Taking ownership of your body
How practitioners facilitate a process
Going to the doctor instead of learning about your body
How postural collapse can negatively impact your breathing and digestion
Identifying how your body can and can't move
Why a considered approach to movement around pain is necessary
Other contributing factors to consider
Why understanding movement is binary can be the key to finding balance
Why all potential movement the body is capable of is necessary
What your body can't do and how it will impact yoga, sport and any other movement
Podcast audio 2
Fri, 4/1 11:23AM • 29:50
movement, body, people, ribcage, jaw, pelvis, shoulder, move, teach, compromised, spine, joints, stuck, yoga, feet, clients, yoga teacher, learn, practitioner, find
Victoria Salomon, Gary Ward
Gary Ward 00:00
Taking ownership of your body
What gets me out of bed is more the idea that we can help people take ownership of themselves. Sure. So I teach practitioners, but I’m teaching practitioners, and the understanding that the person who is capable of doing the healing is not them, they are not responsible for your well being you are and and if they can empower you. So I will say we shine a light in the dark spaces, the parts that you didn’t know, you couldn’t move the areas that are no longer a problem, but are truly holding the rest to ransom. And so we can shine a torch light, look at this, look at look at this, do this, go home, do your movements, these are the movements, they’re really simple and straightforward. Remind your brain of what is possible in your body. And it’s your body. And you do have the power to heal yourself. And we’re just there as conduits to kind of, to kind of help and guide.
Victoria Salomon 01:02
As practitioners we facilitate a process
And I think that’s why I create my course, as well, Gary, you know, which we’ve looked for level one, it’s like 48 practices from the feet moving up through the body, because people need to repeat the processes, they need to be able to get the information. I mean, I I’ve written it, I’ve done it as audios I’ve done it as videos, because, you know, I’m I’m like with my clients, I’m here to facilitate something, you know, I can’t do it for you. But I’ve done everything I can to make the processes as available to you as possible. An idea, the thing I wanted to say was obviously, you did the doctor in your in the House TV programme. And I I had a lot of clients come to me through that. And I still get clients through that. And I’m think there are three clients I’m thinking of so two of them had chronic back pain. One had just been through surgery, and the consultant was like you’re on, you’re on high level painkillers for the rest of your life. Another woman who came through, had listened to one of your podcasts and again, back pain since she was 11. And was told you will be on these, these painkillers for the rest of your life. Once we started teaching them, yeah, the processes. It wasn’t that their back pain completely disappeared. But they could manage it. They knew what to do to turn the volume or the noise of their back pain down. And you know, they both those people with the back pain were like, Why? Why did no consultant Why did no one ever teach me this? You know, so it was like, That’s how powerful these movements are. And oh, you can only move your body for yourself. And I wanted to share another client where you know, more recently who had long COVID And ever since long, she got COVID She had constant chest infections pneumonia, was on antibiotics again and again. And I reached out to her because one day she put something on Facebook and you know, she looked so well and she was talking about her symptoms. And of course my brain was going I wonder if our ribcage is stuck. The river ribcage just isn’t moving. So there’s no circulation, there’s no energy getting to the organs. So I when I teach people I call the ribcage is like your treasure chest because it’s got these organs in it that are the treasure that you know, you know, I’ve mainly responsible for keeping you breathing and everything. And so I reached out to this lady and we taught her we got her on the get into your body course but I taught her to move her ribcage in three planes of movement. You know, it wasn’t stuck, it was completely collapsed. His shoulder joints, his shoulder blades weren’t moving and neck wasn’t you know, she was in this forward head posture. You know, and we just taught her to realign the whole area from the feet upwards. And And guess what? No more, you know, no more chest infections. It’s not that she doesn’t feel it coming she does but she now knows exactly how to move the area to avoid collapse to avoid compression. You know so and of course people have to do that for themselves. I can’t you know as you say they they but it we are giving them that torch and and the tools
Gary Ward 04:35
Going to the doctor instead of learning about your body
that the what people are doing instead of that is going to the GP I guess and looking for some medicine, for instance. Or maybe maybe I mean there’s there’s plenty of options probably out there for that. If none of them are teaching the ribcage to move forward. You and you have a if you’ve got so, tilted forward shoulders, your ability to breathe diaphragmatic Lee is compromised, you’re going to become a an upper chest or shoulder breather neck breather. And so what that does is reduces the amount of capacity of the ribcage for exchange, inhale, exhale. And so then what we’ve been talking about is, is the deletion of movement that what’s what’s missing. And what we’re talking about is being giving people those opportunities back, which is exactly what you beautifully described. But that will change the exchange possibility from inhale and exhale to more oxygen in more carbon dioxide out, this is what’s called wellness. And again, we’re just back into that state of opposites. So if you have been stuck in a posture that is compromised for a long time, bacterial infections in your lungs are going to be pronounced and worse. And beyond the lungs, this this is happening all over the body,
Victoria Salomon 06:04
what exactly I was going to say in the digestion, the Yeah, bladder, it’s all the same if you’re stuck in this area connected
How postural collapse negatively impact your breathing and digestion
to your skeletal movement potential, because if you can’t flex and extend your spine, your organs in your stomach are not going to be able to to pump they basically organs, they pump muscles in the contract to relax to move food through the system. And and if you’re stuck in a physical position, and there’s less and less stimulus for those organs to do that, you are going to find it hard to move through. Obviously, you’ve got the right foods to eat, they got foods that suit you but also movement is a part of this pelvic movements ability to posterior tilt and anterior till then you’re in you know, you’re in the realms of all kinds of your binary relations, etc. Even even, all the way down to because this movement is about it, I call it the flow motion model and not not because it was about oxygen flowing in and out of the lungs, but because there should be a flowing, fluid efficient, effortless and energy conserving way of moving and that then taps into all of the systems. So if you’re, if you have varicose veins is what I was thinking about. Okay, check, check the hip, if they’re on one side, you’ll probably find that your hip where the main arteries come through the pelvis and down into the leg is compromised and blood flow is not able to, to happen. So if you start then opening up the joints moving, do you then are you then capable of creating an environment that moves blood back out of this system, and I’ve seen it change, there was a student in Canada, and we saw him one October, or September and the following October or September. And he had a huge improvement in it because we worked out on the course that that was what his hip was doing it was wasn’t to find out about the target or just have a look, your hip doesn’t do this, that the outcome was that your base they call your calves a second heart because it’s designed to pump blood back up to the body that your calves attached down all the way down into there’s not a single muscle in the calf, it doesn’t attach into your feet. So if your foot doesn’t move very well, that second heart isn’t going to pump very well. And blood isn’t going to flow very well. If joints are stuck in compromised positions, nerves aren’t going to slide very well. It’s all connected. I know that because it sounds so holistic and spiritual.
Victoria Salomon 08:44
But it’s the nuts and bolts of what’s going on in this thing we live in!
Gary Ward 08:50
Identifying how your body can and can’t move
Exactly. And we live in it to be responsible, but we’re not being told. So it’s not our fault. It’s not their fault that they go to the doctor instead of extending their spine. These are the possibilities that we can give to people the opportunity to recognise that, like my wake your body up course is literally can you get your pelvis spine, ribcage, skull, and shoulders all moving in an organised way to take pressure off the system. It’s and like you were saying that the positive feedback from people who do that and revisit it to do it again and again and again. Because it’s actually a tool for life. Yeah,
Victoria Salomon 09:30
exactly. It’s like it’s not you learn it once and then it’s done. We have to keep
Gary Ward 09:35
it once Yeah, it isn’t a process
Victoria Salomon 09:39
and I just wanted to touch on the. So I broken down my course the level one into a seven week course to take people through the feet and then the pelvis and then the spine, ribcage, shoulders, neck and jaw. But the jaw is absolutely crucial and it’s like The light bulb at the end of the tunnel in a way, because what I teach people is that the different the way if their jaw is kind of contracted the impact that has on every other joint in the body, compared to if the jaw is relaxed and can move more freely. And of course, the breath, you know it, this is where it connects into the breath. And also, how if we can just tune into what our breath, the movement internally of our breath, there’s a lot of clues when you just feel into your breath without trying to change it in terms of how your body would naturally want to move, which by the way, was what you helped me begin to connect with that day when we got out the room. But the jewel, I don’t know if you have anything in particular to say about the jaw, because I know that when I teach people I was teaching on Saturday, you know, I always try and get them to connect into their body and give them contrast. So I asked them to kind of tighten their jaw, and then really relax their jaw and feel into different areas of the body. What would you have to say about that, Gary, because it’s so powerful from where I am.
Why a considered approach to movement around pain is necessary
Well, I broke mine. So it’s potentially a slightly different journey for me personally, but it’s, here’s the way I normally deal with it, I don’t like to just throw out a load of movement possibilities for people to go and muck about with on something like this, I think there needs to be more considered than that and all of your whole body has as a kind of split all the way down the middle of it, except your jaw so both sides are instantly affected by any any any movement of it. And as you say, way we chew it’s entries for input into the system. But it’s, I try not to give one structure any more importance, over anything else. So if you have one foot that is moving particularly differently to the other one, it will reach all the way up, influence the pelvis, adapt the spine, skull, and then we’ll have to kind of manage itself, I do describe the jaw as a dangler which, which basically means when when you’re moving your head, it’s not moving with it, it’s actually kind of it hangs. So if you had if you had a bar, and you move the right side of the bar up with a coat hanger on it, and that coat hanger wasn’t able to slide up and down, you would just see it kind of do a dangle. Yeah, it maintains its level with Okay, well in relation to to, to that so effectively opposes the skull. And that means that if it’s opposing the skull, it’s matching movement of the ribcage. And so there are relationships, that’s how we kind of work this all out is what relating to what and you will then be able to make connections. So on a higher level, please don’t just go around and try and move your jaw because that happened to me once when we had been broken, go move the jaw. And you know, it released so much problems in my in my body and took about three years to tidy up. I don’t recommend doing that. I recommend finding somebody who knows what they’re talking about. But I also wouldn’t worry about it until you know done the more tangible things and like you said it is the light bulb at the end of that of that.
Victoria Salomon 13:42
Yeah, and I suppose what I’m getting to here is it’s more for the teeth grinders or the you know when you’re when you’re really tense and you can’t you kind of clenching your jaw or it’s very tight I suppose I’m talking about the joints, you know the that kind of that a teeth grinder or someone who forgets to just relax this area, but that does have a profound impact.
Gary Ward 14:08
Other contributing factors to consider
Yeah. So sleeping neck position. Pillow. Yeah. So many factors that influence the neck position, the neck position will then influence the jaw, jaw can slip backwards could be protruded forwards. You know, and also we also know that grinding, they’re not sleeping in a relaxed state. So how do we tackle their sleep? What are they thinking about before bed and loads of useful stuff about that, you know, it’s it’s, I guess what that little conversation and something to kind of encompass the whole thing is you’re actually looking for causative factors for your issues, rather than dealing with the issue. So my issue is I grind teeth at night we go over contract and relax your jaw muscles. But actually, that’s just the plaster. We’re to try and find out why. So then the conversation Yeah, technical checks, and I don’t I don’t think there is should be a issue. Again, I hate that way that realising that that doesn’t have a course to it? Yeah, nothing happens for no reason. And I think if we can get people into that mindset, they can get themselves out of problems quite quickly.
Victoria Salomon 15:29
Yeah, absolutely. And that goes for any discomfort any anywhere in the body. And I think, for me, I, especially with the course that I’ve created, so I spent a lot of hours trying to identify one to one what was going on in client’s bodies, but with the course and you know, same with your wake up, wake up your body course? Yeah, it’s, it’s about taking people on a journey, so they can almost trip up on it in themselves. And and those processes, you know, are so enlightening for people. And generally, you will, you know, if it is a structural caused you, you will find something that will start to make sense of it. But yeah, everything that has created, our body going out of alignment is
Gary Ward 16:25
Why movement is binary can be the key to finding balance
I always smile because Because movement is so binary, you’re basically saying, Can you flex or extend, can you side bend left or side bend, right. And if you imagine doing tick boxes, which, then you always find there’s one you can do more than the other. And so if you use a tick and a cross scenario, you’re you’re going to find that 50% of your movement is compromised. And that’s, that’s alarming. But the truth is, if if you if you if you find in every scenario that one way is easier than the other, one way is too much. The other is too little 100% of your movement is compromised, which is really, really bleak. I don’t want to put a spell or a hex on people going, you’re all f*****d. But in reality, all things that need to be to if you improve the movement to one side, your brain will stop doing the side dominantly and reduce it. So what’s too much becomes less and what’s too little becomes more balanced. And I think balance is, you know, the ultimate goal, which is right, you know, back to where we started,
Victoria Salomon 17:29
and you said something amazing, I remember from when I first started training with you, which was that nothing is actually really wrong, your body has done an incredible job of doing exactly what it needs to do. And all kinds of ways of compensating or doing things differently, is because we have this extraordinary brain and body that keeps us going no matter what. And all we’re doing with these processes is coming back in and helping to remind our brain body our mind body, that there could be better, more optimum ways of moving and aligning. So it’s like, you know, really patting our back, you know, thanking our body for keeping us going despite those imbalances, you know, and, and I always try and share that with people because it was something really important that I took from your teaching, because actually, the moment you start thinking negatively, or that you’ve got a problem, it actually causes like tension and contraction in the body. So it’s really positive to come in with that sense of Thank you body for the you know, doing an amazing job of of functioning No, no matter what. And working from that place, you know that any adjustment is a positive. As opposed to, you know,
Gary Ward 18:53
Why all potential movement the body is capable of is necessary
the word for me is necessary. Every movement that you are capable of doing is necessary. And without it without one of them. Your whole system is compromised. And we have hundreds and 1000s of people, hundreds of 1000s of people, if not millions, concerned about pronating their foot. That’s just one big one that and some people then carry that we shouldn’t flex our spine. And some people you know, carry theirs. Don’t let your knees fall inwards. And those three movements that I’ve just said pronating your foot, flexing your spine, allowing your knees to go inward, are some of the most important movements that you can be doing for your body. Somewhere we created a fear around this as an idea. You can’t not do one side of the coin, you don’t have a coin anymore. And these these are incredibly necessary movements to wake your system up.
Victoria Salomon 19:56
So okay, we’ll have to finish them But I’d like to finish by one other thing that I always share, which I learned from you, which was in the classroom the first time, I think there were Pilates teachers and other people. And there’s this big thing in Pilates about strong core stability. And what you spoke about was what we’re really looking for is strong core instability. So like the young tree, that no matter what the wind is, like, it can kind of blow and it doesn’t break in the storm, whereas a big tree trunk which kind of Yeah, yeah, yeah. And I, that’s kind of what you’re talking about there. I think.
Gary Ward 20:41
When we actively but unconsciously hold our body in discomfort
There’s, there’s resilience in movement, as we kind of said earlier, so thinking about the little tree and its ability to respond and adapt to different scenarios if you keep your spine straight. And that’s your goal. I mean, I have we have had practitioners in the classroom who did who are describing discomfort in their neck and their shoulders. And after about three days, you realise they’re just holding themselves like this. Yeah. And of course, if you stay there for the next three years, or 12 years, or however long it’s been, since they were told that this is what they must do to be this certain type of instructor then of course it’s going to ache and be uncomfortable, and then it’d be like, can you? Can you just let go of it. And they relax, and they go, I allowed to do this is this okay? And these are real estate. Real body word, is it OK to do this and, and just then Okay, so now let’s explore some flexion, let’s put length into all those tissues in the back. And of course, our scenario is, when you put length in those tissues in the back, they will start to contract, and they will naturally hold you into a position like this, rather than you forcing yourself into a position like this. And that that comes out if we go for the straight spine, even if we go for a straight spine that is not able to do its movement in three dimensions, because we’ve trained it so well. All of that movement is then going to have to, underlined in bold and italics have to occur somewhere else. Yeah, normally, it will be in the hips. With the lack of movement in the pelvis, you’ll see the outcome in the feet, and then in the shoulders. And a lot of people who are really, really good at strong core will struggle with shoulder and hip problems, because they’re moving too much. And this really simple scenario is to get this going again, I don’t know anybody who keeps their spine still and feels good about it. But they’re still doing it. Because that’s what we were told.
Victoria Salomon 22:38
And, and that aspect of that, and I see this a lot with yoga teachers or people who’ve done a lot of yoga who come into my course, and their their ribcage, it moves with their, with their skull, they they’re not used to separating it, or their ribcage moves with their pelvis, and they’re not used to separating it. And of course, they’ve all got issues because they haven’t learned to move them independently, in any plane of movement. And I suppose that’s where what we’re doing here is different to yoga, or to Pilates or to some other movement therapies. It’s just we were giving this other bit of information about how to move every part of the body independently. So
Gary Ward 23:23
because that information isn’t, isn’t there, yet, as a yoga teacher you learn to do the assignments and the poses. And, you know, all of the intentions are really great. But you know, can you learn the poses? When you go if you just left a desk job to because you’re sick of it and you become a yoga teacher? You’re already stuck with all of the anatomical limitations you’ve got and then hoping that yoga, will you just love yoga? Is yoga going to unwind that? Or can you then focus on different structures in your body to give you different access to the asanas, you know, none of that is the problem. It’s all it’s all in us? For sure. Are we able to do? So I would say yoga saved my life, incidentally.
Victoria Salomon 24:08
Gary Ward 24:11
I went on a nine day yoga thing with a guy called Danny Paradise who is an Ashtanga a direct teaching descendant from Pattabhi Jois, and I walked into this place, almost unable to walk and came out doing backflips, like some kind of cartoon. And that really opened my eyes. So I’m a big fan of fan of yoga. But it wasn’t something that would inform my anatomical teaching because that isn’t about the movement.
Victoria Salomon 24:37
And I think I think I always say to people, my job is to get you to be able to go into any class or any movement and just have a better understanding of how your own body is experiencing it
Gary Ward 24:49
What your body can’t do and how it will impact everything
Your body is the baseline. So however your body is being held is how you will perform your sport, act, whatever and that will come down to if you do that tick and cross binary scenario, can you do this? Can’t you do that all the things you can’t do, you won’t be doing that in your yoga class, you won’t be doing it in your Pilates. Even if the teacher tries to get you to do a right side bend that you’ve got a cross that you can’t do, you will do your best to do it. But you will be finding a way that does it. It’s not what we would call a pure. So you move your pelvis out of the way to make it possible or lean more or reach or you’re you know, we’ll find that I will use one vertebrae instead of 20.
Victoria Salomon 25:30
Yeah, yeah, absolutely.
Gary Ward 25:32
And you wonder why it’s kind of sore there. Yeah. And so we all have movement limitations, that’s not a judgement. It’s just how it is. And the better we get to understand them. And the more disciplined we are in practising them, the more we can enjoy. Yeah, absolutely everything, which is that’s been like my 20 year take home, the better your body moves, the easier everything becomes just mental, physical, practical. Yeah. Yeah. So it’s, it’s all necessary, and it’s all all teetering on the idea of balance?
Victoria Salomon 26:07
Well, Gary, thank you so much. And, you know, this podcast is called the positive power of pain, because I believe when, you know, we feel discomfort in our body, it’s like a voice telling us that something needs attention. And I think specifically, you know, very much so with the joints and with the muscles, you know, when we do feel discomfort, it’s more like our body asking us to bring attention to that area. And it you know, and, and I just your model, you know, my training with you has had such a profound impact on I know, in my own career, helping so many people understand their bodies. And you know, it’s
Gary Ward 26:49
Well it’s always a privilege to hear that. Yeah.
Victoria Salomon 26:51
Well, it’s the truth. It’s absolutely the truth. So thank you for taking this time today, as well, for speaking with me, and yeah, I don’t know if there’s anything you want to say before we go.
Gary Ward 27:08
No, I love I often say the kind of at the end that that podcast had a very different flavour to, to some of the normal ones that we do so but they’re all necessary. Yeah, absolutely. Packed with good information. Obviously, I would like to shout out my Instagram page, which is @garyward_aim, where if you’re a practitioner listening to learn this stuff, we have online courses. So wherever you are in the world, we teach the lower limb biomechanics course, where you can learn about the tripod that Victoria wanted to talk about, but how that connects the the movement of the whole leg, knee, hip, pelvis in, so you have pronating legs and supinating legs, and to be able to learn all about that. And then we also have the closed chain, sorry, the upper body in motion course, which is where we bring an understanding around the mechanics of the upper body from the pelvis up, including shoulder mechanics, etc. which briefly reminds me you said earlier about mobilising a shoulder. If you take a shoulder and mobilise it, you pull the whole girdle around, but if you learn understand the intricacies of that in this course, and you’re actually independently diving into which aspects of the shoulder are you actually really struggling with, and being able to really expose that. So that all comes down into that into into that course. And then if you’re not a practitioner, wake your body up and wake your feet up are very inexpensive, cheap ways into experiencing all of this stuff from myself. And then of course, your programme coming from yourself. Yeah, is adding more kind of emotional, or you probably explain it better, but another side to this, that I’d love to be able to do my own. But I’ve chosen my Yeah. And sticking with it. So I think that’s amazing what you’re doing as well.
Victoria Salomon 29:05
Well, thank you. And, you know, I wouldn’t have done it without my time learning with you. So I can’t recommend enough to any practitioner to help your clients understand their own bodies. time with you. Time Learning with you is is gold. And, and yeah, get into your body is where I’ve taken it in terms of how I teach my clients, you know, so they can so they’ve got an online resource where they can use it as well. Yeah. All right. Gary, thank you so much for being here today. And yeah, hopefully we’ll speak again very soon. See you soon. Bye.