Remember Joe Montana? I am so NOT a football fan. In fact, I’m thrilled the movie Concussion is outing the incredible damage this violent past time incurs on the gladiators who give up quality of life for our insatiable entertainment need. Sorry if I am offending. But incredible damage and Joe Montana played a big role in my professional life. It was 1986 when he sustained a severe back injury and getting back out on the field is paramount when you’re a player of this caliber. He rehabbed at St. Mary’s Spine Center in San Francisco and this healing caught the attention of every orthopedic physical therapist in the region.
The new emerging buzz word back then? Core stabilization. I travelled down there more than once, spending days with the experts trending this concept into the world. And it quickly became integral to the way I treated patients. Montana hired a St. Mary’s P.T. to live, breathe and be with him 24/7, holding him forever true to a powerful, neutral and aligned spine. Always: walking, eating, sitting, sleeping, playing. And he came through with flying colors, going on to win many championships.
Why am I telling this old story? I never know who’s reading this. I just put it out there and move on. Regular readers know I’ve been through major physical challenge the last few months. Many of you I saw over the holidays expressed concern and so let this serve as update. I would never wish what I’m moving through on any human. But I also would not change any of it. Even if I had a magic wand. Because it has so much to do with my own incredible growth and healing and therefore everything to do with how I am treating you one-on-one and how I am teaching. I am humbly grateful for this steep, personal ongoing learning curve. And what does this have to do with Joe Montana? Well, I am living that 24/7 rehab life, except that I am Joe and the live-in P.T. all wrapped into one.
I finally got a spine X-ray confirming my suspicion: a very collapsed lumbar spine with a matching thoracic curve in the other direction. This visual forced me to get real, dedicate myself to serious healing. To consciously modify the way I sleep, sit, stand, walk, do yoga and dance. 24/7, no compromises. And it is working. I am better and better every day. This prodded me to circle back to the way I clinically conceptualized self-care fifteen years ago. Before I let the specific strength piece go, believing it would come naturally though yoga and dance.
To feel our best, to give ourselves top shot at maintaining physical health, we need to focus equally on growing three ways:
- loose—yes, yes to the rollers and balls
- long—yes, yes to practices that lengthen connective tissue AND lengthen spine
- strong—yes, yes to core stability—subtle asymmetrical investigation and the application of that knowledge to function
We actually cannot be long through the spine without being loose and strong. Believe me, I am feeling all this Big Time.
Wanna feel it, too? Check the web site: www.bodyjoy.net
It’s All Yoga: Friday night 6:00, Tues/Thurs morning 8:30. Jeanne and I are collaborating all over the place on finding ways to make this practice-practical.
Yoga Seed: February 7. Three dedicated guided hours to work in front of the mirror on the subtle aspects of core stability, length and alignment.
Presidio SF: Feb 21. Four hours to feel the way all this fits in with the dance. This is my practice. It is amazing to get loose, long and strong while you dance.
Coloma Center: March 5. All day to cultivate instinct for this: roll, dance, paint, stretch…repeat. How do I weave self love-care into a way of being?
My studio: anytime, call me make an appointment. I am always amazed at the power of a single wake up call session. There is nothing like it.
Can you feel my aliveness, my excitement, my dedication? I hope so. Let’s co-create a year to come filled with vibrant good health. Let’s grow loose, long and strong.