What do you think of when you hear the word fitness? Going to the gym? Going for a run? Yoga? For most of us, fitness is something that we do. We block off an hour or two during the day to focus on our physical health. We get our sweat session in, but then what?
On the show this week, we are joined by Aaron Alexander. Aaron is a manual therapist and movement coach, as well as an author (The Align Method), and host of the Align Podcast. Aaron’s message is clear. Fitness is not what you do – it’s who you are.
Our bodies are under construction 100% of the time. The way we sit, stand, walk, rest, and move daily, sends neurological signals to our brain that determine our perceived state of safety and health. With some awareness, we have the ability to engage with our bodies on a second to second basis in a way that can promote a stronger baseline of health and happiness. Without our health, what are we left with?
Chronic pain is a huge issue in our country. Everyone has something: a bad ankle, sore back, stiff neck, tight hips, the list goes on and on. So what are we doing about it? For a lot of us, we might be repeating the action day in and day out that’s causing the pain. Postural patterns are the root cause for most of the aches and pains that show up consistently in our bodies. We spend the majority of our time in postures that go directly against our native disposition and physiological patterns. We sit at desks hunched over computers, we drive everywhere, we lounge on soft furniture, and compulsively stare down at our phones in positions that stiffen the neck and spine.
The main differentiator between us and one of the healthiest populations in the world is not in the way we work out, but in the way we rest. Aaron brings up a study that investigated a tribe in Tanzania. Like us, they were in “resting positions” for about 9-10 hours per day on average. But their resting positions look a lot different than ours. They squat, kneel, sit cross legged on the floor, and spend that resting time in positions that are conducive to their anatomy. The body wants to feel good, that is it’s natural state, but we inhibit our body’s ability to feel good by abandoning these ranges of motion that are naturally good for us.
So what can we do? Aaron stresses the importance of setting up your work and living environment in a way that makes it easy and accessible for you to get a full range of motion. Get some floor cushions or a comfortable rug so you can sit on the floor, put a pull up bar in the door frame to hang from (hanging is one of the best things you can do to return your body to it’s natural alignment), mix in a standing desk to your work routine every once in a while, go on a walk. But ultimately, just be aware. Pay attention to how your body is feeling at every moment throughout the day. Identify the postural patterns that are causing you pain and discomfort, and strive to find positions and ranges of motion that make your body feel good.
The concept of alignment surpasses just our physical bodies. It also has to do with our ability to regulate emotions. Our physical body and our mental perception work in cohesion with one another. If there’s negativity and pain in the mind, it shows up physically in the body. If we have pain in the body, it affects our thoughts, perception, and happiness levels. Taking care of your mind and body as a unit and providing signals for them to work together is the key to living aligned.
In Aaron’s words, “sleep is a weapon, nature is a weapon.” Emphasizing a regular sleep pattern, and prioritizing time spent in nature are two of the best things you can do for your mental health. Play is another key element to a happy and aligned life. We are under the impression that we need to work hard and earn time to play. But Aaron would make the argument that when we make time for and prioritize play, we work better. What is play? Anything that makes you feel alive. Follow your bliss, build your life around it.
The body is filled with levers we can pull on to change our state, but so many of us are blind to what these levers even are. Aaron does a fantastic job in this episode of bringing some of these levers to the surface and giving us a playbook to be more in tune with our body.
instagram | youtube | website
Listen to the Podcast
Chase Jarvis: What if I told you that we are always under construction, our physical bodies are what we're doing right now is setting us up for the body we will inhabit in the next moment. That is one of the philosophies of this week's guest here on the Chase Jarvis Live Show on CreativeLive. The guest is Aaron Alexander. Now, if you're familiar with Aaron's work, you're going to be excited for this. And if you're not familiar, I have to tell you, I think you're in for some new thinking. Aaron is a manual therapist, he's a movement coach. He's an author and the host of an amazing podcast I love called The Align Podcast. Aaron takes practices from cultures all over the world. He's gathered these ideas and insights, past podcast guests his travel, to understand that we have the ability to integrate movement into our daily lives. Even more so, the healthiest populations in the world they actually don't come from gym culture.
Chase Jarvis: So if you shudder at the thought of having to go to the gym three times a week for two hours at a time, that actually you are right to be wary of that. And in fact, the healthiest cultures don't do that. They have movement infused into every aspect of their life. And it's not as hard as you might think. Aaron is an amazing guest. Being a host of his own show, we have a really intimate conversation. He's super articulate. And look, if you don't have your health in this life, what do you have? Aaron is a master at helping us find that health. Find it in a way that is deeply resonant with me and I know it's going to resonate with you. So I'm going to get out of the way enjoy this week's show yours truly in Aaron Alexander. Aaron, thank you so much for being here. Welcome to the show.
Aaron Alexander: Thank you for making this happen man, I appreciate it. It's great to get to meet you. I've been engaging with your podcast and your work. I really appreciate what you're doing.
Chase Jarvis: Well, thank you. And the same is true in reverse. I've been engaging with yours, it's one of the reasons I want you on the show. I confessed that just prior to starting to record, we are recording with video and audio for those of you who are consuming on one or the other platform. And I confessed that I have what I consider to be a posture problem. I don't know how it got it. I don't know where it's going. I know it needs work. And part of your universe is well, you've got a new book that we're going to talk a little bit about, about alignment and The Align Method. But your work encompasses just health and wellness generally, but I would invite you to early on here in the show, just give a short overview of how people ought to orient around you and your work, how you self described, et cetera.
Aaron Alexander: So, the difference in the approach that I take on the podcast and in my book, The Align Method, and on social media and just in general like my stance in the world, this like movement, fitness, wellness, mind, body conversation. Is that fitness is beyond just what you do inside of a gym, or what you do in a yoga studio, or a martial arts dojo, when you're really actively paying attention to the way that you move, or the way that you breathe, or maybe even the way that you think. But it's in fact, every moment throughout the day, they're all opportunities to engage with fitness. So it's not something that you do, it's something that you are, something that I've said probably 6000 times at this point. So apologize for it sounding a little redundant in my own mind.
Aaron Alexander: But I think that's the big difference is the awareness that your body is under construction 100% of the time. So as we're sitting here we have this magical process called [makeno transduction 00:03:57] which is essentially your cell-
Chase Jarvis: We love a big word. We love a big word around here.
Aaron Alexander: Yeah. It's just the idea that your cells are responding to the pressures that you expose them to through your existence. So right now you are makeno transducing your ass and your back, maybe your feet a little bit. And as you press your body up against those spaces, you're creating a bit of an electrical charge around that space. And it's sending signals to the engineers, the cells within your body that either choose to break down tissue in that space or build it up. So right now you're like this amazing piece of art. You're always an amazing piece of art. But it's like you are chiseling yourself out of marble. You're like a Michelangelo. And you're not just Michelangeling yourself when you're in a gym, but literally every step you take, every breath, it's all a part of it.
Chase Jarvis: It's all in a [inaudible 00:05:01].
Aaron Alexander: Yeah. Exactly.
Chase Jarvis: Well, that's part of what I love about the work that I get to do in bringing the information, the heads and the minds and the hearts of the most creative and entrepreneurial people in the world is this idea of counter intuitive knowledge. And part of one of the things that I wanted to celebrate with your work on the show today, part of what I wanted to help teach the listeners and watchers is how to take an active role in what you talked about as a 24/7 lifelong. Always you're shaping your body not just at the gym. And one of the reasons I'm a fan of that is because it's obviously wickedly useful, right? Because we would all love to get the benefits of the gym without having to go. Or maybe not all of us that might be an overstatement, but many of us. And that the subtext here is that if you do not have your health, what do you have?
Chase Jarvis: We talk about building businesses and creative careers and transforming lives. But if you do not at a very fundamental level, if you don't have your health, then what have you got? So, it's with that sort of backdrop in mind that I wanted to dive in. Man, I'm going to cover a bunch of ground referencing your book and your podcast. But specifically, the principles that you shared with us in your sort of opening salvo there about how the body is a very dynamic organism and it's always under construction or reconstruction. And I thought one lens to doing this selfishly, hey, I'm the host. So, no one can take my mic away and can turn me off I guess. But I like to think of myself. Okay, here I am, I'm Chase, I'm just a guy. And life, we all have different degrees of physical fitness.
Chase Jarvis: And each of ours has ebbed and flowed over time from childhood to adulthood, from the summer to the winter, from on-season some sports to off-season. And so, given that there's so many dynamic things at work that we have work pressures, we have work stresses. I'm using myself as, let's just pretend I'm any average listener. I have discovered now at this particular time in my life through a combination of elements, I'm going to make these up but I think anyone could insert their own in there. I'm finding myself in pain in a way that I have not been before. Let's just do the most basic look back, I have been a career photographer for 20 something years. And what does a photographer do but holds a camera up to one's face, holds like 15 pounds in front of my head. And if you were listening to the podcast you can't see this, but I've got so my neck is out in front of the rest of my body which means my hips have to tilt a certain way, my neck, et cetera.
Chase Jarvis: Also I am on the road a lot, I spend a lot of my time instead of in front of a big monitor what I have right now and all of my gear and my standup desk. I spend a lot of time on my phone, because I'm in the back of an [inaudible 00:08:13] or on an airplane or whatever. And this is another characteristic because I'm bent over, bent at the neck looking down at my phone. And then insert N number of other influences. And what I'm finding is my posture sucks, I'm six foot tall, asked them and the other day how tall they thought I was, I was sitting down, they thought I was 5'8 or 5'9, just in their head that's what they picked. So, there's this stacking of what I would just call problematic inputs. And here I am finding myself for the first time in life I consider myself a fit person. I'm in pain, I've got legit ongoing sort of pain in my neck.
Chase Jarvis: I feel it negatively impacting my life, it impacts the amount of work that I can do, the joy that I can have. The movement that I would normally be doing as a part of my physical regimen. Where ought I start? If I'm leaning into Aaron's method, help me and by extension of course, the listeners because I'm making myself out to be the average Joe or Jane. Where do I get started?
Aaron Alexander: Yeah. So the first thing, there's been extensive research around postural patterns and things that we would typically historically deem to be problematic postural patterns being the primary cause of pain. And it's really fuzzy and blurry to suggest that say a forward head posture or maybe say a scapular winging or dowagers hump or a hyper kyphosis or valgus knee or any of that is a direct one to one association to this as causing the pain. I think pain is such a broad, complex subject, and it's highly, can be highly subjective. And there is an aggregate of objective variables that exist. And they can all stack up to eventually create in person's inner experience to be somewhat of an alarm going off. And so I would think of it from the lens if we were working together for example, or if you're reading The Align Method book or any of that. I'd be coming to it from the lens of what is your stress bucket, which isn't a term that I came up with, but looking at how is your sleep?
Aaron Alexander: How is your nutrition? How is your general management of your mind throughout the day? Are you overrun with the same repetitive thought that essentially is about like some version of doomsday that's particular to you? And then including within that postural patterns, and how are you moving? And how are you not moving? And so, I think a big culprit in the movement conversation is like sedentarism is killing you. It's the new cigarettes, it's like all the bad things in the world. But if you look at this is a little bit divergent from your question, we'll come back to specifically like your experience with pain and how we can address that. But a common culprit would be that that sedentary lifestyle, and when you look at cultures such as in Tanzania for example, Hadza people, there was some research from University of Southern California.
Aaron Alexander: Where researchers went out there and observed the amount of movement and the quality of movement, the manner of movement of these people throughout the day. And what they found with the Hadza tribes people was that they were in resting positions that we commonly demonized as being like the end of the world for us. They're in these resting positions about similar timeframes as industrialized cultures. So the average was 9.82 hours each day, it's like nine to 10 hours a day which is pretty similar to most like you and I type people. The difference is the manner in which they are in these resting positions. So, they're spending time kneeling, they're spending time squatting, they're spending time cross legged, maybe in a straddle position, they're essentially moving. Like if you've ever been around a kid, do you have kids?
Chase Jarvis: I don't have kids, I am the uncle to many. But I love this concept in movement, looking at how kids move, I'm well aware of and I think it's fascinating.
Aaron Alexander: Yeah, kids are teachers, they haven't been obstructed by the concept of who they think they are, who they think they're supposed to be. They haven't been institutionalized to carry out someone else's will ultimately. I'm not getting, I don't want to get excessive like tinfoil hat. Direction, I mean, we can, but the concept of sitting down and hunching over into a chair wearing raised heeled shoes and then closing in, the potential range of motion for your visual muscles which is also associated with that stress bucket. And having typically carrying a backpack over one side trying to be cool, maybe hunch over a little bit for that, you sag your pants. Like there's all these cultural constructs that impact and imprint the way that a person moves from a young age. Now we impose a little bit of shame in there, maybe a lot of bit of shame in there, wherever that came from, maybe it's some Puritan thing, who cares where it came from? It's very common.
Aaron Alexander: And so now maybe we're embarrassed to really show up and feel full, expressive, confident, upright, tall, like take up space. So, this comes into a very common conversation maybe especially like a tall, if like a girl is tall, that literally oftentimes shrink up because they don't want to take up too much space. And so, it's such an interesting thing just kind of conveying the idea that your movement is so much more than just the amount of kettlebells that you lift or the barbells or the type of pull ups that you do. Literally every thought that you make throughout the day, it has a physiological structural translation. So if you are afraid, if you are really proud, if you're really sad, all of those emotions have direct one to one postural physiological expressions and translations.
Aaron Alexander: So, I know I didn't answer anything there but just kind of painting a little bit of a picture of like, this pain and it's like, we come from a mechanistic mindset broadly. So we of course, think what's wrong in my car, it must be the carburetor. Let's change out a couple nuts and washers and boom we're done. It isn't you are a complex system as opposed to a complicated system. Complicated system you change out the nuts and the washers done. Complex system it's like, oh, boy, it thrives on variables, it's kind of the opposite in that way. And so, it's more of an orchestra. So it's like, okay, let's have all the musicians come together, let's have a conversation and start to create relationship.
Chase Jarvis: Yeah, I'm fascinated by that. And I think one might, I'll take a liberty here and a couch that is, let's approach this holistically. It's not just that you work at a computer, or it's not just that you're a photographer, or it's not, there's a holistic approach to your work. And I believe similarly, I'm also a huge mindset person. And a friend Tony Robbins, for example, talks about a few, he's sort of like you have to, your physiology, you can change your mentality by changing your physiology. What is a confident, proud, excited, happy person, do they look hunched over and bent and are they small and weak? Not normally. And if you stand up straight, put your shoulders back and open yourself up, I think there's a science of smiling, right? If you smile, then the actual muscles of smiling will drive positive inputs into your psychology, et cetera.
Chase Jarvis: So, if we can then say, all right, Mr. Alexander you've got yourself a holistic approach to this. I want to get back to my question which is cool. Where do I start, let's just, we can throw rocks at my heritage or my soccer injuries or my professional woes. And I want to qualify this, my pain is pain with a small p, like I'm just, I have historically been a very fit, very active, like painfully active person. And so, this new this like pain is, it's bugging me a little bit in the back of my head. So there is some of that psychology at work. But knowing that you're going to try and think of our bodies as a holistic, dynamic mechanism. I still want to know where to start.
Aaron Alexander: Yep. So where are you experiencing pain in particular? Not that it's completely relevant to this, where you're having the pain exactly like where we need to address but where are you experiencing pain?
Chase Jarvis: Base of the skull from sort of top of the spine down to mid back.
Aaron Alexander: Okay, how long has it been happening? Is there anything that actually exacerbates it particularly? Is there a time of day, is there an activity?
Chase Jarvis: Usually, in the afternoon I feel it more, I do find myself sitting in really poor conditions just try and move especially when we started working at home across the pandemic. I started moving my workspace around because I felt reenergized of how I move from the kitchen table to the couch to my standup desk to move around a little bit. And it has been noticed, other people have noted, I gave you the example of my posture, just someone thought I was 5'9 or something the other day. And I was I'm basically been 6 foot since I was probably 17 years old. And I find myself not standing upright. So the combination of all these things it's like, okay, in the afternoons, especially recently. And again, I just had eclipsed a particular birth age or a particular age that is making me reconsider like, wait a minute. I want to defy this age and age is a number I want to be healthy. So there's a bunch of thinking going on as well. Like, how do I restart, recharge, and realign?
Aaron Alexander: Yep. I mean, honestly, I would seek out a practitioner. I think seeing a really good physical therapist or a manual therapist, or it may be a role for or maybe someone that's effective with dry needling and really understands kinesiology, and where the bits ought to be. And I would be able to actually examine and take you through a full diagnostic and say, okay, when you put your arms up over your head, here's what's your scapula are doing. When you are walking, here's your gait pattern. Like I can actually be able to sit back and spend some time and see what's happening. Be able to adjust and then check to see if that makes a difference. Okay, yes, no? Okay. If yes, okay, let's keep going that direction. So the problem solving path of working with pain through the mechanistic lens, I think having a practitioner by your side is invaluable.
Aaron Alexander: That being said, there are things that we can talk about in the conversation as far as like shotgun exercises or self care approaches that anybody can integrate in their life. Something that would be supportive one, would so postural patterns typically most of the research would suggest the postural patterns are not, they are not a one to one connection to shoulders doing this it means you're going to be in pain. If you were to look at MRIs or X-rays of a lot of people's spines or knees or shoulders, what you'd find is some people looks like a complete, like mess, like there's no way that that knee should be functioning properly and they are completely fine. Same thing with this intimate shoulders. And then the inverse can be happening with someone who is in a lot of pain.
Aaron Alexander: You look it's like, well, the charts look pretty good. But what is consistently helpful is movement, so if you are taking yourself through full ranges of motion, it acts as a really beautiful shotgun for just restoring your tissues back to a baseline of health. And it's telling your nervous system that you have something to show up for. I think one of the most challenging things for the human organism is to outsource the necessity for us to need to show up. It's such an amazing thing that we've gotten to a point where we can literally lay, some of us could lay on a couch trade cryptocurrency and just have your blue screen phone in front of your face which is inherently stressful to be in that position actually, and we can talk about the reasons why. And have food delivered to your face, have whatever you need just delivered directly to your face. If you pay enough, they'll even feed you.
Aaron Alexander: And it's like I'm so impressed and enamored by that like happy, like good effort, human culture for us to have arrived at that point. But we need to move in order for our cells and our nervous system to function optimally. So something that I would suggest just as like a baseline, get things moving. And just add this into your work life would be get a pull up bar in your a doorway that you commonly pass through. You got one now?
Chase Jarvis: It's seven feet from where I'm standing right now.
Aaron Alexander: How often do you use it? And what do you do with it? Do you typically just do like a typical pull ups?
Chase Jarvis: Yeah, I just came off of a cycle in the fall, spring, sorry, summer. I did not continue it in the fall with any determination. But I did 50 pushups, 50 pull ups, 50 sit-ups every day. And so, the concept of 50 pull ups a day people are like oh, that's a lot, or 50 pull ups or push ups is not enough. So regardless of the volume, just doing those exercise every day had a very transformative effect on my psychology, my body and the hanging thing was new. So I got a pull up bar that actually could move around the house. And it was crazy helpful. I would say I had zero pain. And again, you're talking about someone who, I was an outdoor action sports photographer for 20 years. I've played Olympic development soccer, so hyper, like overactive my entire life. And yet I can still find myself slipping into periods of inactivity.
Chase Jarvis: And I'm thinking about the people who would identify as less active than they desire. Like how easy it was for me to work these aspects into my day for example, the pull up bar that I'm pointing to which is now seven feet from my head.
Aaron Alexander: Right. Yeah, so there's an interesting book outside of the one that I made. I've a chapter in the book all about the power of hanging. But there's a book that I based at a reasonable chunk of that chapter around was a book by a guy called Dr. John Kirsch who wrote a book called Shoulder Pain? And he was an orthopedic surgeon that found that, he claims in the book that 99% of the patients that he would be treating with surgery for some variety of shoulder impingement syndrome were healed, were relieved of their pain entirely just through going a basic. Oh, there you go. What was the surgery you had?
Chase Jarvis: It was a Bankart procedure, a full rebuild of the glenoid labrum, suture anchors, it was from chronic dislocation from early football and later soccer injuries wrapped around college early sort of young pro-early late college, university.
Aaron Alexander: Yeah. So the human body through just if we're in a more like natural is a very relative word as well. You get like the naturalistic fallacy to think that everything you need to be natural is just like better and it's like what is naturally in the first place? But if you're in a reality where you were maybe moved by the sun, you're set to a circadian rhythm, you got up at the sun and after that it was like red light and fires. You had very contours of ground that your ankles and your feet were exposed to which inevitably that would trickle up through the rest of your nervous system, your body. You're reaching up overhead with some level of regularity, you're squatting up and down with some level of regularity, you're kneeling, you're maybe walking a little bit more. The big thing is you're just exposed to nature. Like nature heals.
Aaron Alexander: It's almost, we take a lot of these simple solutions to feel almost like trite or over simplistic. If something's too complicated, it's probably kind of stupid. Like we self organize very well if you place us into the proper environment. Instead, my approach working with clients, with the book or the podcast or any of that, is really kind of like, are you familiar with Bruce Lipton? Have you ever done anything with him or?
Chase Jarvis: No.
Aaron Alexander: Biology of Belief, he's fantastic. He was one of the primary, he spearheaded the concept of epigenetics, and he's been around forever. And he's probably in his like late 60s or 70s now. And so, the concept of epigenetics that we don't just have this genetic disposition and whatever your mom and dad, whatever they granted you like that's your cards. It's your genetics change based off of environmental conditions. And one of the things that he suggested to me in a conversation that I recorded with him was when working with cells in a petri dish, if you want to change the cell, whatever the constitution, whatever aspect of the cell, you change the culture in the dish that the cell resides in. And so, that pull up bar is a beautiful example. And you had that experience of like, I know that we still have the next steps we can keep on marching down the line here with different solutions.
Aaron Alexander: But that's an environmental condition that you just made a slight addition into your world that suddenly you're attracted, you're moved by the pull up bar being there. The other thing that I would recommend looking at what's happening in your neck outside of just being exclusively being a neck thing and looking at it more globally like full body thing would be what's happening the function of the range of motion in your ankles? What's happening, the range of motion in your hips? And so how are you, what's your range of motion like when you squat? Can you do a deep squat? Is that comfortable for you?
Chase Jarvis: Yeah, I would consider very deep, I can do single leg pistols with each leg. I can comfortably sit with my fully at the bottom of a squat with my heels on the ground for more than 10 minutes. This is all Dr. Kelly [inaudible 00:27:38] a mutual friends of ours. Like all that I'm pretty good at. Ankles, notoriously horrible. I've one that will lock up on me, broken many times, torn ligaments. Potentially, certainly more than 20 times maybe as many as 50 times. Like I got my ankles taped every day for six years throughout, late high school, early college. So, horrible ankle on one side that has... And again, for folks listening out there in the show right now, this is not about Chase Jarvis' injuries and what I'm hoping that you can put yourself whatever your little micro mality may be, we're thinking about this all through the lens that Aaron's projecting movement and alignment as a vector for health.
Aaron Alexander: Yeah, these are all really common pattern. I mean, these are like patterns of modernity, a lack of ankle dorsiflexion that's just a modern person sitting in a chair for a good chunk of their life. Any kid pre-five years old, has no problem with any of these positions. So literally, in the fetal stage as you're like on the edge of coming out, on the third trimester coming out of your mother, you start to develop these little facet joints on the edge of the tibias to be able to actually have this sliding pathway for you to be able to go through a full deep squat. So your physiology, like your innate physiology is like cool like, is the kid ready to squat? Yep, ready to squat, okay, get him out, you're ready to go. And then we abandon that, and the squatting position not that I'm going to make this be a whole conversation around championing squatting.
Aaron Alexander: But it literally just another example of how we so directly go against our inherent, native disposition, our inherent physiological patterns. A lot of modern culture has abandoned in those range of motions and even made it seem like, I don't know, like stupid or goofy, or like, oh, you're like a hippie, or you're like a yoga person. If you're like in a natural human resting position, you're just squatting while you're waiting for a bus or something like that. People are like, oh, wow, what's with that guy? So to be strange or to be weird in a culture that is, it seems like statistically each year we becoming more and more addicted to opiates of various degrees, whether it's pharmaceuticals or antipsychotic medication or anti-anxiety medication or self harm. People like wanting to hurt themselves.
Aaron Alexander: It's like, when you're living in a culture where statistically it seems like those trends are continually going in that direction. To be okay with being different and being weird. I think that's a big step. And a person squatting for example, like that's the way that the human organism deficates, when you go through if you cannot deep squat, like what is more foundational to your health to be able to take a dump. So when you go into a deep squat position it literally elongates your rectum. It reduces called the anorectal angle, the puborectalis muscle that wraps around that it relaxes, allows your poop chute to get spaciousness enough and long enough for you to actually have a proper poop. So we've just taken that off of the table is like, oh, no, that's some brutal, tribalistic stuff just squat to take a poop. It's crazy.
Chase Jarvis: You guys go to Africa the toilets are holes in the ground. You know, they're-
Aaron Alexander: Yeah, like they are animal, animals. Yeah.
Chase Jarvis: And here we are, it's the healthiest. Yeah, that now they're developing tools to elevate the bathroom floor called potty squatties and things like that that we're introducing into in the Western culture to try and mimic those movements. Yeah.
Aaron Alexander: Yeah. So all that's not me taking a shot at modern culture or romanticizing anything like older than now. It's just suggesting saying well, a lot of these things that we have done for millennia that we've kind of denied ourselves of either intentionally or unintentionally, they are really easy to reintegrate back into your life, and they act as de-stressing systems. And so, when you are going into a deep squat position, naturally, you're taking your ankles through a deeper range of motion, you're opening up the muscles in around your pelvic floor, you're elongating and decompressing your lower back, you're taking your spine through that full spinal flexion. And then you come back into more extension. So it's like a little mini massage for your whole entire body. Something that I would suggest for you getting back to the original question of like, okay, this is great my freaking neck hurts. I would start looking at what are your respiratory patterns? How do you breathe?
Aaron Alexander: So every time you take a breath, that breath is an expansion and a contraction. That's if you pay a massage therapist to work on your tissues, they are probably going to do some variety of expanding or contracting, compressing some tissues, and then that will lead to an expansion response. Now, a new fluid comes back into that space. Every time you breathe that's what you're doing. So, I would have you lay down your back is just something that could be nice for you to do, I would put a little pillow back behind your suboccipital rib space just to kind of raise your neck up. Or you can maybe put like a little ball back there or something like that if you want to be a little bit more aggressive. So you're elongating that space, you might have chronic tension, especially in that cervical spine area.
Aaron Alexander: And then also fall that might be in your lower back. It's really common with many people. And then put your feet up on it's called an active rest position. We have this in the book in 10 more exercises for people. But put your feet up on the edge of a couch or if you have like, if you're fancy you have like a yoga swing at your house someplace. I think that'd be great for you to have something-
Chase Jarvis: Fancy. That's definitely fancy. I don't have it.
Aaron Alexander: Yeah, whatever. Yeah, if you're crazy, I think get a yoga swing man. I think that's a really cool thing to have. You reference Tim Ferriss, he's a fan of acro yoga and things of the sort.
Chase Jarvis: Oh, yeah.
Aaron Alexander: And so having something like that in your life once again, it's just adding a visual cue. So that now suddenly, oh, I'm compelled to get into the yoga swing that I heard about on this crazy podcast, and I flip myself upside down, and I decompress my whole entire spine. I open up my hips, I open up my adductors I do, it's just this natural therapeutic movement that it's not a thing I drive and hunch myself up into a car for 30 minutes to arrive at some person's office. This is being implemented one to five times a day because I just walked past it. That times a month, times a year, times a decade, it adds up.
Chase Jarvis: Yeah.
Aaron Alexander: And so laying down in your back, prop your head up a little bit. So you're not in that kind of crunched cervical neck position. Raise your feet up so that your sacrum is kind of almost like its traction would be the term. Like it's almost like lifted off the grounds, your hips are almost like on the edge of dangling, like maybe just a centimeter off of the ground or so. Relax into that position. Bring your hands on to the sides of your ribs. Specifically on the sides, a lot of times in yoga classes we hear about like belly breathing. So you have a bunch of people just distending their bellies trying to be spiritual with their breath. But still not actually engaging that diaphragm to be able to get that full expansion of lungs. So bring your hands on the side of the ribs. And just take a few nose breaths. Really emphasize the exhalation. So you could do maybe a version of box breathing, do a four seconds in, hold for four seconds.
Aaron Alexander: I would extend the exhalation. Maybe do a exhale for eight seconds, six seconds, and go through six rounds of that. And just have a moment and see what that does to your autonomic nervous system. Because if you're having pain, especially chronic pain, in your body like that, there's probably some level of stress component within that. And again, mechanical stress is a part of that conversation but it's not the absolute. And so, in that practice of just laying down, taking a moment to observe your breath, start to engage that diaphragm in a different way, start to engage the entirety of your torso and your respiratory capacity and just have a moment to have a little decompression and check in with your breath. And I think you'd be my guess, because you seem like a really sensitive person, my guess is you would be surprised with the impact of something as simple as that.
Aaron Alexander: And if six breaths, if you're willing to do six breaths, try and do 10. And start to implement that. If it helps, say, cool, I'm going to do that whatever, every day before a call, I just introduced that into my thing. So that's a start.
Chase Jarvis: Yeah, I think. So let's put my problems on pause here and let's open the dialogue a little bit more generally with your philosophies. Let's for a second go to Align Method which is your book, again, highly recommended it. I wouldn't have anybody on the podcast whose book I or work I didn't recommend, but The Align Method, a modern movement guide for a stronger body, sharper mind and a stress proof life. So I think my guess is that it applies to about everyone who's listening. And the thing that I gravitated towards with your work in particular is, as you just talked about there's like all these whether it's environmental cues, just the concept of movement as a methodology to protect and strengthen against the trials of everyday life. Whether that's hanging, whether that's breathing.
Chase Jarvis: Can you talk a little bit how the work that you advocate for, your life's work is different than someone who's like right now there's maybe something like, oh I work on my breathing every day, because I practice Transcendental Meditation and I do that once a day. Or someone else is saying like, oh, yeah, I go to the yoga studio three times a week and I consider myself relatively healthy. How would you orient the listeners around how your universe is different than those other simple examples that I gave?
Aaron Alexander: Well, I have a lot of appreciation, respect for anybody that's trying and investing themselves in their work and are making mistakes, and are pushing the ball forward. And so, I think the thing to do from a branding lens is to really set yourself apart, make sure everyone knows how what I'm doing is different and this is the path. But I think that whatever resonates with a person like, we just need to start the conversation. And so there's a lot of paths leading up to the top of the mountain. And a person can think that their path is the superior path because it worked for them. But I think ultimately, whether breath work is what engages you with having a deeper relationship with your body and that spills out in your relationship with other people and maybe into your business.
Aaron Alexander: And or maybe that's CrossFit or maybe that's dancing or whatever it maybe, I think there's a lot of different paths. My intention with The Align Method and working with clients and the general broader conversation I'm really interested in is instead of simply reducing down these specific aspects of ourselves. So, breath is one of the toggles or tools that humans have the opportunity to engage with to change their state. A long exhalation will put you into a more calm, parasympathetic, rest, relax type place. If you take a breath in through your mouth like that. So you're surprised, that's teeing you up for that sympathetic response. And so, that's beautiful. So we have the option or the opportunity to engage with our breath any way that we choose because we understand the basic user's manual on how to pull the toggles.
Aaron Alexander: So our visual system when it's a very similar system, these are all integrated systems. When you are looking up at something myopically up close, you're focused in, right? That's going to cue your nervous system to be in that more executive function, get stuff done. There's a potential threat we need to either fight or flight or sort this out. When you allow your eyes, your visual system to go into that panoramic view. Take the whole, the entirety of the picture in the savanna or whatever you're looking at, or just that you're just spacing out in a room. It sends a signal to your autonomic nervous system that okay, Chase is chilling, there's clearly no reason to boost up norepinephrine or cortisol or any of these stress hormones. Because if we were in that state, Chase would be focused in on a single threat.
Aaron Alexander: So, acknowledging and understand say, okay, when I'm working out in the gym, I can leverage these sensual systems in my body the same way that I would leverage these mechanical principles. So, the next level within that I mean, everything temperature regulation, all of these are part of fitness and movement. And then the one that most people are, the more common conversation would be the various like obvious mechanical engineering, hip hinging and neutral spine and things of the sort. So, what I really care about and what would separate the alignment that would be providing a comprehensive, simple, digestible guide for people to understand how to drive their body effectively. Because we get that with a car. You get a learner's permit, you have a person drive beside you, you parallel park, you read books for a while, you take classes about it. And it just blows my mind that we don't have that in most modern school systems, we never really get the user's manual how to drive the body. So, that's it.
Chase Jarvis: I love it. And if I'm open to the book right now and early on you talk about the different archetypal, postural archetypes. And with like the mopey would be how I would consider what I think of myself as having poor posture. But there's anxious which is head down, there's swole, which is like all puffed up like bodybuilder type. There's Bandy where you see people that are kind of like noodley and aligned, which is what one would envision as I think just align, your spine is aligned, your shoulders are back, you're hips, knees, shoulders are supporting one another adequately, et cetera. And it's dramatic when you think about how most bodies can flop into those different archetypes. And part of this, your methodology is oriented towards having visual cues in your universe, this idea of movement as lifestyle, as there's a quote in the second chapter, the George Bernard Shaw, quote, "We don't stop playing, because we get old, we get old because we stop playing."
Chase Jarvis: If we just think about the archetypes, the cues in your system. Describe for us what, if you could map on to someone's life what the day might look like? Because this is a good way I think to bring your philosophy to life. What do you think if someone is being treated by you, they are a patient, what is an example of, walk us through how you would coach their life to be and you can take a real or fictitious person. I just want to help those listeners understand I guess, your overall lens and what's possible?
Aaron Alexander: Yeah, I mean, I think again, seeking for things that set this approach apart from a more common model would be thinking about first, how do you want to feel? So, the way that I want to feel might be different. I mean, it's probably different than the way that you want to feel compared to somebody else. So, I think starting off and just really defining where is it that I want to go? And I think that we're quick to apply moralistic judgments of like, oh, that diet's bad or that diet's good or that fitness regimen is good or bad. And for something to be good or bad you first have to define the intended outcome, and then is that taking us further away or closer to the intended outcome? Which ultimately is subjective. So-
Chase Jarvis: It's having a vitality, energy, lesson for life, connectedness to their environment, the ability to express oneself.
Aaron Alexander: Yeah, for sure. Well, so if it was that type of person that is like expression and such, the big thing that I would be saying is starting to incorporate activities that are coordination based and outside as much as you comfortably can. And allowing yourself to, when you're just outside in nature, we're solving 1000s of problems per minute as you're just riding a bike down a path, you're running all of these equations, you know determining when is this person going to be in this place when is... Like, the algorithms just says [inaudible 00:46:47]. So you're just running through these systems and it's like, that's really what engages the body. And so many great thinkers historically have come from a place of like oh, I get my best ideas when I'm in the bathtub or when I'm sailing or when I'm taking a walk. And it's literally, it enlivens our minds, it enlivens our humanity lens, not just our cells and our neuromuscular system, our musculoskeletal system.
Aaron Alexander: But the way that we think and informs the way we think. So starting off would be getting a regular sleep schedule is a big thing. So, most research would suggest that ideally you're getting up and you're watching the sunrise and you're exposing your eyes to the sun and getting that infrared light at those early hours. That's going to be really supportive. But the big thing is that you are I mean, that's amazing if you're doing that, but maybe some people cannot do that because of work or whatever it may be.
Chase Jarvis: Or you live in Seattle.
Aaron Alexander: Yeah, exactly. Yeah, so in that case you could get lights to replicate that, and introduce those into your house. So Andrew Huberman, he helped with the vision chapter in the book, I'm very thankful for that. And one of the things that he does is he incorporates he has some type of light because he wakes up before the sun. And so his sunrise essentially, is that light that he exposes his eyes to. But having consistency of sleep patterns is going to be a massive thing. And so, getting your circadian rhythms down so that each day there's some level of dependability in your life. So from a hormonal level, they really thrive on dependability, so it's kind of like a relationship. Like you have a relationship with yourself. So the starting point I would say is coming to that place of treating in the book I reference a buddy of mine called Colin Wilson, he retired now but he played ice hockey for the Colorado Avalanche.
Aaron Alexander: And one of the things he said to me while we were just doing a sauna session, where the like passively like throwaway statement was that sleep is a weapon. And it was like, I'm like, that's it. So really looking at sleep, as you're wearing your PJs, it is like this soft [inaudible 00:49:09], you light candles. Like, no, no sleep is a weapon, so leveraging that and really being intentional about that I think is going to be primary. And then from there nature is a weapon, so spending time outside getting enough vitamin D for example or allowing your body to be able to create enough vitamin D. And acknowledging and recognizing that your muscles, reframing the concept of muscles as just being these pulley systems but think of them as like endocrine glands. And as you are pumping and pushing and pulling and extending and contracting, you are engaging your physiology to be producing the neuro chemistry that makes you feel well.
Aaron Alexander: So however that happens for you follow the feel, if you love running, running can be rough from a hormonal perspective. Long distance running can be kind of challenging. So I would maybe if there was any kind of issues there, I would say looking into maybe like sprint training or like interval training is going to be pretty good approach. But whatever makes you feel alive, make sure that you make that be a primary focus in your life. So whatever, if that's rollerblading, if that's dancing, if that's Tae Bo. Like, whatever the thing that just lights you up because what lights me up absolutely is going to be different than somebody else. And I would say open up your life, open up your schedule to find that. Because going back to the George Bernard Shaw quote like, it's when you stop playing that's when your body starts to collapse.
Aaron Alexander: Because if we're not playing here what are we doing here? And start to implement that idea of that concept of play that you get in your movement practice throughout the day and implement that play into your relationships. So when you're talking with someone say, I'm at the gym, whether you're in an office space, or whether you're doing a podcast with somebody, ideally, this conversation between you and I, it's like this kind of form of dance or this form of play. And if at the end of that we both had that mutual experience of play. That was a good conversation. If it's something this thing's like, oh, we're kind of like, I'm here selling a book or you're over here selling sponsorships on your podcast, we're just going to just kind of grind through this. Nobody gives a shit. Like nobody wants to hear that.
Chase Jarvis: You can tell too, you can tell.
Aaron Alexander: And so we're so enamored by play and there's a guy, what's his name, Jack [inaudible 00:52:00], who's like one of the leading researchers in the field of play is notorious for tickling rats. If you ever heard seemed like rats being tickled? It's kind of creepy. So he defined a whole separate network in the brain that's committed to play, it's like it's a part of our humanity. And some of the research that he did with rats specifically was found that if small rats are wrestling with bigger rats, the bigger rats will allow the smaller rats to win about 30% of the time. And the reason for that is because, they want to play this infinite game. And so, I think that integrating that concept and fusing that concept into the way that you live your life, that's going to pay dividends and that's going to keep you youthful deep into your life.
Aaron Alexander: And I think that we're continually because we come from a more kind of mechanistic mindset maybe since, I don't know like, Newtonian physics or something. There's been a transition where we kind of typically, we're in this reductionist mechanistic mindset. So we're saying, okay, do this, do this, do this, do this. But I think that if we can infuse that the overarching philosophy of following your bliss like Joseph Campbell and allow that to fit to your specific scenario. I think that's huge. And I think that's when we get into some of like the french paradox we're like, they're eating baguettes, they're smoking cigarettes, they're drinking wine all day, why are they so much healthier than us? Like, I'm Orthorexic. I should be amazing. There's like, okay, there's something else. So I think that-
Chase Jarvis: No, I'm a huge fan of what you're saying right now, specifically, this idea that play is something that we get to reward ourselves if we do enough hard work in order to get some outcome. The irony is that it's actually the other way around, right? If you play then you're going to work smarter, work better, you're going to be I think all of the physiological and emotional benefits that you talked about with player that we can use the french as an example of. And that's actually the thing that delivers the results rather than the other way around the fact that creative studio sometimes will create a culture of just joy and connection and belonging because you're in this process of playing, people look at the work that the designers do as they just goofing around.
Chase Jarvis: I'm over here. I'm in the growth team and I'm over here crunching data and trying to find the 1% that does X or Y. Look at those folks over there in the design studio. They've got a dartboard and they're throwing darts at the campaign's that they like the most on the bulletin board. But that's really the irony is that there's this concept is connection or to go back to the Shaw quote, it's not really that you stop playing when you get old, it's that you get old when you stop playing.
Aaron Alexander: Yeah, and it's acknowledging that the stories that we tell ourselves and there was a handful of stories that I heard you speak about in relation to your own body saying that you're, how did you call your ankle? You said it's like some version it's jacked up or it's shitty. You're like, I got a shitty ankle.
Chase Jarvis: It's a hamburger.
Aaron Alexander: Yeah, right. It's be careful with the stories that we rehearse. So that's an important thing is to know how many people go through this existential crisis of I'm 40, what does this mean? I'm 50 and what does this mean? We put ourselves into a double bind of having these expectations of who we think we're supposed to be. And then that can end up translating into a musculoskeletal pattern. And in the book I referenced William James a lot, he's known as the father of modern psychology. And he was one of the primary voices and the conversation of looking at sensation and experience and emotion from a lens of bottom up as opposed to top down. As a bottom up being like body up into the mind and top down being mind down to the body. Which again, mind body, like your body doesn't know these terms, these again are made up terms. A concept of a mind and a body, we made that up.
Aaron Alexander: So first it's like acknowledging that. But one of the things that he suggested I referenced in the book is if you, I think the reference he used was, if you see a bear in the woods, because he was from X amount of 100 years ago. Is if you see a bear, he would suggest that your body moves you into a sensation of fear as opposed to the concept that the bear invokes some neuronal pathways in the brain. And then that is the primary which even still the neural pathways will be a form of movement, you're still moved, right? There's no sensation without movement. So if you're defining, it's just moving the bar of your specific definition of movement. But ultimately, for you to experience it is movement.
Aaron Alexander: And so, when you're going through some scenario whatever the thing may be, you can start to tap into a lot of different levers. That's the big thing that like the metaphor that I probably use more than is necessary. We have these toggles and we have these levers that we can pull on to change our state, to use like Tony Robbins talk. But most of us don't, either we're blind to seeing the levers on the wall or on our body. And so, when we are moving throughout our days, it's like I think that in the book I kind of do a breakdown and exercise of breaking down the way that you'd want to feel. And then visualizing yourself in that state and specifically visualizing from a postural from a movement pattern lens. Like what's the shape of your body when you're in that state.
Aaron Alexander: And it's such an interesting thing if you think that you take a moment it's like yeah, what does contentment or satisfaction or love? What's the postural expression of love? And be able to give yourself a moment and start to feel into that. And then test it out, go into your next business meeting, or your next conversation or conversation with your son or daughter or wife or girlfriend, and move into the conversation with that lens and just see what happens.
Chase Jarvis: Yeah, it's incredible to me how this, the mind body connection, it takes me to a piece really early maybe back in the intro of the book, three principles that you call into awareness. One, that you have no idea the depth of your physical capacities or your resilience, 99.99% of population it's never come up against the edge of those things. So, you knowing your true depth, breadth, what's possible for your physical capabilities. Most people don't know. Two, that it is the natural state of a human to be pain free. And three, that your body is actually designed to function over a lifetime that could easily eclipse 100 years. So, these are not sort of like suppositions, this is fact, right? Most people don't know the definition of the depth of their possibility.
Chase Jarvis: Humans are meant to be pain free and your body is an incredible mechanism that's meant to carry around for more than 100 years. If you just focus on those three things and you take a series of what I would consider simple, not easy, but simple steps. You can actually start to understand and experience the fundamentals that you pointed to. Go ahead and comment Aaron if you want.
Aaron Alexander: No, well, I mean, it's just going back to the stories that we tell ourselves, starting to adjust tinker with the narrative that you ascribe to with doing hard things. And so, if you can get like I have some friends, Do you know the seek discomfort people Amar, or any of those guys? I feel like they're in your wheelhouse.
Chase Jarvis: No, I don't but-
Aaron Alexander: Yes Theory is the YouTube channel, they got like a big YouTube channel they are super great, but their brand is called Seek Discomfort. And that's the thing is if you can start to change that narrative where the things that make you uncomfortable, you've actually shifted it, that's where you derive the juice from. It's like when I'm uncomfortable, I know it means that I'm in the right spot. It means that there's a reward on the other side of that. So you're like Pavlov's dog classical conditioning yourself into aha, I'm in that discomfort again and eventually becomes like whack-a-mole. As opposed to being in a place that through this process of human evolution, we've done such a good job at avoiding discomfort that we're just like, oh, crap, we needed some of it. Like we were too effective.
Chase Jarvis: Right. The cold plunge was a great example, right? [inaudible 01:02:15] endorsed your book, I've got a cold plunge here at my home. And I'm in it every morning and there's not one morning and like, you know what, it's going to be so fun. But as soon as you're in there, you're like, I do this for a reason. There's actually some good and this getting comfortable being uncomfortable or if you've ever been, you go speaking of creature comforts, you go camping and if you realize it takes you like 25 minutes, 30 minutes to make a cup of coffee. And then the coffee or the food the meal tastes somehow better. And it was so freaking hard to make.
Aaron Alexander: What did you do? You moved yourself into that coffee, right? So I have this amazing coffee machine in my kitchen where it literally, I press a button and there's coffee beans in it, and it goes espresso, it does the whole things. And I just walk away, I come back, like bam, like coffee, caffeine straight to the face. I'd take it I always feel like fine after drinking it. But I didn't move myself into the coffee. Your whole history forever until like if it was modernity or you can say like the Agrarian age that since we started farming, it's like 10,000 years ago. So the history of the human organism, that would be if it was a roll of toilet paper. That would be like a little tiny, itty bitty sliver of your human experience on this timeline, this linear timeline. And so doing that forever essentially, if you wanted to do a thing you moved yourself into the thing.
Aaron Alexander: It's like the coding that we run on. And so when you're out there camping and all that, the thing that I wanted to say that I was excited about was starting to as far as actionable tools that people can do that matter is starting to position your activities and your friendships and your business relationships and all the things also around joy, play movement, nature. Take the medicine, we have this cabinet that pretty much unanimously every expert would agree is like, yep, it's always good for you. And start to infuse that into your activities with other people. And ultimately, I think that that tribal connection, that friendship, that relationship, the statistic or the concept that loneliness is worse than smoking 18 cigarettes a day and it's this massive killer.
Aaron Alexander: It's this down regulator of like the human soul and then you can extrapolate out, what is soul? Maybe it's souls associated with our immune function, associated with our lymphatic flow and our cardiovascular function, all this thing. And I think if you feel like what David Goggins says, I took his soul, that feeling of oh, I'm a loser, right? That soul, you take that, that has physiological translations. And I think that having that human connection, I don't think I know that having that human connection is invaluable. Starting again, position your lives around what brings me closer into contributing to something meaningful. And what brings me closer into spending time with people that I love about and care about nurturing those relationships, creating anchors in my life. And so that's support, right?
Aaron Alexander: So we talked about finding a neutral spine and finding intra abdominal pressure and finding reducing... If you got a flaccid joint or hyperlaxity, it's like too much looseness, it's unstable, it's out of control. And so, those are postural expressions for a felt state. If you feel unstable, you feel out of control, you feel like chaos, how does that translate in the body? Anyway so that was a long [crosstalk 01:06:32].
Chase Jarvis: No, dude. This is why I like your work because I think it demonstrates the interconnectedness to this lack of like it's not necessarily sort of cause and effect. Which is a reasonable jumping point to talk about the way you organized the book has a lot to do with, we've danced across a myriad of them. But this idea in part one welcoming one to one's body, this understanding of where you fit, how do you sort of self diagnose, that's the postural stuff we talked about as an example. Not all encompassing, but as an example. The second part of the book, the daily movements, you've already spoken about, hip hinging and breathing and hanging, these are examples of things that are available to everyone. To that we haven't covered, walking and for sitting, we did in a way because you mentioned, how do you join your work things with things that people pretty much universally agree are good for you like walking.
Chase Jarvis: Walking meetings are incredible. I started doing this about six or seven years ago. And I love it, if you can take a walk with a colleague for work, this idea, it seems more valuable than just the meeting clearly.
Aaron Alexander: Yeah, right. But then it causes you to think differently. So as you're out there taking that walk, if you want to have creative ideas, writing, we'll get to the things this would be very short. But the way that you move, some of the research that's been done around that specifically with cursive handwriting, and the suggestion is that upon writing in cursive because we're going through these flowy movements with our wrists, it can be supportive with supporting creativity. Science sometimes is funny where we're trying to create these isolated productions essentially, but if you get done with a dance class, how does your mind feel? We don't need to always have like it's like, just go do [crosstalk 01:08:43]. Like tell me how you feel. It's probably way easier for you to walk up to that person that would have made you nervous before.
Aaron Alexander: Because you're in your body and you went through this time and you're expressing and all of a sudden you're on your drive home, you have all these new ideas you needed to take yourself through those motions in order to kind of get the gears turning. The floor setting stuff, it's like we were talking about before with the Tanzania. Cultures in the world that spent time with their hips down below the height of their knees, which we've transitioned away from that as modern culture. We spend the entirety of our day sitting in some version of hips in nine degrees, ankles nine degrees, knees nine degrees. Usually kind of slouched over. That position if you were to look at any animal in nature, if they are in that, you remove the computer, remove the cell phone, you would look at that animal and you would assume because that's the way that we're conveying information to each other is through body language, and voice tonality and the pacing of our language.
Aaron Alexander: But there's millions of bits of information, visual cues that we're sending back and forth to each other. And then sometimes we can get caught up in the words but I think that the deeper meaning is the body language in the tone. If you were to see an animal in nature in that position, you would assume that animal is sick, right? You would assume that animal's sad, you assume that animal just lost their mother or something. You would be like, oh, they just take a steel frame picture. Chase Jarvis got the camera out, boom, got the photo. It had no concept of computers or cell phones. You say what's happening with that person? What's their state? You say, okay, sick or sad. And so, we do that throughout the day for so much. The implications of that I think that you could kind of extrapolate your own ideas about it.
Aaron Alexander: But what you can see from a musculoskeletal perspective at least is cultures such as Northern Africa, Southeastern Asia, Eastern Mediterranean, specifically to places that study with this. Spend a lot of time in floor seated positions in general, there's other factors in here as well. But they have minimal to no instance of osteoarthritis of the hips, of the knees, pelvic floor dysfunction is diminished. The adult diaper industry is slowly exceeding that of the baby diaper industry in the United States. So, you get to a certain age it's like, these are bigger pants, this is what you do. And it's like once again, there's a movement conversation in and all of this. And when we strip ourselves of these natural healing mechanisms, movement mechanisms that allow ourselves to restore to full function, then of course, there's going to be a cost to that.
Aaron Alexander: And so something that we can do is just start to make it easy and accessible for you and your family and your friends to just get down to that range of motion to get down to the ground. So get a really comfortable rug in your house, maybe get some Moroccan poufs or some floor cushions. I have a couch here, I have a TV, my place looks pretty normal-ish. But I'm sitting on the ground right now, you wouldn't have known that unless you saw me like get up. But this whole entire time I'm in a 90, 90 position with my legs. I was in a straddle position before, I was in a cross legged position. So I'm like, I've been yoga in this whole entire time. There's a window right here, there's a river about 130 feet away. So I can see I'm looking into the trees. I can't see the water but I know it's there which makes me feel good. I'm getting natural sunlight coming in here. So, I'm in captivity, but I'm augmenting the captivity, It's kind of like, have you heard the experiment Rat Park that was done in British Columbia?
Chase Jarvis: No.
Aaron Alexander: You heard this? So the old idea of if you give a rat cocaine water, give him cocaine, then they're just going to ruin their lives and just become abusive, cocaine addicts or they're just going to stew and die and just keep on sucking on that cocaine feeder. That's ridiculous. Like, if you give a rat purpose and you give them play and you give them a rat girlfriend, and you give them, they call it as this was done I think in the 70s or 80s. I'm trying to think they got his last name was Alexander. I don't remember the researchers first name. But they called it Rat Park and they made this great like rat lifestyle, and they gave rat all the cocaine at once. And the rats like not that into cocaine actually, every now and again have a bump, but it's not wrecking my life.
Chase Jarvis: I'm amused to that one, that's amazing. That's some good stuff in there. Yeah, enough good stuff in your life. Yeah, you make choices that are supporting.
Aaron Alexander: You make better choices. And so, that would be just I mean, fall risk. That's the number one leading reason for elderly, our parents needing to enter into some assisted living facility. And it's like that in and of itself is just such an astounding concept that we are we're choosing consciously or unconsciously to just let that piece of ourselves go. There's nothing inherently human about not being able to get up and down off of the ground. If you are doing that with any level of regularity through your life which any natural human like in any natural environment would be doing with regularity. It doesn't just one day like go away. And so, that in and of itself I would think would be enough but then there's the benefits of lymphatic circulation and blood circulation and general mobility of all of your joints and just tissue health, pelvic floor dysfunction per mention osteoarthritis, it does all the things.
Aaron Alexander: And that's most healthy mediums or practices or choices that we make. They're almost always shotguns. Like there's not a lot of things in the human complex body as opposed to the complicated body. In a car you can get a paint job or you can change the oil actually would affect a lot of things, but you can change specific parts and it just affects that place. Most of the things that make a person happy, healthy, whole, they are pretty much, they pull all the levers at one time.
Chase Jarvis: And by shotgun You mean they have a lot of effect, right? They are not a laser beam which has a very narrow effect. And to me, that's part of the challenge with modern say pharmaceuticals, right? And an aspirin today would not pass the FDA because it's too general. It has too many different activators versus the drug has to be inhibit this particular protein from binding to this thing which has this particular outcome. And it's not approved if it's not narrow enough. I don't want to blow smoke but I love your approach to the human condition movement, the environment, that your ability to control our environment and how that shapes our mind and our body. I know we covered a lot of ground because your work is very broad and comprehensive things like, aligning your home for health and creativity with these visual cues and hanging bars.
Chase Jarvis: And this is it's also available to everyone. And then you hear stats like you just shared the number one reason people go into home is because they can't get up off the floor that they fell down to. We can do better. We can align our office for healthier work experience, we can shift-
Aaron Alexander: And better business, better outcome.
Chase Jarvis: Yeah.
Aaron Alexander: Because once again, the shotgun thing is not like, okay, I'm just going to be healthier and just going to have less inflammation and be more creative and feel more generally just like awake and [inaudible 01:17:37]. I'm just exclusively do that and then my work is going to suffer. It's like no, that's what makes you magnetic. That's what makes people want to work with you.
Chase Jarvis: That's so on point. And I want to thank you for your work again for those folks at home Align Method. Where would you steer people obviously, the book, the podcast, I don't know if you want to add any additional color? What's the best place for people to be in touch with you and your work?
Aaron Alexander: Well, I mean, I think most people probably grab their cell phones and go to Instagram typically. So all of my stuff is at Align Podcast. So Instagram is Align Podcast, podcast called Align Podcast. If you're open to I'd love to have you on the podcast at some point. No hard feelings.
Chase Jarvis: Sign me up.
Aaron Alexander: There we go.
Chase Jarvis: I'm committing here on in front of 1000s of people. Top it up.
Aaron Alexander: I love it. Let's do that. So and then the book the Align Methods. That is it's an expanded revised version, it's comes out January 11th. And yeah, so you can pre-order that if that's before January 11th. And if not ideally, walk to your bookstore to grab it. If you are going to get on Amazon maybe do it on a laptop like outside, it would be great. Take your sunglasses off. So you're getting full spectrum light on your eyeballs. It's my suggestion.
Chase Jarvis: Your thinking is simple and profound. And that's the very difficult combination that I really respect and admire. This community will rush out and take care of advanced purchasing your book and comes out in January. We're dropping it before then around your pub week to help with that. Thanks for the work that you do Aaron. I'm happy to be on the podcast. We'll flip that around and maybe even syndicate it back to this listing audience. Thank you for the work that you bring to the world. And again, folks the book is outstanding and you would really enjoy the podcast if you've enjoyed any component of what we talked about today. Making your work place better, your home better and overall your life better through movement and alignment. Aaron, thank you for joining us on the show. You've been an amazing guest and until next time everybody out there in the world. We bid you all adieu.
Sign up to receive email updates
Enter your name and email address below and I'll send you periodic updates about the podcast.
This podcast is brought to you by CreativeLive. CreativeLive is the world’s largest hub for online creative education in photo/video, art/design, music/audio, craft/maker, money/life and the ability to make a living in any of those disciplines. They are high quality, highly curated classes taught by the world’s top experts — Pulitzer, Oscar, Grammy Award winners, New York Times best selling authors and the best entrepreneurs of our times.