Being Healthy, Getting Weird

“It is no measure of health to be adjusted to a profoundly sick society.” – J Krishnamurti

As a yoga teacher, I coax people into awkward positions everyday. Perhaps a willingness to be weird is crucial for our health. Slouched over computers, hunched over steering wheels, and staring at screens, the norm is agonizing.

Despite long work hours, well-intended folks haul themselves into the gym pursuing health and hotness. Our posture tags along like a stow away in the gym bag. Yes, cardio machines offer a refreshing sweat and the TVs veg out our minds. But our hips are confined into the linear, sagittal plane. To be “safe,” most strength equipment assumes you have no abdominopelvic stability. So as we try to get stronger, we are offered another seat. A rule of thumb: If it looks like a chair, beware.

Sluggish cores and clogged minds need movement medicine as much as the cardiovascular system. Instead of chopping up our parts for various machines, let’s train movements instead of muscles.

I suggest crawling. Trust me, it’s all the rage in circles of movement professionals these days. The crawl lubes up the hips, resets the shoulder girdle, and evokes core responsibility. Creeping around wakes up the communication lines between our brain and appendages. You may also find yourself sweating more than you expected.

Here are three variations:

Basic Crawl

Sadie Chanlett-Avery - Basic Crawl

  • Start on all fours.
  • Barely lift your knees off the floor.
  • Keep your head in line with the spine.
  • Simultaneously move your left hand and right knee forward.
  • Step your right hand and left knee forward.
  • Continue for one lap around the cardio machines.

Lunge crawl

Sadie Chanlett-Avery - Lunge Crawl

  • Start in a straight-arm plank.
  • Hold your head in line with your spine.
  • Step your right foot to the outside of your right hand.
  • Keep your hips low as you walk your hands forward.
  • Step your left foot forward to the outside of your left hand.
  • Continue for one full circuit between the group X room and the water fountains.

Bear Crawls

Sadie Chanlett-Avery - Bear Crawl

  • Start in down dog.
  • Lock out your elbows or knees.
  • Step you right hand and left foot forward.
  • Step your left hand and right foot forward.
  • Continue for one full lap through the weight training area.

Note: You will look less like a freak if you get some friends to join you. That’s right, time to flash mob the gym with bunch of feral crawlers!


Here’s a playlist:

“Eye of the Tiger” – Survivor

“Roar” – Katy Perry

“Crawling” – Linkin Park

“Creep” – TLC

“Creep” – Radiohead

“Creep” – ?Ingrid Michaelson?

“Creep” – Carrie Manolakos

LaVonne Finnerud

November 13, 2013 at 5:52 pm

Hi Sadie! I love crawling, but the Basic Crawl hurts my shoulder (I have bicep tendonitis). Do you think the other two are less stressful on the shoulder joint?

And I love your playlist!


Christine @ Love, Life, Surf

November 13, 2013 at 7:03 pm

This is so fun! We were just talking about crawling in my teacher training and how good it can be for the hips (and the mind!). Thanks for the great playlist too!

Diana Hunt

November 14, 2013 at 5:47 am

Children who walk before they crawl often have hip “issues” like myself. Years ago a dance teacher had us basic crawl to restore and enhance coordination. We crawl forward and back on our mays in my Yoga classes. Great article! The pictures are so you! Respect;)

Sadie Chanlett-Avery

November 14, 2013 at 8:34 am

I don’t have medical authority to say what exercises are appropriate for you. You can try these crawling variations in small doses and see how they feel. Once the inflammation in your bicep goes down, you may be able to crawl longer and play with more variations.

Jackie S

November 20, 2013 at 10:14 pm

Oh my poor knees… I love spinning but it hurts your rear end. I can try to reverse the damaged I caused in the past but my knees won’t forgive me.


November 22, 2013 at 6:14 pm

brilliant, Sadie! I’m a physical therapist and yoga teacher and wish so many of my patients would use they “gym” of their bodies 🙂 thanks for sharing!


November 29, 2013 at 11:08 am

Great article Sadie! I really love the pictures too. Great attitude and smile. I will have to get crawling into my regimen now as well. Thanks a bunch!

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