Part 1: mindset
Before we dive into Body Parts, let me introduce myself.
If you know my work and you’re familiar with my “start here” guide – feel free to skip to the part 2 of Body Parts.
My name is Yoav Taler.
I live and work in Israel. Since 2003, I’ve been teaching people how to use their body in all sorts of environments: Exercise – be it holistic (Qigong, Pilates) or conventional (gym and running), the office environment (posture and ergonomics), one on one rehabilitation (posture, chronic pain), with musicians, physical workers, parents and more.
I am an Alexander Technique teacher, Pilates & Qigong instructor, Gym instructor and a licensed Chinese Medicine acupuncturist and herbalist.
How my work can help you with your problems
I work one on one with people, on a weekly basis, for long periods of time. My job is to identify habits of movement, posture and mindset – that created their problems, and teach them a better, natural alternative of using their body in whatever activity they do. This brings about a behavior shift that enables them to heal themselves.
So after hundreds of people I’ve worked with along the years, and after publishing this knowledge across the net locally in the last 10 years, I came to an understanding:
- That we all share similar habits, especially since most of us do the same things with our bodies (sit by a computer),
- That this is all about consistent awareness and focus: being mindful towards your body through time, while applying the right principles to improve your condition (the mind-body language).
- That I should not save my teachings only to the realms of my clinic and share this knowledge to people across the globe.
Again – your mind is the key to improve your condition. You probably experience difficulties or challenges with your body, much like my clients. And my goals with you are similar to my goals with them:
Long term, consistent mindset: be in your body
Persistence makes the difference.
So if you’ll follow my work – I’ll provide you with long term, consistent mindset: be aware of your body. And when your awareness points towards your body, you can apply the second part of my teaching:
What should you do with your body? The mind-body language.
This is the language you should speak with your body, the physical knowledge of how your body should work – naturally and in better harmony. In other words, mind and body brought together. And the longer you do this – the more you’ll advance and discover.
Part 2: Why should you learn your body parts?
We start off by identifying our biggest, macro, body parts:
- Our head,
- Our torso,
- Our limbs: arms and legs.
No complex Latin words, nothing too scientific. Sounds too trivial?
Your body parts and your problems
It’s not trivial at all. Working with hundreds of people through the years made me understand that our body parts do not work together as they should, and this causes many problems.
So the process of improvement starts by identifying those parts correctly.
Example: lower back pain
For example, people with lower back pain physically behave as if their lower back is actually a part of their legs – and not a part of their torso. This is so very common, nearly replicated in all people I see with lower back issues.
Example: sedentary problems
Another common example: people who sit all day long by a computer tend to slouch down with their shoulders and chest. This means that their arms “stole” their upper back. This common behavior causes posture problems, neck and shoulder pain, and much more.
So first, we have to define our parts in our mind. This process will be rather simple, and critical for your well-being in every activity you’ll do from now on with your body.
Body parts: like countries on a map
So this is a concept you can adopt: your body parts are like countries within a continent. Knowing the exact borders or meeting places between your body parts allows your countries to live in peace with one another.
For example, it enables your head to live in peace with your spine and torso. Your torso to live in peace and harmony with your legs and arms. As I mentioned before, if your legs steal a part of your torso, or if your head steals a part of your torso – you’ll have problems at some point.
The body parts course is “phase one” of our road together, and it will allow you to improve several important things, right out of the bat.
Following the body parts course, we will continue to learn how those body parts work together in all kinds of daily activities. The purpose of this knowledge is to allow you to recondition yourself and feel better in your body.
Part 3: Your head
Your head is the upper most part of our body. If you think of yourself as a chain of connected bones, your head is the first, leading bone in the chain.
Your head has the least amount of gravity and weight on it, since it rests on your spine, with nothing else resting on it. So… your head should feel very light – right?
Somehow our head doesn’t act or feel light to most people… something’s not working right. Lightness of the head is something we need to find, and this is done by creating a healthy connection with the rest of the body – creating harmony of the head and body. And we obviously need to start with the head’s closest neighbor: the neck.
Hint: a good connection of our parts will create lightness all across the body.
The critical border point between your head and your torso is found right in the middle between your ears, and I call it the head-neck joint. Google calls it the atlanto-occipital joint.
But why don’t you find “the head neck joint” easily on a web search? Because common knowledge lacks the focus that a specific technique gives us. And nowadays, focus is king.
So I advise you to focus on the head-neck joint, and let’s see how you should use it and how you shouldn’t…
Saying YES: looking down/up
We all use computers, desks and smartphones. Looking down all day long, we use our head and neck the wrong way, which creates us many health problems.
The common mistake: Bending from the hump – a gross movement.
- Postural hump.
- Closes down the front of your body – which causes lower back tension, constricted breathing and much more posture related health problems.
- Neck tension or pinching – especially when looking forward or up.
The right way: bending from the head-neck joint – a delicate movement.
- Better posture: no bending of the hump.
- Allows to release neck tension.
- Allows to open the torso front and back.
Saying NO: rotating the head right/left
The common condition: your neck is stiff and tense, you rotate it and feel limited or painful.
Creating a better rotation requires a looser neck with activation of your whole spine in a growing direction. When you open up spaces between all your vertebrae you’ll rotate your head much better.
Discover your head-neck habits in your everyday life:
- Do you bend from the hump?
Now reverse the process, and use your head-neck joint instead.
How many times a day did you discover your habits?
- Do you rotate your head like a tight sponge?
Now reverse the process, let go of your neck, find your length and rotate again. What were the differences between the two?
Part 4: The Torso
Coming soon: Body Parts video – part 2. Please stay tuned.
Exclude your head, arms and legs from your body – and there’s your torso.
The torso is the center of your body, and it works closely with your brain to manage and activate the whole thing.
Your torso and your head
As we concluded from the head lesson, at the top, your head meets your torso in the head-neck joint. So all the way up there – your spine goes.
Don’t forget that your spine is the basic core of your torso. Around your spine you have all the structures that enable the torso to be a 3D body: your ribcage, pelvis, shoulders and within them – your internal organs.
But most importantly – remember the big picture: your torso.
As modern humans, all that happens within us can work perfectly fine – if we provide our body good balance and good coordination of our body parts.
Lower back issues: your torso and your legs
The most common torso issue nowadays is lower back pain. And one major cause of lower back problems is “invasion” of your legs into the bottom of your torso – the lower back.
When this happens, your torso gets compressed – which causes pain and excess tension.
So you do things with your body, all day long, using the wrong borders between your body parts, creating harmful friction. Your parts disturb each other and problems will arise.
So if you have lower back issues – this is critical for you:
The correct border point between your torso and legs is in the hip joint. When you use and free up your hip joint, you don’t have to bend your lower back all the time. And bending your lower back is exactly what happens when your legs “steal” your lower back – and create pain.
Uniting your lower back with the rest of your torso eliminates many lower back, back and leg problems. Let’s see some examples:
The common habit: bending your legs to sit causes your lower back to bend too. When this happens your legs “steal” your lower back from your torso, and it persists during your sitting time to create lower back tension.
If we want to reorder our body parts naturally, we need to reconnect our lower back with our torso, release tension from our hip joints to become a good separation point of our torso and our legs.
Posture, upper back and neck issues: your arms and your torso
Sedentary life make us use our arms more than we use our legs. Mostly in front of desks and computers, we push tiny buttons all day long.
This means that our body, our arms, our focus – are all aimed down towards the device we use. Only our fingers are moving, our arms become heavy, pulling our body down: our shoulders, neck, chest and spine compress into each other.
But first and foremost, our shoulders suffer from the heaviness of our arms, and so again we can talk about the separation needed between body parts.
The problem: our arms are pulling our torso down. As our legs “stole” our lower back, our arms pull down our upper back, shoulders, neck and chest. This causes shoulder problems, neck tension, posture issues and lower back problems – Just to name a few.
We compress and stagnate ourselves, damage our circulation and general health.
So improving the arms-torso relationship means getting familiar with your shoulder joint: the separation point between your torso and your arm. Practically, you can locate this separation by:
- Raising your arm up.
- Placing your finger in your armpit.
- Bending your elbow to take your arm all the way back down.
Your armpit is the most useful spot to point where your arms meet your torso. And it’s critical for improving all postural and tension issues in your upper back area. You can move your arm forward and back while keeping your hand in your armpit to feel this new relationship.
Computer, keyboard and mouse
When you let yourself slouch in front of your desk, your arms become heavy on the desk, your shoulders and chest become heavy too. Ask someone to take a picture of yourself or use a mirror to catch a side view of your sitting posture: you’ll notice that your shoulders sink down with your upper back, and you might feel some neck tension too.
- Remove your arms from the desk for a minute, and straighten them up to the ceiling. Your whole torso will open up.
- Follow the same procedure as before: focus on your armpits, and bend your elbows and shoulders back down. This will bring you to a different state than before.
- When you put your arms back on the desk, use your border point: let your armpit separate the arm and the torso, so you won’t lean with your upper back towards the desk.
Summing things up
This course gave you the core structure of your body: an essential knowledge to improve your condition in a holistic way. It can bring you into natural, healthier structure when you activate your body parts to work together across everything you do.
Now that you’re focused on your body parts, you’ll start noticing your behavior much more than before. That is our goal! To notice our habits, and improve them.
This course gave you an entry point of understanding your body – the way it should naturally be. All future courses and material I will publish will be based on this knowledge, so allow yourself the time to grasp this course – in your own body.
And if you’re ready to advance – keep yourself updated with my latest materials.