The gestation period for my book began years before I got pregnant with my human baby (who is 15 months old as I write this).
The Stack Your Bones lessons developed in my Structural Integration studio starting in 2007. I would select and offer whichever teaching seemed relevant to the person standing in front of me. I would pull from the methods I've studied: Dr. Ida Rolf's Structural Integration, Iyengar Yoga, the Feldenkrais Method, the Alexander Technique, Voice Dialogue, and Continuum Movement. Or, I'd invent something new.
The "homework" I created for clients became the signature of my practice. "I heard you give people stuff to do at home." Yes, that's me. And now, I am thrilled to offer that "stuff" to a wider audience.
The book will be on shelves in May 2017, and you can pre-order it (and learn more) here!
In early 2015, my son Myles presented himself as a substantial bump in my body structure, causing my bones to stack in a way I hadn't experienced before. It hit me one day that I felt pregnant with this book, too. Twins?
Not quite twins. I birthed Myles in June 2015, and Stack Your Bones was still gestating. As Myles, my husband Eric, and I navigated our first few months together as newborn, father, and mother, Stack Your Bones began to materialize -- in between diaper changes and blowing raspberries.
I had two notable meetings that summer, both while breastfeeding Myles under a tree in Prospect Park, Brooklyn. The first was with my brother, Aaron.
"I have this collection of lessons," I told him. "Let's make an App," he replied. A few weeks later the Stack Your Bones App, the predecessor to this book, appeared in the Apple App Store. The lessons took the form of an instructional deck of (digital) cards. It's great to have a tech guy for a brother.
The other meeting under a tree was with my Uncle Bobby, Myles' Grand Godfather. A wise, artistic, impossibly present and young-at-heart psychotherapist, Bobby was a free spirit and soulful guide to many. He died in May 2016 -- less than a year after our park rendezvous.
Uncle Bobby asked me how motherhood was going. I shared with him that as many primary caretakers of babies experience, I struggled in finding the time to rest, sleep, exercise, de-stress, and center myself. I wondered how I could embrace the inevitable self-sacrifices of motherhood while also sustaining my personal well-being.
In the safety and revelatory nature of Uncle Bobby's presence, I articulated out loud for the first time something that had been bubbling up in me for weeks.
“The baby isn’t IN the way; the baby IS the way.”
Because of the enormous demands on my time and energy, it was easy to see Myles as "in the way" of my well-being. But I discovered that his existence was an opportunity -- not just for motherhood -- but for the very things that seemed impossible.
I applied my philosophy that day in the park. I relaxed my pelvis in a squat while changing Myles' diaper in the grass — that was my yoga practice. I deepened my breathing while gazing into his eyes — that was my meditation. With this new mindset and some creative resolve, ordinary activities became recharging practices. Yoga and meditation took on a new dimension. The way of the baby was fertile ground.
Uncle Bobby immediately "got it" as he always did. A few weeks later he reported back that he loved witnessing how “the baby IS the way." He said he used my new motto with his psychotherapy clients: any challenging situation that arises IS the way.
Learning from Myles, I slowed down to the primordial baby-rhythm. My nervous system rested even if I didn't sleep. I experimented with activities that blended caretaking with personal nourishment.
I learned a flexibility of spirit. This flexibility taught me how to do two minutes of yoga poses on the sidewalk using the baby stroller as a prop -- and get a lot out of it. How enriching! I kept realizing, over and over, that the baby IS the way.
The way to what? The way to meeting the present moment with grace and maturity. The way to healing with the resources that are accessible and available. The way to alchemizing disadvantages. The way to growth and sanity. The way to more humanity and more authenticity; to more fully inhabiting one's life.
It is in this spirit that I invite you to explore your body with Stack Your Bones. Whatever is happening in your body's structure and movement patterns -- whatever misalignment, pain, injury, tension, or limitation -- it's ultimately not "in the way." It IS the way. I hope this book helps to light your path.