Most of us immediately think MUSCLE when we think about movement. We have been taught that movement is controlled by muscles and that strengthening the muscles is the primary way to improve your ability to move. I am here to tell you that muscles are only part of the story.
What is Movement?
Movement is responsivity. Movement allows us to sense and interact with our environment, and to sense and act on our internal reflexes.
At birth, our movement directly responds to our environment.
First, we expand and empty our lungs to take in the Earth's air with a fluid ripple in our soft bodies. Then, we suckle in undulating waves, drawing nourishment into our bodies. We press our surfaces of belly, back, and sides, hands and feet against the Earth to sense our edges and bond with our new home, very different from the waters we knew in the womb.
Later, we move to perceive what is around us and engage our senses of hearing, smelling, seeing, tasting, feeling, we move to orient and locate, we move to follow curiosity and desire, and to connect and interact with other beings.
We develop through the movements we make. Not just in our infancy, but throughout our entire lives! We are formed and informed through movement.
Exercise, Movement, and Health:
When we picture exercise, we generally think:
How many miles can I run? How much weight can I lift? Can I make my stomach flat? This approach to exercise is based on metrics and models rather than an organic, biological approach to health.
I am going to ask you to expand your definition and desire around exercise to include:
What does it take for me to feel really good in my body? How do I recover from stress? What is my resiliency? Can I connect with my own internal reflexes? Can I sense my own vitality pulsing through my body?
Now Back to Muscles:
Yes, movement takes place in our muscles. But it also traverses the planes of our connective tissue and spreads into the fabric of our skin.
Movement changes the flow of gravity in the grain of our bones, stimulating cell growth and development.
Movement changes the tides of the fluid in our organs and winds the threads of our nervous system into different relationships and coordinations.
Movement churns the cycling of our guts, our blood, our chemistry, and our energy.
So you see, movement is not just muscle deep, it spans and includes every part of us. We can actually connect to the different textures, rhythms, and functions of all of our bodies systems through movement and we can influence our biology.
FEEL THIS FOR YOURSELF:
Track Your Breath: Lie on your back in the Being Pose. Place your hands on your belly and listen with your hands to the movement happening underneath them: the rising and falling, expanding and condensing happening inside you with each breath. Explore the action of your breath for awhile. You can place your hands on different parts of your torso to listen to how different regions move with the breath. In a way you are being breathed. The air is flowing inside of you, expands you, and the air flowing out leaves a wave across your torso as it expels.
WHAT DO YOU DESIRE FOR YOUR EXERCISE TO INCLUDE?
Let me know how you are expanding your definition of movement and exercise in the comments section below. I read each and every comment!
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