Christiane Northrup, M.D.
I write here about the natural human design as it is discovered and experienced by healthy babies everywhere.
These principles are the basis for the work I have done for many years helping children and adults rediscover how to inhabit their bodies with ease of movement and freedom from pain. I have studied many approaches to health, healing, body mechanics and the natural design and owe a tremendous debt to the pioneering work of Jean Couch, Noelle Perez, F.M. Alexander, Ida Rolf, Moshe Feldenkrais, Charlotte Selver, Mabel Todd, Bruce Ferdman, Judith Aston, Joseph LePage, Rebecca Lux, and Jeffrey Dann, among others. I have traveled extensively, meeting and observing people in the world who still inhabit their bodies as they first discovered as healthy toddlers. I have subsequently written books about this and taught ongoing classes and workshops primarily in Hawaii and Oregon and have taught through the University of Hawaii at Hilo, the National College of Natural Medicine in Portland, the New Mexico Academy of Healing Arts in Santa Fe, NM and the Omega Institute for Holistic Studies in Rhinebeck, New York.
I’ve worked with children and teachers in public and private school classrooms addressing the widespread structural collapse so evident in children today. Teachers report that when their students sit with the relaxed, comfortable support of aligned bones, neither struggling to sit “up straight” nor giving in to slouching, that they are more calm and more focused, and, consequently, better able to learn. This is no surprise, as an aligned framework supports open channels through which oxygenated blood can be delivered to the brain. The support of bones also allows for the release of deeply embedded tension that blocks the continuous flow of subtle movement/energy throughout the body. These factors are key to (re)building and (re)mapping areas of the brain, a brain we now know is far more “plastic” than previously understood.
I blog here as a way to shine a light on infants’ physical needs for natural primal movement that drives the process of “turning on” and building a fully-functioning nervous system. I am convinced that disruption of these movements, due to gradual cultural changes and developments, lies at the heart of many problems children face today, whether they are physical or mental, classified as learning disabilities, sensory processing disorders, autism spectrum, ADHD, vision or sleeping disorders.
My approach to working with babies and children emphasizes creating conditions that support the discovery of inherent movement patterns that ignite essential connections throughout the entire nervous system, so that the body and the brain speak the same language. Such movements are anchored in establishing natural integrated patterns of aligned movement rather than exercises that target specific areas, muscle strength or flexibility. Balanced, elastic strength and flexibility develop naturally as a consequence of the direct experience of this unfolding process that builds upon itself.
Babies and young children are inherently mindful and aware. They, themselves, do the focused and dedicated work of developing their own bodies and their nervous system through an unceasing drive to fulfill their biological potential through many “trial and error” attempts toward learning to roll over, sit up, crawl, walk, talk, and eventually run. No matter the limitations some children face, all children benefit from the opportunity to experience greater possibilities for connection to the same physical core all other animals rely upon and the empowerment and self-directed changes that often result from this.
I am the author of Natural Posture for Pain-Free Living: The Practice of Mindful Alignment to be released July 1, 2013 by Healing Arts Press. An earlier edition, now out of print, was previously published under the title Ageless Spine, Lasting Health. (Mekevan Press, 2006).
I have also written Sad Dog Happy Dog: How Poor Posture Affects Your Child’s Health & What YouCan Do About It (Mekevan Press, 2010), a guidebook for adults and children for working together in a process of mutual learning—how to sit, stand, bend and walk as intended by our natural design.
My friend Irene McNeely and I are co-owners of Natural Posture Solutions, LLC, a small company that manufactures a few nifty posture aid products. Our most popular item is The Wedge, which assists with comfortable sitting. It’s small, portable and fits into your bag or carry-on, so you can use it just about anywhere—at your desk, in a car, at the movies, on a plane . . . We also have a baby-size version for use in strollers and high-chairs, as well as the Yoga Wedge and Travel Wedge (same Wedge, different packaging with specifically targeted instructions. These are coming soon!).
Check out all our products by clicking on the image below.