death from SIDS is one too many. This is especially true in the minds and hearts of any parent who has lived through this unfathomably heartbreaking loss. Even discussing this subject is complicated, especially when we talk about “trade-offs” that can appear callous and indifferent. After all, saving lives is always a good thing, and in raising questions about any aspect of “back-to-sleep” policy, it’s important to form an understanding of what lies buried under layers of a campaign that was originally fueled by good intentions, millions of Congressionally appropriated dollars, and professional policies that, by default, always remain above question. 

The graph below shows the rate of SIDS between 1989 and 2006, based on statistics from the Centers for Disease Control. 

This chart reveals that SIDS had already been declining during the five years prior to the launching of the “Back to Sleep” campaign. This massive public education effort cautioned all parents to always place their babies to sleep on their backs (supine position). This was essentially a precautionary measure, since it was believed that a baby might not be as able to lift its head and rescue itself during a breathing emergency if lying on the belly (prone). Statistics gathered from other countries also suggested that more deaths may have occurred in babies sleeping prone than supine, although, as you will see, the difference was remarkably small. 

At the same time that parents were warned not to place their babies on their stomachs to sleep, they were also told to remove all bedding and stuffed toys from the sleeping environment. Just how large a role this played in the initial drop in SIDS deaths due to removal of objects that could contribute to suffocation, will never be known, even though it can be impossible in many cases to distinguish between suffocation or SIDS as the cause of death. In fact, we still don’t know what SIDS is, since it is, by definition, the lack of any diagnosis. Even if removing puffy bedding and stuffed toys played a role in the drop in deaths, any decrease in the number of deaths has been credited to back sleeping, and nothing else.

This next graph shows the number of babies during the same period of 1989 to 2006 who did NOT die of SIDS, based on the identical statistics.

People are often quite surprised to discover that at its peak in 1989, on 0.12% (or twelve-hundredths of one percent) of infant deaths were attributed to SIDS. Said another way—99.88% of all babies that year (and fewer in the years that followed) never died of SIDS. The odds of a baby dying of SIDS is equivalent to tossing ten quarters and having them all come up heads. This means that parents can put their babies to sleep in whatever position the baby seems to prefer (most babies do appear to sleep better on their bellies) while letting out a giant sigh of relief, along with that gnawing “SIDS fear” that’s been lurking in the background of their minds. 

One last detail: The warnings were so successful that 85% of babies now sleep on their backs, yet the rate of SIDS since 2001 has hardly budged. This means that the majority of SIDS deaths today are among babies sleeping on their backs. This has caused the campaign’s name to be changed to “Safe Sleep,” with greater emphasis being given by the medical policy makers on other factors such as encouraging breastfeeding and discouraging smoking.


After watching this video, you’ll wonder

why anyone would suggest that infants

should never be placed on their bellies.

It’s rather absurd to imagine a baby at birth placed on its back atop the mother’s body. We all understand in those early moments of life that it is through the front of the body that the baby is connected with the mother, who, let us not forget, is one with the earth.



Babies who sleep on their backs tend to also be restricted on their backs much of the  while awake, whether on a flat surface or in some sort of carrier or device. Evidence is piling up that many such babies are developing a lengthy list of developmental delays and other issues, compared to their prone-sleeping counterparts.  (1,2, 3, 4, 5).

This isn’t surprising. On the back, a newborn is physically disconnected from whatever surface upon which she is lying. She startles easily in this position and doesn’t sleep as soundly. One reason babies are swaddled, is to provide a sense of physical security and connection when they’re on their backs.

On her belly, a baby’s body more naturally settles in and connects through gravity to whatever surface she’s lying on—a parent’s body, a blanket on the floor, a mattress of some sort—each of which represents the Earth’s gravitational and energetic field.

This surface provides a stable anchor into which she can surrender her weight and feel grounded—held, in fact—by this all-new world in which she finds herself. As her tiny body engages against this surface, she’s likely to be aware of multiple sensations occurring inside her skin, a different experience than taking in external stimuli from outside of herself, as when she’s lying on her back.

Identifiable scientific principles are at work that explain WHY belly-to-earth activity is so necessary (the subject of a later post) but for now, here’s a bit of backstory for context:

—About ten years after the Back-to-Sleep campaign was launched, AAP launched an additional policy recommendation they called “Tummy Time.” This came about as an attempt to offset the 600% increase (8) in the number of babies who had developed flat areas on their heads known as plagiocephaly or brachycephalyor simply “flat heat syndrome.” Current recommendations today at websites such as the Mayo Clinic recommend that by 4-months of age, one should aim for a baby spending at least 20 minutes a day lying on the tummy. (9) This leaves 23 hours and 40 minutes of each day spent lying supine or reclining in some sort of sitting device. Unfortunately for many babies, especially those who are not “worn” frequently in cloth carriers upon a parent’s body, this is just too little and too late.  

More recently, doctors and pediatric therapists have begun to double down on their efforts to get babies to do even more “tummy time.” This comes in response to mounting evidence that supine (on the back) sleepers exhibit more motor and other developmental delays than prone (on the belly) sleepers (1-5). In fact, typical ages for accomplishing certain milestones of gross motor skills such as rolling over, sitting up, crawling, and walking have been adjusted to match this “new normal.” 

I have observed this repeatedly. Babies who have ample opportunities to move “against” the earth or some proxy surface of the earth, display many signs of greater physical activity and strength, from a very early age. Most especially, they are activating the deepest core muscles that will be called on to support the upright spine. Thus, the seeds are planted for natural, healthy development in all the ways that build a strong and flexible body, develop a fully functioning nervous system, and establish natural mechanical components that will support naturally aligned posture and good health in the months and years to come. 

There’s lot’s more information about this in both of my books, Natural Posture for Pain-Free Living and Healthy Posture for Babies and Children

Instinctive, belly-to-earth neurodevelopmental movements

in the first few months of life

should be the focus of close attention and study.


Until then, here’s one final, very important thought to keep in mind:

The very best kind of “tummy time”

is when a baby’s sweet belly is in contact

with the mother’s or father’s body—



Kathleen Porter is a posture and movement coach. She is the author of Natural Posture for Pain-Free Living: The Practice of Mindful Alignment (Inner Traditions, 2006 & 2013) and Healthy Posture for Babies and Children (July 2017). She has traveled the world researching and observing populations who live in naturally aligned bodies and who move, work and age with ease. She is the creator of UpRightNOW, an online program she is developing for adults and children alike, and her company Natural Posture Solutions manufactures several small posture aids.




(1)  American Academy of Pediatrics Task Force on Infant Positioning and SIDS: Positioning and SIDS.   Pediatrics 89:1120– 1126, 1992 (Erratum in Pediatrics 90:264, 1992).

(2) Beth Ellen Davis, Rachel Y. Moon, Hari C. Sachs, Mary C. Ottolini: Effects of Sleep Position on Infant Motor Development. Pediatrics. 102:1135– 1140, 1998.

(3) Salls, J. S., Silverman, L. N., & Gatty, C. M. (2002). Brief Report—The relationship of infant sleep and play positioning to motor milestone achievement. American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 56, 577–580.

(4) Majnemer A, Barr RG: Association between sleep position and early motor development. J Pediatr 149:623–629, 2006.

(5) Jantz JW, Blosser CD, Fruechting LA. A motor milestone change noted with a change in sleep position.

(6) Rosemary SC Horne, PhD; Pratiti Bandopadhayay, MBBS; Jessica Vitkovic, BSc Hons; Susan M Cranage, RPSGT; T. Michael Adamson, FRACP. Effects of Age and Sleeping Position on Arousal from Sleep in Preterm Infants. Journal of Sleep. Vol. 25, No. 7, 2002


(8)  Argenta LC, David LR, Wilson JA, Bell WO: An increase in infant cranial deformity with supine sleeping position. J Craniofac Surg 7:5–11, 1996.

(9)  Jay L. Hoecker, M.D. Mayo Clinic: What’s the Importance of Tummy Time for a Baby?

(10) Bradley B. Randall, David S. Paterson, Elisabeth A. Haas, Kevin G. Broadbelt, Jhodie R. Duncan, Othon J. Mena, Henry F. Krous, Felicia L. Trachtenberg, and Hannah C. Kinney. Potential Asphyxia and Brainstem Abnormalities in Sudden and Unexpected Death in Infants. Pediatrics, November 2013


(12) James J. McKenna* and Thomas McDade. Paediatric Respiratory Reviews.                      (2005) 6, 134–152

(13) Ralph Pelligra, Glenn Doman, and Gerry Leisman. A Reassessment of the SIDS Back to Sleep Campaign. TheScientificWorldJOURNAL(2005) 5, 550–557 ISSN 1537-744X; DOI 10.1100/tsw.2005.71


(15) Togari, H., Kato, I., Saito, N., and Yamaguchi, N. (2000) The healthy human infant tends to sleep in the prone rather than the supine position. Early Hum. Dev. 59(3), 151–158.

(16) Heather Catchpole. ABC

(17) Nils J. Bergman. Proposal for mechanisms of protection of supine sleep against sudden infant death syndrome: an integrated mechanism review. International Pediatric Review Foundation. 2014.

(18)  Nils J. Bergman.Hypothesis on supine sleep, sudden infant death syndrome reduction and association with increasing autism incidence. World Journal of Clinical Pediatrics. 5 (3) 330-342.  August, 2016.



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Launch Update — Thank you!

Published on February 10, 2016 by in Blog



After working for what feels like forever, I finally finished BORN TO MOVE, a documentary of sorts that puts a spotlight on the importance of natural movement in early infancy. What has made this a tad scary for me, in sending it out into the world, is that I’ve raised questions about a number of “unmentionables” such as SIDS, co-sleeping or bed sharing, the “Back-to-Sleep” campaign, flat heads, wry necks, autism, motor delays—and the underlying culture of fear that lurks like the proverbial monster under the bed, dropping a blanket of silence over any meaningful discussion around these issues. I’d so much prefer that my own and others’ matching ideas about this be proved wrong, if it meant that comprehensive, evidence-based research had been done to reach this conclusion.

Who am I then, you might ask, to speak with any authority on any of these subjects? That’s what I asked myself for a very long time. As someone who became obsessed with natural skeletal alignment/movement almost twenty years ago, I’ve learned to be a keen observer of how people inhabit their bodies relative to what is the natural “home-base” of the human design. My training as a massage therapist and years of teaching yoga morphed into sharing this new (to me) way of releasing chronic tension and pain that could be accomplished by aligning one’s own bones along the vertical axis of gravity. Not a quick fix, of course, but learning this has been nothing short of life-changing for me and many others.

Along the way, I began working with children in elementary classrooms, where I hoped to prevent misalignment from developing in the first place. I was at once disheartened by the level of structural collapse so many children were already struggling against. Thankfully, these same children responded with an almost hungry eagerness—they liked the way it felt to be supported by their bones, as well as being invited to experience what was going on inside their own skin. Their teachers happily reported these students were generally more focused and calm—the very basis of enhanced mindfulness—maybe because this emphasized the parasympathetic response, while oxygenated blood could now circulate more efficiently through the young body/mind.

Yet, I was left flummoxed by how it was that so many children had become misaligned in the first place. Hadn’t they only recently been, as healthy upright toddlers, perfect role models of natural, aligned posture? What I eventually discovered shocked me. Times had changed in the last couple of decades, and even toddlers were now beginning to struggle with postural problems. In fact, as I dug deeper into how this could possibly be, my perspective as a posture/movement nerd collided with the reality facing babies and children today, many of whose essential developmental movements are dramatically restricted from the moment they’re born. It became apparent that the seeds of structural collapse were often being sown in the first few months of an infant’s life!

That’s when my research began in earnest. I lived and breathed anything and everything related to infant development, which, sadly, soon revealed the magnitude of an unfolding crisis of neurodevelopmental disorders and a host of other epidemic problems in babies and children. The role of truly natural movement appeared to be both misunderstood and ignored. I’ve agonized about how to best present what I believe are relevant and valuable insights about this (a saga all it’s own!) and, thus, BORN to MOVE came to be.

The criticism and backlash I have feared from this hasn’t yet materialized, although we’re only 48-hours-old in terms of “online age.”  Instead, the support I’ve received has been overwhelmingly positive, and according to Vimeo stats, word of this has already reached 23 countries (bless you, Internet!)  I thank all of you who have reached out to me—not just my unfailingly supportive family and friends, but dedicated therapists who work with children every day, as well as impacted parents.

I wish I could offer this video for free to anyone who is interested, but I’ve worked on this without income for far too long. It’s like writing a book for months/years on end, and then publishing it and giving it away. A lovely idea, but not a workable plan : )  If this subject interests you, I hope you will support my efforts by watching and sharing ( $4.99 to rent/$9.99 to buy). Watch the trailer and the hour-long video (chock-full of amazing information with remarkable footage of babies on the move and other great graphics) : 


                  Click image                                                                                   Click image


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