The Secret Cause of Back Pain

 

– The MOVEMENT Movement with Steven Sashen Episode 106 with David Newton and Lisa Borden

 

David Newton, Movement Therapist, Unconventional Idealist, and Co-Creator of The Akira Concept has a passion for and a dedication to functional movement, foundational wellness and self-care, productively rewiring the mind/body connection. David has been teaching fitness including indoor cycle, weight training, and yoga for over 30 years.

 

Lisa Borden, Business Therapist, Unconventional Idealist, and Co-Creator of The Akira Concept works daily at making healthy futures possible with drive, intuition, and connectivity. Lisa started Borden Communications, a BCorp certified company in 1994 and excels at developing efficient strategies that create positive change and healthy outcomes for conscious people and brands.

 

Together, they work to support a new culture of wellness that is radical, empowering, holistic, connected to nature, fun, and transformative and they challenge the status quo of inefficient health solutions, rampant disconnect, and dangerous lifestyles. David and Lisa are determined to create a “Wellness Intelligence” movement that focuses on taking action and taking care of ourselves in ways that actually make a difference, not on promises and “magic bullets” with regard to breath, movement, fuel, rest, and connection … their virtual “community centre”, The Wellness Intelligence Collective is helping people feel well, look well, and be well.

 

Listen to this episode of The MOVEMENT Movement with David Newton and Lisa Borden about the secret cause of back pain.

 

Here are some of the beneficial topics covered on this week’s show:

  • How you need to know why you are doing something to do it well and improve movement.
  • Why it’s a struggle to get people to take charge of their own life, even with support.
  • How people should engage their glutes when they are walking up the stairs.
  • Why people need to find the joy in movement again, like when they were kids.
  • How wellness intelligences helps people make the right decisions about their bodies.

Connect with David and Lisa:

Guest Contact Info
Twitter
@TheAkiraConcept

Instagram
@theakiraconcept

Facebook
facebook.com/TheAkiraConcept
LinkedIn
linkedin.com/company/the-akira-concept-inc

 

Links Mentioned:
theakiraconcept.com

 

Connect with Steven:

Website

Xeroshoes.com

Jointhemovementmovement.com

Twitter
@XeroShoes

Instagram
@xeroshoes

Facebook
facebook.com/xeroshoes

Steven Sashen:

Back pain is something that affects millions of people in this country and around the world every year. What if the number one thing that people were doing to address that, to solve that, to fix that is the exact wrong thing? What if paying attention to your back isn’t the cure for back pain? We’re going to dive into that on today’s episode of the Movement Movement, the podcast for people who want to know the truth about what it takes to have a happy, healthy, strong body starting feet first, because those things are your foundation.

 

We break down the propaganda, the mythology, sometimes the flat out lies you’ve been told about what it takes to have a happy, healthy, strong body. To enjoy dancing, moving, running, walking, hiking, yoga, CrossFit, whatever it is you like to do. To do that enjoyably, efficiently, effectively. Did I mentioned enjoyably? Don’t answer, that’s a trick question. I know I did. Because look, if you’re not having fun, do something differently. You are. Because if it’s not fun, you’re not going to keep doing it anyway.

 

I’m Steven Sashen, the CEO of XeroShoes.com, your host of the Movement Movement podcast. We call it that, because we’re creating a movement that involves you. It’s totally free, totally easy. I’ll tell you in a second. About movement, about natural movement, helping people rediscover that natural movement is the obvious better, healthy choice. The way we currently think of natural food.

 

The part that involves you is really simple. Go check out our website, www.jointhemovementmovement.com. Joining just means participating, sharing, subscribe to find out about new episodes, find out where you can find the podcast. Find out where you can find us on social media. You know how to do all that stuff. In short, if you want to be part of the tribe, please subscribe. I’m not even going to introduce you guys. Why don’t you say who you are, what the hell you’re doing here and let us have some fun?

Lisa Borden:

Perfect. I guess I’ll go first. I usually go first, and then I interrupt David.

David Newton:

She goes first and last.

Lisa Borden:

That’s the bias. We work together and we talk over each other a lot. We have both coined, we have self-declared that we are unconventional idealists.

Steven Sashen:

Do you have individual names? Let’s start there.

Lisa Borden:

And we have individual names. Lisa Borden.

David Newton:

And I’m David Newton.

Steven Sashen:

There we go. So, David, Lisa. Now, from there, jump off. You can start with the bigger picture of what you’re up to, or we can jump into what I teased with the little back painy thing. Wherever you like to go. I’m just going to preface this by saying, did I reach out to you first, or did you reach out to me first? I don’t remember.

Lisa Borden:

We reached out to you.

Steven Sashen:

And I reached out back to you, because I checked out what you’re doing, which is completely consistent with everything that I said in the intro and what we’re doing, hence the fun of this conversation. And so anyway, wherever you want to start, because I know it’s going to go, and I know places it’s going to go that we definitely didn’t anticipate. So, here we go.

Lisa Borden:

Absolutely. That’s the best part of an open conversation, right? No agenda. David and I started working together just a few years ago, even though we have long careers in our own right. I’ve been in business development and marketing communications, helping people and brands who really care and are trying to do something different for themselves.

David Newton:

I’ve been in movement and fitness for 40 years as a profession.

Lisa Borden:

And we met in David’s class. I met David by taking his class. The story that I always love to tell is I showed up. To me, as a busy entrepreneur and a mother of three, I’m so looking forward to this spin class, because it’s like entertainment. It’s a place for me to dump my stress, and I got into class and David was there, and he was standing barefoot beside the spin bike. And I was like, “Oh, this is a problem. This isn’t what I signed up for.”

 

And then he started to teach and I realized he was training. So, he wasn’t there as entertainment, and he was actually training and talking about movement and how to move well. I was just all ears and taken. The business development, personally, it was like, “Why are you just standing here in this class? You have to do something bigger.” And so, we started talking and we realized that even though we did very different things, and we’re very different people in so many ways that we thought the same. And like our connection with you, it’s when you can have an open conversation, you’re on the same page, it doesn’t matter whether you’re selling footwear or food.

David Newton:

Or movement.

Lisa Borden:

Or movement at all. Over time, we ended up without a plan, starting The Akira Concept, which is what we are doing together now, and it’s all about helping people discover their wellness intelligence, which is about making sure that they are their own best experts, which include and why we reached out too is we’ve tried all the barefoot footwear, minimalist footwear. We’re just so taken with your design and what it actually affords in terms of feedback for people so they can be their own best expert in how they move.

Steven Sashen:

Let me jump in on that, because … I mean, humans are ducks. That’s a fun way to put it. I love the idea of what you’re doing of helping people. I’m going to reframe it and to become their own best coach, which is what we try to do with Xero Shoes, because you are getting the feedback that helps you do that. But I know, I’ve seen and I’m curious what your experience is, that more often than not, people just want a simple prescription. They want a little box where they can check things off. And the idea of learning to listen to yourself is often somewhat off-putting, let’s say. So, talk to me about how you’ve experienced that and how you’ve handled that.

David Newton:

For us, one of our foundations is know your why. And one of the things that I spoke to Lisa about is if I walk up to you at any given time and I ask you why you’re doing that, if you can’t tell me why you’re doing it, then there’s probably a really good chance that you are not doing it well. The whole idea of knowing your why feeds very much into being your own best coach.

Lisa Borden:

Or expert. I guess the thing is, is you bring up what the challenge is for us in marketing our business, because it’s actually unique that one of the things is in movement, especially in fitness. It’s all about reps or metrics, and we’re judging everything based on numbers. And none of our work, none of our movement, we strict all the metrics back. As you said, it both gives people this permission, and we create the conditions for anyone. So, we don’t have a demographic, we have a psychographic where we say, “If you care, we’re ready to work with you. If you don’t care, the thing is, is you are looking for that prescription, you are looking for those metrics, and we don’t offer that.”

 

It is really difficult for people to wrap their heads around, but because we spend so much time with people, we have programs that are weekly, and we have our own community where people gather. They get actually used to it, and they realize that there’s freedom in it, and it sets them up for success. We’re creating the conditions for success rather than saying, “It’s 100, I can’t do it. I’m not going to do it. I’m going to look for a different program that meets my needs.”

 

Like with anything, a lot of people won’t use Xero Shoes, because they think they need support in their shoes. They’ve been told that they need support. I think that’s the same for us. It is a struggle for business to get people to take charge of their own life, even with support.

Steven Sashen:

I mean, it takes thinking. It’s funny. I’m going to come back to this in a bit … I’ve got to do this tangent before I forget. I spent the weekend actually thinking about the workout program that I want to be doing for my particular goals. And the fact that I’m 59, and I can’t do things the way I did it when I was 29. And my goals are a little mixed, because I’m 59. On the one hand, as a Masters All-American sprinter, I wanted to do things to improve my sprinting. On the other hand, as a guy getting older, I want to do things to have a little extra hypertrophy and build [inaudible 00:08:08] before that becomes basically impossible.

 

And there’s also the vein component where there’s things that I would like to change, because I think they would look better when I look in the mirror, or that my wife might like the way they look. Anyway, you know where I’m going.

 

One of the challenges I had over the weekend is that I’m putting all these things together in a way that is simultaneously, just like you said actually, challenging but freeing, because it does become my thing where I have control over it.

 

I appreciate that, obviously. But I want to back up, David, to your point about knowing your why. Can you give me a slightly more specific example of how that comes up for you or for the people that you guys are working with?

David Newton:

So, any movement, I would say. For example, something as simple as a squat. If somebody is performing a squat and I ask them, “Why are you doing that?” If they can’t tell me that they’re doing it to build hip strength or hip stability, if they can’t tell me the bigger purpose of the hip being the primary site of locomotion and the squat actually addressing that, then I know that there’s a very good chance that they haven’t connected those dots. They’re probably squatting because they want their quads to be bigger or they’re squatting because they know that squatting is good for your lower body. So, it’s a really interesting concept.

 

The whole idea too, you had said something about having fun. I mean, that’s one of our biggest things is it doesn’t matter what you’re doing, if it’s not bringing …

Lisa Borden:

The joy factor.

David Newton:

Yeah. If it’s not bringing you joy … We call it the joy factor. And if it’s not bringing you joy, then the reality is that there’s no longevity there. Either you’re going to quit or you’re going to get injured, but something is going to happen and it’s going to cause you to stop doing it because it lacks joy factor. So, joy factor is a really big deal for us as well.

Lisa Borden:

That’s what David said. Just have to feel good and movement. And one of the things that we crossed on when we started working together was it’s the exact same thing with eating a tomato. To like, “Why?”

Steven Sashen:

What?

Lisa Borden:

You know your why. Know your why. Why does that tomato taste so good? Well, it tastes good because you grew it yourself or it tastes good because you’re supporting a local organic farmer who likes something rather than a tomato that was grown by child labor far away that was coated in some …

 

If you really trace everything back to why you’re doing it, knowing your why, it’s actually … Dave and I learned that if you can laterally shift your thinking. So, if you are a thinker in terms of movement, you can be a thinker in terms of food. And you can be a thinker in terms of one of the reasons why we love your brand is because of you.

 

So, it’s not just that your footwear is great, it’s that it’s made ethically, and you have this amazing zest for life. Obviously, your footwear is going to come with that kind of energy, and that’s something that we get to partake in, which is why we love to recommend it to everyone we work with.

Steven Sashen:

Well, A, thank you. And B, I’m going to keep harping on this, because I’m really fascinated by it. We’re in this situation where I’m squatting, and you asked me why I’m doing that. I go, “Well, I read in Men’s Fitness, that it’s the most important exercise you could do.” What happens next?

David Newton:

So, I would ask for more information. I would ask like, “How is the squat bringing quality to your movement or quality to the way you live in your body?”

Steven Sashen:

I’m going to role-play this for the fun of it.

David Newton:

Okay.

Steven Sashen:

I have no idea what you even mean by that. I just heard, “I’m trying to be fit.” And I read this article on Men’s Fitness and squat. I mean, it affects a lot of different muscles and various things, so it seems really important. So, I’m not sure what you mean.

David Newton:

Okay. It seems really important. I guess I would go that route, and I would want to know what the importance is. It really is about you being able to tell me why you’re doing it. And if you’re telling me that you read it in a magazine, and they say it’s important, I’m going to try to help you understand that, that’s not enough. It has to …

Lisa Borden:

Why is your goal.

David Newton:

Yeah. It has to translate into you existing in your body and actually experiencing why a squat is the way to go when it comes to strengthening core, hips, legs.

Lisa Borden:

And everything being connected. That’s what you always [crosstalk 00:12:29].

David Newton:

When you go up a flight of stairs, if you’re connected to your squat, you’re going to realize that every time you step on a tread that you’re going to be, in essence, doing either a lunge or a squat. You can take it either way. That translation or that understanding is going to cause you to go up the stairs with greater … I guess the most important thing is about our technique. And if you go up the stairs with better technique because of your squat, then there’s that magic connection.

Steven Sashen:

I love that. I mean, we continue the role playing part, but what’s interesting to me is from you saying … There are a couple things you just said in there that immediately made my thinking. One thing made it change and one thing brought some recognition. The change was, “Oh, okay. So Men’s Health says it’s a great exercise. Why is it a good exercise? Well, if I’m trying to stay …” I mean, I’ll fill in the blank in many ways. “I’m trying to stay strong as I get older, because blah-blah-blah.” That might be one reason I’m trying to be a better athlete. That might be another reason. What was the actual connection there?

 

But man, the part that I started smiling at was talking going up the stairs. My wife and I just moved into this new house a couple months ago. Let’s see. There are 16 stairs there. So, it’s about 30 stairs to get from the basement to the top floor. I’ve been playing with the fact that there’s two ways to go upstairs and no one ever talked about this. You’re the first person I’ve ever heard say it of lunging versus squatting. I’m going to bet that most people haven’t tried the glute version of walking upstairs, which I’m going to describe …

Lisa Borden:

Oh my god. Now, you can make David smile, because that’s the foundation to so many things we’ve developed is that.

Steven Sashen:

Then here. Then I’m going to let you describe the difference and how you would talk about that.

David Newton:

Going back to technique. We’re kind of those people that lurk at the bottom of a staircase and watch people go up and down staircases.

Lisa Borden:

I learned more about movement, standing at children’s playgrounds and bottom of the stairwells with David. Every time we talk about that, my kids are always like, “That’s really creepy.” But the learning is big.

Steven Sashen:

No, it’s only creepy if … It’s actually the creepiest if it’s just David sitting just far [crosstalk 00:14:44].

Lisa Borden:

That’s what I said. If I’m there, it’s okay, right? I just want to say something before David continues. This is one of the things about walking stairs or anything, future proofing which is one of our signature learning labs and courses that we do in-person and online actually has a whole component in it that is just about flighting, going up and down the stairs, and we teach it. And there are more aha moments for people because David focuses on how to walk the stairs properly. And not just for stair walking, but how that translates into running.

Steven Sashen:

Oh, absolutely. Okay, I’m going to let you do this, but I mean I can’t … I’ll say this. The thing that I was really paying attention to this weekend is if you walk in a different way or go up the stairs in a different way than most people go upstairs, it’s actually simulating running.

 

And then I started thinking. Here, I’ll give you the whole story. I had just done a set of rear foot elevated split squats, or as many people call them Bulgarian split squats. And there’s different ways of doing that. Some that emphasize the glutes, some that emphasize the quads. So, I was doing the glute version. And I was realizing that …

 

I do that exercise, because a lot of sprinting coaches recommend it. And of course, I’m trying to be a better sprinter. There’s part of my why. But when I started going up the stairs using, let’s call it, the sprinting version of going upstairs, that I realized I didn’t need to do most of what I was doing in the Bulgarian split squat, because the part that was most relevant for running is just that top quarter to a third of the range of motion, which is what happens when I was doing stairs. Anyway.

 

I’m loving this, because this is basically where my brain was going all weekend. But David, back to you for the win. So, talk about the different ways of climbing stairs that most people have never thought of. And frankly, if I knew we were going to go in this direction, I would have started the podcast with an intro saying you don’t know how to climb stairs, because that will make people go, “What?” And in fact, I might even re-record … I’m not going to re-record it, because now I just said that. So, talk about the different ways of climbing stairs.

David Newton:

So, first, I’d like to preface this by saying that we teach a 30-minute class once a week, and it’s called Exercise Snacks. And essentially, what we do is we take something as simple as a push up, or a lunch, and we spend 30 minutes on it talking about its functionality, its applicability, and all that sort of stuff.

Lisa Borden:

The why.

David Newton:

Yeah, the why. Back to what you were saying about stairs. The most important thing when the body is moving is posture. That’s the most important thing. And the second most important thing when we’re moving is technique. So, technique needs to be functional, or it’s going to be degenerative as opposed to regenerative.

 

So, understanding that the glute is the primary source of thrust, whether you’re walking, jumping, climbing, doing stairs, going upstairs. So, understanding that what people do is … The body is really interesting because we are the ultimate energy conservation machine. And we do that because of our history of needing energy bursts when we’re under attack by a wild mountain lion or something like that.

 

We haven’t lost that energy conservation property. And so, what we have to do is to a degree, we have to override that, and we have to teach our body to move right the proper way with good technique, good posture, even though the body would default to an energy conservation way of going up the stairs.

 

What we’ve noticed, Lisa and I, by watching people is they tend instead of standing upright, they tend to lean from the hip. So, they’ve got this forward lean in the upper body. And what that does is it causes them to default to the quad as the primary source of energy recruitment going up the stairs, and they abandon the glute. They literally abandon the glute.

 

So, what happens when you do something like that is it starts to progress. And even though it feels good initially, it becomes degenerative, and then your body eventually starts to fall apart. And then you need to pull yourself up with the railing. You need to shift your body weight. There’s all kinds of things that happen.

 

There’s all kinds of things that happen that are degenerative that cause you to be worse and worse in terms of posture and techniques. So, teaching people to observe good posture. So, you would know this as a sprinter. You’re always focused to a large degree on the posture. And then the technique comes in to support the posture, and then you have that further dive into the recruitment of specific muscles to get the job done, that thrust from the hip. So, it really is about …

 

I have to go back to posture when I’m talking about anything to anyone when it comes to the human body. Is your posture intact? Have you lost your posture? And then the technique specific to what it is that you’re doing, if you’re going up the stairs, your posture should really be fairly upright, and you should be thrusting as your primary movement. It should come from an extension of the hip and everything else is secondary to that.

 

And the reason being is that the closer you are to the body’s core, that’s where your power is. And the further you go in periphery, you still have power to recruit, but it’s secondary, tertiary power, and it’s not as powerful as your primary power.

Steven Sashen:

To give people a sense of how to play with this when they’re going home, or maybe they’re listening to this, and it can be walking upstairs as they do this. I’m going to tell you the way I experienced it and add a correction for it. One, it was occurring to me, if you do lean a little forward and you’re thinking about just pushing down on the stairs, it’s kind of like a bad version of a being on a leg press machine. On a leg press machine, your back is supported at least, and you’re consciously working on your quads. But when you’re doing the kind of pushing down version, you don’t have that same kind of support, you’re putting more stress on your knee, I was noticing.

 

And the other version, like you’re saying is if you think about lying down for people who’ve done a hip thrust, you’re lying on your back, you bend your knees, so your heels are coming closer to your butt, and then you think about moving your butt up in the air. And you can actually walk upstairs by doing that same kind of motion. Granted, it can look a little odd at first, or it can feel a little odd at first, but you feel that you’re going up the stairs by driving your heel backwards in a way and extending your hip forward. I mean, it’s like doing a hip thrust while you’re walking. That was the way I was playing with it. Would you add any corrections to that for people who want to [crosstalk 00:21:23]?

David Newton:

No. We have what we call the butt lift. And funny enough in spec conditioning, in this upper class …

Lisa Borden:

We rename a lot of things. We actually call stair walking, flighting. And we try and do that. That’s the marketing side where it’s … If we unpackage it and re-serve it to you under a different name, people … We just want you to pay attention. It’s trying to manipulate you to pay attention in a positive way for your own good.

David Newton:

We do use the butt lift to, first of all, cause a neuroplastic effect between the brain and the firing muscle, and then get people to close their eyes and envision them using the same muscle, same movement pattern. Not necessarily going up and down a flight of stairs, but just climbing up a hill.

Steven Sashen:

Right. Yeah.

David Newton:

Yeah. It’s essentially the same thing. I guess, that’s a great bridge, the butt lift or the glute thrust is for us. It’s a primary way to get people to dial in from the brain, so that neuroplastic effect, and then take it into a functional, applicable situation.

 

And you said that it looks kind of funny, but we’ve done this a lot. We’ve taken a lot of people through the future proofing course with this one module where we’re focused on glute activation to get people to climb stairs. And this is a big light bulb moment for a lot of people, because they recognize how much more stable they are, how much more power they have. Their knees stop …

 

That stress that you were talking about on the knee, that’s eventually going to lead to knee pain. So, by transferring the energy to the glute and removing it from the quad and the knee, there’s immediate pain relief. It’s immediate.

Lisa Borden:

We found that for high performance athletes that we’re working with, but we’ve also found it for people in their 70s who are just looking to … That’s the name, future proofing. Essentially, we’ll begin aging the moment we’re born. So, teaching these things early on, it’s amazing what effect. At the beginning, when we started working together, I was more helping David package his brilliance. I had the great fortune of sort of micromanaging him from the back of the room when he is there.

David Newton:

Which she still does, by the way.

Lisa Borden:

I still do.

Steven Sashen:

David. Come on.

Lisa Borden:

Yeah, exactly. But we were in New York doing future proofing and we were in a stairwell in a building in New York walking stairs. And it was amazing that everyone from a yoga teacher have been teaching for 20 years, an athlete, somebody who actually was in immense pain, someone who was seven months pregnant were all in our workshop. They all had a connection to walking the stairs with David. It was just that simple.

David Newton:

Steve, it’s just about understanding how the body moves and respecting that when you’re teaching people how to move.

Steven Sashen:

It’s interesting to me that we have … I say we, but I want to qualify that, because it’s … Let’s say, certainly Americans and most Western people, we’ve learned to move. We have adopted movement patterns that could not be less efficient. And then partly what you’re talking about is to discovering efficiency, which is very satisfying.

 

Using your glutes to walk upstairs. There’s something about it that feels right. It feels good. But I’m curious, why is it that we adopted these wacky patterns to begin with? Because you go to other parts of the world where they have not done what we’ve done. So, what the hell happened?

David Newton:

So, it’s about conserving energy, and it’s about the body’s natural tendency to find the easiest way possible, even if it has a long-term detrimental effect on the body.

Steven Sashen:

Got it.

David Newton:

I think if you couple that with us being the abundance of sedentary time that we spend, like lying on a sofa or slouched in a chair, looking at a phone.

Lisa Borden:

I was going to say that David always talks about, again, when we started working together, that idea that we move Western in such a sagittal plane and movement are so linear. It ends up compromising all of that full spectrum and multi-dimension. And that’s what wellness intelligence is all about, that multi-dimension. It’s actually expanding beyond linear. So, if you’re always wearing shoes with lots of support and walking in a straight line on the sidewalk, how are you going to have … So much is going to be compromised over time.

David Newton:

We’ve become really lazy, because as Lisa was saying, there’s so much convenience built into our lives in North America.

Lisa Borden:

Which is the opposite of convenience, right?

David Newton:

And everything is in a sagittal plane. We call them orthotics. Every time something comes in and it makes things easier for you, we’ve termed that an orthotic. And we recognize the detriment of something coming in and robbing us of our natural responsibility to do something.

 

When I put your saddle on for the first time, one of the things that happened, which excited me to a really high level was my brain lit up. So, it wasn’t even about the shoe. It was about my brain going, “Holy shit, what’s going on?” And I knew that, that’s the critical element.

Lisa Borden:

I watched it happen. I was like, “He’s buying those in three more pairs.”

David Newton:

And I tried to buy a second pair, because I like to have a pair sitting in the closet in case. Just the whole idea that we’ve become so lazy in our brains, because of all of the stuff that’s been thrown at us, we have to challenge ourselves to be more cerebral again. So, we slouch. Even myself, knowing what I know, every once in a while, I have to do this, and I have to get myself back into a position that I know is good for my posture, it’s functional. I know that it’s not going to have any long-term detrimental effects. If I have to do this on a daily basis, multiple times, then I know with my connection, then I know that people that are disconnected, they really don’t stand a chance because they’re operating in a state of disconnect.

Lisa Borden:

And not to bring food back into it, but since that’s obviously something that I’m obsessed with, it’s like taking a pill when you can cook a meal and get those nutrients from food.

Steven Sashen:

It’s so funny, you mentioned food. I’ve been cooking more. Well, yeah. Me too, actually. Started during COVID where I started cooking more, thank you YouTube. I had this very interesting sort of melancholic effect when I started cooking more, because I realized I could have been doing this for the 30 years previous, and I just didn’t know how, and it’s really not that hard. That was sort of, in a way, feeling opportunity cost that was lost.

 

But the more interesting thing is that I’ve gotten … How do I want to put this? The difference between taking a pill and cooking food, there’s also a difference between cooking food and making food. And so, last week, I started making pasta for the first time, and it takes an extra 20 minutes to half an hour, and I love doing it so much. The satisfaction from spending that extra energy and, frankly, it tastes much better as well.

Lisa Borden:

The joy factor.

David Newton:

So, there’s your why too, right? That’s your why.

Steven Sashen:

And I also have the added bonus. I always make enough so that my wife has leftovers for lunch the next day, that makes me very happy too. She does not complain either. That added bonus of doing things that may be less “convenient,” but the satisfaction component just can go through the roof.

Lisa Borden:

Absolutely.

David Newton:

That understanding, Steve, we talked about lateral shift. And we believe that if you understand something and you could consider yourself an expert pasta maker now. You can take that same kind of cerebral expertise, and a lot of really shifted to movement or laterally shifted to anything else.

Steven Sashen:

Well, ironically, it kind of goes … I mean, this made me think when I started doing this, it made me think of customers of ours who originally bought our do-it-yourself sandal kit, and I met this one guy who said, “I haven’t actually even bought your do-it-yourself kit. I watched your videos about how to do it, and then I went and did it myself. And once I realized I could make my own footwear, I started repairing my car, repairing appliances in my house.”

Lisa Borden:

That’s it.

David Newton:

Yes, exactly.

Lisa Borden:

And that’s the exciting thing about … Or what we think is exciting about what we’re doing is we’re not trying to rope people into come and take our courses and keep coming back multiple times a week. It’s more, “We’re here. And if we do a good job, it’s really simple. It’s so simple that we’re here to hold your hand, we’re here to teach, we’re here to impart, we’re here with the resources. But if we do a good job, we’re redundant. You’re going to be able to then take it and you can teach it. So, you can teach it.” [crosstalk 00:30:26] to everything.

David Newton:

That’s critical, because the whole idea of teaching from a place of redundancy causes you not to want to create a situation where people are dependent on you. So, a needy situation. I guess I learned a long time ago in my profession that there were enough people in this world that I could deliver information, enough information to make people independent of me and they could move on. And those who chose to stay for long periods of time, it was like having a good friend. It was like being in a good relationship.

Lisa Borden:

We started working together as well. I really wanted to do this fast workout, because as an entrepreneur and busy mom, I was like, “Instead of this whole one hour having to go to the gym and wear certain clothes and be in a certain room, it’s that efficiency again, but efficiency in a good way.” And David kept refusing. He’s like, “I will not do it, because I will not fix somebody into certain movements.” There’s the four minute workout, there’s the seven minute workout. But then people are only going to be practicing …

Steven Sashen:

The four minute mile.

Lisa Borden:

… those moves, thinking that’s a solution. That’s still a magic pill. That’s still that thing. And so, what we came up with is something called stack conditioning, which is basically taking a series of exercise snacks. So, we teach one exercise snack every week. We teach it well. And David teaches in parts, this all of the why and the how, so you have it sound. And then you take it into the rest of your life. So, whether you’re taking that to sprinting, or you’re taking that to the gym. It’s amazing, I spent the day without …

David Newton:

Or the staircase.

Lisa Borden:

You can build your own four minute workout, because you have all the components to do what we teach you when to stack it into your day. So, it’s actually something that’s convenient, so you can do it when you’re boiling water, before you sit back down at your desk. And you realize so quickly that you need no prerequisite to enter or go into the gym and do a class.

 

When you go into a hit class, you’re doing 30 moves or whatever it is in one class. We’ve broken that down. And now, David has the opportunity to teach that. And when we notice is the people that are doing those exercise snacks come into our full workouts, and it’s amazing how they move so mindfully well.

David Newton:

Steve, the whole idea of metabolic hibernation, this business of being lazy, with … You’ve heard of dead butt syndrome. The idea of when you’re sitting, there’s zero glute activity. So, if you get up and you go to the bathroom, and before you sit back down, get on the floor and do 10 hip thrusts, or we call them butt lifts, that’s all you have to do. It takes 20 seconds. What you’re doing is you’re pulling the body out of metabolic hibernation. But not only that, there’s a cerebral thing going on too.

 

That’s why I was so excited when I put your shoes on because my feet recognized right away that something magic was happening, but my brain, the fact that it lit up and it was telling me, “Oh, you can’t do this anymore. You can’t walk a heavy heel, you can’t overstride, you can’t do all these things.” It was policing me back to a place of good posture and a place of good technique.

 

This idea of coaching. Your shoe, when I put it on, or your saddle, when I put it on, it immediately started to coach me. And because I operate from that place of mindfulness, it resonated with me straightaway.

Steven Sashen:

Yeah. Well, I love what you pointed out. Sorry, I don’t remember the exact language you use for doing about integrating these things into your day, there’s a couple of reasons. One is that it means that you don’t have to spend a block out time pulling yourself out of your day. But the other thing kind of coincidentally, I was just reading some research about interval training. And one of the things they found is one of the most successful forms of interval training is doing a four to 10 second burst 10 to 15 times throughout your day, run up a flight of stairs instead of walk up a flight of stairs. Run to the bathroom instead of walking the bathroom when you don’t have to run to the bathroom for other reasons. All these little things that you can inject into your day that are very normal can be much more beneficial than doing a 30 minute workout.

Lisa Borden:

It’s like all of our programming. It’s based on science, but it’s also based on experience, and it has to feel good. So, it has to feel good and makes sense, which goes back to what you brought up originally, the people that even if they’re skeptical, that sort of trust us, so they’re showing up because they believe in us, and it’s contagious. They realize over time, and it can take various amounts of time that like, “Oh, I don’t need the metrics, actually.”

 

And that’s where they feel that freedom rather, and where we stop feeling the struggle that people are like, “But how many? How many ounces of water am I supposed to drink to be hydrated?” Instead, we come up with a protocol called the waterfall, and we teach, give permission, and then you see that.

Steven Sashen:

Well, hold on. When did being hydrated become a thing? When did it stop? When did it become happy to be hydrated instead of, “Hey, I’m thirsty?” We can dive into that, but let’s not. I want to back up to something much more entertaining. When you’re being creepy hanging out in playgrounds, what are you observing? What do you notice watching kids?

David Newton:

I’m sorry. What we noticed when we watch children?

Steven Sashen:

Yeah. Well, no. Let’s say more entertaining.

Lisa Borden:

I’ll start.

Steven Sashen:

When you’re being creepy in a playground, what are you watching kids?

David Newton:

That’s where my brain froze when you said …

Lisa Borden:

It was like, “Wait, what?” The first thing I’ll say before David gets into the technical stuff that he will be able to talk to you more is, first of all, the joy. First of all, the joy. So, the joy movement, the excitement, and they do not move in a straight line. They do not move in a straight line, ever. There’s lots of things, but really the joy and not moving in a straight line, that’s such a life lesson for us.

David Newton:

The whole idea of straight lines too in nature, human beings are the only species that’s married to moving in a straight line.

Lisa Borden:

There’s no straight lines in nature.

David Newton:

That’s right.

Lisa Borden:

There’s no straight lines in nature, just the ones that humans create.

Steven Sashen:

I’m playing with that in my head. I’m going to electromagnetism, but that’s a whole other story.

Lisa Borden:

Yes, that is a whole other story.

Steven Sashen:

But if we don’t get…

David Newton:

The idea of children. So, as Lisa was saying, multi-dimensional. They use lateral and diagonal, and they’re always in rotation, and they’re up and they’re down. They use full spectrum movement. I guess, being 62, I wonder when I stopped or started to lose that. I had varying periods of times. For example, when I turned 40, I decided that I was going to learn how to teach yoga. And I was going to add that because it just seemed, from a marketing perspective, and keeping myself professionally viable, it was something that I factored in.

 

That was a professional decision, not realizing that the implications of bringing yoga into my life as a 40 year old were going to completely redefine the way I looked in my body. But being on the playground, I guess it’s the beginner’s mind when we try to get adults or older people to operate with a beginner’s mind. So, try doing this from a place where you would almost feel like it’s the very first time that you’ve done it.

 

So, when children move, they move with beginner’s mind. And when a child doesn’t move that way, it’s because adults have already tried to stamp movement into them. For example, if you’re holding your child’s hand and expecting your child to keep up with you, the child is going to be moving in a straight line, and they’re going to start to overstride, because they’re being forced to keep up with you. But if you were to let go of a child’s hand, he would be in front of you, behind you in the ditch, climbing the tree, 50 feet ahead, 20 feet behind. So, that’s the thing about that magic of childlike activity. One of the things that I find incredibly attractive in some adults is that they haven’t lost that childlike behavior. And you must know people like that.

Lisa Borden:

Like him.

David Newton:

Yeah. When did we lose that childlike behavior?

Steven Sashen:

Just because I’m prone to jumping over things, or going around things, or using things as ways … Yeah. Well, I think of it as post-gymnast behavior. It’s like I see things as tools to play with or on. I’ve joked with my wife. We don’t have children, and I said … We were in a restaurant once, and there was some kids who were jumping up and down on the padded bench, and the parents were saying, “Hey, stop jumping up and down.” And I said, “See, that’s the difference between them and me if I were a parent.” I’d be saying, “Stop jumping up and down. The springs are better on this bench over here, you idiot.” It’s like look for the thing where it’s more entertaining.

 

But to your point the first thing about seeing kids is the fun factor. I see kids mostly when I’m on the track, and they’re there because their parents have dragged them along, and they’re doing two things. They run three things. They run with this weird look on their face. It’s called smiling. And then they do it till they’re in the mood to stop, and then they stop, and then they get back up when they’re in the mood. And they don’t run in a straight line, in part, because … I mean, these are little kids.

 

So, their heads are so big that if their head leans just a little bit in one direction or another, they have no choice but to follow their head, which is something that when I teach people about running barefoot, that’s what I have them do is like, leave your arms hanging by your side, lean your head, try to follow your head and don’t let yourself catch up. And do it until you don’t care if the people around you see that you’re doing this, because frankly, they don’t know who you are, they’ll never see you again, they don’t care. But also, we do this in a group, and this leads me to something I’ve been curious to ask you about, which is the communal aspect of things.

 

Because backing up to like if it’s not fun, you won’t keep doing it. I’ve also found that if you don’t have some kind of community, and that can just be one other person, that’s also going to dramatically increase your chances of stopping as well. Can you chat about your experience with that?

David Newton:

I guess it goes back to an understanding of the pyramid of life and what sits at the very top of the pyramid is the physiological warmth of another human being. It doesn’t need to be an embrace, but just being in your company and experiencing heart energy. We have this energetic heart expression, or it can be … It’s just the idea.

 

We’ve had many discussions, Lisa and I, about post-COVID return to community environments, and a lot of people don’t think that it’s going to happen, and I realized that it has to happen in order for us to be healthy human beings, functioning human beings. We need that physiological warmth of the presence of other human beings in our life. Our lives depend on it.

Lisa Borden:

In a lot of our programming, prior to COVID, we were just teaching workshops. And there was an aspect of community, that gathering and learning together. We were doing sessions of something called the off road speed play, which is, as you say, look ridiculous, that’s fine, but it’s just walking and running on trails. We add multi-dimensional movement into anything. We add skipping in, because you can’t skip and not smile. When you smile, everything good happens, or squats or lunges, side squats.

David Newton:

Sidesteps.

Lisa Borden:

And sidesteps, all these things. We’ve taught people. So, people who work with us always say, “People look at me like I’m crazy when I’m walking.” So, even if they’re doing it on their own, they feel a sense of community when they’re doing it because they’ve got it in community. So, that’s fun.

 

And we also created this virtual community, which is free to join, but what we ask is that you care. It has to be from people that care. And the magic that happens in our online community, just because they’re nice people who want to be in community. Hopefully, we impart things of great value and host it well. It’s all the members that are adding to it. So, everybody has the chance to communicate with each other.

 

We’re not right, we’re not authorities on everything. We enjoy that you’re in there and that your company or Danny’s … There’s so many people that are in there that really care about helping each other and everyone brings their own bit. So, being in community where there’s …

 

Yesterday, we did an Akira 360 workout in the park with members from the community who are in Toronto, which is where we are, and people were off the charts happy just to be gathering.

David Newton:

The community.

Lisa Borden:

Yeah. It’s…

Steven Sashen:

I remember when I was in high school and I was training as a gymnast, we did a lot of weightlifting and strength training exercises for gymnastics, and I started writing a fitness book. And the first chapter was find a partner, because you won’t be able to do this otherwise. There’s times where you wake up and you’re just not in the mood. And forcing yourself isn’t fun, but being encouraged because there’s someone on the other end of the phone saying, “See you at 9:00.”

 

Even if you show up not really ready to play by the end of it, it’s like … I mean, the number of times that my training partners and I have said to each other, I’m so glad you came out because otherwise I would have stayed home. I think we are discovering different ways of doing that post-COVID and it will be interesting to see how that evolves as the world changes as a result of all of this.

Lisa Borden:

There’s such a difference too between … I mean, community is community, and that can be like David said, the connection. But what you just said like motivation and accountability is one of the biggest gifts that you can offer someone else. And we have that built in with each other, which is such a gift.

Steven Sashen:

I got to tell you. I never thought of this before, but I realized I hate the word accountability.

Lisa Borden:

Why is that?

Steven Sashen:

Because in a way, it seems like a … What’s the word I’m looking for? A kind of arbitrary kind of peer pressure rather than an encouragement. It sounds like I’m setting you up to make me accountable, which is putting you in a bad position, because it makes me see you in a way, not quite an enemy, but someone who’s pushing me in a way that I’m not enjoying.

Lisa Borden:

I guess, yeah. That’s a neat reflection, but maybe it’s like, to your point, is … I guess, when we talk about accountability, it’s like almost like self-empowerment.

Steven Sashen:

Yeah. Interesting. I get that.

Lisa Borden:

Like that feeling, right?

Steven Sashen:

I get that version, but I like … I mean, even motivation. I get asked often as an entrepreneur who’s been doing this for a long time. They go, “How do you get yourself motivated?” I go, “I don’t know what you’re talking about. I don’t do something to ‘get motivated’ then take action. Back to the beginning of this, there’s a reason why I need to take action. And if I’m aware that I’m going to do it.”

 

Now that said, some days, it’s harder to get out of bed than others. But what I respond to is the kind of encouragement for that camaraderie, that encouragement to do something rather than … I’m hypersensitive to this. Anything that feels like I’m trying to artificially alter my state of whatever in order to then do something. I know that if I just get there and start training, even if I felt like crap that morning, within a few minutes, I’m going to feel okay.

 

When I used to live in New York City and I rode my bicycle in the winter for seven miles to get to school, I knew this first few blocks were going to feel like crap. It’s freezing, it’s wet. I didn’t have enough protective clothing, but I know halfway through, I’m going to be stripping off layers and I’ll be in short pants and a hat and gloves, and people will think I’m crazy, and I’m the one having fun.

 

Again, it’s a subtle little thing that, again, I haven’t really taken a dive into it. But I think things like … I know that you’re framing this differently, so I’m just kind of ranting for a second, so bear with me. Doing something to motivate yourself, doing something to be held accountable. That phrase, held accountable, has this kind of burdensome component to it. The way that you’ve come up with other language for movements, I think we need to really explore the language of what gets us out of bed and do [crosstalk 00:47:38].

Lisa Borden:

I was just going to say that, because I went … I mean, when you say that as an entrepreneur, I started my business in 1994, and there’s not been a day that I’m not motivated in some way, but it’s like an inside thing. I don’t do anything to get motivated. I don’t have activities or thing … That resonates with me, and we have a lexicon. We called it a lexicon, because we make up words for everything, as you said. You’ve just inspired a whole other …

David Newton:

Steve, one of the things is that you’re what I termed the less than 1%. So, you’re less than 1% of the population who has exactly the skill of motivating the self. What we need to do now is we need to figure out how to teach other people to do the same thing. That’s one of the things that Lisa and I do. We create the conditions to bring people to a place where they become self-motivating.

Lisa Borden:

Right back to the beginning. Like you’re saying, we create the conditions, so you care, so you don’t need metric, so you can be your own as an expert.

David Newton:

I understand what you’re saying, and I appreciate it. But then in turn, I challenge you to figure out how to give this gift that you’ve developed within yourself. Offer it up to others so that it actually empowers other people to be just as self-motivating as you are.

Steven Sashen:

Dude, I got shoes to sell. Cut me a break.

Lisa Borden:

I’m curious.

David Newton:

But that’s part of the thing though.

Lisa Borden:

But that’s part of the sales technique.

Steven Sashen:

I know.

David Newton:

The whole idea of wearing your shoes, oh my gosh. The average person would not wear your shoes.

Steven Sashen:

Well, actually, the average person can and does, but that’s a whole other story. It’s a really interesting point. It goes back to, I think, what we were saying before there are a couple things. One is why do you want to do it. If you have a reason, that’s a big chunk. And the reason can be, let’s call it semi-external.

 

I was talking to Lena about this recently and I said, “The previous businesses that I’ve done, or almost everything that I’ve done, there was a certain kind of self-absorption. I did it because I was interested in it, but I wasn’t interested in the bigger picture.” As a sprinter, I don’t follow sprinting and track and field the way many people do. I do it because I like doing it. When I was a gymnast, the same thing. I didn’t follow gymnastics as much as I did gymnastics. Even when I was doing stand up comedy, I wasn’t part of the cool kids crowd. I did what I wanted to do in that.

 

So, when it comes to health and fitness, part of it is doing … That I’ve got a reason that’s my thing for doing it. But there’s another part that I don’t know how to articulate quite. I was thinking about this, this weekend as well, is that part of the process is getting over the idea of what it means when you have that why. And what I’m talking about specifically is there’s some days where I wake up and I go, “It’s just not there.” I really need to let myself do nothing today without thinking that I should be doing something more or different.

Lisa Borden:

That’s right. I mean, when we talk about wellness intelligence, that’s where we landed. Even though it’s abstract to a lot of people, we say that it’s just wellness intelligence gives you the ability. So, whatever that is, but it’s giving you the ability to make the right decisions, take the right actions for yourself, like in conscious pursuit of the right things, but in that moment. So, it’s just about doing the next right thing, which could be about pausing.

Steven Sashen:

Doing nothing. Yeah, taking [crosstalk 00:51:03].

Lisa Borden:

Doing nothing. There’s beauty in knowing that, right?

Steven Sashen:

Yeah, resting is not my … I joke that as a sprinter, I’m typically lazy. As many of us are, like sprinters, we finish our workouts in the time that most people take the warm up for theirs. In fact, this weekend was apparently a big weekend in my brain. On one of the mornings, I don’t remember which, I deliberately was sitting in a chair, the sun had just come up. It’s like 6:30 in the morning. And I just sat there thinking of all the things that I “needed to get done” that day, and I deliberately did not do them for an hour.

 

I went, “Okay. Yeah.” That would normally get me out of my chair, not going to do it. That other thing would normally get me out of my chair, not moving. And it was really, really delightful. Not just because it was pleasant to sit there, but it was really helpful for me to not be pulled by all those seeming requirements of my day. And then I went and did them when I got around to doing them. [crosstalk 00:52:07] have fun.

Lisa Borden:

That’s empowering in itself. I guess I have that as an entrepreneur mindset. You could be like, “I’m so curious and willing to do and eager all the time.” David taught me it’s much more about stillness, and it’s amazing how you empower yourself just in that. It feels good.

David Newton:

And the idea of giving yourself permission too. So, you gave yourself permission to sit there for an hour.

Steven Sashen:

Yeah, it was fun.

David Newton:

Don’t do that.

Steven Sashen:

We’ve been sitting here for an hour. We’ve been doing this for almost an hour and we never got around to the thing that I teased at the very beginning of this, which is people with back pain, and what the real thing to pay attention to is if you have back pain. And I would be remiss and an idiot if I didn’t jump into that now, and let’s have that part of the conversation, because you’re the ones who inspired it. Do you want to talk about the real thing to address when people are having back stuff while I take a drink?

Lisa Borden:

I want to give my quick answer. Everything is connected. So, if you focus just on your back when you have back pain, I think that’s the first issue that we need to dispel. Maybe even talk about the back.

David Newton:

Okay, that’s a big question, so I’m going to start by going back to the hip. The hip, its primary purpose is to locomote the body. But as Lisa was saying, everything is connected. So, if your hip is unstable or weak, it’s going to refer upwards and it’s going to create instability and weakness above it, and it’s going to refer down. For example, the whole idea of knee pain, unless you’ve experienced blunt force trauma to your knee, almost all of the knee pain that we experience comes from an unstable hip.

Steven Sashen:

Interesting. I want to interject though. Blunt force trauma. Most people when they’re running, in particular, walking as well, but not as much, running definitely. If you are over striding, reaching out and landing with your foot too far in front of your body and landing under heel, that is causing blunt force trauma into the knee.

David Newton:

That’s right.

Steven Sashen:

There’s a lot of research showing this with animals. You can’t do this with humans where they just keep the knee relatively straight. They did this with rabbits for some reason, and then just percuss the heel, and it puts force right into the knee joint and causes osteoarthritis.

 

Dr. Isabel Sacco in Brazil did the opposite where she took elderly women and put them in minimalist footwear and just had them walking. And by letting their body use itself more naturally, their knee osteoarthritis went away, or it was reduced. So, there’s blunt force trauma that people don’t know they’re giving themself. Do that as it may. That’s a bit of a tangent from working on the hip moving to the back of the knee.

David Newton:

Yeah. The same rule would apply. Upwards as well. Above the hip, you have the spine. And the spine, it fits down into the pelvis. There’s actually that floating connection there. If you have this instability in the primary mover in your body, it’s going to destabilize. I mean, that’s just one of the things. The whole idea of connection to breath, and breath’s connection to intrathoracic pressure, stability, the transverse abdominis, how it has that dual purpose of stabilizing the spine and creating power.

 

For example, a good example would be a tennis player when they hit the ball and they make that grunting sound, it’s called the valsalva maneuver. And that whole idea of stabilizing the hip and making sure that it’s strong, referring up into the spine, and then coupling that with breathing in such a way that your breath actually … It enhances stabilization of the spine.

 

Humans are really interesting in that we can breathe at will. And if you look at the lower animals, like horses or anything that’s a quadruped, they have to breathe relative to movements. A quadruped, when their front feet hit the ground and the back end comes up, the internal organs shift forward, and they cause exhale, because they press the air out of the lungs. And then when the back feet hit the ground, and the front feet come up, there’s that forward thrust that causes the organs to shift backwards, creating space for the lungs to inhale. We have a horse.

Lisa Borden:

I was going to say, just to qualify, not only have we learned movement from watching children and playgrounds, but also Akira, as in The Akira Concept is David’s four-year-old horse.

Steven Sashen:

Got it.

Lisa Borden:

I mean [crosstalk 00:56:32] with animals. That’s why he can talk about that.

David Newton:

What’s really interesting is that the quadrupeds are married to movement. Their breath is married to movement, whereas human beings, because we’re upright and our lungs are free, we can breathe at well. So, you can sit there and you can speed your breath up if you want, or you can slow it down. A quadruped can’t do that.

 

Where was I going with this? The connection of breath and breathing muscles, the muscles that have dual function, they breathe, and they create thoracic stability like tennis players. Running as well. I challenge you, if you haven’t made this connection already, to pay attention to your breathing when you’re going to do something that’s strenuous. I’m sure as a runner, you have exacted, whether it’s intuitively or on purpose, but you’ve exacted the ability to breathe to maximize your speed. So, I’m breathing in such a way that at maximum …

Steven Sashen:

I’m aware of my breathing. In 100 meters, you basically … Well, Olympic level runners do this differently than some of my age, but I basically get, I think, like four breaths, maybe five. There’s an exhale, using the valsalva maneuver in the dry phase and getting out of the blocks and that initial drive.

David Newton:

Yeah, of course.

Steven Sashen:

And then I’m very aware that when I need to breathe subsequent to that, I try to use it in a way that is encouraging, applying more force, that is encouraging movement. In the rare time, when I’m running slowly, if I’m jogging, for example, the thing that I pay attention to is having my breathing pattern be off center, if you will.

 

Basically, I’m breathing for an odd number of steps. Every time I started to inhale is on the other [crosstalk 00:58:27] each time. I started to inhale with my right foot. The next inhale starts with my left foot when it hits the ground. Those are the things that I pay attention to there.

David Newton:

One of the things that you can do, Steve, is you can also use your breathing muscles as a primary source of stabilization as opposed to breathing.

Steven Sashen:

Yeah.

David Newton:

Which is pretty cool. Yeah.

Lisa Borden:

That’s going back to back pain and breath. I’ve been cycling for a long time. I’ve worked with trainers. I’m doing indoor cycling, and loving it. My connection because of how David taught bedrock breathing, my core breath connection actually stabilized my back. I’m going to say that I never equated it being young. I never equated it to back pain or injury, but it was amazing that when I …

 

I always thought of it as stress. A lot of us, it’s like you work out, you have that pain. It’s like that good pain because you think you’ve done something. I realized that, oh my goodness, I was putting stress on my back because I was not as connected to my core breath connection, which also affects posture, which also affects the tension in your shoulders, and it also is going back to back pain. That’s why I said at the beginning, everything is connected.

 

If you have back pain, again, you have to look big picture. There’s so many things that start with, I don’t know, the food you eat, your nervous system, how hydrated you are, the footwear you’re wearing. All of those things can matter. And it’s amazing, you don’t need to dive deep into one narrow kind of trying to fix back pain. You can go [crosstalk 00:59:59].

Steven Sashen:

Yeah. I’m not a doctrine and don’t play one on the podcast or the internet, but I will toss out that we’ve had so many people. I mean, I have a broken spine. Basically, I have an L5-S1 spondylolisthesis with a pars defect and basically no disc anymore.

 

My doctors don’t understand how I lift weights at all, let alone how I sprint, but a lot of it did have to do with discovering how breathing works in that as well. And, of course, getting out of “regular footwear.” We have so many people who have talked about how getting out of padded, elevated heel, motion controlled shoes, et cetera, have eliminated their back pain. Can you talk about the … Yes, everything is connected. Let’s go all the way down to the bottom. Do you want to talk about the connection between feet and back pain?

David Newton:

Okay. Feet and back pain, footfall. You were talking about blunt force trauma. The idea of the heel strike, there’s nothing in the heel of the foot that’s designed to take impact. You’re a forefoot runner or a mid foot runner, so you would understand this.

 

The idea of landing on the foot where the absorptive properties are, so the forefoot spreads, and then it retracts. The idea of landing on the outside of the foot and rolling into the inside of the foot. Just understanding that if you overstride or if you’re lazy, and your heel is the first part of your body to hit the ground, that there are no absorptive property, so that refers up the chain.

David Newton:

When I assess people running, if I see heel strike, I know that there’s probably some sort of knee, hip, back issue associated with that. Just the idea of shortening the strike. Lisa and I have many, many conversations about stride length and footfall, and all of these things and how they translate up the chain. We have been bombarded by the idea that everything is connected in everything we do.

 

And that’s why when I first met Lisa, I believe that the body was the primary focus, and that food was a secondary thing. And what I’ve learned over time is that my body cannot operate maximally or efficiently without me honoring food to the same degree that I honor the body. And so, we have eight dimensions that we honor relative to that.

Lisa Borden:

Also, going back to the foot, our future proofing program, for example, we have one module that is just foot health. And obviously, there are people who do lots on foot health, hours and hours and hours. And we do something basic, but the aha moments where people …

 

We’re really disconnected from our feet too. We sit with them. It’s amazing I would tell people it’s like, “Number one spend as much time barefoot as you can.” We’re not selling anything. There’s no magic bullet here. There’s no pill. It’s be barefoot. We teach a certain self reflexology. We have cork foot massage balls that we teach a certain massage too that you can keep underneath your dining room table, or your desk and all of those things.

 

When we have our conversation and wellness intelligence through our platform, we’ve paired you with Danny Dreyer from ChiRunning, and Erica Weiland who’s a reflexologist for a reason, because connection to feet, that’s your first point of contact. That’s your grounding. You made the comment about hydration, like when did that become a thing. We say there’s in stack conditioning, in our program, we say there’s three things that are always, and one is get outside, and two is you have to breathe, and three is you have to hydrate. And then you layer everything else on top of that and being barefoot outside while breathing in a hydrated state is going to really help your back pain.

David Newton:

Steven, the complexity of the foot itself, so know your why, going back to know your why. The foot is complex. Your feet have over one quarter of the bones in your whole body and you know this. 33 joints. Your leg has three joints and your foot has 33 joints.

 

One of the things when we teach about the foot, we always go through that script of just how complicated the foot is, and why it’s that complex. It’s complex because it’s weight bearing. There’s so much force on it all the time.

Lisa Borden:

If you’re doing bicep curls, but are you doing metatarsal flexion?

David Newton:

Yeah. The whole idea, if you were to walk on flat concrete for the rest of your life, your foot would probably lose most of its joints because they wouldn’t be needed. But we’re designed to operate off road, step over stumps, step on rocks, climb boulders, as you were saying, hop over logs. That’s why the foot is as complex as it is. It’s a part of the body that is responsible for … As Lisa was saying, it’s literally responsible for everything that exists above it. So, taking that into consideration, we have an expression in the equine world where no hoof, no horse.

Steven Sashen:

Interesting.

David Newton:

Yeah, because people wouldn’t negate that. Imagine if you were to take that and say no foot, no athletes.

Lisa Borden:

Or no movement.

David Newton:

Yeah. So, it really is a huge, huge component. Back pain, that in itself, it can most probably be directly a correlation of the health of the foot. This is another thing that we do. When we were out, we take pictures of people’s feet when they’re not looking. I can send you the crustiest looking feet crammed into shoes.

Lisa Borden:

Bad footwear.

David Newton:

Oh my god.

Steven Sashen:

I got two stories about that. One, I was at a big footwear CEO event, and there was a women’s apparel company who had just gotten into footwear. And they had made these very, very pretty shoes. They were all the same thing. Elevated heel, crazy, whatever. But the thing that was most interesting that I was the only person who seemed to notice was that with the photos they were showing with models in their shoes, they didn’t have one model who fit in the shoe. It was either squeezing their toes too much, or they were falling out one side of the … I mean, they literally couldn’t find someone whose foot fit the shoe. And everyone is going, “Oh my god, they’re so beautiful.” I’m going, “Am I the only one who’s seeing this?” I mean, [crosstalk 01:06:41] it was.

 

Similarly, actually my favorite one though is I’m at the airport, and there’s a guy in front of me. The foam on his shoes had worn out on the inside, so his feet were like hyper, hyper pronated as a result. And as he’s walking, I pull up my camera and I’m taking the videotape from the knees down. This says a lot about the state of social media. I post this on Facebook and on Instagram. On Facebook, all the comments were, “See how horrible shoes are? The foam wears out and it messes up with your posture. They’re horrible.” And on Instagram, all the comments were, “I can’t believe you’re body shaming that guy.” I went, “Body shaming? I’m shoe shaming.”

Lisa Borden:

[crosstalk 01:07:19] a point through real life.

Steven Sashen:

Yeah. Well, it’s funny. When Danny Dreyer and I were hanging out, sitting on the Boulder Creek, as people were running by, we were noticing, of course, their shoes, but also their gait. And just reflexively, the two of us at the same time were just constantly going, “Oh my god. Just stop doing that. Just don’t.” You can’t help but watch these things.

 

I joke with everybody who works in our office that one of the effects of working here will be a permanent change in the way that you interact with people. And the permanent change is that you will look at them and then you will look at their shoes, and then you will look back at them, and you can’t help it. And then you look at how they move, you will be able to [crosstalk 01:07:58].

Lisa Borden:

And what a gift you offer, because [crosstalk 01:08:01].

Steven Sashen:

Oh, that’s very kind.

Lisa Borden:

Because perspective is everything, and that’s such a gift that you think about having a job selling shoes, and you could put it that simply or you could say, “I have a job changing the way people move, and it’s also changing me.” And that’s such a gift for you to offer people.

Steven Sashen:

We see what we’re doing, again, as … When people ask, “What are your goals of the business?” I got, “Nothing significant, just changing the world and getting people … Ironically, getting people back to doing what humans did for the first 99.95% of human history, which is not immobilize the foot and make it do things that it’s not designed to do. Let it do what’s natural.”

 

We also know the CEOs of $2 billion plus footwear companies and the senior vice president of a third who said directly to friends of ours, “The natural movement thing is totally legit. We just can’t do it, because it would be admitting everything we said for 50 years is a lie.” I would like to do something to eradicate that lie.

David Newton:

So, what’s interesting, Steve, is that …

Lisa Borden:

We’re in the same business.

Steven Sashen:

Yeah.

David Newton:

When we interact with people, one of the first things that we identify is specialists. A specialist is really, really good at one thing and fails to be able to operate outside that spectrum.

Lisa Borden:

And they don’t want to say that what they’ve doing for all those years is wrong.

David Newton:

You’re a specialist, but you’re … I mean, your ability to move outside your specialty and to see the big picture, this is what’s so valuable about your footwear, because I know when I put your footwear on that it wasn’t just about putting something on my foot. It was about the whole picture of my brain lighting up. It was about me being coached to move efficiently with good posture, good technique. The whole recipe was there, so I knew that it wasn’t just about footwear, it was about life. And so it’s the same thing that what Lisa and I do.

Lisa Borden:

And when we traced your … It’s like I said, tracing that back to the tomato, because why not bring up food again. But tracing your food back to where it came from tells you the whole story. And one of the reasons why we’re on the phone with you now and one of the reasons why we recommend your footwear to everybody is because if you trace these shoes that you’re making back to where they came from …

David Newton:

Back to the brain. Back to your brain.

Lisa Borden:

Back to your brain, it’s not back to the shoe box. There’s so much before that, and you are changing the world, so why would you want to put that on the feet?

Steven Sashen:

Agreed. Well, on that note, if you’re saying nice things about me, and thank you very much. Let me go back to you and all the wonderful work you’re doing. Can you do me a favor and tell human beings who want to explore more how they can do that with you?

Lisa Borden:

Absolutely. Everyone can reach us through theakiraconcept.com. Everything starts there.

Steven Sashen:

Spell that for people who need that spelled out.

Lisa Borden:

T-H-E, the, T-H-E, Akira, A-K-I-R-A, concept, C-O-N-C-E-P-T dot-com. I never was good at spelling bee, so really happy I did that.

Steven Sashen:

It was good.

Lisa Borden:

You can connect to our social media there and you can also join our community. We’d love to have you if you care. We want you there to share what we’re doing.

Steven Sashen:

I like that. If you want to be part of the tribe, please subscribe. I like if you care, we want you there. That works too.

Lisa Borden:

I just came up with it right now. Warmed up.

Steven Sashen:

Yeah, write it down. You’ll use it. So, Lisa, David, first of all, thank you for this and thank you for everything you’re doing. We’re looking forward to helping promote what you’re doing as well, because there’s … There are a number of people doing good work, but there aren’t a lot of people doing good work. And so, it’s always a treat when we find people who see it and get it and are able to …

Lisa Borden:

Better together. Better together.

Steven Sashen:

Yeah. So, for everybody else, thank you for being here. Once again, if you want to find out more or find previous episodes, et cetera, head over to www.jointhemovementmovement.com. Like we just said, you’ll find all the previous episodes, the places you can interact with us on Facebook, and YouTube, and Instagram, et cetera, and of course, all the places you can get podcasts.

 

The sharing part, please just do that, like and subscribe, and tell your friends. Opt in if you want to get an email about when we have new episodes, which kind of come out almost every week unless something crazy is going on. And if you have any questions or requests or someone you think you should be on the show, you want me to know about it, drop me an email, move@jointhemovementmovement.com. But most importantly, go out, have fun, and live life feet first. It kind of stopped. Here we go.

 

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