I’ve been dealing with a combination of shoulder impingement and tendinosis in the elbow over the past few months. With my head stuck in the books with school, I couldn’t get any sessions with my trusted therapists.
I’ve had to cut back a bunch on my climbing work. Since school ended, I’ve gotten my elbow and shoulder to about 90-95% better with just a bit of nagging in the Right elbow and thumb. In this session, I’m just feeling it out with some nice stretching and nerve flossing followed by challenging my body with grip work. Super fun session.
Went on an hour plus hike this afternoon. Followed it up with ten minutes of 2×4 balance challenge with a focus on deep squat positions. After my last client, my left knee started feeling a bit achy, a chronic little nagging area left over from meniscal surgery last year.
I’ve been feeling strong and motivated after quiet reflections leading into a new year. Which means I’ve been pushing my body a bit harder. I went into this session without an agenda, exploring how my body flows and where tension restricts the flow. I found a few spots where the movement (left knee and right elbow) was on the borderline of pain, got the foam roller out, and turned it into a little torture session (the kind that actually feels good). Finished with some dead hang play.
I felt much better after this session, like a shot of caffeine or adrenaline running through my veins, with reduced knee pain and improved shoulder and elbow movements.
If you have any questions about what I’m doing or why, feel free to post them in the comments.
This is Movement Restoration. It is what I teach. You can learn more about it here
This was my movement session yesterday, five days after the onset of pretty bad back pain. The pain has improved a ton since last Friday. It still smarts in the morning. My lumbar mobility is super tight and tender but opens up well once I warm it up with gentle movements.
Today I am going out to do more yard work… chainsawing two large scrub bushes and digging four holes to plant three fruit trees and a Lacey Oak tree. Lots of squatting, shoveling, and bending. I would not have been able to do this level of intense work after last Friday.
This is a little 30-minute movement session I did to warm up before work. Again, no sound.
Beginning a movement practice is about life change. It is not a quick fix, and it is not something you do “until you feel better.” You must look at every aspect of what it means to be a human mover, which includes who you are emotionally, intellectually, and spiritually. With consistent, intentional, diligent, and conscious work and movement, you can heal your body both inside and out.
If you are ready to take ownership, to really do the work. Here’s a place to start:
Set an Intention
A movement practice is an inward and outward journey. It is helpful to have a clear intention that you can set before you as practice becomes habit. Many of my clients write their intention and place it somewhere they see daily, in their workout space, or perhaps their kitchen or bathroom. However, setting an intention goes beyond just saying it, writing it on a post-it, or status updates on Facebook. There must be an internal change. A shift in your mindset that says, “I cannot live one more day maintaining this old status quo. Something has to give. I must change!”
Your intention keeps you connected to why you’re doing something different, hard, and scary. It also helps keeps you from falling into another “new” mindless routine. Your intention will help keep you on track. It is what you will continually revisit to question your practice: Is this bettering me? Am I showing up fully? What comes next?
This is your starting place. Your intentions should and will evolve over time. This is not a flash in the pan; this is the rest of your life. Developing a Movement Practice is life changing.
Do you know the exact moment we go from being great movers to a slow degeneration of movement? It is the moment we stepped off the playground. Why do we make playgrounds for kids and not for adults? We don’t often think about the way we move in a creative, artistic, or playful way. Why is this? Every moment you are awake is an opportunity to express yourself in the world through movement. What is it that separates you from all the other robots?
How do you want to move differently? How do you want to see yourself moving? Where is the play? Where’s the fun? Why can’t every moment be an opportunity for that?
How do you feel about the way you move now?
How do you want to move when you’re 90 years old?
What will your movement feel like one year from now?
What are 3-5 skills you wish you could do?
How can you be more playful, childlike, and expressive in your daily movement?
Keep in mind that this movement practice is about your human experience, not someone else’s. You may be working toward specific sports goals which have differing approaches. Gymnastics, CrossFit, calisthenics, endurance sports, yoga, martial arts, etc– are all valid physical endeavors, and each requires a different kind of movement practice.
Once you’ve considered these questions, write out 3-5 goals that you want to pursue, and use them to guide your practice.
Creating the Space to Grow your Movement
Before you begin your movement practice, create some space for movement. These are the basics I recommend to all clients:
It is important to have a designated space for your movement practice. Moving more is about creating the opportunities for movement. Any barriers to movement will make movement less likely to happen. Moving furniture or having equipment out of site in a closet or behind the couch creates small obstacles which makes movement a little less likely. If you have a designated space just for moving, you will be more likely to engage in movement more frequently.
Climbing is a huge part of human evolution and experience, and we have relegated it to kids playgrounds. As adults, we often need to rediscover these movements.
One of my favorite pieces of equipment is an inexpensive seven foot 2×4. It costs about $3 and provides an infinite variety of exploration, skill development, balance, and play.
You want your space to be inviting. If your floor is hard and hurts your knees, you’ll be less likely to get down on it. If your carpet has no traction, you’ll be less likely to do complex movements on it.
You are getting serious. Take your nutritional, emotional, and spiritual health equally seriously. Be open to seeking guidance from highly skilled professionals. Take your time researching the best fit for your goals. Building and developing a relationship of trust with your health care provider will pay dividends in your long-term health and vitality.
Last Thursday before New Years, I did several hours of yard work building a chicken run for my chicken coop. Lots of bending, stooping, and shoveling in weird inaccessible corners. It totally killed my back. It was the kind of pain that felt like I was getting knifed right under my rib cage taking my breath and nearly bringing me to my knees.
With only a few weeks off before school starts, this is my window to do all the projects that have been building up over the last semester. I have work to do, but I don’t want to make my back worse.
I immediately started doing light self-massage on a foam roller and movement restoration work the same day. The foam roller made the pain worse, so I ditched it for the time being. The movement work was a life saver. I have been consciously engaging in these movements every day throughout the day. It’s my number one priority to get my body back to full function.
I’ve been able to relieve 80-90% of the pain and movement of my spine. I was feeling well enough to do a three-hour hike to start the new year, three days after onset of pain. I followed the hike up with a hot Epsom salt bath and then restorative movement. I feel ready to tackle another year of growing into myself.
This is the forty minute movement session I did after the hike. I finished the session with ten minutes of 2×4 balance challenge. There is no sound, play your own tunes.
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