Learn to Move, Learn to Play, Learn to Live

11 03 2008

I’ve always been drawn to movement. Growing up, daydreaming of moving fluidly, softly, powerfully like a stalking predator. Then setting aside those daydreams and making them a reality. As a kid I used to do all kinds of stuff that required immense mobility: pretending I was mutant with animal like qualities or to have the ability to turn into an animal, running around town as we infiltrated a rival ninja clans turf, stalking thru tall grass to see how close you could get to a group of people without them seeing you (we were on a top secret recon mission, of course….you know, to gather that all important intel;), climbing in and out of tight spots that only kids would think possible to fit through. Creeping across the house without a sound because you were invisible and, although not seen, could be heard (until you realize you are standing behind your Mom, knowing if you say anything, you’ll freak the begeezuz out of her and so have to sneak back away without startling her:). We all did that stuff as kids……..anyone, anyone, anyone, bueller…..don’t leave me hang’in here!

Then something interesting happens. Somewhere along the line we start getting hammered into us that we need to grow up. The physical activities that we take part in become less about fun and more about competing, about winning. They get serious. And as that sense of play begins to disappear (combined with the changing of our bodies), so does our ability to move. We never learn to move with this new body of ours. Sure, thru athletics there is some training (for those who choose to pursue athletics), but it’s not the same. Some of the best training we get as we develop towards adulthood is how to sit for hours and hours behind a desk. The further along we go, the less physical activity is made a part of our regular day. And as we start to shape our adult identity, we draw from the adults around us, adults who don’t move!

Do we need to be careful how we move as we get older because, as we age, the risk of injury increases OR does the risk of injury increase as we get older because, as we age, we stop moving?

Movement in, what many will consider “extreme” ranges of motion, is completely natural and intuitive. We’re meant to move like this. Look at little kids move. Where do they learn that? Definitely not from us. I don’t see many parents rolling around like yogi’s on a play date. Little kids don’t know any better, they don’t know they’re “not supposed” to move like that. They don’t have built up and ingrained FEARS that say “No!”. They’re not afraid to take a fall. Besides, when they do, they just learn to do it so it hurts less, absorbing the shock, rolling out of it. This is how kids seem to pull off some pretty amazing feats for their tiny little selves.

Fear. Since becoming a trainer, learning more about movement and understanding better the bio-mechanics of it, I have become very aware of how people move. I have to admit, I have been shocked at how stiff, tightened up and restricted the majority of people are. And when I see that, the first things that come to mind are not stiff joints, sore back or shortened muscles. What I see is Fear. Fear of making a mistake, fear of failing, fear of what others will think, fear to express oneself, fear to have fun and play. This causes restriction and tension. Restriction from expressing yourself the way it comes most naturally. Restriction from living out your dreams, from living the fulfilling life you are meant to live.

This could be where we’re at or where we’ve been and just never realized where it camekids-at-play.jpg from or how to get back. Start (slowly and incrementally) by moving. Move in ranges you haven’t in a loooong time. Shave away that limited range a little everyday. That ability to move will open you up to being able to play. And do that, start to play:) Get on the ground with your kids, grandkids, nephews and nieces. Rather than focusing on getting them to stop moving, let them help you remember how to move. Once you’re playing, you are relaxing, releasing tension, letting go of fear…..learning to live:)