Did you know that movement is directly connected to how you relate to your surroundings, the outside world, the people around you?
Movement is about our interaction with the outside world. Even our internal movement is largely designed to process what comes from the outside and return it in a different form. For example, the peristaltic movement of the digestive organs to take in and excrete food, but also the movement of the lungs to breathe in and out air. The movement of our cells is an expanding and opening followed by a contracting and closing movement. Giving and taking are the rhythms of life.
Our senses are like antennae that are constantly in motion, scanning the world around us, just like the sensors in our skin, intestines and lungs, among others. Some of our body parts are fully designed to feel and communicate with the outside world. Take our skin, the hands and feet, our nose, mouth, ears, eyes, the organs and tissues of our digestive system.
You could see all this movement as a mirror for how we interact with our environment. Do you move lightly and freely or do you experience tension in your walking, sitting and standing? Do you pull inward in your movement to the outside; your walking, standing and sitting or do you open up to your environment when you walk, stand, sit, dance?
Many people let their beliefs about themselves, about their movement, control their bodies. They may have always been taught that they must tighten their stomach muscles in order to stand up straight, or they may have been told that they cannot dance or that they are clumsy or too frail or should not make mistakes. Or that they need strength in everything they do, or that moving without muscle pain is not moving. Or that they are too much in their expressiveness. Very often our beliefs, judgments and ideas about ourselves, about our bodies, lead to a lack of movement; disturbed movement coordination, limiting habits and one-sided qualities in movement.
When the muscles work together in such a disruptive way that they lock up the body and hinder all movement, they disturb a lot of functions in the body and in our movement. Thus, our experience of the environment can suddenly become very different from that in which we felt free in our movement.
A tense body cannot move, it cannot react adequately to the environment if it is stuck. This is actually a kind of freeze situation and the older parts of our nervous system react to this by putting all the parts in ourselves that are not necessary for survival on hold, such as the digestive organs. The stress organs are triggered to produce stress hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline, our breathing becomes shorter and shallower, our heart loses its rhythmic adaptation to situations. The internal biological system is put under pressure in many ways. And it communicates this to our conscious self; it sends us all kinds of physical and emotional signals that undermine our innate urge and capacity to enjoy ourselves, to be creative and flexible. It narrows our perception of the environment and closes our feeling heart to others. Our thoughts and feelings mirror the rigidity and hardening of our muscles.
Many people have developed chronic habits in which the muscles of e.g. the jaw, abdomen, back, pelvic floor, shoulders, hands and throat tighten too much and too long. And then I mean not only the movement habits but also the habits of thinking and feeling. Perhaps they once arose as a successful reaction to a specific situation and environment. Through frequent repetition, it is now as if all situations are the same and require the same approach. But is that really the case?
Try tensing the muscles of your jaw, abdomen, back, pelvic floor, shoulders, hands or throat. What feeling does it give you? What thoughts come to the surface? What do you see when you look around? What emotions and feelings bubble up? How does it feel to walk or stand or dance?
What happens when you slowly widen your eyes towards your temples, let your nostrils and lips slide towards your ears? How does the tone of the other muscles change? How does it feel? What thoughts and feelings come up now? How does it feel to move now?
Our conscious brain cannot grasp the countless relationships and possibilities of our bodies. It does not have the data capacity that our entire nervous system has. The motor part of our nervous system alone has a complete picture of each muscle, in addition to its anatomy and function in the system, its relationship to its specific environment of bones, joints, fascia, organs, etc and its place in the system. It knows exactly how it can use all the possibilities of movement, strength and skeletomuscular relationships to provide a perfect response to every unique situation, every behaviour to our environment.
It is high time to break the habit of separating our head from our body, questioning the body’s wisdom and fighting against it. Now is the moment that we inhabit our bodies with love and pleasure again and rely on their wisdom. That we make it ours to be present in our movements with our whole selves. Because our movement makes a difference to our own vitality and well-being and that of the earth and the people and animals around us.
I believe that becoming aware of the disruptive and limiting patterns in movement and their effect on our thinking and feeling is the first step towards being present in our movement. In addition, by exploring and embracing new ways of moving ‘with our whole self’, we playfully change our relationship with, and our functioning in our inner and outer world. In a renewed relationship with our bodies and our environment, we find the sparkles, lightness, peace, energy and sense of life that many of us long for. Let’s make something beautiful with the body we live in.
Are you ready to take those steps? Sign up for my program ‘Move with lightness, energy and vitality’ here.