Cultivating A Movement-Rich Lifestyle
By Rivkah Moore
As I sat down at my sitting desk, computer screen on, blank page ahead, and ready to write, I could feel a rising resistance in my body. My awareness was telling me that my body wanted to move. However, my mind was telling me that I needed to sit down in order to write. Normally I would’ve listened to my mind, suppressing the resistance felt in my body, but because of the Awareness Through Movement classes that I’ve been enjoying biweekly there was no way I was going to stifle this new-found awareness that I’ve been cultivating. I wanted to respect my awareness and continue cultivating it, so rather than suppress it I decided to compromise. I grabbed my phone, headphones, fanny pack (I know their out of style but they’re so functional!), sunglasses, and off I went into the neighborhood with Siri as my trusty assistant. My process looked like this: walk and think until my ideas became clear, then I spoke into my headphones, using Siri to translate my words directly into a google document. My decision to walk while I wrote was inspired by the work of Katy Bowman, biomechanist and founder of Nutritious Movement. Nutritious Movement is a whole-body system that utilizes exercises, alignment adjustments and habit (lifestyle) changes to better move all trillion of your body parts. In Bowman’s work she quantifies movement and differentiates between exercise, physical activity, and movement. Her movement diagram is found below:
Exercise is physical activity that is planned, structured, and repetitive, with the purpose being to improve or maintain physical fitness. Physical activity is defined by all energy expenditure due to skeletal muscular engagement. Movement, therefore, encompasses everything that affects you on a cellular and whole-body level by creating local and systemic responses. Movement includes bodily actions like chewing food, looking at objects far away (movement deep within the eyes), handwriting, and more. Movement is literally sustenance to our cells. Similarly to how we need to eat diverse foods in order to make up a well-rounded diet, we need diverse movements in order to make up a well-rounded movement lifestyle. Bowman talks about how we can increase the nourishing movement found in our daily lives so we can provide all of our cells with the movement nutrients that they need to thrive. Bowman coined this idea of “stacking your life” for more natural movement. She suggests looking at your responsibilities and finding where you can combine or “stack” tasks in such a way that allows you to engage in more natural movement. (This is what I did when I decided to walk and write). If we consider Bowman’s concept of making lifestyle changes to better move all trillion of your cells through a Feldenkrais lens, Dr. Feldenkrais would say that all movement habits are rooted in self-image and come from dynamic personal action. In order to change our behavior or movement patterns, we must change the image of ourselves that we carry within us. Dr. Feldenkrais believes that our self-image consists of four components which are involved in every action: movement, sensation, feeling, and thought. Therefore, when we change our movement habits we are not merely replacing one behavior by another but we are changing the dynamics of our behaviors. Such a change involves our self-image, our motivation or intention, and the mobilization of all the parts of the body concerned. So as you move through your day to day life and responsibilities, how can you make dynamic changes in your movement lifestyle? How can you incorporate more nutritious and natural movement into your daily habits? As you reflect on your movement lifestyle and take action to create a more movement-rich lifestyle, do as Dr. Feldenkrais would suggest: start small, go slow, and look for the easy and pleasant sensations.
Bowman, Katy. Move Your DNA.
Bowman, Katy. Movement Matters.
Feldenkrais, Moshe. Awareness Through Movement.
Extra notes :
Dr. Feldenkrais says “Process is go well if there are many ways to influence them. We need more ways to do what we want Then the one we know even if it is a good one in and of itself.”
“When learning do not have any intention of being correct. Do not act well or nicely and do not hurry as this creates confusion.That ability to learn the skills such as the right left orientation. Needs a childlike state of mind.That ability to play while learning to pay attention without intention to learn. It also needs among other requirements the ability to feel differences. That is the ability to distinguish between one sensation in another very familiar one.”
Biomechanist Katy Bowman talks about movement in relation to nutrition . She discusses this idea that our movements provide certain nourishment for tissues and cells. She talks about this idea that exercise is A limited view on movement.
Katy Bowman has coined the idea of nutritious movement. Movement includes physical activity, exercise and all other nature and bodily movements. She likens movement to diet, claiming that although many people exercise often they are still movement hungry. Certain movements provide certain nutrients to the cells and tissues just like food. Individuals and physically active people alike are movement nutrient deficient.
I'm Alex. I'm a Feldenkrais teacher and bassoonist interested in how we can live in happier and healthier lives. I live in an intentional community centered around permaculture, and I teach at a wilderness school. I think a lot, read a lot, and value connecting with people and the Earth. I write to figure out what I think.