In late 2019 two teams of movement teachers gathered (in pre-pandemic innocence) in Los Angeles to brainstorm and rehearse new content from two well known teachers, Tune Up Fitness founder Jill Miller and Nutritious Movement’s Katy Bowman. Jill and Katy had previously combined forces at a “1440 Multiversity” retreat and realised the power and potential of combining Yoga Tune Up® and Restorative Exercise (their respective techniques). Even Tom Myers (Anatomy Trains) was intrigued enough to attend that retreat! Half of the teams in LA were Jill’s staff teachers and the other half Katy’s. Staff from as far away as the Netherlands attended this once in a lifetime event, a fly-on-the-wall moment to watch the creation of two brilliant movement minds come together and create content to help potentially thousands of people. Called “Walking Well: A Stepwise Approach to an Everyday Movement,” this course is now out for purchase and I was asked as a 60 year old to review it for that population.
First of all, I’d like to say that although it’s titled Walking Well, the course is good for anyone searching for healthy movement and self care tips for foot, knee, hip, core and shoulders. Walking is a human macro-nutrient in that our various systems (joints, muscles, cardiovascular, digestive, respiratory, etc.) benefit from abundant quantities of walking, but if you have foot, ankle, knee or hip issues, you might need to know how to prepare and work up to that eventual goal, or how to care for sore parts after starting a new walking practice.
The exercises are accessible for all ages and abilities, if you pay attention to the directions and watch the modification examples. Those with less mobility will therefore benefit a lot from this program. Like much content that appears simple at first glance, this work is basic enough that more advanced and experienced teachers of movement might dismiss it for more obvious strength and stretch training, but make no mistake; for something as basic as basic human gait, the foundations are everything. Any advanced teacher will tell you that going back to the basics is where all the magic happens. The rest is icing on the cake. For the RES (and other) teachers who have asked me if there’s anything new in the course, application of the foundational exercises in this context is a learning opportunity.
The techniques or exercises are not new to me as Roll Model® Method teacher and a Nutritious Movement™ certified Restorative Exercise Specialist, but there’s value in the combination, and the constant information stream as they move through the work. The dialogue is neither too silly nor too serious and you can tell the two genuinely like each other and are warm, sincere people. They strike the right tone, and I think it will bear many repeat viewings without tiring of hearing it. The information stream is at times rapid and suggests a slower pace or a longer format could have been considered but that would be more expensive to produce and purchase and more time consuming to view. There’s just so much to cover on this topic! Your pause button will get a workout until you are more familiar with some of these techniques and you will probably pick up and understand more concepts the more you listen and practice.
The production and editing on this is professional, with cutaways to real world examples and views of techniques filmed through glass so you can see exactly where the ball goes and what’s happening. It was filmed immediately after the group staff gathering and was slated to be released this spring but the Covid-19 Pandemic caused a delay (I assume because post-production facilities could not operate). It’s really a beautiful production – nothing worse than having great content marred by bad sound or camera angles and I’m glad there is none of that here. The background of the studio is a bit busy with fake windows with city scapes, it’s not really a big issue, but I would have preferred a more minimal space. The view is large and there are three other students (Tim Harris, Stacy Jackson, Poirsha Woolfork) joining the two teachers, spaced out showing various modifications such as sitting or bolstered.
You will learn a LOT in this course if you are purchasing for self care. Jill talks in particular about tissues such as skin, muscles and fascia and Katy Bowman (a biomechanist) talks about loads, forces and how your joints work together when you are doing something as simple as walking. Jill’s portion focuses on using various sizes of soft rubber balls to coax movement into tissues, while Katy applies simple but profound exercises to explore the movements of those parts, and those parts relative to other parts. You watch the self-massage portion first, and then the exercise portion, for a total of a one-hour session. For example, part of one session might pair rolling out the shin for ankle mobility and then learning the “Shank Rotation” exercise.
If you are a teacher, you’ll also learn a lot (especially if you aren’t familiar with these teachers or these teachers teamed) but you will also learn how and why to use these techniques and exercises. There are 6 classes, each with an introduction, two approximately 1/2 hour segments with each teacher and then a homework assignment or assessment. There are two additional classes, one with each teacher totalling around 6 hours in all. It’s a lot of content for the price. If you are on the fence it’s a really great resource. My affiliate link (for reviewing) is below if you care to use it.
*RES teachers earn 6 CEUs for this course.
Click here to view and purchase Walking Well as well as balls you may require for the course.