The Process of Being a Human Mover

I like to think about the process of being a human mover. Not just the actual moving, but also the creating of intention; set up of a space whether permanent or temporary; type of music that influences movements or no music at all; and what is in my heart (am I feeling resistance to moving my body; am I angry; am I trying to beat myself up for some perception of fault in my being; etc)

This video is my process of moving on a Friday. I have a nice open studio space to practice movement and there is a setup ritual I go through. I like to think about things such as the rituals of movement and the contextual nature of different environments such as soft, hard, abrasive, etc and how these different environments are an ongoing conversation with the sensory system of the body. I like to set up my mats for most of my floor work because they provide soft feedback while I’m doing soft focused work on myself.

I don’t take appointments with clients on Fridays. It is a day to study, do housework, run errands, and most importantly practice some self-love. This was an hour and ten-minute self-love making session (non-sexual). I tended to both my body and my heart. In these sessions I allow myself to feel where there is tension, restriction, resistance, and pain in both my physical body and also my emotional body. Sometimes these sessions bring tears, sometimes rage, and always a sense of gratitude, love, and empathy for myself. Now that I am videoing and posting these sessions, it has brought a new level of checking in. I don’t want to perform for the camera, which means I have to pay even greater focus on how I am feeling moment to moment, as well as why I am choosing to move the way I move. I feel incredibly vulnerable. This is the movement practice that I’ve developed in isolation for years. This is what I do alone. I’ve never shared it with anyone, much less social media. My work is to remain completely authentic to myself even though I am sharing my process with others. It feels powerfully strong to expose my vulnerability. There are a ton of other things about this session that I really loved. I used the foam roller, not to mash muscles into control, but to release movement patterns that I was struggling with. I felt the re-integration of my core in specific patterns. I completely smoked my legs on the balance board. And I had a nice little restorative session after the board to reset my body.

Someone asked me a few days ago about whether my feet, ankles, and calves are smoked during/after these balance sessions. My answer at the time was no, that I’ve been integrating balance work for several years, and my intrinsic musculature was a strength, and it is the big movers (quads and glutes) that have been undernourished over the past year and a half due to my knee injury.

Well, in this session, my feet, ankles, and calves were totally smoked. Everything was harder about this session, possibly because I’ve added a lot of intensity to my movement schedule the past week. I had to put extra focus on maintaining my position on the beam and wasn’t always successful, which made this a Great balance session. I pushed my edges, placing a significant challenge to the muscular and vestibular system.

It is on the edges where I see the most benefit of this type of work. It is where my nervous system learns. If I don’t push the edges, I can remain on the board the entire ten minutes, but what does that gain me? The gym space is a laboratory – a safe space – to push the edges. In this setting, I WILL see failure frequently, simply because I can keep failure relatively safe and it’s a learning opportunity. That is the entire point. To allow my body to learn where the edges exist.

I can then take this knowledge into the natural environment and move within the limits my body knows it can handle. I develop a better sense of balance; improve the depth of positions that don’t cause pain and/or injury; build confidence in my movement competency, core integration, and strength.

I finished my day with a short swim. Swimming is something new I’ve added back in this week. I love swimming as a movement but didn’t have a membership to a pool that I could frequent regularly. So I haven’t had the chance to swim much over the past year. With my elbow and shoulder feeling much improved, swimming feels like exactly the type of physical stress my structure needs to get me beyond the next level of recovery. I have to take it slow. I can only handle about 15 minutes of work in the pool. I’m looking forward to building my swim conditioning to 30-45 minute sessions.

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