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Acronym: EGO

In many disciplines the concept of the ego is something to be defeated. This is akin to the ego being the enemy or somehow inherently bad. However,  the ego is a necessary part of our psyche. The ego has a role in keeping us safe.

To further promote the positive aspect of the ego, I’ve coined an acronym EGO. This particular acronym relates to movement. Whether conscious or not, our experience is a relationship we have with our movement. This relationship has three aspects: 




Expression is the spectrum of our experience:

The spectrum of our experience relates how our limbic system is interacting with movement. This in turn directly affects our physiology and adaptation capacity.

Our emotional experiences are a spectrum from love to fear.

Our memories and coping strategies are a spectrum from safety to guarded.

Our engagement of the challenge at hand, and the skills to meet those challenges is a spectrum from flowstate to blocked.

Grace is the neutral observer:

Grace relates to how the mind is interacting with our movement. This is the non-judgmental state of awareness. It’s the accepting, the letting go of, or ceasing of judgment. This allows grace to naturally erupt, and to flow out of our experience as that is our true nature.

Organization is the assembly of the fundamental building blocks of movement:

Organization is the relationship between structure and the nervous system. Organization defines efficiency in the activity. As we progress in skills acquisition, the assembly of those fundamental building blocks become more sophisticated. Our skills acquisition follows an incremental progression so that we can access our true nature, flowstate.

Let’s consider the need to reframe the little ego into something more evolved. The acronym EGO opens the door to a more sophisticated relationship with our movement. Our personal practice is a reflection of our experience. This is an interdependent relationship. Relationships require nurturing and sometimes hard work. Our movement is no different. The development of our movement practice has many attributes. The process of claiming our true nature has a progression. The movement mentorship program is designed to empower you in your own process of experiencing that progression.

The movements you taught in the Immersion supported my healing and massively improved pain from a cervical herniated disk as well as other pain I’ve been carrying for so long. I most connected with slowing down the movements and listening to the subtle body and the emotional experience in between. I’m looking forward to diving deeper and understanding more in the Movement Mentorship Program.

— Olivia N. from a recent Yoga Immersion, discovered the potency of joint flossing in helping her experience being in the body. Olivia will be joining us in the upcoming Movement Mentorship Program.

Learn more about the Movement Mentorship Program.

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Breaking Misconceptions around Sacroiliac Joint Function

Recently, I was reading a thread on another forum. The comments on that thread led me to believe there are several misconceptions about the SIJ. I thought it would be good to share a synopsis from the perspective of Dynamic Neuromuscular Assessment.

The SIJ is a joint that has minimal movement. Movement is not its job. The job of the SIJ is two fold. First is the SIJ transfers load between the lower extremity and the axial skeleton. The sacrum supports the axial skeleton in the pelvis. The SIJ is the interface between the pelvis and the spine. 

Secondly, the SIJ is rich in mechanoreceptors that relay load to the cerebellum. Inturn, the cerebellum responds from those afferent inputs with muscular activation and deactivation. In other words, those afferent inputs have a direct effect on kinetic chain sequencing. The dynamic platform, the integration of the intrinsic, deep longitudinal, and lateral kinetic chains are interdependent with SIJ function.

The SIJ needs to have balanced integration as the structure is loaded during gait and other locomotive movement expressions. There are five muscle groups that need to be evaluated for appropriate nervous system response across their full range of motion…i.e. closed, middle, open position as well as the eccentric action from closed to open. The pelvic floor, the sacral spinalis/multifidus, glute max, piriformis and iliacus are the five muscle groups that act directly on the sacrum and affect the SIJ. 

Additionally, we also must evaluate how the femur loads the acetabulum. This includes internal and external rotation of the femur, compression and distraction, lunging and squatting, and shinbox variations. These movements and movement combinations make up the vernacular for leg drive. Leg drive is the primal reflex that we need at birth as we must use leg drive to push out of our mothers uterus and through the birth canal. Infants that have a c-section birth, may be deficient in this reflexive movement. One in four people are delivered by c-section birth (reference here).

Like any presentation, we must map the nervous system response. This starts with the appropriate movement benchmarks, like how the nervous system responds to those benchmarks, and whether it is safe to interact with and provide stimulus to those benchmarks.

When we prioritize the  safety of the nervous system, we can provide the appropriate stimulus to the prime driver and its main pair. This creates a huge change in the nervous system and normalizes SIJ response. This is an advanced topic in Dynamic Neuromuscular Assessment because there are several foundational concepts that must be developed so that one can safely interact with the client’s nervous system.

Are you looking for an entry point into better client  assessment? Do you want to deep dive into movement and be fully in your body? Then the Movement Mentorship Program that kicks off September 2021 is for you. Learn more and register here

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Why Joint Flossing

Joint flossing not only helps me and my clients’ healing journey, it also helps me understand the body better as a physical therapist. Our movement patterns involve joints moving in certain ways. It teaches us that each building block of a movement pattern is important for the way we move and our body to thrive. – Nick Keekstra

Recently I was asked by a colleague why Joint Flossing can be profound in helping people recover movements and for resolving pain.

Here is the short answer:

Toggling between end ranges of motion stimulates the nervous system.  This can restore balanced homeostasis when the source of imbalanced homeostasis is due structural correlations.

The  longer answer:

As human beings we all will experience a spectrum of stress, strain and trauma. Our nervous system responds to these events. That response is a coping strategy based on the best choices with available resources.

Joints and the surrounding connective tissue structures have various densities of an array of receptors. These receptors communicate the state of our structure and movement. When stress, strain or trauma occurs, some of these receptors will become up-regulated or hypertonic as a response to the circumstances of that stress, strain or trauma. 

When an individual or group of receptors become hypertonic, there is a need and resources are delegated to meet the need of the upregulated receptors. Another group of receptors will give up their resources to meet that need. This is the process of homeostasis.

Joint Flossing is stimulating the receptors in the targeted region. When we toggle between the hypertonic receptors and the receptors that are giving up their resources, also known as hypotonic response, the nervous system recognizes this relationship and can restore balanced homeostasis. 

When the receptor balance is restored, the structure can restore as well. There is a bi-directional loop of the nervous system informing structure and the structure informing the nervous system. When the structure has balanced homeostasis, tissues can regenerate, and the nervous system has capacity to respond to movement. This restores the capacity to generate force production.

It becomes important to recognize that muscular capacity or force generation is a byproduct of neural drive. The nervous system controls muscular output. Additionally, muscles are at the bottom of the food chain in the hierarchy of the sensory motor system. This makes muscle response a good benchmark for assessment. However, often muscles themselves are not the reason why there would be structural imbalance.

To go higher up the hierarchy we would start with joint receptors and their influence on muscle response. This is why Joint Flossing and movement can have such a profound effect on an individual’s experience.

We need to be fluent in the vernacular of joint flossing so that we have the capacity to respond optimally to movement. This inturn translates to our ability to help our clients and patients.This is also why you need to be fluent in the vernacular of Joint Flossing.

In September 2021, I’m offering a Movement Mentorship program. We will go through the body joint by joint exploring the relationship of open chain/closed chain/open chain joint flossing. This restores the fundamental building blocks of movement. Once these fundamental building blocks are in place, then we can assemble those components into combinations of movement that require multiple joint coordinations. Everyone that has gone through the progression of joint flossing programs has had epiphanies of lost capacity of movement that they did not realize was unavailable. These are the kinesthetic blindspots that cause less than optimal movement coordinations that result in future stress,strain and trauma.

Learn more and register for the 6 month Movement Mentorship program.

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Why Movement Matters

As a manual therapist, your role includes being a guide for others. You are helping clients reconcile their experience being in their body. There is a saying: we cannot lead a person on a path that we have not travelled ourselves. As a guide, you are tapping into your experience which then provides insight for helping them to navigate their experience.

When working with clients, you are helping them to create a new outcome from what they have been experiencing. They come to you because they view you as having a skill or expertise that can help them.  This is why it is important for you to do both your own inner and outer work. 

Inner work consists of things like:

  • self-examination, taking inventory of past events and associations you have to those events, 
  • being reflective of how you respond to the joys and stresses of life, 
  • having a mindful relationship with your sympathetic load, and using tools to down regulate to a parasympathetic state, 
  • and continually working with the triggers that show up in your life. 

Outer work includes:

  1. how you take care of your physical body, 
  2. the nutrition you take into your body, 
  3. the nourishment you get from socialization, 
  4. and your method for exercising your body for health and vitality. 

Particularly as a manual therapist, your movement practice is a critical  interface between your inner and outer experience.  In order to be of the greatest benefit to your clients, you must be doing your inner and outer work. This includes having  a potent movement practice 

The three lenses of perception, sensory, feelings and thoughts are the three categories of information that your nervous system is sorting through as you create associations that define the present moment. These three lenses are a critical component of DNA-Assessment, and here’s why. Sensation in relation to movement offers feedback that informs physical experience. When you can change the sensations in movement, you are also changing the feelings that arise from that movement. This inturn changes your thoughts and the feedback loop of perception in its entirety. We like to say in DNA, “change your movement, change your experience.”

When movement is practiced mindfully, it is one of the more tangible and objective feedback tools in your toolbox. You can sense and feel when movement is smooth, flowing, and at ease. Conversely, there is also a distinct sense and feeling when movement has elements of resistance and/or awkwardness. This is the spectrum of the movement playing field, ease to resistance. The nervous system is also following this spectrum, from normally responsive to hypertonic, or an up-regulated nervous system. (See my homeostasis blog).

A well-balanced movement practice has several attributes: recovery, skills acquisition, and workload generation. Recovery of range of motion is discovering what has been lost due to inactivity or stress, trauma, and injury. Recovery consists also of restoring the fundamental building blocks that provide the nervous system with the options to solve a solution in the movement environment. When these building blocks are available, the nervous system can assemble them in the most efficient way. However, when they are not available, the nervous system must create a work around, like a coping strategy, to contend with the movement environment.

Skills acquisition is the next stage of motor learning. This is when we combine the fundamental building blocks into more sophisticated motor skills. Different activities require  different skill sets. As such, the optimal method for  developing those skill sets also differs.  For example, a swimmer needs different skill acquisitions than a track and field athlete. What is a constant between all athletic forms is the foundational building blocks. How these building blocks are organized and sequenced defines the differences in the skill sets. 

Once we have a level of mastery in place, then we can explore workload generation by taking those skill sets and further developing them by changing variables of resistance like load, speed, duration are variables one would toggle to develop workload generation.

In DNA, we use a modality called joint flossing to put these movement concepts into practice. Joint flossing is movement that toggles between available end ranges of motion under no or low load. Joint Flossing is also the entry point to recovering the fundamental building blocks of movement and it is diverse in its application. 
As a therapist you want to be the very best you  can be for your  clients. This is why you need a daily mindful movement practice that not only helps you as your own client first, but also is helpful in developing the vernacular used in your assessment process. In my course, Gait Master Class, I have clearly laid a progression of recovery of foundational building blocks, skills acquisition and workload development as it pertains to the walking gait. When you own this type of work, your capacity to help your clients will be exponential. You need movement so that you can help your clients move better and create change in their experience.

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Becoming Better Therapists

Understanding Motor Sensory Apparatus

Our motor sensory apparatus requires three sets of inputs to respond to our movement environment: ocular, vestibular, and proprioceptive. These three sets determine the quality of output or motor response. This is a bottom-up approach. The bottom-up strategy relies on the inputs to derive output.  The top-down approach includes motor planning.

Our somatic experience is based on perception. How we perceive and respond to the world around us is directly affected by the three lenses of perception: sensory, limbic, and thought. There is seemingly a lot going on with the input and response relationship of our motor sensory apparatus. We can dissect these inputs and outputs into these three general categories. Those three categories can then be expanded into subsets. The sensory set is based on how our structure is relaying somatic inputs from our five primary senses: smell, taste, touch, hearing, and vision. There are non-primary senses as well. Proprioception is considered one of them. Proprioception is the set of inputs that allows us to close our eyes and touch our nose. There is an inner map of where our body is in space and the relationship to movement. Without proprioception, we would not be able to develop fine motor skills. 

Proprioception relies on the other two motor sensory apparatus inputs to respond appropriately. Impede any of these inputs, and the output will be impeded as well. The three inputs of sensory apparatus and the three of lenses of perception are intrinsically interdependent. Understanding this helps us become better therapists as we fundamentally cannot separate or compartmentalize any of these attributes when working with people.

Read the entire paper by clicking below.

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The Five Principles of Optimal Movement

When we watch a really talented athlete perform their craft, it is hard to discern the amount of training that went into their development. For instance, when we watch a gymnast on any one of their four apparatuses, the physicality of their performance elicits strong feelings. The effort feels like ease, time seems to slow down for them as they can compact more movement into smaller increments of time. Their movement flows in spirals and the human potential brings a sense of awe to the observer. This is a product of both talent and conditioning.

The five elements I outline in The Five Principles of Optimal Movement white paper below are a recipe for performance. The ingredients for that recipe are as varied as the spectrum of sports and activities that we all love to participate in, but are rooted in these five elements that exist in order to optimize our movement.

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Minimum Daily Requirement: Attention

Bodies by both function and design require movement. Generally speaking, our movement requirements as humans have evolved and devolved due to societal constraints. We no longer receive our daily requirement of movement as hunters and gatherers surviving in our environment.  Because our environment has changed, the way we embody exercise and our daily requirement of movement must also change.

Our bodies require attention to perform optimally. For example, we need to provide the right fuel through food that feeds and supports our bodies. Eating the wrong foods leads to poor health and our vitality diminishes. The same is true with movement. If we don’t move well, our health and vitality diminishes. We experience this through discomfort, pain, and/or injury.

The good news is that we can utilize the quality of our movement as preventive maintenance. There is great wisdom in the saying: “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”  My go to preventative medicine is joint flossing. Joint flossing is the oscillation of movement across the joint and it is the preventive maintenance that your body craves. Joint flossing is the foundation that all your other movement activities build off of. Joint flossing is at the heart and soul of my personal practice.

Knowing that skills are developed over time, rarely can we jump into something new and be proficient. The nuance of activity takes time to develop. In movement, joint flossing is the developmental work our bodies and brain crave. However, because our mind is easily bored and is always looking for the next new and shiny adventure, it takes attention and discipline to develop a solid foundation. In martial arts they say: to master one thing leads to mastering many. With movement, this begins with joint flossing.

Skills development is a progression. One skill builds on the next. The movement programs I’ve developed in Dynamic Neuromuscular Assessment honor this progression. In each program, the movement skills are delivered incrementally so that your nervous system can respond sustainably. Whether you choose to dip your toe in the water and start with the Fabulous Feet program or take the deep dive with the Gait Master Course, after a few months of consistent daily practice, you body will reward your mind with the health and vitality that comes from recovering movement capacity that you didn’t recognize was lost. This is because the brain naturally creates a blind spot to the areas of our body we do not have access to. 

Like all worthwhile endeavors, we must invest time and energy, and movement is no different. What you’ll find in joint flossing is that on the front end you must invest more time in skill development, however, the payoff is a greater expression of those skills on the backend. Your health and vitality will become more sustainable with this attention to the minimum daily requirement of quality movement.

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Adaptation and Keeping The Container Safe

As therapists, our clients come to see us to help them with issues they are experiencing. They often have a clear idea of what they believe is going on. However, we know that the symptoms they are experiencing are often not the root of the issue. Our client’s symptoms do, however, provide us with the necessary clues to arrive at the source of their experience. As therapists, we know maladaptive compensation has a primary causation with secondary supporting players. Often, the symptoms of the secondary compensations lead us astray from addressing the primary causation.

We are familiar with the peeling of the onion analogy. When we are “peeling away the layers” what we are doing is removing secondary compensation from the nervous system’s coping strategy. We are creating a void in the container that could then be filled by unknown element. For example, it is becoming more acknowledged that athletes will perform poorly if their event is after a deep tissue style massage. The reason for this is the global secondary compensations have been removed and as a safety valve, the nervous system puts the brakes on. And if that athlete pushes through that safety valve, strain or injury is the result. Many of us have experienced our clients getting worse after a treatment. The reason why is we removed a secondary compensation without addressing the primary. This left a void in the container and the nervous system filled that void with something, an unknown element.

Let’s unpack this further.

One of our greatest survival attributes is adaptation. Adaptation allows our species to learn from and cope with a changing environment. Without this capacity, human beings would not survive.

There is a universal truth that defines adaptation:

The organism will adapt to its environment regardless of the outcome.

This has far reaching implications on how we adapt to our environment. When we consider short term verses long term adaptation strategy, short-term adaptation may be beneficial. However, as a long-term strategy, the short-term adaptation may not be sustainable and will eventually lead to reduction of optimal function.

The spectrum of adaptation can be further reduced with a second universal truth:

Specific Adaptation to Imposed Demand.

The SAID Principle governs how specifically we adapt to a changing environment. As a survival strategy, it is how we learn to reproduce results with greater efficiency.

When we combine these two universal truths, we can see how our environment, both external and internal, both conscious and unconscious, is influencing our response. We are in a continual process of utilizing coping strategies to respond to our environment. Our coping strategies are learned through the process of adaptation. How we learn from our environment is directly correlated to how we cope with that environment.

When we employ a particular coping strategy, we are reinforcing that strategy. Each time we then use that particular strategy it becomes easier to reproduce. The effect of employing that strategy has three potential outcome categories.


When an adaptation strategy is beneficial the organism thrives.


When an adaptation strategy is neutral there is no change in the organism.


When an adaptation strategy is maladaptive the changes in the organism are unsustainable.

Because these qualities of adaptation are universal, they can be applied to the whole spectrum of our human experience. This includes the triad of Applied Kinesiology; psychology, physiology, and structure.

There is one more universal truth that we need to unpack: keeping the container safe.

The container refers to the collective adaptations and coping strategies that we have utilized in the past. Each one has its own unique signature. Some may be conscious, while others are unconscious.

Keeping the container safe:

Displacing an element with a beneficial strategy keeps the container safe

 In the therapeutic process this is of the utmost importance. As a therapist, we cannot simply remove an element from the container, as this leaves a void in the container. That void is then going to be filled with an unknown element. When we are working with a maladaptive strategy, and we remove that maladaptive strategy, what is going to replace that strategy is also going to be maladaptive. To keep the container safe, one must displace a maladaptive strategy with a beneficial strategy. Or at the very least, a strategy that is more beneficial than the maladaptive.  This can be applied to our whole spectrum of human experience.

Let’s look at how this would apply to manual therapy. We have heard the analogy of peeling the onion of compensation. This peeling of the onion analogy illustrates that in the adaptation process, there is a root causation with multiple layers on top of or covering up the root causation. Let’s explore this through the lens of adaptation.

When we have learned a maladaptive compensation, the nervous system has a need to make that compensation easier to reproduce. As the needs of the environment increase through frequency, intensity, and/or duration, that learned coping strategy will be challenged. When the nervous system perceives that the present strategy is insufficient to respond to the environment, the nervous system will look for a supporting compensation for the original perceived need. If the environment demands a continual response, another supporting compensation will be added to the equation. As the layers increase, the nervous system does not discern between the need to respond and whether that response is sustainable. This comes back to the first universal truth of adaptation: the organism will adapt to its environment regardless of the outcome.

Said another way, we designate the response to the original causation as the primary compensation. All the other subsequent compensations are secondary. These secondary compensations are put in place by the nervous system to support the primary. As environmental demands increase, so does the need for secondary compensation.

The unknown element that the nervous system chooses to replace a secondary compensation brings up the next concern. The nervous system has a whole palette of systems it can tap into and utilize to support or boost a primary compensation. Compensation is not simply limited to musculoskeletal elements. Compensation occurs in any system within the triad of the emotional, physiological and structural.

When we remove secondary compensation without addressing the primary, we are doing our clients a disservice, as we are not keeping the container safe.

There is a solution for maintaining a safe container. In Dynamic Neuromuscular Assessment™ we share a specific protocol called Mapping. The mapping process identifies and correlates the involved players – primary and secondary – in a compensation.

Only when the global picture of our client’s presentation is understood, can the primary causation be addressed. Don’t simply treat the symptoms, investigate deeper to discern the primary causation.

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Integrating Somatics on Retreat

If you’ve never gone on a silent solo meditation retreat, you might wonder why anyone would do this.  There are many good reasons, but for the purpose of this blog, self-exploration is the focus.  For me, this means exploring the somatics of the body in relationship to contemplation and my mind.

I am just back from a nearly two-week solo meditation retreat at Cochise Stronghold Retreat. Cochise Stronghold is in the Chiricahua Mountains Range in southeastern Arizona. This area is rich with history. The Chiricahua Mountains are rugged granite crags above the Sonora desert. Filled with cactus, stinging insects and reptiles, and plants wearing heavy-armor, rugged is an understatement. This range was home to the Chiricahua Apache Native Americans.

This particular section of the Dragoon Mountains is where Chief Cochise held off the US Calvary during the mid-1800’s.  The famous Geronimo was the right arm of Chief Cochise. Geronimo, a notoriously tough warrior, learned his landscape navigational skills amid the granite crags of Cochise Stronghold. During my daily hikes I would go off trail and imagine the kinds of rites of passage the Apache warriors might have engaged in that developed their skills to survive in this unforgiving magnificent land.

This section of the Sonoran desert is particularly wonderful for a meditation retreat. Cochise Stronghold Retreat is located on a canyon floor. The rugged skyline of granite peaks cap the spectacular view, contrasting against the deep blue sky. This area is famous for a rugged style of rock climbing that has roots in traditional ethics – meaning bold, ground up style of climbing that is rich with adventure and exposure.

I also like my retreats in bold style. This retreat I focused on somatics by immersing myself in kinesthetic and sensory awareness. The days were filled with a rich sensory environment. The mental heavy lifting was in the evening.

My retreat schedule had a “retreat-light” kind of regimen – opting for plenty of rest and relaxation — though the immersion was anything but light. My morning practices were indoors in the silence of my own mind. The afternoons I went outside for long hikes, easy bouldering, and some shop work as my seva (service) project.

Through the lens of somatics, I supercharged the classic four positions of meditation: seated, standing, walking, and lying-down.

I started with movement preliminaries. These transitioned into the dedication of practice. Then I would engage in an extensive walking practice. The nervous system was now ready for a reset in a lying practice. This was then followed with a seated practice – capped by dedicating the merit of the practice to all beings, as well as some friends and family who could use a little extra blessing. Each aspect of this sequence is interdependent with that which came before and the practices are complementary. The summation of the integrated whole is greater than the practice of each individual component.

The following is a summary of each of the aspects of this mindful movement practice:


The preliminaries prime the nervous system for that which follows. The preliminaries start with waking up the kinesthetic awareness in the feet. Then movement work progresses to full body.

Here is the list of progressions:

  • loading the calcaneus in inversion and eversion
  • lateral blade loading to activate the cuboid spring
  • loading the ball of foot to activate the navicular spring
  • making a circle from calcaneus through the forefoot
  • ball and foot squat with toes together, knees swing side to side to activate the cuneiform spring
  • Toe activation- lift, spread, ground, squeeze, and release to activate the intrinsic metatarsals
  • Talus activations- hip rotations, knee rotations, lateral blade tibia lever
  • split stance supination fibula rotations
  • split stance pronation/supination with forward and reverse engineering

Standing transitions to ball and foot squat. Each of the five positions of the feet follow the same sequence.

Five Foot Positions:

  • tip of big toes touching/heels slightly apart
  • heels together/toes apart
  • feet neutral/hip width
  • feet pigeon/hip width
  • wide feet/feet turned out

Movement Sequence:

  • standing in awareness
  • alternating heel lift/activate toes
  • mid foot quarter squat/spine upright and vertical
  • ball and foot squat


The following sequence is a salutation dedicated to all that is good in this world.

  • mountain prayer
  • reach arms to the heavens
  • mind
  • speech
  • heart
  • slow squat
  • standing on knees
  • reach heart to heavens
  • surrender
  • puppy
  • sphinx
  • cradled by the earth
  • press to cat
  • cow
  • child’s
  • bull frog
  • chair
  • mountain prayer


Walking meditation has been traditionally a keystone to a mindful meditation practice. During my retreats, I add some somatic wisdom to this time-tested practice. Modern understanding of biomechanics informs the potential of each of the 18 positions of a 9-phase gait.

The gait chart has 18 positions which I call basic form. There are several other variations we can use to sophisticate the basic form. Reverse engineering, this is a reversed walking gait. 45/45, this adds the element of hip spirals into the walking gait. Warrior, this is a classic posture of extending the spine and lifting the heart. Side Crescent, this is a wonderful side bend to reach deeply into the core. And lastly, single leg stance torso rotation, this is a phenomenal developer of rotational stability. All these variations develop capacity in the thoracodorsal fascia, the major fascial sheet that all the muscles of the core attach into or act on.


Neurologically, the engagement of walking meditation, as I have presented, is very taxing to the nervous system. This phase of the practice is restorative. We are recovering from the arduous focus of the 18-point walking gait (found in the DNA™ Manual). There are four positions I cycle between during retreat: 90/90 supportive breathing, supported cobbler pose, legs up the wall, and corpse pose.


The previous practices have primed the mind/body/spirit for optimal seated meditation. I now take a comfortable seat, feel my sitz bones press into the cushion, maintain a long upright spine, observe the breath, etc. These are a few of the common cues given when engaged in seated meditation. Depending on the style of meditation, the focal point of the mind is as important as sensory of the body. The two are essentially inseparable. Shamatha meditation means to peacefully abide and to be content with what is.  This is precious because then we can fully experience the present moment.


Dedication of merit is the cap on the practice. Here I give thanks to my teachers for it is their shoulders I stand upon. It is their practices from which I have learned. It is all the Angels,  Buddhas, Bodhisattvas that have come before me that provide the template to have a practice. I dedicate the merit to all people everywhere that they may be free from all suffering and the root causes of suffering.

My afternoons were spacious to go hiking and explore the beautiful rock formations of the Stronghold. When I returned to the retreat center I would spend time hand-fininishing a beautiful mesquite pedestal for the Buddha that resides in the meditation yurt.

The evenings were when the heavy lifting occurred. My dreams where rich with past experiences. I would awaken from the dream state feeling conflicted with suffering. Each night a different cast member in the movie would show up for healing.  I found there is always more work to do and that even in dreams, it is a process.

Retreats often present themselves with timely challenges. The aspects of what needs to be worked on shows up. The way it shows up is through the interaction of mind, body, and spirit. Somatic practices build a bridge between sensory and that which is sensing.

I encourage you to make a mini vacation for yourself. Unplug from the frenetic activities of the world and fully immerse yourself into the contemplative aspect of deeply feeling you. Your investment in you is the greatest gift you can give yourself.

If you would like to learn more about going on retreat or adding meditation and mindfulness to your practices, please reach out to me at:

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DNA Demystified

Dynamic Neuromuscular AssessmentTM seminars take the skills you already possess and puts them into a context that will make those skills more effective.

When you employ what Joseph calls The Five Essential Skills with the corrective strategies you already use, the results of your work will have a quantum effect with your clients.

Essential Skill #1 – Hybrid Movement Assessment:

  • Learn to seamlessly transition between direct muscle testing strategies and indirect muscle testing – Manual Muscle Testing redefined
  • We will change the paradigm of testing muscles by assessing the response to movement. Can the nervous system and structure appropriately respond to the movement environment?

The Intrinsic Kinetic Chain has many players that cannot be evaluated with direct muscle testing strategies. Hybrid Movement Assessment strategies are essential for evaluating the players in respiration – a key element in assessing clients.

Essential Skill #2 – Completing the Feed-back Loop:

  • Afferent sensory neurons relay information about how movement is responding to the movement environment: this is feed-back motor control
  • Efferent motor neurons are the motor instructions to the periphery: this is feed-forward motor control
  • Using both feed-back and feed-forward movement completes the proprioceptive feed-back loop

Compensation is learned through the feed-back loop. Adaptation is need and response, two sides of the movement equation. Motor learning requires the integration of both feed-back and feed-forward communication to and from the brain.  Feed-forward motor instructions allow the motor control center of the brain to capitalize on compensation patterns. DNA’s movement assessment strategies uncover hidden compensation.

Essential Skill #3 – The Functional Compass:

  • The functional compass provides a map for movement potential
  • Movement happens through non-linear spirals
  • Joints act in compression and distraction
  • Joint assessment using the functional compass evaluates the spectrum of movement potential

Shock Absorption of the Deep Longitudinal Kinetic Chain is interdependent with the ability of the joint capsule to translate compression to distraction over its range of motion. When the joint loses its ability to respond appropriately, compensation will show up as a symptom in ligaments, tendons, muscle and fascia.  DNA’s joint by joint assessment strategies give laser focus attention on the root cause rather than the symptom.

Essential Skill #4 – Functional Dysfunctional Movement:

  • This is analogous to non-painful dysfunctional movement
  • Movement functions can appear to be available with direct testing strategies
  • Hybrid Movement Assessment uncovers hidden layers of compensation

Movement functions can appear to be available with direct testing strategies. Challenging those movements with Hybrid Movement Assessment will uncover hidden layers of compensation: “just because you can doesn’t mean you should.”

Often, our clients are reinforcing compensation through their daily movement. DNA’s assessment strategies identify these patterns so they may be appropriately addressed.

Essential Skill #5 – Eccentric Movement Assessment:

  • Direct Concentric muscle testing is a mere snapshot of movement
  • Eccentric Movement Assessment challenges movement over a range rather than a snapshot
  • Eccentric Movement Assessment incorporates the SAID principle into assessment strategies

The rules of the SAID principle states that adaptation is specific to demand. If the motor program is not cued into the corrective strategy, it may not respond to the correction. Eccentric Movement Assessment cues the motor control center to a larger context of information. This brings up compensatory patterns that would not be revealed in standard concentric testing strategies.

DNA’s assessment strategies are unique as they incorporate both sides of the movement equation.  Concentric activation must be balanced with Eccentric stabilization. This skill set can be explored through the core subsystems of The 5 Primary Kinetic Chains.