Improved Walking – Jonathan FitzGordon – Sprouting

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Jonathan has been practicing yoga since 1995 and has been teaching since 2000, having studied with some of the yoga community’s leading teachers. He owned and operated the Yoga Center of Brooklyn from 2001-2009 and created the CoreWalking Program in 2005 because walking is something we all do and walking correctly is an amazing way to bring positive change to our ageing bodies.

In this Show, You’ll learn:

  • Why everyone should walk more
  • Why the “psoas muscle” is the missing link
  • Is green tea really any good for weight loss?
  • Do I have to take a probiotics?
  • And the simple truth about at-home sprouting

Links & References from the Show

Got questions?


Yoga students, if you love to learn about yoga, health and wellness, plant-based nutrition, flexibility and mind/body biohacking, you have come to the right place, my friend. Welcome to the Yoga Talk Show with Lucas Rockwood, where my goal is to make your yoga practice just that much easier. Find us online at YogaBodyNaturals.com. We’re also on Facebook and YouTube. Check us out. Now let’s get on with the show.

Hello and welcome, everyone. Lucas Rockwood here, with the Yoga Talk Show. Thanks for tuning in. I’ve got a special guest today named Jonathan Fitzgordon. Jonathan’s coming to you from New York. I’m here in Spain. And just so you know, Jonathan’s been practicing yoga since 1995, and he’s been teaching since the year 2000. He studied with some really great teachers, he owned and operated The Yoga Center of Brooklyn from 2001 to 2009 and he created the Core Walking Program in 2005, because walking is something we all do and walking correctly is a really great way to bring change in our bodies.

The reason we have Jonathan on the show today is to talk about walking specifically, like I just said, something we all do but a lot of us take for granted. It has a huge, huge impact on our posture, on our life, on our health, funny shoes, working at desks, all these things have a big impact, and not enough people are talking about walking so that’s what we’re going to dive into today.

So thanks so much for joining us, Jonathan.


My pleasure, Lucas. Thanks for having me.


(01:29) Before we get started, maybe you can just take a moment to tell people a little bit about your work and about your background.


(01:36) Well, my background was in, as a yoga practitioner before I became a teacher, was in Ashtanga yoga, and I was born very loose. I have a total flip turnout and can put both feet behind my head pretty easily and just kind of made my way into yoga in 1995 and I just fell in love with it right away. I started doing Ashtanga immediately, like after just a couple months, Ashtanga Vanyasa and I did the first series, moved through that pretty quickly into the second series.

My knees started to hurt, and I wasn’t getting alignment information much. The practice pretty much lets you go through it and my knees started to hurt worse and worse, and I think because I was so loose I had some sort of intrinsic strength but no real muscle tone and hurt my knees. I ended up having three knee surgeries, and about a year and-a-half of physical therapy. Kept getting back to the mat, getting hurt again, getting back to the mat, getting hurt again.

Finally ran into a teacher, after the third surgery, who said to me so what are you doing to prevent the fourth surgery, and I looked at her and said, well absolutely nothing. And I realized in that moment, it was like the light bulb went off above my head that I didn’t know what I was doing. I was just going back to the mat and hoping it was all going to work out. And from that moment on I decided I would start learning a lot more, started teaching myself anatomy, took a teacher training in New York City and fairly soon after that opened my first yoga center.

As I was teaching yoga, my space had an interesting long hallway that students had to walk into to get to my desk, and I started noticing that people walked in with these kind of odd posture and odd patterns, and then they would take my class and they would do exactly what I would tell them and they would do it really well. Then the minute class ended, I was sitting at the back and they would walk out right in those same patterns they walked in with, not really making a connection between yoga and the way they moved in life.

So that was really the start of my program. I wanted to come up with a way of helping people take yoga off the mat and bring their yoga into their life 24/7. And like you said at the top, walking is just the thing that we all do, even if you barely move, you are walking a few thousands steps a day. So walking seemed to me a really great way to apply this process, this concept of taking yoga off the map.


It’s an interesting thing. I always say when I’m at the park, when I see people walking or I see people jogging is basically an extreme — you start to see the extreme imbalances of walking, but I’m always just thinking what are these people doing? Why are they trying to run when they haven’t learned how to walk yet? As someone myself who I’m a lifelong failed runner, and specifically because I had the same sort of movement problems that you’re talking about where I’d go to yoga class and put all this attention and all this detail into alignment and trying to get my Vinnitsa yoga practice just right, and then same sort of thing. I’d just kind of waddle out of class like a broken crash test dummy. I always call myself the crash test dummy of yoga, because I’ve hurt just about everything in my body but I’ve been lucky with my knees. I have huge arches, and my knees have always been stable. But a lot of people are not so lucky.

So let’s talk about walking. I currently live in a city where people walk a lot. I live in Barcelona. Your average person walks probably a mile a day. I walk a couple miles a day. It’s not uncommon to walk even three or five miles a day. But there’s other cities, a lot of American cities, a lot of suburban cities in Australia where people really aren’t walking at all. Their walk is from their bedroom to the kitchen to the car to the office, and so I think a lot of people are finding that they’re not even very well practiced at this basic skill of mobility.

So let’s talk a little bit about walking. (05:52) This lack of movement, how does this impact our ability to walk with some structural integrity?


Well, it definitely depends on the city. I’m a New Yorker, and New Yorkers walk. We don’t have a ton of choice. I own a car, I have two kids and I use my car a lot, but if you’re in New York you’re likely to walk a lot. One of our biggest problems all across the world is sedintarianism. Even for walking cities, it’s a mental approach or a mental attitude. Some people don’t move, some people don’t like to move and so many people don’t move enough. And this idea of sedintarianism is just a very powerful problem, when it comes to aging. One of my main themes of why I’m teaching people to walk currently is I’m all about aging gracefully. And if we don’t move, it’s a real use it or lose it process. It’s the same thing with the brain.

(06:50) So if we don’t move, we’re not going to age well and we’re going to suffer for it. Aside from even walking correctly, which is what I teach, I encourage people to use pedometers. I wear a pedometer and I walk somewhere between 10,000 and 15,000 steps a day, and I make sure to do that. So another thing I really encourage people to do is get a dog, because if you have a dog you’re going to be forced to get out two or three times a day, maybe more.

The way I do it is I know I’m going to take a long walk with my dog every morning, but let’s say I get to the end of the day and I only have 8,000 steps on my pedometer. I’m going to go for a half hour walk. An hour walk is usually about 6,000 steps. The AMA in this country says 10,000 steps is the goal we should all be shooting for in terms of steps, and I think that is actually a pretty good number. I try to hit 15,000, and to be honest it’s a lot. 15,000 is probably about 8 miles a day. It’s a bunch of work, but let’s say you have a dog or with my clients, I work with a lot of business people and they’re busy and they work too much so I say look, get off the train two stops before you get to work. Get on the train two stops later. Walk to a different train station.

(08:10) The truth is, you have to create the emphasis on walking, in almost any city, even in walking cities. So I think pedometers are a great way to do it, and getting a dog is just the best because dogs, they’re great for lots of reasons. But we have to make it a very conscious thing, aside from walking correctly, just to move. Movement, the way we use our body is just super key to aging gracefully.


Yeah, it’s interesting. There’s a huge movement right now in CrossFit and there are people never to the gym before in their life and suddenly they’re doing dead lifts. The CrossFit movement, I think, is amazing, it’s awesome and it’s cool that people all over the country and all over the world are getting into this type of fitness. But there’s this really fundamental thing that always gets me. These are people who can’t do a pushup, not one pushup, and they’re working on their dead lift. I see the same thing when I go to the parks and I see people training for marathons, triathlons, Iron Mans are the big thing now and it’s like come on, let’s try to take the dog for a walk and let’s do an eight-mile walk before we get extreme, because that’s where injuries come from. And I know that because I have that same personality. I want to go from not being able to run for years to being able to want to run a marathon, this kind of thing. But the idea that you need to walk before you run is one of the oldest sayings in the world, and there really is a lot to it. When people haven’t been walking, the structural integrity of their spine and the supporting musculature is just completely atrophied.

So let’s talk about this. It seems like we should know how to walk. A lot of people would look at the work a guy like you does and say, well everybody knows how to walk. Why do I need a walking instructor? Why do I need walking training? (09:59) How would you respond to somebody who had that kind of reaction, oh this is something everybody knows?


Well, I’ve been doing this since 2005 and people still look at me cross-eyed when I say I teach people how to walk. They just don’t get it. (10:17) No one teaches anyone how to walk. Even with my little kids, I taught them how to tie their shoes, I taught them how to zip their jackets, I basically taught them how to use a spoon but babies at about a year old, somewhere between 10 months, 15 months, they stand up, they take a few steps, we cheer yay and that’s it. They’re on their own to do whatever it is they do, and the way they’re going to walk — we learn mostly by imitation, so they’re going to imitate their parents and the way their parents walk but no one taught their parents to walk. Everybody walks badly. It’s an amazing thing.

(10:54) One of the main things I tell all of my clients, and it’s part of the online program, is start watching people walk. Our brain is a fascinating thing, and one of the things about our brain is we want to feel normal. So there are all these instincts in our body to feel normal, even if we have terrible posture. Most people think they have pretty good posture. Some people are aware of their bad posture, but for the most part everyone thinks they’re doing pretty well, and a lot of that is the brain, because we need to feel normal.

(11:24) So I start right away by saying first watch other people walk, see what you think of that and then really try to take an honest approach to the way you move and the way you stand. No one really taught you how to walk. The way I look at it is that everybody does their — whatever form of exercise you’re doing, you’re doing with the same patterns, unless you’re being taught differently. Most people, they’re walking through life and decide they want to be a runner and they start running, but they’re going to run in exactly their walking patterns and exactly their posture patterns.

(12:00) So you hear a lot of people saying running is bad for you because of all these injuries, but running is actually good for you. You only get injured because you don’t have a technique for how to run. I work with all different disciplines, and I work with a lot of runners and it’s the first thing I ask, is what is your technique. And some of them have a technique, but most of them are just saying what do you mean, I get out and I run. That’s why your knee hurts or that’s why your hip hurts, especially if you have bad posture, which in the same way that I think everybody walks badly, almost everyone has bad posture. To me the main issue of posture is a tucked pelvis. I think everybody kind of tucks their pelvis under and leans backwards through life.

The main muscle of walking, for me, is this muscle the psoas, a deep core muscle, it’s the main muscle of walking and main muscle of back pain. And if you don’t use your psoas correctly, you’re going to suffer for it. And when most people go out running, they run with their tucked pelvis, their feet turn out, it’s why so many people have really tight hamstrings, really tight hips, problems with the IT band which is a strip of connective tissue on the outer thigh. And all of this is just because you’re not getting taught.

Interestingly, professional athletes are taught. If you’re a professional athlete and you’re running, let’s say you’re a basketball player and you get a rebound and run up the court, or a football player or a soccer player, you’re running pretty well because you’re moving forward and you’ve got to get where you have to go. But even these guys who were taught their technique really well, they actually go back into life and they don’t use the techniques they were taught for their sport in their posture and in their movement patterns. And I see that all the time.

If someone comes into me that plays tennis and they do their usual standing up, I start everyone standing up, they’ll stand up and they lean backwards and tuck their pelvis and maybe hyperextend the knees. And I say show me how you’re going to receive a serve, and they immediately get into this kind of soft crouch where they shorten the front of their body and their core tones up, and I saw well that’s pretty much how you should walk. Or a hockey player comes in and a hockey player, I do my thing and I say are you good and they say yeah I’m good and I say well let’s say you’re in the offensive zone and you’re at the boards and you have to head up us. Show me how you do it. And they automatically go right into this core-activated sort of crouch, with the shoulders forward over their hips, and they move really well. I can’t tell you the number of successes I’ve had where people see me once and I say, look just really apply what you do in your sport to how you walk, and it will all change. So much of it is just a matter of how are you going to be conscious about the way you go through your life.


Sure. Okay, so I’m going to go down on the street tonight and immediately because of this conversation, I’m going to start noticing people. (14:59) But what am I looking for? Obviously I see the teenagers who are lurking and hunched over and I see the guys with the swagger and that’s obvious to see, but what other things maybe am I not noticing that a guy like you would pick up on right away?


For one, sometimes I like the swagger. Sometimes I kind of think those guys have it going, because they’re moving in a way and their shoulders are bopping and there’s something kind of interesting about that. (15:27) But the easiest thing is to watch peoples’ feet. The first thing I do when someone comes to walk, and I say walk in what I call old you and new you. So I saw walk in old you and tell me what are you doing to your feet. What’s going on? And almost everybody walks with their feet turned out, and almost everyone walks through the outside of their feet.

You know that immediately by looking at your shoes. The way you’re supposed to wear out your shoes is the outer heel should wear out first, which almost everybody does, not everybody because there are all different things going on in the body, but you want to wear out the outer heel and then move from the outer heal and you want to wear the whole ball of the foot out on the shoe, going from the outside to the inside. And most everybody, and I have them bring their shoes to me and you look and it’s the outside of the shoe that is being worn. Very often, there’s no wear to the inside of the shoe, and that’s the easiest thing to see when you walk down the street. If you were walking from behind somebody, just look at how their feet turn out.

It’s Thanksgiving here and I have my whole family come over, we have like 30-something people come over for Thanksgiving dinner and I have two nephews and my whole family is just this loose kind of thing. The same way that I’m loose they’re loose, and I was making fun of the way they stand and walk and they don’t like to hear it, but they have the same thing where their feet turn out. They walk exactly like my brother, who walks with his feet turned out like a duck and they walk through the outside of the foot. And one of them, the younger one, the 16 year old is starting to get back pain, and he wants to know what I’m talking about. And that’s the easiest thing to do, and it doesn’t mean you just want to turn your feet straight.

Unfortunately, I learned that from my brother who he said come on, teach me how to walk, and I said you’ve got to get your feet more parallel and use the inside of your foot. This is back at the beginning. And a few weeks later he called me, he goes my knees are hurting a lot, and I said oh wow, okay. You want your feet to be parallel, but you want to take your thighs back and get your pelvis to rotate in the right way. Because if you just start turning your feet in against the pelvis that’s still tucked under and leaning backwards, you can easily do damage to other joints, because every joint in the body works together and works reciprocally.

(17:42) So when you leave today, the main thing for you to do from the back or the front is to check out peoples’ feet and their turnout. And if you’re lucky enough, like sometimes I’ll be parked in the car with my wife and I just want to watch people walk and not drive, because I love watching people walk from the side. And that’s one of the things in the online program is, because I work with people privately in New York but I’m trying to help people anywhere. In New York, you can get help anywhere. There is a chiropractor on every block and there’s a yoga center on every block, and I designed my program for people who are literally living in the middle of nowhere, that don’t have the same resources.

(18:21) So one of the things we do is, I have people send us videos and we analyze the videos and mark them up like instant replay on football and send back our comments. So if you watch people walk from the side, which is I think the best way to see other than checking out the feet from behind, when you watch people from the side they’re almost always invariably leaning backwards and their feet are leading the way. Their legs are moving forward. I’ve started to date myself a little with this image, but the Robert Crumb image, keep on trucking, that image to me is how everybody walks. It’s exaggeration, and you think of the keep on trucking guy, it’s the legs forward, the heels hitting the floor with the feet turned out and the whole body leaning backwards. 90% of everyone I work with walks that way.


You touched on back pain and neck pain here. These are huge, huge issues. Probably half the people listening to this have either had back or neck pain or will have. So let’s talk about back and neck pain in relation to walking. I think most people associate it with sedentary lifestyle, they associate it with sitting at a desk. (19:37) But how does actually walking and the shoes people are wearing and all these things come into play with the spine?


What I’m teaching people about the way to walk, again, no one was really taught how to walk. To me, walking is a very, very specific design. The body is meant to walk in a really specific way. If you use the body as its designed, it can help you heal most pains and most injuries. That doesn’t go for everybody. There are a lot of congenital spine diseases, there are traumatic car accidents that really mess with joints but even those people are going to be supported if they learn to use their body as designed.

When I started the walking program, I was just focused on yoga. And I had my own injuries and I finally did figure them out, but I didn’t intend to create a program that was about pain. I intended really to create a walking program to help people, like I said, bring yoga off the mat. And I got some really good press right away. I had a feature in Time Out in New York, and all of a sudden — in the beginning I put through it for free. I just said anyone who wants to learn to walk, come on in and you go through my program. And those were all yoga students who were fairly fit and relatively strong and relatively young. But I got this feature and all of a sudden these people started showing up, middle aged men and women, just suffering. In truth, people don’t think you need to learn how to walk, so you’re only making your way to me, at least in the beginning, because you went to a lot of doctors who didn’t help you. They started coming in and I would say look, you have to walk this way, I’m telling you.

The interesting thing was it actually hurt them a little bit in the beginning. They would come back and say my lower back is really hurting, and I’d say the same way? And they said no, no, it’s a very different pain. And I said what kind of pain? And they’d say it’s the muscles on my lower back. And I had a moment where I had to say, okay let’s see, am I on the right track or should I just stop right now? And all of these people, I asked them to make a leap of faith and just keep on doing what we were doing, and every one of those people their pain went away.

(21:46) What it was, was that if you buy into this idea, like the keep on trucking guy, that we all lean backwards and we all tuck our pelvis under. Our lower back muscles are incredibly tight. There’s a muscle called quadratus lumborum, there are these other muscles, deep muscles, multifidus, your psoas, they’re very, very short and tight. And as a result, it’s one of the reasons why it’s hard to change these patterns, is you’re being pulled backwards and that shortness and tightens in those muscles is affecting the spine, the lower spine, because it pulls the lower spine into a sort of compression.

(22:20) Our lower back, the lumbar curve, is really the essence of what we’re working with as human beings, because interestingly human animal’s only about 300,000 years old and that’s really young in the great scale of things. We are the only mammal to have a curve in the lower back. There’s never been any one before us walking on two legs. We are the beginning. And we don’t really know how to do it.

So we came from let’s say four-legged creatures. If you think, I have my dog and I have two cats and they’re on all fours and they don’t have a curve in their lower back. And if you think the great apes or chimpanzees, our closest decedents in terms of DNA, they don’t have a curve in their lower back. Now, they can walk on two legs for a little bit. They can stand up and walk on two legs, but because they don’t have the curve in the lower back they’re going to fall back onto their hands and walk on all fours.

(23:22) So it’s the curve of the lower back that makes us distinctly human, and interestingly in terms of the psoas muscle, it’s the psoas muscle that when we came up to stand, the psoas muscle was what created the curve in the lower back. The psoas muscle interestingly, it’s the filet mignon or the tenderloin. That’s the muscle the psoas is. It’s very tender in a cow, because it doesn’t touch the pelvis. But when we come up to stand, the psoas created the lumbar curve and this lumbar curve is just an astounding thing because it is the lumbar curve that allows us to be upright and to support weight over the shoulders or the neck. If it wasn’t a curve, we would just topple over and we wouldn’t be able to stand and walk on two legs. So it’s the lumbar curve that allows us to stand and walk on two legs. And on a simple level, I really don’t think anyone knows how to use it.

(24:15) And people say, so what do you mean we lean backwards all the time? And I say we lean backwards because we can. We have this curve in our lower back and we’re not used to it and we’re just developing an awareness of it and no one’s telling me not to. In fact, everyone is telling people stand up straight, lift your chest up, take your shoulder back, which essentially compresses this lumbar curve.

If we live in an environment where we’re constantly compressing the lumbar curve and shortening those muscles of that back where I started with, you could end up with back pain. So one of the key things is to figure out how to get my pelvis in the right position, how to lengthen the muscles of the back and that’s going to bring support to the head, the neck, the lower back and the same thing about the lumbar curve in the pelvis, really puts a ton of stain on the knees and the feet and the ankles.


It’s amazing. I’ve never actually heard anybody point that out before, but the only mammal with a lumbar curve, it’s amazing. One more really, really important issue here. Let’s talk about shoes. What happens with shoes? What do you think of shoes with high arches? What do you think of shoes with high heels? As I mentioned before, I have really, really high arches just genetically, and that’s kept my knees really, really safe, but as a kid all the podiatrists slapped big old arch support shoes on my feet and it caused all kinds of radiating problems throughout my legs. Tendonitis in my heels and shin splints and all kinds of other things, and I’ve actually switched to very, very flat shoes. The flattest possible shoes I can find, and I find I feel better.

(25:51) So I’m just curious what your experience and what your thoughts are with shoes. What do you think of this whole barefoot running movement? Is there truth in that? Is there some truth? What’s your experience been so far?


For one, I love shoes. I own lots of shoes. (26:07) I tell people they should wear as many different shoes as they can. I tend to wear three or four different kinds of shoes every day. I’ll wear one pair to walk my dog in the morning and one different pair at night and a pair in between that, or maybe even two. I like to change up my shoes as much as possible, because the feet are made to move and the feet are made to be adaptable.

(26:29) I’m really no fan of arch supports or orthotics. That said, I don’t tell people who come to me after wearing arch supports for 5 years or 10 years, sometimes for 15 years, to just get rid of them. But I do say you want to get rid of them gradually. You want to start using your feet differently. From an anatomy standpoint, there are 26 bones in the feet and they have 33 different articulations. 33 different ways those bones can move. And we are designed to move, and arch supports and orthotics, they change, some of them are softer than others, but for the most part they tend to be fairly rigid and what they do is they might support that high arch but they also lock that arch into place. So to me, that is not good for the foot. The foot needs to be able to move.

(27:18) High arches tend to be an issue with the muscles of the calves. The way the arches work are it’s a wild pulley system. The body is full of these pulley systems, and the psoas works as a pulley as well. The arches of the feet are designed, like the ankle bone is a pulley and there are these muscles, the peroneals and a few others, tibialias, posterior and interior, they wrap around the pulley of the ankle bone connecting up into the calf, and it’s the tone of these muscles that create the arch. And the arches are only formed on demand. So very often when we’re incredibly tight in the calves, we’re going to have very tight arches and very high arches.

So it’s not just get rid of the orthotics, but it’s learn how to use your feet better, learn how to stretch out muscles that tend to be really tight and eventually, and I’ve just seen it with an unbelievable number of clients where the first time I say look, you’ll get rid of your arches and I’m really not big on saying just do it. People get very afraid sometimes and I’m like, you have to do whatever you have to do. But I’ll have a follow-up lesson with somebody a year later and they’re like I got rid of those arch supports. I never thought I would. And you’ve had the same experience, right? Where you start to use your foot differently and your foot adapts and the body can work better.

The thing is, you really need to do it correctly. (28:43) I’m a very big fan of barefoot running. That said, I don’t run a ton, much more about walking, but in the same way that I walk with all these different shoes I tend to run with different shoes. I like to run barefoot, I don’t do that as much, but lately I’ve been wearing a pair of Merrells, the barefoot sneakers, which they’re nothing. I have two different kind of Merrells. I have one that’s literally nothing, and then I have one that has the tiniest bit of support, and then I wear what they call flats, which are a little more support than the barefoot but not much support at all. And I try to run with all of those shoes. And the less support you have the better, and the more differently you run the better.

(29:30) Now the thing about barefoot running that’s so cool is technically, and this goes back to what I was saying about basketball players running up and down the court, if you’re barefoot you’re running on the ball of your feet. You’re not likely to run on the heel. I live in Brooklyn and we have Prospect Park, my favorite park, and I have watched barefoot runners run really badly, and that amazes me. You have to learn how to do it. If you have bad patterns you will put those bad patterns into your body. But if you commit to barefoot running, you will most likely start running really well.

(30:08) So when I run, I only run on the balls of my feet; my heels never touch down. And that’s the thing I think that’s great about barefoot running. There’s a big argument out there about heel striking and forefoot running, and the fact is that people have been winning marathons for years and years heel striking. There’s nothing wrong with heel striking if you do it correctly. What it’s about is if you run in the keep on trucking mode or the way most people walk, is that a lot of heel strikers, they strike their heel on the floor forward of the joint of the knee, which is how they run, which is how they walk. But if you’re a runner and you heel strike with the knee directly above the ankle, you are not likely to get hurt. But if you run on the ball of your feet, it’s just to me a kind of more efficient means of moving.

One of the main things I teach in terms of walking, I show them and say walk in old you, and one of the things you very often hear is the heel. People hit really hard on the heel, like thump, thump, thump, and then I tell them stick your butt out, lean forward, do my weird kind of thing to start. It’s going to feel really odd in the beginning. And then I say tell me what happens, listen for the heel and they say there’s no sound. And then I have them actually walk on the balls of their feet. I have them get off their heels, so not running but walking that way, and then I say so this makes it really simple. Your tendency is when you walk you spend as much time on your heel as possible, and the new you for walking, all I want to see happen is I want you to spend as little time on your heel as possible. And to do that you have to propel forward. To get off the heel quickly, you have to be propelling yourself forward.

There’s all these endless queues, and so we start with this old you and new you, and I know when things are going well, and it’s the same thing on the videos I sell, I just refer to old you and new you and I know people come in after lesson three, maybe sometimes lesson two and I say let me see old you and they go no, no, I don’t want to go back there. Then I know we’re doing something right, even though I still think it’s very good to get the contrast, to do both, to really feel what you used to do compared to what you’re trying to do now.


That’s great, and the story I rarely tell is my arches are so high because I wore arch supports for so long and I used to do stair climbing training which made my calves even tighter. But in any case, at one point I wore a 9 ½ shoe, and now I wear an 11 easily, sometimes an 11 ½. So the change in my feet is absolutely — it’s not subtle. It is absolutely not subtle, so that’s a huge, huge difference.


That’s just amazing, and that is purely about the bones of the feet, that the high arches, like I said, the bones just get clawed together. They get stuck together, and you just expanded them. And then think about you have a kid, and if you didn’t think about this stuff, if you weren’t Lucas the yoga guy, your son would have his high arches and you would just do what you did and let people give him the arch supports. That’s 95% of the world most likely, and it doesn’t have to be that way but there’s a lot of group think about this stuff and it’s just what people do.


Yeah. So you teach this eight-week course, if I understand right, and for a lot of people taking an eight-week course in walking sounds like crazy talk. To me, as you can probably hear, I’m already excited about it. (33:47) So tell me about your eight-week course, tell me about your online program, tell me what exactly you teach people, what kind of results they have, what are the lessons like. Give us a little bit more insight into what’s going on there.


It used to be an eight-week course, and then I realized eight weeks might be a little extreme with people. So the online program is broken down into five lessons. In terms of when I work with people privately, I no longer say you have to commit to this. I say do what you think is going to work for you, and people tend to see me five times or so, but there are people who see me for years. Three years later they’re still coming in and they get support from what I offer them and it’s fine, and some people just want exercise stuff. It’s called Core Walking, because there’s a lot of core strength that can really help you do this work, and everyone who comes to me for lesson one, and lesson one on the DVD is exactly the lesson one you get with me privately. I believe the body has a specific design, and that design involves using your psoas correctly to walk and that there are three muscle groups that are very important to me, which I called the Holy Trinity, that they’re designed to support the psoas, and those are the inner thighs, the pelvic floor and the abdominals.

(35:06) So everyone who comes to me in the first session, and it’s on the first DVD, these are the exercises, they’re the core four. They are how do you build your inner thighs, how do you build and stabilize the pelvic floor and pelvis and how do you get the right tone in the abdominal muscles. You have four abdominal muscles. It’s very easy to have one dominate the others, and getting balanced tone in that is really difficult. And then the fourth exercise is a psoas release that I think everyone — it would serve everybody.

So it’s just different for everyone privately. And in the online program, I suggest people that they should spend two weeks with each lesson before they move onto the next lesson, and I talk to people via email or on phone and we do Skype sessions and some people get the videos and they watch every one of them immediately. Sometimes I’m amazed. The way the videos work is you get five walking lessons and then split over the lessons there are 25 anatomy videos and 25 exercises, and I really believe you are not going to use your body functionally if you do not know how it’s designed.

(36:17) So the program is really an anatomy program in the most basic way. I really try to teach anatomy as simply as possible. I use the muscle names, but I really try to not be too obscure or esoteric, but I feel like if you knew how your body is designed to work you’re going to use it better right away, and that’s the kind of thing about the hitting of the heel. If I tell you why you should be softer on your heel, you’re much more likely to use it better.

Everyone who comes in, the first session you get the core four exercises and we go on from there. So it’s just different. And there are people who love the idea of eight sessions, and then there are people who say — I had a guy come in about six months ago and I know him through a bunch of friends and he came and did a lesson with me and then at the end I said so some people come back a few times, he said no I’m good. And I got a little offended. I said really, well you kind of need to do a few — and he goes, no, no, I get it. And I said okay, and then I saw him a couple months later at a cocktail party and I said how’s it going, and he goes oh it’s great. It kind of just changed everything. I apply that stuff great. I realized he only needed one lesson, which is just great for me. Private lessons are not so cheap and I’m here to make a living, but I really love the idea of this because to me it’s all about empowering people to change themselves. I love the idea that someone can come in one time, hear what I say, buy it and go and change. And then that’s it.

(37:52) One of the hallmarks of the online program for me, like I said earlier, that you can get — in New York you can get a lot of help and I wanted to create a program for people in pain who are not in New York City, who are in the middle of nowhere and don’t have the resources, so one of the things is if you buy the program you can get three video analysis with the program. So you send me videos of yourself walking before you start, somewhere in the middle, somewhere towards the end and then that’s going to give you a really clear sense of how to change your process.

One of the things I do with people is I say look, once you send me the video now watch it like 50 times, because it’s just like when you’re going to leave and watch people walk. People don’t realize how they walk. I’ve had clients come in simply because they saw themselves on a wedding video and realized, oh my God, look at the way I walk, and sometimes that’s exactly what it takes. Again, it’s just old you and new you, and to be totally, brutally honest, people are afraid of change and pain is an amazing incentive for change. But not everyone is really able to change or ready to change, and I know there are people who come in for a session and I look at them and go, they’re not coming back to quickly. And they might come back in a year, but people are afraid of change, and it’s one of the things I talk about in my yoga classes all the time. I can’t help you not be afraid of change. But if you can figure out how to get life is change, that’s to me all the yoga philosophy, it’s like is change and that’s the Buddha. Life is change and life is about a fear of change.

And that’s what I’m offering people. You can change anytime. I’ve worked with people in their 70s and 80s. It gets a little harder when you move into the 80s. But I’ve worked with people all stripes, and anyone can change but it’s not me. My thing is I don’t fix people. I don’t touch people, I’m not a manipulator, I’m a guide and I will guide you to fix and heal yourself, but it’s very intense because you have to be willing to embrace this idea that I can change, I will change and mainly I want to change.


Awesome, I love it. Jonathan, before we wrap up, first of all make sure to give people your web address so they can find you if they want to learn more, and then maybe — I know as I was listening I was checking the bottom of my shoes and I’m wondering how I’m walking. And so for people listening here, they’re going to go check out your website, but maybe you can give them one thing that they can start to play around with as soon as they get up from their desk.


(40:40) The website is CoreWalking.com, and one of the things about that is I write a blog and I write daily, and the blog covers all of the topics and the blog supports all of the stuff you get, if you get the program. And so the main thing I would start with one, if you stand up try to feel if you lean backwards, but pay attention to your feet. Try to see if you turn your feet out, just like you said, take a look at your shoes and see how you wear your shoes out. And then I do tell people, get a new pair of shoes to start your new process, to see if you can wear out your shoes differently. The thing about it is, I’m here for people to buy my product, but you can really get a very solid taste of it by reading my blog posts. The blog posts really support all the work, and you get a real clear idea from the blog about where I am and how you can start to change your body very, very quickly. So CoreWalking.com.


Awesome, well great. Well thanks so much for sharing your knowledge with us. Again, sometimes it’s the most simple sounding things that have the biggest profound affects. People make fitness and diet and nutrition, health so complex and it always comes back to the basics and simplicity. So I love talking about walking, I love talking about basic alignment and I appreciate you sharing with us. And for everybody listening, do check out his site, Jonathan’s site, and we’ll link to it in the show notes as well.

So thanks so much, Jonathan, and I hope to connect with you again very soon.

You’ve got questions? We’ve got answers. Welcome to the FAQ round. If you’ve got something that you want to ask, send your questions to podcast@YogaBodyNaturals.com. And now, let’s hear what’s going on with our listeners.

Mel asks:

(42:29) I just want to ask your opinion. I’ve recently been told for the first time ever that I shouldn’t be inverting while wearing contact lenses. I’ve never experienced any discomfort. So do you know of any reason why I should stop?

Mel, I feel your pain. I got my first pair of contact lenses when I was 11 years old. I wore glasses and contacts for my entire life. I got surgery about 10 years ago. It was great. It wasn’t that great, actually. The surgery was miserable and it took a long time, but it’s great not to have them. If you’re like me, I’m guessing you are like I was. I was basically legally blind. I had a negative 7.5 in both eyes, and so I couldn’t do anything. I couldn’t even walk to the bathroom without my glasses. So what that meant is that I had to get rid of them. And so I had to wear my contact lenses when I did everything. I would wear my contact lenses playing all sports, in surf, in scuba diving, in absolutely everything.

The real risk of doing it while inverting is that your contact lens will go up in the back of your eye. Anybody who’s worn contact lenses a lot, I’m sure has experienced this. It’s probably happened to you as well. Your contact lens floats up in the back of your eye and you have to dig it out. In terms of other dangers, I can’t think of any other danger that it could be. The only thing it might be related to is the pressure in your eye, but I never experienced any problems. I practiced with contact lenses for many, many years. So I wouldn’t be too worried about it. I think it’s mostly a comfort thing.

Lucky asks:

(43:57) People recommend green tea for losing weight. Which green tea is good, and how should I use it to become thin? What diet in small towns would you suggest?

Okay, so first thing about green tea, green tea will not make you lose weight. Green tea has some caffeine. In the very, very short term caffeine might suppress your appetite, like maybe one day, and then the rest of the days no. Prolonged caffeine use, there’s some studies even associating it with weight gain. There’s different theories about why this happens. The most reasonable theory in my mind, is that it causes pikes and then dips in energy, and the natural reaction is to either have more caffeine or to have sugar. Sugar is one of the more lipogenic of the micronutrients, so that tends to be what happens. People have a coffee in the morning at 10:00 a.m. or 3:00 p.m. in the afternoon. Those are usually kind of the hump times of the day. It’s natural to reach for something sugary to try to rebound from that caffeine thing.

So I think green tea is terrible for losing weight. I would try to avoid caffeine all together. I think it’s horrible. If you’re drinking green tea for other reasons, like to reduce coffee or because of the antioxidants and interesting phytonutrients, there are some reasons that green tea is interesting. That said, if you’re drinking green tea because you think it’s a weight loss elixir, I think it’s a big mistake. Same with the green coffee. It’s just kind of silliness that Dr. Oz sells on television.

What’s the best diet available in small towns? Lucky, the best diet in any town is a whole food diet. It’s eating natural foods, minimally processed, minimally cooked. So in a small town, I’m guessing you have less access to the “health” foods, which tend to be processed, junky soy, sugar, wheat-based crap anyway. In a small town, probably the foods being served are better than in big towns, so I wouldn’t worry about it. Vegetables as the base of your diet are always a really great thing. Finding healthy sources for fats is absolutely crucial. Almost everybody’s eating too little fat. Good sources of fat would be, on the plant-based side coconut oil, olive oil if it’s uncooked, seed oil there’s only a couple and they need to be cold pressed, those are going to be harder for you to find.

And then on the animal side, things like lard and tallow and butter, if they come from grass-fed animals. Those can be really great, healthy, healing oils as well. And if you eat animals, the less commercial the meat the better it’s going to be, as a general rule of thumb. That’s kind of a big, broad statement but it’s pretty much true. So any kind of wild bird is going to be better than a domesticated chicken. Any kind of less commercial animal is going to be better than a pig or a cow, but chicken, pigs and cows are kind of the staples you find everywhere.

Alpha asks:

(45:25) What is a good or the best source of probiotics? Kefir, yogurt or something else?

There’s lots of good sources for probiotics in foods, and if you can you want to make them yourself, because what happens with store-bought probiotics is often it has been killed. The probiotics have been killed through the process of pasteurization. So I would say the vast majority of people eating yogurts are thinking they’re eating very, very great living foods, while most of that beneficial bacteria has been killed during the pasteurization process. Some of it survives, but most of it’s been killed. The same is true for most commercial kefirs and Kimchis. They’ve also been pasteurized.

So the best are if you make them at home. All of those can be good choices. I’m not a huge fan of dairy. I’m actually kind of a dairy hater, but if dairy works for you, fermented dairy certainly a whole lot better. And so the best source are for sure foods. The next best source would be supplements. We have one called Happy Belly, which is very, very potent. There is colony-forming units, it has 50 billion colony-forming units, which is anywhere from 20 to 50 times more potent per capsule than your average brand on the pharmacy shelf, which is why we carry it, just because it’s such a unique one. We have to formulate it ourselves. It’s really quite a laborious process, but it’s worth it because it’s very powerful.

A lot of people also don’t realize this, but you can use your own probiotics to inoculate, to create your own cultures at home. So you can create a coconut kefir, you can create a cow’s milk or goat’s milk kefir at home, and you can use probiotics. Now, the Happy Belly probiotics do not contain the exact same bacteria spectrum that a kefir or yogurt or kimchee would, but it will ferment and it will sour and those beneficial bacteria, our particular formula has 10 strains. They’ll all proliferate overnight if you leave them to ferment. So I would say the best ones are whichever ones you eat a lot, and a probiotic, for a lot of people, it’s a really good option as well. For sure, listen to your body.

Laurensia asks:

(48:58) If someone has a frozen shoulder, what kind of yoga poses could help in healing the problem?

Frozen shoulder is something you need to go work with somebody on. Do gentle stretching at home. I’d be really leery for you to do deep stretch gravity poses, like we teach a very intense pose called the Hangman. I was just doing it at my studio 10 minutes ago on a trapeze. On the yoga trapeze we do Hangman. That’s a really powerful pose on your shoulders. I’d be careful to do that, because your frozen shoulder could be related to a rotator cuff injury, in which case you need to be careful.

One thing that’s great for shoulder problems is a yoga pose called shoulder stand. It’s kind of an advanced inversion pose. Another version of it is Dolphin pose. We’ll try to link to some photos of that here in the show notes. If you ever have shoulder problems, I can’t recommend those poses enough. They really strengthen your whole shoulder girdle. I screwed up my rotator cuff in my shoulder for the first time about six months ago, and I was really freaking out because I couldn’t support my weight with it. I couldn’t do jump backs or anything, and I started practicing long-hold forearm stands and it really, really fixed it very quickly. It was really cool.

Siddarth asks:

(50:12) It is said that the life of a person depends on the number of breaths a person takes in a minute. The slower the breathe, the lengthier the duration of the life. Is this true that Kapalbhati and Bhastrika (these are two cleansing Kriyas in yoga, they’re how we breathe stronger) where insulations and exhalations are very high, is it true that Pranayama will reduce the duration of our life?

Just a quick clarification. Kapalbhati is a Kriya, and so is Bhastrika. They’re cleansing practices, where you’re using breath very quickly. They’re not Pranayama practices. They’re often confused. Pranayama is always when we’re extending or lengthening the breath, so we’re slowing it down. Kapalbhati and Bhastrika are both Kriyas. They’re cleansing practices. They’re all great for you, but they’re different things.

All that yoga geek stuff out of the way, yeah in traditional yoga philosophy the idea is how old you are is determined by how many breaths you’ve taken. It’s kind of a cool philosophy. I don’t know if it’s true or not, but it seems to make sense in a lot of ways. If your nervous system is over-amped, if you’re operating in high gear at all times, it’s probably a good chance that you’re over-oxidizing your body. A good example of this would be endurance athletes. Premature aging is pretty much rampant in that community. Most of the males are balding, they have hormonal problems and it’s a pretty big issue.

And so in any case, when we slow down our breath, the idea is that we lengthen our life. Does that really happen? I don’t know that there’s any evidence to show that, but we do know when you slow down your breath it’s much, much easier to move into an alpha brainwave state, so we’re going from a beta overactive to an alpha, more calm, meditative, peaceful, and that triggers a parasympathetic nervous system response, which is essentially calming to your entire nervous system.

For most people this is really beneficial. Most of us are over-amped, over-worked, over-excited, and so it can be really beneficial. You can get really, really complex with Pranayama breath extension practices, but on a really simple level you want to extend the exhalation. Let me give you an example. Inhale to the count of four, exhale to the count of eight. Inhale to the count of five, exhale to the count of ten. Whatever your ratio is, it’s one to two. So whatever you’re inhaling to, double that on the exhale. You always want to be comfortable, you always want to be relaxed and in control. It has a very, very profound effect on your physiology. It also has a very profound effect on the way you think and your emotions. You can measure it with a heart rate monitor with heart rate variability monitors. You can also measure it with even your pulse. It’s pretty interesting stuff.

Anne asks:

(52:56) I have MS, I have lower back pain, this is related to spinal cord damage not an actual injury. The damage has occurred high up in the spinal cord, and the pain is felt in the lumbar spine. Odd I know, but this is MS for you, meaning it’s a very complex nervous system thing. When my balance wasn’t so affected, I enjoyed yoga. It looks like with the support of the yoga trapeze I can do many of the yoga poses and positions. Do you have other MS patients inquiring about this product or indeed using it?

Yoga trapeze is good fun. Is it going to help with nervous system stuff, with MS, I couldn’t tell you. There’s a TED Talk you need to take a look at. I’ll link to it here in the show notes. I’m forgetting how to say her name, Dr. Wahls, there’s an “H” in there that’s a tricky one for me. She is a medical doctor and she got MS and she’s doing a couple of very, very interesting things with her diet, and specifically with ketosis and a high-fat diet, which I’m a huge fan of. She’s using MCT oil, coconut oil, whole food diet. She’s including a lot of animal products, and the main thrust of it is to get her sugar intake down. For everything nervous system, a high-fat diet, there’s a lot of research and anecdotal research suggesting the benefit. So I’ll try to link to it in the show notes. If you don’t find it, Google search TED Talk MS and I think you’ll get a quick link to that. Very interesting to take a look at.

Will a yoga trapeze help? Maybe. I’d be much, much more inclined to push you in the direction of taking a look at this doctor’s work, very interesting. Hopefully we’ll have her here on the show in the next couple of weeks and we can get some more information on that. It’s applicable to anyone with MS, but also anybody dealing with any kind of nervous system thing. Very, very interesting research she’s doing.

Hope that’s helpful. If you too have questions, please email them to Podcast@YogaBodyNaturals.com.

The food you eat affects your body and mind every day. Welcome to the nutritional tip of the week, where we explore plant-based diets, super food nutrition, edible insects and tropics. The goal here is mind/body biohacking for a better you and a better planet. So hey, let’s talk nutrition.

(55:28) Today’s nutritional tip is about sprouts. I don’t know what’s happened in this world, but everyone’s running around buying goji berries and crazy marine phytoplankton and all these invented super foods. They’re perfectly fine for you if you can get them fresh, but for some reason nobody’s sprouting anymore. Nobody’s sprouting. It doesn’t make any sense. In your home, in your kitchen, you can grow alfalfa sprouts without any worry about mold. You can grow broccoli and radish sprouts. You can sprout lentils, you can even sprout things like chia and quinoa. You can sprout all kinds of things.

(56:05) Here’s why this is important. You have all these super foods and packaged foods and multi-vitamins and all these kinds of things, and there are a lot of interesting and fantastic things out there. But nothing, and absolutely nothing compares with the micronutrient bioavailability of a fresh sprout. It is a plant at its peak, in terms of its mineral density, its vitamin properties and bioavailable protein for a lot of these sprouted seeds. So sprouting is fast, it’s cheap, you have complete control. It is home gardening. If you’re looking into growing anything at home, forget about growing herbs. You could spend three months growing parsley that I can juice and drink in literally five minutes. But every single week you can churn out pounds and pounds of micronutrient-dense, protein-dense, even healthy fat-dense sprouts for a fraction of the cost of anything you’d buy in the store.

I don’t know why people aren’t sprouting. Nutritional tip of the day, buy some sprouting jars, get some organic seeds, start growing some food in your kitchen.

You’ve been listening to the Yoga Talk Show with Lucas Rockwood. If you like this show, I always appreciate reviews and ratings on the iTunes Store. It helps other listeners find out about what we’re doing, and it keeps me motivated to dig around and find new and diverse topics to share with you. For complete show notes, links to everything discussed in the show, along with a ton of other free yoga videos and online resources, please head over to YOGABODYnaturals.com.. Thanks so much for listening, and we’ll talk to you very soon. Thanks so much for listening, and we’ll talk to you very soon.