KIP EVAN DUVALL, LMT
STRUCTURAL BODYWORK FOR PEAK PERFORMANCE AND PEACE OF MIND
April 2020

The New Normal



Given the title, I bet you thought I was going to ruminate on the Corona virus. Psych!

I had to take a break from working on the barn just now, because my low back is creaky. I haven't done much this week,
shingles and all. I noticed that when my back was grabbing (cramping), I found myself tilting my pelvis forward, arching my back, and tightening my glutes to stabilize it. What's interesting to me about that is that I used to tuck under, and flatten my back when it felt glitchy. I've been working to get my body to break the habit of flattening my low back, and to arch it instead. The new normal.This may seem like a small thing, but I believe it is critical for all of us, as we age to be aware of what I call the "default mode". This is the natural degenerative process the body takes if you allow it to run it's natural course, or default mode. It involves the flattening of the back, the loss of your ass, and forward rolling of the shoulders and neck. I know about this because I adopted the posture in High school when I started to grow. I was insecure about the attention I got from being the tallest person in the room, so I hunkered down. I flattened my back, and over time my body curved forward leaving my head forward of my body. This caused thickening and strengthening in the front of my neck, locking in the overall posture. When I started trying to change that 30 years ago, the first stage of releasing was in my neck. It gave me fits as I tried to get my head back and my chest open. Next was my low back and hips, same discomfort in adjusting. My SI joints followed along as my hips opened.Those are buggers, but very liberating! Now it's my mid back and rib cage. This is where the Shingles hit me, and I don't think it's a coincidence. Also I feel another round of changes coming in my neck as a result of the changes in leverage in my ribs and back. I suppose it never ends, but it would be worse to let it go.
All of this is to point out that we need to snap and make change as we age and our body starts to break down, or we'll suffer the normal aging process! Focus on your posture (structure), and don't listen to those who tell you to tuck your tail under and tighten your abs. I say put an arch in your low back and engage your glutes, to the degree you can. If it gets finicky, it's not necessarily a bad thing. Just go slow. Find the power and mobility in your hips. Your abs will come along as you engage your core.

Shingles? Really!!?



I started my shut down projects, knowing that this is a really good opportunity to get that exercise I've been "trying to do". I dug some holes for a new gate, and was feeling really good.
I was taking this opportunity to practice a new workout that I've found, swinging Indian clubs.
I think it's a good way to open the chest and mobilize the ribcage and shoulders. This is the place that I'm focusing on lately, having already spent time in the past years focusing on the hips and low back and my neck and shoulders. I was making progress on breaking up the tension in my mid back and rib cage. I was backbending on yoga blocks to help with this. I was getting sore in my ribs from all of this, but I feel like that is almost always a good sign when you are doing work that is challenging to the status quo of the structure.
Next thing I know, I have a rash that pops up on my ribcage on the right side from my sternum wrapping around to my back. I had been working shirtless some and thought I had been exposed to poison Ivy, but it didn't itch. Weird! It took me a couple of days as it started to hurt to figure out that it was shingles. Question: Did the mechanical leverage into my structure break this loose? They say that after you have Chickenpox the virus is dormant in your spinal nerves.
My wife is of the opinion that it is related to the affect of stress on my immune system. This is also a plausible explanation. She sees the amount of news that I'm watching, and is sure that it's wearing on me. I feel like I am looking to get all the information that I can, in order to feel like I understand the situation properly, and that it actually makes me feel better. Still, as always, I could be fooling myself. One thing I know is that I never finish hashing out my body and mind and their attending issues. One more opportunity to evolve, Woohoo!

Life in the time of Covid-19


Hey ya'll!
I'm starting a blog. I've meant to do it for years.I guess it takes a plague and the resultant social distancing to get me to do it.
I've often observed that blogging can be an exercise in narcissism. This is a fault that I have, that I am embarrassed by, and that I try to temper. On the other hand, it can be a way to share ideas about how to improve our health, and navigate life. While I'm not working, some things are becoming clearer than ever. I realize that I get a lot of insight about life and how to live well from dialogue with my clients. It's a sort of bonding that I miss, and I'm hoping to rekindle some of that here. Also, my work is therapeutic to me on a physical level. I have designed my style to have a lot of components brought in from Yoga, and moving like that all day is really good. I miss that too.
Please feel free to respond if you feel so motivated.
I hope you are well. Stay strong!