This podcast is about how movement practice can be seen as a preparation for life. Movement has to do with life and transitions. Life itself is one movement after the other. We move through stages. And even within the cycle of a day, we’re moving. Our movement patterns can offer us a unique opportunity to pay attention and improve the way we respond to and interact with situations in our life.
From a young age, we move and we don’t think about it. Our movements are fun, joyful and functional, all the things that movement is supposed to be. But then we go to school, and unless you go to a school that specifically lets you move around the classroom and stand up and take lots of breaks and go outside with nature, our movement becomes limited. To be still for long periods of time and to sit at a desk in a way isn’t sustainable for our hips and our back. So we have to learn to tap back into our body’s intelligence system for our physical, mental and spiritual health.
To use movement as a preparation for life, first learn to observe using all your senses. This will help you to avoid situations leading down a path of discomfort or misery, whether that’s in the form of movement or interactions with others. Observe your movement, as if looking down on yourself from above and think, how am I moving right now? How am I standing or sitting? How am I holding my energy? Am I leaking my energy? Am I cramming in my energy? Am I clenching my jaw?
Movement also helps us respond to situations better, to be adaptable and to take steps to correct problems. Examples of ways you can respond movement wise are by tightening your core or deepening your breath. By really paying attention, you will respond to the things that your body needs. And then you’re more likely to respond better to things that are in your life. So at work or at home, you can have that kind of cultivated pause that is needed for a more intelligent response.
A great exercise for movement practice as a preparation for life is a hip hinge. Start by standing tall. Feel your feet on the floor, tighten your core, tighten all the muscles that surround your pelvis, your spine, your ribs, all the way up to the scapula and the shoulders. Draw the skull back in space so that you’re truly aligned over your shoulders.
Then cultivate this sense of connection everywhere and see what that feels like. Tune into the difference when you hold yourself up purposely as opposed to just working with the things around you, like gravity and the floor. Can you hold yourself from your core? And get a sense of how different that feels rather than just collapsing. And then from here, slide your hands down your legs, bending your knees until your hands come to your lower legs. Keep that tightness, that firmness around your core, so you’re not rounding in your spine, sticking out your ribs or jutting your chin. Then slide your hands back up. And do that a few times.
When you’ve done that a few times, slide your hands down and hold them on the shins, then draw the belly in and hover the hands away from the body. But keep your position, almost like you’re a downhill skier. And then observe where the energy is being moved or held. Perhaps it feels like it is being crunched or compressed. Imagine that area getting more expansive.
Think about that feeling of pausing, observing, shifting and expanding when you feel something that’s uncomfortable. Don’t ignore it. Don’t react by getting angry about it. But give it the attention and space that you need to respond in the best way possible.