I know I definitely approached movement initially as 'working out', something that I really should do, something that needed forcing, getting it over and done with and necessary to be smaller.
All the above are not 'bad', and definitely not 'bad' reasons to be exercising! But I've slowly come to the realisation that movement can be so much more than that, and I now see it's part of a much bigger picture.
As a holistic health coach, I most often start with movement - my clients often choose to use their hour with me to workout - and we weave the rest of the coaching, behaviours, mindset and habits through that hour and through the rest of their week. Starting with movement was unintentional to begin with (my first qualification was as a personal trainer, so most people just started there), but now from a more holistic approach, starting there is really savvy.
Changing your behaviour, your life and your mindset through movement/your body, is a 'bottoms up' approach: the idea that your physical state brings about change in your mental and emotional state also. Through moving your body, you start to change your nervous system, your biochemistry and therefore further down the line your mind & your emotions.
You often get to redefine impossible for yourself in this area, realizing therefore it's possible in other areas.
Working out gives you an undeniable experience of change that opens the window for change elsewhere.
Imagine a coin, where one side of the coin is your body, and the other side is your mind. Movement is special because it's like that coin spinning: you see both sides of the coin at the same time.
You are living in motion.
Your mind is a type of movement.
Your emotions are a type of movement.
You life is a type of movement.
With this is mind - that movement offers a way to influence, connect to and stimulate change in both your mind and body - here are my top three things I think we could all benefit from turning some attention to with our movement practices:
1. Slow down
This is one of the top things I either frequently remind my clients of, or that we actively work on. We rush through our reps in order to get them over with! I get it, and sometimes bringing some power and 'bashing them out' can be (and feel) really good!
When we are in the mindset of 'just getting it done', or push to 'be more', lift more, sweat more etc. it can actually force more dissociation from your body. I think for many of us, it can even be a way we punish ourselves more for not being thin/small/good enough.
Slow it down and FEEL what it's like to squat, to jump, to walk and move through your workout.
Slowing down gives us some more space to be aware.
It gives us the space to learn how our body experiences movement.
It gives us a chance to listen to the feedback it's giving us.
So what does it feel like to do a movement slower than you normally would?
What does it feel like to do it without distraction?
Yoga was the first place I ever experiences playfulness in movement: a chance to explore, to fail, to try again. I often say to my Monday night yoga students to 'embrace the wobble'!
When we 'fail' a movement that it's SUCH an opportunity for our mind to learn. Often, when we try, that feeling of failing can leave us walking out the door, and feeling not good enough.
But I think the frustration is probably a necessary part of the process. We're not going to get most things first time, we 'fail', feel frustration and that is the stimulus for our brain to adapt. Frustration is not a sign you're doing it wrong.
Yes, genuinely. If we are going to move, that doesn't it make sense to experience the 'opposite'? If movement has a lot to teach us, then doesn't being still also?
And I don't necessarily mean being sat down, doing something else like working, watching TV etc. I mean stillness such as you find in breathing, meditation, restorative yoga and other NSDR (non-sleep deep rest) practices.
Lying on the grass in the sun without your phone.
Watching the world go by.
Which one of these might you commit to trying more of in your movement practice this week?
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