Movement is a means for interacting with the world and experiencing ourselves in space. Awareness through the body helps us to be present with our sensations and to actually notice where our entire physical body is in relation to gravity and objects around us; To notice what our body is telling us. Movement is a way to discover the body and develop a supportive relationship with it. Movement lubricates the joints, interacts with the nervous system and feeds our cells.
Our bodies contain our whole life ‘stories’, our personal maps. We have infinite storage of previous sensory information from past injuries, events and pleasures that can connect with current information. This means that our perception of the new sensation occurs on the basis of past experience.
Our environment, work and particular trainings/life choices claim input to our bodies as a whole. Knowing our bodies, their stories and learning to listen on a deeper level is key to living fully.
Let’s begin by examining the building blocks of what we are made of.
The cell is the fundamental unit of the body. The abilities of the cell to reproduce, metabolize, and to respond to its environment, are basic to human life.
Our cells participate in the critical absorption of oxygen and removal of waste that is vital to healthy tissue and overall wellness. They also combine to create body tissue, which then creates organs and all our body systems (skeletal, nervous, muscular etc).
Tension in any part of the body restricts cellular activity.
This is why having a deeper practice of listening to the body, awareness of tension and various patterns of holding, is a key to overall health and wellness.
Movement, touch, awareness practices and bodywork are tools for re-discovering our bodies.
Scientists say that we are the only species without fixed behaviorial responses and that we create our response generally between the ages from 0-5 yrs. But these are not fixed and we can choose to evolve ones that don’t serve us or to expand existing ones through our awareness.
Learning expressive movement is really a form of remembering. It includes remembering all the ways of movement that your human genetic code knows.
During our development as children, most of us dropped certain movements if they weren’t mirrored back or allowed in the societal, cultural or family structure.
When we lose this particular movement vocabulary we can also lose access to corresponding emotions or energetic expressions that are important.
Living fully means having access to all parts of ourselves physiologically, emotionally and spiritually. Not every part may need to express itself every day but the channel needs to be open for the potential to express. Keeping this channel open involves awareness.
Re-discovering physical movement through expressive exploration can uncover insights about our dvelopment and conditioning that have suppressed parts of ourselves that are critical to our health.
When we allow these movement patterns and possible corresponding sensations/emotions to emerge and be consciously witnessed by ourselves (and/or another), we allow the possibility for change to happen on so many levels from the cellular to the emotional and consequently on an every day level of wellness.
Movement is critical brain food. Throughout our bodies are sensory nerves that are essential for movement and maintain continuous input to the central nervous system for interpretation and response.
There is an elaborate process that takes place between receiving information from our external environments and translating to the brain and communication as sensation. This exchange is happening constantly. To further the movement connection to brain function and overall health, there is research supporting the critical nature of developmental movement patterns that we learn as babies. When these patterns are missed for any reason there can be ‘gaps’ in a person’s neurological development. These gaps may cause neurological dysfunction that can later appear as learning disabilities, behavior disorders, memory problems, sleep disorders, speech, balance or filtering problems, and so many other issues that disrupt our healthful living.
Working therapeutically with these patterns (at any age) can be beneficial in reorganizing our central nervous system by filling in any missing gaps in our neurological system and essentially re-wiring the brain. Neurological re-patterning coordinates all parts of the brain and body for emotional, social, and cognitive balance.
The brain, movement, health and emotional balance are intimately connected. I have only given a glimpse into this vast field of knowledge. Sometimes we stay in physical tendencies out of habit, not consciously knowing there is another way. There might be a comfort level this habit brings even if it might not serve the overall body.
Expressive movement and awareness practices helps us discover conditioned patterns and unlock our full range of potential. Movement as medicine is essential for personal health and wellness.