The Definition of Movement
“Nothing happens until something moves.” – Dr Albert Einstein
When we think about movement, we tend to think of physical movement. Our attention gets drawn to exercise, dance, working out at the gym, stretching, doing core training, and so on. However, there is more to movement than just physical movement. Breathing is movement. Thinking, sensing and feeling are also movement. The word emotion has the word ‘movement’ built into it.
Movement is a Body and Mind Experience
In the west, we have a tendency to treat our bodies separately from our minds. We like to stick on a pair of headphones and listen to our favourite tracks as we run or do repetitive movements in the gym. We don’t fully engage in what we are doing – after all, we have set out to work out physically and we must surely be achieving that goal of improving our physical fitness.
Whilst there is nothing wrong in doing this, we are voluntarily divorcing our bodies from our mind. The movements are mechanically executed without much engagement with our awareness. In other words, we are just using one aspect of our movement capacity, which is physical movement.
Wouldn’t you like to give yourself a richer experience than one of just fulfilling and improving your physical capabilities? For example, how are you breathing, what are you thinking, how do you sense yourself, how does what you are doing right now make you feel? Being aware of how you move may help you perform physical tasks with greater efficiency.
Ingraining Habits of Moving Badly
What if you were constantly repeating a movement that was non-harmonious to your body but you weren’t paying attention to what you were doing and in fact, instead of improving, you got worse. That was certainly my experience of the exercise modalities that I had tried during my period of physical rehabilitation. I kept on doing certain things because I was told that it would be good for me but I kept on injuring myself in the process.
The Process of Healing
Research has shown that our body and mind are not separate entities and we function much better when the two are in dialogue with each other. Moving with awareness or mindfulness will develop new pathways in our brain and provide opportunities for improved performance much quicker than mindless repetition. After all, our brain is our central control and it is only as good as the information that we feed it.
“If you know what you are doing, you can do what you want.” – Dr Moshe Feldenkrais
In order to experience good health, we need to embrace movement in all its capacity as defined in the opening paragraph. The Oxford English Dictionary defines healing as ‘the process of making or becoming sound or healthy again’. This is the perfect harmony of body and mind.
“Movement is life. Life is a process. Improve the quality of the process and you improve the quality of life itself.” – Dr Moshe Feldenkrais
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