“We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.”
― George Bernard Shaw
Play is defined as a ‘range of intrinsically motivated activities done for recreational pleasure and enjoyment. Play is commonly associated with children and juvenile level activities but may be engaged in at any life stage.’ (Wikipedia)
Your body is a complex machine and the primary conductor of your play, your joy, and your energy. Every system in the body is communicating with the others and contributing to your overall health. Supporting these systems is the key to longevity and we already have the tools, but we might need to reboot some of the systems and replace the antiquated concept that as we age, we inevitably will move less, have more pain, and experience less joy and novelty.
The LYT method provides the recipe for aging well and reversing aging woes by optimizing these systems in the body as a team. Through movement education, habit formation, postural retraining and play on the mat, LYT not only helps you move better, but it also teaches you how to bring that somatic knowledge into your daily life, optimizing energy, nervous system regulation, and overall health. Let’s examine how LYT enhances vitality and overall wellbeing by looking at the science of movement and its impact on aging.
The human body operates as an interdependent unit, where all the systems function as members of a team whose job is to maintain health. Our body craves balance, or homeostasis, from a cellular level and maintaining the health of each cell is essential to our longevity. Building new cells and cleaning out older cells is accomplished through movement. Movement activates the cells, signaling them to stay alive and healthy. Without nourishment, our cells will atrophy, shrink, and eventually die. A 2017 study on mitochondrial health and exercise by Laker, et al, reports “New research provides a window into how, on a cellular level, exercise can improve muscle health and, ultimately, exercise capacity, which is ‘the best predictor of mortality in the general population. Whether muscle is healthy or not really determines whether the entire body is healthy or not,’ says lead researcher Prof. Zhen Yan, of the University of Virginia School of Medicine in Charlottesville. ‘And exercise capacity, mainly determined by muscle size and function,’ he adds, ‘is the best predictor of mortality in the general population.’ According to the new study, exercise improves muscle health by renewing its cellular powerhouse: the mitochondria. Mitochondria are crucial to the good functioning of our bodies, as well as to our overall health and longevity.” (https://rdcu.be/c8LM4)
Movement is essential for cellular health but training HOW we move is important for the optimal performance of other body systems. Our musculoskeletal system is involved in movement, initiated by the action of our muscles, but not all exercise forms effectively elicit activation of the postural/stabilizer muscles of the body. In LYT, with our varied movement and core-focused training, we stimulate all 650 muscles for optimal results. The more we stimulate the various muscles, both large and small, the more energy we generate. This energy is a key ingredient in feeling youthful, more hopeful, more curious, and more stable in our everyday life.
Our bones are supported by these muscles, with the stabilizer/proximal muscles providing direct stability to our spine, pelvis, and shoulder complex, while bigger muscles execute larger movements. In LYT, we teach the importance of optimal alignment of our skeleton, the scaffolding of our body, with our TRIPLE S to support the loadbearing of our body in space. This alignment is a key ingredient for maintaining bone density and health and coordinating muscle activation to help us move with ease and grace. The joints of our bodies (where two bones come together and provide mobility) need to move freely to participate in various movement patterns of everyday life. From our RESET to our STREAM, LYT movement both aligns and lubricates the joints to provide us with renewed movement potential in our lives off the mat. We target the joints and tissues that are often restricted because of our modern-day lifestyle with its decreased movement variability. By first preparing the body in the RESET to maintaining neutral pelvis and spine with core stability, the LYT blueprint expands our movement potential with sustainability and safety. Unlike some yoga practices, we don’t emphasize end-range mobility without proper control or long-static holds which can weaken the stabilizing benefits of ligaments. Moving around the mat in different planes and with different levers and loads creates a more resilient and robust musculoskeletal system. This mobility and efficacy allow for more play and potential without pain. Our purpose is to maintain and/or improve mobility from a strong and responsive core center to improve musculoskeletal imbalances and retrain more efficient and joyful movement.
Most importantly, the movement on the mat is fundamentally rooted in the understanding of neuroplasticity and its significance in living and aging well with potential and possibility. Recognizing that the brain is plastic with the ability of neural networks to change through growth and reorganization is the elixir to aging with joy and feeling younger in your heart, spirit, body, and brain. Each time we began our LYT RESET, we help rewire suboptimal postural and motor control habits by returning to the developmental moves of our early stages in life, where most of our brain development took place. By reinforcing core activation as a precursor to movement and using feedback from the floor, the blocks, and our hands, we can strengthen brain circuitry and pathways, igniting even more brain development. In the sequences and Stream of the LYT class, we implement full-body movements and some challenging choreography to activate and engage nerve cells throughout the brain and nervous system. With a dedicated LYT practice, we increase the adaptability and robustness of every system in the body with the brain leading the charge! And therein lies the ultimate reverse-aging ingredient: a healthy brain and body can ultimately change your perception of age and ability.