What is holistic movement?
Holistic movement is a combination of body awareness, functional movement, free-form movement, sensory movement, Yoga, Pilates, Feldenkrais, and modern dance. Human movement is a behavior that is categorized, not simply measured. We all have limitations and weaknesses that keep us from thriving physically. Applying a holistic approach to movement helps you develop a resistance to injury, especially when asking the body to do something it hasn’t done for many years. So, you can think of holistic movement as a prerequisite to any physical activity you choose to do such as martial arts, dance, weight lifting, sports and every other form of exercise.
How important is physical movement for your body?
Remember when you were young? You climbed trees, rolled down hills, skipped, jumped, swung, hopped, performed cartwheels and spun around until you fell to the ground laughing. So what happened? Why did you allow adulthood to stop you from doing those things? Well, I’m not talking about taking you on a journey to climbing trees again, but I do want you to explore movement in a new way and for new reasons. I’m not talking about isolating muscles and working each area of the body individually either. I’m talking about treating the body as an integrated whole as you explore individual pain points, sense how far your muscles and tendons can twist, stretch, bend, and flex and explore balance and form.
Our modern lifestyle is costing us to lessen our ability to move freely and comfortably. The reason why so many people are in poor physical condition today is that they are have an imbalance of engaging in complicated, inefficient and ineffective repetitive exercises that isolate certain body parts while they neglect other parts–or they simply don’t mobilize their body enough. My intention for holistic movement is to help you become more aware of your body, what it can do and how it moves. You will learn how to create balance, flexibility and agility, improve circulation and strength, reduce stress, open up blocked channels, move authentically and freely, and do it all in a comfortable, enjoyable manner so you feel great!
Your body is designed to move and to heal.
When you train the mind, body, emotions and spirit to work together, you begin to make connections that satisfy the heart and soul. Movement should be conscious, not habitual. It should heighten awareness of both body and mind. This can only be achieved when you turn off our automatic pilot that governs your movements and thoughts. Then you can begin to notice physical sensations, ask the body questions, target painful areas and get to the underlying core reason for the pain you experience daily. Awareness is the beginning of the healing process. And a holistic movement approach is only one of five elements that improves overall health.
Holistic movement can be done in so many wonderful ways, but if you’re like most people today, you tend to move your body in the same way every day–as little as possible. If you have a sedentary lifestyle, For instance, how many times today did you lunge one foot forward to pick something up off the floor or test how far you can reach down without bending your knees? How many times last week did you stand with your feel apart and reach behind you to pick something up, testing your balance or stretching as far as your arm would stretch to test your flexibility? How many times did you get up to adjust the volume on the TV or to change the channel? Not too many….if at all? You are not alone!
When I describe movement, I’m describing the FAMSS: Flexibility, Agility, Mobility, Stability, and Strength. When you combine any or all of these into a movement, you are then truly moving.
We have to take into consideration all parts of our body and understand that when you begin to explore movement, you will find that you can do some things very easily and comfortably, while others are not so easy or comfortable. But that’s okay. The idea isn’t in what you can do, it’s in how you do it. Comfort is key here. I want you to learn to move easily as you continue to strive to bend lower, reach higher, stretch longer, and twist further as you retain balance, stability, strength and endurance. Your body will guide you as you explore and sense its direction. If you need to stretch further, you will feel that need and follow along. First, you must learn to “listen” to your body.
Explore free movement.
When you explore holistic movement, I want you to consider how your skeletal structure connects with everything else–muscles, tendons, ligaments, joints and connective tissue. You can explore balance and speed in which you move, connecting to your body mentally and spiritually, sensing and listening to what your body is telling you, and feeling and describing sensations as you open up channels within your body that have been asleep for a long time. You can explore stability and slow motion as you sense and listen to your body as you strengthen your muscles with deliberate flow and breaths.
Allow music to move you!
When you apply certain music to movement of any kind, it adds a whole new dimension. Instead of moving to the music, my goals for you is to allow the music to move from within you–through you. I want you to leave your brain at the door and come to my class to empty the mind and free the body.
My first experience with holistic movement
My first experiences with the freedom of movement was when I took my first Nia training. I flew to Seattle, WA to join my daughter in a Nia White Belt Intensive. They don’t call it an intensive for nothing! Not only did my shins hurt like crazy from running from one side of an airport to the other before missing my last flight, but I had already missed one and a half days of the training and I walked in completely blind–I had no idea what this training was all about. It was all completely new to me. My daughter had been to a few workshops, so she knew what to expect and convinced me that I would really love it. So there I was–late, tired, sore and open to something new (or so I thought).
“You’ve done it!”
I had so much bottled up tension and stress from the trip and from life and I didn’t even know it. I thought I was in tune with my body, but one day I realized that I really wasn’t. I allowed years of stress and “stuff” to shut down, if you will, parts of my body but I was completely unaware of this. I was healthy, I ate well, I slept well, and I seemed to handle stress well….but it wasn’t enough as I learned.
I’ll never forget the day I gave myself permission to just let things go. About three quarters of the way through my eight week, 12-hours a day training, I began to put all the pieces together (mind, body, emotions, spirit). My body decided it was time to “release” all of my past “stuff” and be free. My mind was free, my spirit was free and my body joined in to create total harmony. I will never forget when my instructor came over to me and told me that I finally did it–I was moving freely. I finally stripped away the inhibitions that held me back as I moved gracefully and naturally–without thought, without worry, and without effort. There was no rhyme or reason to how my body moved, it was simply a freedom that came from within as the music guided me around the room. It felt awesome! Something changed within me on that day and I began to understand how the body is connected.
Learn to listen.
You can’t isolate the mind from the body–but you can embrace it. As you become more aware of what your body needs to get and stay healthy, it will signal you. Your job is to slow down and listen. Stop the running! Stop the need to do more! Stop focusing on everything and everyone else. Stop worrying and holding in anger and loneliness. Just listen to your body as it provides you with signals for what it needs. Your body will tell you what foods it needs, where it needs to be stretched, when it needs to rest, when it needs to move and how it feels. To find balance, you must be aware of the signals your body it sending you–and that awareness provides the foundation for true healing.
Trust your body! It knows what you need.
Right now your body is sending you signals. It may be a pain in your left hip, a craving for something salty, sensitive skin, tingling in your feet, brittle hair, eczema, digestive problems, GERD, dark circles under your eyes, weight problems, diabetes…..the list could go on and on. I want you to trust that that your body knows what it needs and when.
Trusting your body can only be achieved when you give yourself permission to slow your life down and breathe. If you want to learn how to do this today, contact me and I will walk you through a simple and very effective process. Movement is only one element of five that frees your from stress and so many other things.
Join me in a movement workshop.
Please join me in one of my holistic movement workshops. Click here to find out when and where they are held.