How do you feel about the way your own body moves through life?
If you put me under time pressure in some kind of TV gameshow scenario, I’d probably define ‘movement’ through descriptions of ballerinas, social activists.. and a certain parkour-loving thrill-seeker from my early 20s (ex-boyfriends, man. It’s a long story). As someone who is highly active and a lover of the performing arts, I suppose I think of movement in its most extreme form; something that is refined and challenging.
But having just listened to Catie and Boni’s latest talk, it would seem that we’re all exceptional movers. Fundamentally so.
This isn’t to say that we’re all wired for elite athleticism (though I do maintain that everyone can dance, even if it takes a glass or two of liquid courage!). It’s simply to say that when you really zoom-out and take a birds-eye look at your life.. movement can be found everywhere, in the simple and the complex!
Just think, in the time that you’ve been reading:
The planet has moved that little further around the sun.
Millions of your cells have converted nutrients into energy.
Your heart has moved blood to all areas of the body.
Multiple breath cycles have passed through your respiratory system.
And without wanting to be too morbid, you’ve moved a little further along the natural ageing process.
We are always in a constant state of flux, internally and externally. So natural that it’s easy to take it all for granted.
All this considered, it’s worth asking.. How well are we all actually moving through an average day? And in a world of gym gains and ‘before and after photos’, are we underestimating our potential for holistic movement?
Our Oona experts have some great tips to weigh in on some of these bigger questions, helping your mind and body excel in what it was so beautifully designed to do
BEST FOOT FORWARD
Footwear choice runs much deeper than a fashion statement. Boniface advises that you rotate the shoes in your wardrobe, and try to wear a different pair each day. By doing this, you can challenge the body to re-adapt the way it moves from the ground up. Keep it guessing and you’ll also keep each pair of shoes for far longer!
BUILD YOURSELF A WAKE-UP ROUTINE
Start to experiment with a simple and practical movement sequence that you can repeat every morning upon waking up. Ideally, it is one that can be adapted to suit your needs from one week to the next.
“When my alarm goes off at 5.45, which is a push at times.. My legs go over the bed.. I have to sit there for a moment with my feet on the ground, and I just have to breathe.”
For Catie, a morning routine means taking 2 minutes of seated stretches upon waking, which offers a moment of solitude and effective mind-body connection for the day ahead. Boniface shares that he rolls straight into a child’s pose as his first conscious move of the day, before transitioning onto all fours on the floor for a short sequence of cat-cow, downward dog and cobra. This not only helps to switch the brain on right away through breath and gentle motion, but it gives a greater sense of ownership around his ‘first thoughts’ of the day.
INTRODUCE VARIATION AS OFTEN AS POSSIBLE
Hard as this may be, embracing change rather than resisting it can help us move through challenges. Routines are important to instil good habits, but Catie recommends adjusting our patterns, as often as possible. “because in that exchange of energy, things can start to happen.” This could be as simple as throwing a yoga class into your week where you’d normally prioritise cardio. Taking a different walking route to the shops. Or perhaps choosing a different instructor to move with in your next class. In these little shifts, you open your brain and body to new learning experiences, rather than staying stagnant in a comfort zone.
LEAN INTO THE JOY
“Joy should be the engine that brings you to movement.” – Boniface
When was the last time you chose to move your body for the sheer joy of it, rather than for a specific outcome? What drives you to move? Boniface makes a great observation around the FUN factor: we don’t tend to see kids sporting the kind of aches and pains that adults experience, largely because their energy comes from a place of joy and imagination. Of course they have youth on their side, but they’re also tapping into a state of flow. They find an abundance of energy by allowing themselves to be lead by what feels good.
So the next time you’re choosing to raise your heart rate, ask yourself – am I doing this because it’s enjoyable, or because I think I ‘should’ ? If working out feels like a burden, it might be time to search for a different way to exercise.
GET REFLECTIVE ON THE BIGGER PICTURE.
Your relationship with movement is bigger than a sweaty fitness class. Some food for thought:
Am I moving with the seasons, eating produce that is naturally available now? Am I moving with my gut instinct when I make decisions? Am I moving in a way that complements my circadian rhythm? Am I moving towards a goal that excites and challenges me?
If you’re feeling stuck, there are always shifts that can be made to bring yourself back into alignment. I know for me personally, mental health is the greatest indicator of how well I’m moving through life. If I feel anxious or depressed, it is because I’ve lost a sense of flow in the way I’m interacting with the world around me, others and myself. If this also speaks to you, it’s useful to spend some time journaling your thoughts and sitting with some of the above ‘movement’ questions.
Ready for more? Find the full podcast discussion here