Celebrating Movement with Katy Bowman
If you're not already familiar with Katy Bowman then I highly recommend looking her up--especially if you crave a healthy and fulfilling lifestyle. The renowned biomechanist has published several books on natural movement and human development, and her research has been a big inspiration for our shoe designers at Softstar. We've been sharing Katy's work on this blog for a few years now, and were a little starstruck when she visited our workshop in person.
This November is a memorable one for Katy as it marks the release of her latest book, Movement Matters. Written as a collection of short essays, the book explores all facets of human movement, including how science sees movement, how movement connects us to nature and how our choice of movement affects not only our mental and physical health but also the ecology of the world around us.
I was privileged to receive an advance copy of the book and readily vouch for it as an inspiring piece of work, to say the least. I'm now eager to run into the woods and start foraging for food, I have new ideas for "stacking" my life and I have a great new expression: OH BROed (no spoilers... you'll have to read the book for yourself to learn more).
It's not only an easy read and a fun read, but life-changing as well. I tore through the entire book in less than a day.
An even bigger privilege came when I received an invitation to Katy's official book release dinner party, which happened last weekend in the beautiful town of Half Moon Bay, California. Specifically, it happened on a ranch located on a ridiculously scenic mountainside overlooking the coastal range, the Pacific ocean and green pastures as far as the eye could see. What better location for a book and a teacher intent on reconnecting us to nature?
Even more appropriate was the forage-and-farm-to-table dinner. Katy strongly encourages incorporating movement with food preparation and we put that idea into action. Under the guidance of chef Kevin Koebel of Local FATT (Food Awareness Through Teaching), the dinner guests participated in making hors d'oeuvres from locally-sourced ingredients to add movement to our routine while increasing our connection with our food. Talk about practicing what you preach!
The rest of the evening was a chance to meet fellow movement specialists that included chiropractors, podiatrists, yoga and pilates instructors, paleo gurus and primal fitness experts--most notably Movnat founder Erwan Le Corre, whom Katy affectionately refers to as her "nature brother."
Movnat founder Erwan le Corre befriending the animals.
Normally, when I meet new people and am inevitably asked "what do you do?" the conversation tends to evolve into a lot of explaining and question answering (what are minimal shoes... why would barefoot-like movement be good... what do I think of those Hokas). Not this time. On the contrary, whenever I mentioned I worked at Softstar the other guests not only knew immediately who we were, but they already understood the importance of natural foot movement and applauded our minimal designs. I never felt so famous! It was like I met my long lost foot clan. Ninja turtle pun intended.
As the evening wore into an unforgettable sunset, complete with Hollywood-quality fog rolling in from the horizon, Katy graced us with energetic toasts and speeches of gratitude for all the people who helped make the book a possibility. Her common theme of movement was reiterated, along with the belief that our health, our communities and our planet can be made healthier just by moving our bodies a little more.
Katy Bowman, the woman of the hour!
I was so proud to be part of the event and went home even prouder of my workplace. One of the things that has always drawn me to Softstar, and the reason my part-time summer job there turned into a career, was the attitude and vision behind the company. Softstar co-owner Tricia is always quick to emphasize that we don't just sell shoes, we give people new possibilities for an active and fulfilling lifestyle. We see this everyday with customers who tell us how their foot pain disappears after switching to our footwear, but what has always struck me most significantly is the sincere passion of our owners and staff to truly improve the lives of our patrons. Fittingly, Katy Bowman connects the dots between increased movement and happier lives better than anyone.
Me with Katie... and a few cows (or is that one really long cow?)