Ideas for Movement
Movement is essential to all life as we know it. The sunrises and sets, wind blows, rain falls, plants sprout, grow, yield their unique bounty, whither and decompose. Seasons are an essential part of life, wet & dry, light & dark, hot & cold, gestation-birth-life-death, and spring-summer-late summer-fall-winter and then spring again.
The goal is to do some movement every day, cross train, mix it up and have fun. If you like to run or play one sided sports like tennis, golf, baseball, Frisbee, find a way to do it while minimizing trauma & inflammation on joints, requiring surgery and replacement parts as they all have a limited life span and other complications.
Do what do you like to do, where there is enjoyment, challenge what you think you can do, continue to learn new ways to move, smile, breathe and go for it! This is like when we were children and went out to play, always a new experience & fun.
Here is a simple Movement Menu with a sample of some of my daily choices:
- Somatics, Thomas Hanna, Cat Stretch, pg. 99, 5 min
- Somatics, all 7 lessons, 30min
- Yoga, Sun Salutation, 5 min
- Tai Chi, first 3rd, 5 min
- Tai Chi, whole form, 12-15 min
- Tai Chi Sword, 5-8 min
- Stretching or Constant Bear from Tai Chi while waiting in line, for a meeting, or watching a movie
- Dancing or holding a 70/30 Tai Chi posture while cooking, waiting for laundry, taking a break from what we are currently doing
- Pulsed Interval Training (on rebounder) 8-11 min
- Jack Lalane workout, 24 min
- Dog Walking, 15-60 min (dogs would always enjoy more 🙂
- Gardening, weed pulling & weed whacking, planting, soil preparation, separating the bulbs, always an opportunity for movement
Restorative yoga, stretching at the end of the day, 20-60 min, pleasurable, fun, relaxing, letting go of the day, preparation for a restful & rejuvenative sleep. The book Stretching by Bob Anderson is an excellent resource. Sometimes we must break up our movement into bite size pieces, 5 min here, 10 min there, throughout the day, but it is a creative way to cultivate a robust, spirited, and resourced BodyMind.
When I began my daily yoga practice in the early 90’s, it was with a DVD “Yoga, Mind & Body”, with Ali MacGraw and Erich Schiffmann. Later to attend his & other yoga instructors workshops at Estes Park, CO. He states that the Ujayii Breathing is the most important element of the practice of yoga. I have observed that this form of focused, relaxed, slow, nasal, full abdominal & thoracic breathing is a very Parasympathetic Nervous System enhancing, anti-stress, calming, decreasing heart rate, blood pressure lowering, organ massaging, improving lymph & venous drainage, digestion & elimination, decreasing cortisol, improving testosterone – rebuild & repair. Basically the foundational building block of an amazing BodyMind functioning with our divine design. In the treatment room many of the people I see have restricted and shallow breathing. Ujayii breathing can be done in a bed, chair, car, work, shopping, cooking, and doing movement, anywhere and yes, everywhere! The challenge is to remember full body breathing during our daily activities, while shopping or waiting at the post office, the bank, and while writing this website, etc…. When we habitually breathe shallowly, it restricts the diaphragm and creates a locking down of our ability to turn our head, neck and torso. By releasing the diaphragm, people typically increase their range of motion by 40 to 60%! They can breathe better, fuller, getting more O2 & decreasing the flight or fight response causing shallow breathing.
In the “BODY WORLDS” exhibit by Gunther von Hagen, he displays real body cadavers of people who devoted their body to his scientific work. Performing various activities and postures: using a sealant so that the observer can see all the organs, muscles, bones, joints, nerves, blood & lymph vessels. The Body Worlds YouTube video of the plasticization procedure is remarkable in the precision, exactness and accuracy from start to finish, creating 3D, life like anatomical structure. One of his exhibits came to Denver, CO. There were many displays of bodies in various poses & positions and one thought reoccurred was there was a display of a healthy lung, a coal miner’s lung, a smokers lung and a lung with cancer. It was amazing to see what the accumulated debris and toxicity did to the lungs, scar tissue, discoloration, adhesions and the solidification of a soft fluid organ. My maternal grandfather had asbestosis poisoning and my mother died of lung cancer at 46 years old, and this what their lungs might have looked like. When we start full body breathing, filling the lungs, diaphragm and abdomen, and not by engaging the neck and shoulders, but letting the breath fill the abdomen and rib cage, exercising new muscles, lactic acid may increase as well as soreness but with increased range of motion of our body’s ability to breathe better & fuller is the end result. In a variation of breath meditation, the breath is “sent” with our intention into various areas of the body that have restriction, pain stagnation & tension. Focused breathing increases body O2, and circulation of blood into the areas of stagnation, pain & tightness begin to melt away. Dr. Stan Grof (1931-…) M.D., Ph.D., created Holotrophic Breath Work, and many other books and therapies, utilizing deep relaxed breathing, healing music, and guided meditations to encourage our unconscious mind to speak and have deep meaningful insights to surface in the conscious mind, helping to change our behavior.
The lungs are associated with communication with God & Spirit in oriental medicine; Prana, Spiritus, Life Force and many cultures including the Native Americans, believe that smoking tobacco would carry your prayers up to the heavens. When we were in Taiwan studying acupuncture, the people had a similar belief, many people smoked (as smoking would carry their prayers) we and our colleagues didn’t smoke, and this became a joke at meal time, we were the unindustrialized section of the dining area. Unfortunately smoking is no joke & horrible for the lungs, plus all the chemical in cigarettes cause all kinds of health related problems. Deep breathing & healthy lungs are a cornerstone of longevity and well-being. Although if you live in a high pollution city or on high pollution days, breathe deeply inside with an air purifier.
This easy, no expense, daily habit is at your disposal and only one deep, relaxed breath away!