182: Aaron Alexander – Integrating Movement Into Your Lifestyle
“We’re not just working on the physical body itself, we’re working with the person’s humanity.”
Hey, guys, welcome back to ONKEN RADIO (previously NION Radio), the podcast where we explore the body, mind, and soul of the creative entrepreneur. It’s my goal to help you take your creativity, business, and life to the next level. I’m so glad you’re joining me on this journey!
Today, I’ve got an extra special guest for you to explore a creative entrepreneur’s body, mind, and soul, focusing on movement and how to use it organically in your life.
His name is Aaron Alexander, and he’s the founder of The Align Method. He’s here today to teach you how to integrate movement into your lifestyle. Here’s a little taste of some of his wisdom:
“The practice of taking care of our bodies [doesn’t have] to be a thing we drive 30 minutes to and pay a membership. We’ve never received that education growing up because the people teaching us never received that education either.”
– Aaron Alexander
Aaron makes such a good point. If previous generations didn’t receive adequate education about fitness, we can’t judge their teaching practices that don’t include functional fitness.
We talk about different things ranging from consciousness to death, movement, and integrating exercise into your daily practice, even if it’s just getting up from your desk and standing and doing specific stretches. I’m excited to share his wisdom with you — so let’s dive right in!
Who Is Aaron Alexander?
Aaron Alexander is the founder of The Align Method, which is all about bringing movement into your life naturally and organically. Movement is essential to keep your body flowing and healthy.
Aaron has a podcast, The Align Podcast, that I highly recommend you listen to if you want to walk with confidence, move with ease, and think with clarity. No matter who you are or what stage of life you are in, you are more than capable of applying these practices to your daily life. Aaron just came out with a new book called, The Align Method: Five Movement Principles for a Stronger Body, Sharper Mind, and Stress-Proof Life.
Whether you’re an entrepreneur or just trying to navigate high levels of stress thanks to life’s ups and downs, without proper stress management, stress accumulates in life and compounds. Stress is the biggest killer — it causes sickness and can eventually lead to things like cancer. Learning the tools to alleviate stress is enormous for our well-being.
What Is the Align Method?
Before we dive into some detail, let’s discuss an overview of the align method.
“Where the aligned method [came from] was to guide people to go outside of the typical norm of fitness — something that you do in a gym. Instead, [it’s] giving people the manual on how to become fitness, wellness, yoga, dance, [and] creativity. We don’t need to pay [for] the practice of taking care of our bodies [or] drive 30 minutes [and] pay a membership. We’ve never received that education growing up, and the reason we never received that education is because the people teaching us never received that education either. The people teaching them, for the most part, are people selling ‘stuff.’”
– Aaron Alexander
Our credit card is extremely valuable to people trying to sell us something. Exercise is an area where sales have exploded in recent decades as people have learned the value of a healthy body. However, we’ve become trapped in the cycle of looking for magic ways to alleviate the challenges we have in our life.
Problems usually arise because of small things adding up over time. These small things can be as subtle as how we sit and the water we drink. Over time, they have a compounding effect.
“I created a manual of sorts for people to gather all that extra energy that we forego. How do we put that back into our cup in the form of movement? Our senses affect our physiology, and we get into bodyline language, and we get into a lot of different wormholes of movement.”
– Aaron Alexander
Aaron’s publishers demanded “The Method” as a requirement. So, Aaron had to think about his different ideas and philosophies to wrap them up helpfully. Aaron wanted to start planting a seed into people’s minds about how they live and inhabit their bodies.
“While you’re on your computer, basic guidelines may be [to] put your computer near a window. When you’re editing photos, make it so that you can regularly have eye breaks, looking out into the distance. Start to play with your location of your butt — are you sitting on the ground? Are you sitting on a chair? Are you standing?”
– Aaron Alexander
Get a comfy rug and some Moroccan-style floor cushions to create a new area to sit and work sitting on the floor. People worldwide are already doing various things in different cultures and have healthy hips and knees and minimal pelvic floor dysfunction.
“Take your body through that full range of motion [to] get down to the ground. Is that a method or basic guidelines to follow? It’s semantics, but those [are] basic ways to start to create a huge impact on the health of a person’s body and the energy, creativity, and way they think.”
– Aaron Alexander
The body’s longevity just through making these seemingly subtle shifts is where the power of The Align Method lies — learning to pay greater attention to what’s happening in a little finite moment can make all the difference.
Movement isn’t just about physical health but emotional health as well. Let’s hear how movement plays an essential role in self-love.
Importance of Self-Love
Self-love has become a bit of a problematic concept to lock down and, in my opinion, has become “fluffy.”
We don’t often think about self-love in terms of how we treat our bodies, so I’m interested in hearing Aaron’s take on self-love.
“I think self-love makes a lot of sense when you relate it to a child. How do I love my child? I want to feed her good food. I want to make sure she gets to bed on time. I want to make sure that she believes that she can do anything she wants in the world — because she can. [It’s about] being authentic and genuine and expressive and compassionate and loving with that child. [We’d say], ‘Yeah, of course — I got all that stuff.’ But then when you [look at] ‘How do I take care of myself?’ — if people audited themselves [as] if you were your [own] father or mother, would you allow yourself to conduct your thoughts and your actions the way that you do?”
– Aaron Alexander
Aaron makes a great point. Would we speak to children the way we speak to ourselves? How we speak to ourselves counts as an act against self-love if it’s negative. Step one, then, is understanding our self-talk. Most of us think of investing in financial terms, but investing in self-love is just as important and can be simple.
Our finances can dictate self-care and what we are able to do for ourselves, but it’s also determined by what we make a priority.
“There’s a lot of things that you can do. Most things that are meaningful are free or close to it. I could [send] another email or take a walk because my eyes hurt and I’ve been stuck in this house all day. The emails will wait. You need to be a healthy, strong, robust organism for another 70 years because the world needs you, and you [sending] that last email right now is not adding to that.”
– Aaron Alexander
There are hosts of free examples, but when it comes to taking investment in yourself seriously, finding a coach, a therapist, or even a healer helps you skip ahead a few steps through their support and guidance. There’s value if you find the right person to work with and create your self-love care plan.
Having been through some dark times myself, I truly appreciate the benefits others can bring to helping us align our lives. Let’s take a look at how to invest in our health.
Investing in Your Health
I’ve chosen to invest in fitness over the last couple of years. I liked the idea of integrating fitness into my life versus being a gym rat, so I’d ride a bike to meetings and get exercise that way. That’s how I integrate fitness, but not everyone has my flexibility, so I asked Aaron how people can integrate fitness into their life more easily.
“The book is broken down into five movement principles to make it immensely accessible by anybody to create huge gains in a short amount of time and then huge long-term gains, assuming they do all of it. [Of] the five principles, [number] one is in relation to your shoulders and spending time with your arms overhead — ideally hanging from something each day. Get a pull bar and put it in a doorway you walk through with regularity. That will start to mobilize your shoulders [and] open up your lungs better for your respiratory efficiency.”
– Aaron Alexander
There’s a book called Shoulder Pain? by Dr. John Kirsch. He’s an orthopedic surgeon who has an incredibly high success rate just by taking patients through a hanging protocol. It requires hanging for 90 seconds a day, starting with ten days but ideally completing a month.
Our modern times with cell phones are forcing us all to hunch over our phones, and this doesn’t just affect our posture but how we access memories too.
“There’s all sorts of science that we have in the book [that] affect[s] the way that you think [and] the way that you feel and even the way you access memories. San Francisco State University [studied] two different groups of students. One was in an upright position. The other one was in a collapsed position. The people in the upright position were more easily able to access ‘feel good’ memories. The people in the collapsed position had more of a gray filter on the world and their acquisition of memories.”
– Aaron Alexander
Imagine you are a tuning fork walking through the world — you’re tuning your perception of the world around you and people’s perception of you. How we move plays an important role in how we tune ourselves positively.
The Formula for Identity Alchemy
Aaron has so much wisdom to share, and I think he’s given us an essential piece of the formula for Identity Alchemy and how we can positively influence our world.
Movement is more than just what we do for 30 minutes or an hour a day at the gym. It’s about using our body, training it, and investing in it to optimize our creative expression.
How much more creative could you be with an optimally functioning body?
When you focus on integrating movement into your lifestyle the way Aaron Alexander shared with us today, movement becomes part of your journey to becoming an identity alchemist. You blend your best self into your work and create beautiful pieces of art that make the world a better place.
Alchemy is defined as the process of taking something ordinary and turning it into something extraordinary, sometimes in a way that cannot be explained.
With that being said, I define Identity Alchemy as the process of deconstructing who you don’t want to be in order to realize who you want to become.
Through it, you’ll be able to identify your shadows or the things you don’t want to be true about you and shed them slowly. I believe that the deconstruction process of life and your inner world is such a huge piece of understanding who you are so that you can curate who you want to become. In general, I noticed for myself that the more inner work that I do — the deeper shadow work that I do to understand myself — the better life becomes towards the path of wholeness.
If you loved this episode, make sure to connect with Aaron on social media. He’s on Instagram, and you can see a ton of his videos demonstrating how to perform movements! And, of course, you can find Aaron on his website here with more instructive videos, his podcast, courses, and his book, The Align Method: Five Movement Principles for a Stronger Body, Sharper Mind, and Stress-Proof Life.
And by the way, don’t forget to check out my website too. There, you can find a quick ten-question quiz designed and get some of my best free content to help you out on your creative journey.
Thank you so much for joining me today, guys. I hope you enjoyed this episode — if you did, please screenshot it and post it on Instagram and tag me, @nickonken, and Aaron, @alignpodcast. And if you’ve got time, leave me a review on Apple Podcasts. I’d love to hear your feedback.
I’ll catch you guys next time — now go live the creative lives you were meant for.
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“How do we pay greater attention to what’s happening in this little moment?”
Some things we learn in this podcast:
- What is the Alignment Method [1:22]
- How do the senses affect physiology [2:55]
- How do you practice your perception [5:20]
- What is the method behind the Alignment Method [7:00]
- What is the definition of trauma [14:35]
- How Aaron changed his perception of pain [17:20]
- How do we handle each other’s egos [21:19]
- The psychological interplay of working with the body [28:00]
- What is rolfing [29:35]
- How would Nick describe his voice [35:00]
- How to describe self-love [51:31]
- The high cost of self-care [54:00]
- How to decide when you need a coach [56:30]
- How psychedelics are being used to treat addiction [1:00:06]
- How to integrate fitness into your life [1:00:55]
- How often does Nick think about death [1:13:45]
- What are Nick’s biggest fears [1:17:15]
- Why is Aaron skeptical of gurus [1:19:35]
- How to address death [1:21:20]
- Why did Nick start his podcast [1:28:51]
- The Align Method: 5 Movement Principles for a Stronger Body, Sharper Mind, and Stress-Proof Life by Aaron Alexander
- The Align Method 7-day Free Trial