The essence of life is movement, the ability to move about with pleasure is our birth right.
Looking back into the evolution of the species, (or if you prefer, the intelligent design we were created to be) we were made to walk, run, jump, grasp, leap, push, pull, expand and contract. Genetically we are designed to move about for up to 110 years–with some estimates reaching as high as 120 years.
So why is it that most of our bodies start crapping out way earlier…I have heard of hip replacements for people as young as 50! I believe there are a variety of reasons that our bodies start to “fail” us early–everything from nutrition, dehydration, chemical exposures, stress, repetitive movement and many more but today I am choosing to focus on our movement or lack there of.
Move it or Lose It–is not just a saying. If we stop moving a part of our body, we start to lose neurological pathways of movement, muscle tone, elasticity of connective tissue, and circulation to those areas…none of that is good. We want our bodies to perform their best for us…in order for that to happen we need to actively take care of our physical selves.
The first step in self care of our physical bodies is smart, intentional movement…this can be accomplished in any way you find pleasurable. I am not saying you need to go out and start a cross fit program or start running marathons…but I am suggesting that you consciously pay attention to how you use or not use your body everyday.
We tend to move habitually, following the same movement patterns over and over again…be that sitting all day, standing on one leg, walking, working,….we move the same way over and over and over again….not only does that get a bit boring, but we wear out certain areas and don’t use others….so we become stuck and eventually unable to move our whole bodies.
The first step in any journey towards self improvement is awareness of where you are right now. So my challenge to you this week is to pay attention to how you use your body every day. What activities do you do most of the time? If it helps…keep a journal and jot down what you have physically done all day.
Using myself as an example–
9am stretching, showering, eating, 10 min driving
10am -11 am tai chi class–full body movement– standing
10 min driving–sitting hunching forward
11-12:30 home depot, vacuuming, some lifting, folding, dishes–standing/forward hunching
12:30-2:00 sitting at computer– forward hunching
2:00-5:00 standing, bending, scraping,– forward hunching
so a quick review of this list–I have been some what active but zero arching or swinging, not much lifting and lengthening going on, not much full body movement , very little twisting and no cardio work at all!….so how can I try to change some of that?
Therein lies the question for all of us.–and is the basis for “Yoga off the Mat”…How many different movements can you add to your day in an attempt to keep the joints juicy and the muscles toned? Can you change how you move and still get the same things accomplished?
I challenge you to keep a little journal and just log your activities, then categorize your movements–forward folding, slouching, shoulders up, standing, sitting, neck bending, etc…once you start to become aware of your moving patterns, you can start to create creative, fun ways of changing your usual movements and incorporating a wider range of movement into your daily activities….
I promise, this is an eye opening and fun activity…as you start to become more aware of your every day movements, you will be amazed at how often you can toss in some “Yoga off the Mat”!!!
Please comment below and share your experiences with incorporating creative fun movement into your life…I love to hear from others people…so don’t be shy 🙂
Namaste and happy moving!