I love manuals. For every product I have purchased for as long as I can remember, the first thing I do when I take the item out of the box is read the manual. I love to pull the manual out, and then play with my new toy as I read about all the cool features it does. My first camera? I took it out of the box and then took photos in every single shooting mode. My iPhone? Thank goodness that someone wrote an eBook called Talking to Siri or I would still be trying to figure out how to get her to tell me a story. Reading the manual lets you start off already knowing the basics so that you can go above and beyond them. Why take the time torturing myself as I figure out the basics when someone has done it for me?

So, the nagging question is why has no one ever written a manual for your body? Yes, you know your body better than anyone ever has or will, but why haven’t there been any books published on how to use the darn thing without having to study with 245 different people around the world?

Well, crisis averted. There has been a book written, and it is called Becoming a Supple Leopard: The Ultimate Guide to Resolving Pain, Preventing Injury, and Optimizing Athletic Performance by Dr. Kelly Starrett, DPT. I have studied with Kelly recently in the last few months, first in Seattle at the CreativeLive workshop, and more recently at his Crossfit Movement & Mobility Trainer Course. Like one of my other teachers, Jill Miller of Yoga Tune Up®, Kelly is taking knowledge that has previously been reserved for the highly educated and putting it into the hands of the people in the form of his book. Why should you have to rely on a movement professional to take care of your wonky shoulder? You most certainly have done something to get it that way and you absolutely need to take responsibility to fix it.  You at least need to try, and then go to a professional for further help. We do no service to our Physical Therapists, Doctors, Chiropractors and other health professionals walking in after the brokenness has already set in. Besides, by the time the pain has set in, our problem has been lurking where we were not exploring!

Becoming a Supple Leopard (BASL) is the user guide to being a human. We are meant to move without pain or restriction and it is only our lifestyles that have cemented us into the desk jockeys that we currently are. If you want to keep doing all the fun stuff you like to do, you have to work to make money, but you do have a responsibility to undo the damage that all day desk sitting does to your body. Unglue, and then go out on the weekends and hike or workout every morning and lift heavy stuff. 

BASL provides you with the framework of the basic human movements we should all be able to do. It then goes above and beyond that by explaining how to scale these movements for your post-knee replacement Mom or an elite level athlete. Movement is movement and brokenness is brokenness regardless of physical training or experience. The book also provides solutions for any soft tissue or joint issues you have been experiencing. It truly is the manual for operation of a human. BASL provides you every step along the way, including the framework for you to check and recheck if you’ve made any change. 

This morning I read about the upper back and neck as I was experiencing some discomfort. This lead me to the most amazing scapular unglue that I have ever experienced. I used my Yoga Tune Up® Therapy Balls in ways they have not been before and I felt a profound change in the tissue texture of my upper back. My education up to this point has provided me with the framework of how to mobilize and take care of my own body, but I was a bit fearful to move beyond the template. While I know that other teachers have encouraged me to let go of the framework, Kelly allowed me to take my fears and dropkick them out of my psyche. But don’t fear that you, a non-fitness person, won’t know enough anatomy or medical jargon to understand the book. It is written in a way that is approachable and funny, while getting to the point of what you’re doing and why. 

I could go on for days on how amazing this book is, but I’ll save you the lecture. If you have a body and it moves with or without pain, you NEED this book. 

I’ve been preaching about it for a while now, but the revolution is here my friends, and this will truly change our bodies and how we think of them =)