Unbreak Yourself is about fixing and restoring ourselves to optimal ability through a better understanding of egonomics, posture & mobility.

I was broken and had no idea how I had got here. I’d always been an active person, good at racket sports, skiing and snowboarding all my life, I had solid balance and hand to eye coordination. But now I felt trapped inside my body to the point that it hurt to sit, hurt to move and what was worse I had no idea how to get out, to correct. In fact I had no idea where normal or neutral was, no frame of reference just a sense of my body massively pissed off with me. I went to see a series of physiotherapists who messed me up even further from cracking my neck and from a technique known as tracking (having a machine pull your head up off your spine – yes it looks as weird as that sounds) and I became more depressed. It got to the point where I thought my active days were over. I was low and had written myself off.

Looking back now, how I got there was no surprise. I bought my first MacBook back in 2008 and for 3 solid years I probably averaged 6 hours every day on it, hunched over, neck extended, shoulders rounded and collapsed. I was trying to make a living playing online poker where time disappears altogether and you forget about everything including your physical body.

If I could travel back in time and see myself Back To The Future style it would be completely obvious to point out all the movement and postural errors I was making but back then I just stared into the mirror oblivious to just how far from normal I had traveled.

As F.M. Alexander (who founded the Alexander Technique) said, “You can’t do something you don’t know, if you keep on doing something you do know”. The something we keep on doing is called our habit.

We evolved to stand on two feet, not to sit in chairs all day. A lack of mobility and small repetitive movements reduces muscle tone in the core support muscles of the torso, lets joints stiffen up, reduces blood flow and concentration and even affects breathing.

Destroying your posture is kind of the worst thing you can do to yourself as suddenly it feels like you can do nothing. You can feel trapped inside your body, not understanding why you can’t turn your neck or why you have a burning sensation in your arms or tingling fingers.

And in my experience from going through 4 physiotherapists, 1 chiropractor, 1 cranial osteopath the only person who can fix you is you. I’ve had a great Alexander Technique teacher, however the practise is about becoming aware of how you are sitting and it is up to you to continue that awareness with the ergonomics of your work environment and your every day movement.

The good news is your body is massively resilient and we can form new habits, but it is your responsibility to unbreak yourself and it is almost impossible without a framework of what normal posture is and how to move. This is what this site will give you.

I’m not a physician, but I’ve been studying mobility for the past 3 years, staring at myself in the mirror everyday like an early day Alexander or a modern day Tim Ferriss trying to distill and synthesise the key components. Join me and let’s see if we can’t unbreak yourself too.

Richard Patey

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