Guestblog: Just Move.
Take a deep breath.
As you inhale, feel the energy flow down through the front of your body as it opens your frontal plane. Slowly exhale and feel a similar opening in your spine. Relax into this breath, letting go of every future or past thought and allow yourself to experience the gift of the present moment.
By asking you to take this breath, I have asked you to perform a movement. In fact, breathing is the first movement we perform after birth. Our natural ability to breath is something we are born with, and we have continued this movement ever since.
Breathing can be looked at as a perfect example of how all movement must be executed. The movement flows; it is complex with many different potential variations, and it is natural. When we breathe we are not trying to quantify breaths with reps, sets, or a measurable increased volume in the lungs... We are performing the movement for a reason.
The brain has been designed - over millions of years of evolution - for movement complexity, giving the body an ability to move in astonishing ways. The body is unbelievably complex and adaptive because of the external demands placed upon it. For thousands of years we have moved with purpose. Our unmatched endurance was built from gathering water, foraging, and hunting. Humans, being one of the great apes, are able to brachiate (swing) and hang which makes it easier climb to get food from a tree. Furthermore, we are fully functional swimmers. Humans are without question the most sophisticated and complex animal on the planet. It seems our ability to adapt is infinite.
Our movement capability is adaptable to these different environments because it has been necessary for our survival.
Today, survival is no longer the theme of everyday life. Our food is at an incredible surplus. The need to hunt, forage, build shelters, and gather water has diminished. Since there is a decrease in physically demanding tasks, there has been a decrease in movement.
Our high tech culture produces more options for doing things quicker and with less effort than ever before. For example, the chair appears to be a very comfortable resting position for long hours of unnatural paper work. The problem is that our bodies are not built to sit at this awkward 90 degree angle with a hunched back. By sitting in a chair you are completely turning off your glutes (butt muscles) which increases postural distortions and the potential for injury.
Our natural resting position is the flat foot squat, a full compression of the body. If you have ever sat this way you'll notice after about 15-20 minutes that it is no longer comfortable. That is because we are not built to sit around all day. We are built to move. If we do not move, we will lose tens of thousands of years of movement evolution.
Movement is not exercise or fitness. Movement is movement.
The same way many people are confused about how to eat, they are also confused about how to move. If you have ever had a physically demanding job, you will know what I mean when I say going to the gym is not necessary. I like this quote above because it perfectly captures my point.
"The body will become better at whatever you do, or don't do."
The current trend for the last 100 years has been going to the gym. A gym is an artificial environment that does a poor job of training the body to be fit. The fitness or strength you might achieve inside this artificial environment does not transfer into a natural environment. Your body will become better and fit for that particular environment, not all environments. If you practiced movement in a natural environment, then your body would become adapted to a natural environment.
It's a stretch, but I like to believe the reason everyone is in the gym is because deep down they have a primitive feeling that one day they might actually need to be strong to help someone, or defend themselves. Unfortunately, becoming adapted to that type of environment does not mean you are fit for any environment outside of the gym. This is why it is important for us to discover our purpose for moving before ever deciding to engage in a movement practice.
If you want to be able to save a life by carrying someone to safety, then you need to simulate that real situation. We must keep moving in order to maintain our ability to move. Fitness, working out, cardio... these are all fads. The fitness you achieve in the gym is cosmetic. It is a hoax to believe you can sit all day long in the car and at work, then workout intensely for 1 hour and maintain healthy joint function and range of motion. It's a dream that you are being sold by people who are profiting from it.
Movement is not a fad. It is a way of moving the body in order to become fully adaptable to any environment. It is formless and flowing, beautiful and strong. It can be practiced anywhere. You can squat while waiting for the bus, creating deep flexion in the knees and hips which increases your range of motion. You can hang from things as children do, promoting shoulder, wrist, and elbow health. You can jump from rock to rock, or crawl on all fours with your dog. The options are endless, but one thing is clear: we no longer move this way anymore. Movement has become mechanical. The problem is we are not mechanical creatures. We are versatile and so we must crawl, run, jump, hang, roll, flow, do handstands etc. Our capacity for movement complexity is infinite.
We must embrace this gift. We must move.
Ross was born and raised on the coastal waters of Massachusetts. After taking responsibility over his own health, he is now passionate about helping others achieve the same accomplishment. Through years of personal training and nutritional study, he has found that nature has the best answers. He now teaches natural flow movement and the importance of rewilding your diet and lifestyle.
You can find more about Ross at his Website or Facebook