Rethink Your Position by Katy Bowman [8/10]

Books about stretching and strengthening are, by definition, generally only for those seeking to improve their bodies. Some such books seek to draw in a more general audience, and I belong to that group. I read two such books in 2022-2023 but the net result was no change. Katy Bowman’s Rethink Your Position: Reshape Your Exercise, Yoga, and Everyday Movement, One Part at a Time is different, at first glance a bit homespun, but quickly rewarding reading. The author has a way with encouraging words and her simple photographs and diagrams are beguiling. I fell under the book’s spell. One suggestion, a simple one, the Head Ramp, is an invaluable exercise, although “exercise” is not quite the correct term for this activity, since it refers to a near-constant decision to stop hunching the head downward, instead lifting the top of the head and sending the head backward. Many of the author’s suggestions are like this, not something one does daily or weekly or whatever, but a new way of being physically in the world. I value her tips on how to improve hand and arm mobility; and how to interrogate the subtlety of “touching one’s toes,” by distinguishing moving forward via hips versus via spine. Some of her tips/routines I find easy, such as the calf stretch that comes from the toes of one foot being raised up on a block or rolled-up towel; presumably being a jogger helps with this one. Other bodily movements that look simple tax me, such as hanging from a high bar (sounds easy, doesn’t it?). Overall, Rethink Your Position comes recommended if you possess any curiosity about moving and “being” physically in the world.

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