Alignment Snacks: Take a Load Off Your Chest... And Your Hips, Too

Katy Bowman
Year Released: 2013

Categories: Athletic Stretch , Instructional / How To Videos , Special Health Conditions

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Katy Bowman’s “Alignment Snacks” are short (20-30 minute) downloads which focus on body alignment. In each “snack,” Katy leads an unseen (but not necessarily unheard) class through an alignment session consisting of various stretches and/or gentle exercises. These movements are performed while Katy provides information on proper alignment. The snacks currently cost $5 each; you can find them on her website ( under the “Move” tab.

This review is for Take a Load Off Your Chest… And Your Hips, Too, a 28 minute alignment session targeting the shoulders, chest, and hips. This one is almost pure stretch, although there isn’t much variety in the stretches and each stretch is held a long time. I love stretch workouts in general, but I found this one to be a little monotonous. But maybe I was just having an off day.

The Workout

The session begins lying on the floor, with your head and shoulders resting on a bolster and a half dome under your head as a second bolster. Katy spends the first half of the class stretching the chest and shoulder area by putting the arms in various positions (floor angels, which is what she calls the inside equivalent of snow angels; over the head, etc.). Some of the stretches are dynamic and some are static. There aren’t many, and the ones that are done are held a long time.

The second half of the class focuses on the hips, especially the psoas. Katy does two stretches here: a cross-legged stretch like a low figure four stretch (with one foot on the opposite calf rather than on the thigh), which involves external rotation, and another stretch with the knees together and the feet coming outward (sort of like a high virasana -- I think; the cues weren’t completely clear to me), which involves internal rotation. There are three rounds and the stretches are held for a long time in each round.

Equipment used: a mat, a bolster, and a half dome

Things to Consider

The purpose of the Alignment Snacks isn’t to work out. It’s to provide alignment information and then put the information into practice through motion. That said, there wasn’t a huge amount of alignment information in this class; it was mostly slow… very slow… passive stretching.

Most of the alignment information is in the other snacks in the series, and so are the most of the stretches. The only new one is the internal rotation stretch for the hips. I’ve done 20 of the 21 other snacks and haven’t run across this one before. Therefore, if you’re looking for unique content and you’ve done a lot of the snacks, you mostly won’t find it here. If you haven’t done any (or many) and you’re looking for a good slow stretch for the shoulders and hips, you may like this one, as long as you don’t need a lot of variety — it’s the same stretches over and over and then over again.

Instructor Comments:
Katy is chatty. In addition to alignment information, you learn about how her second grade teacher taught the class bad gestures and swear euphemisms from around the world. You also learn how to massage your thumbs as if you were milking a cow.