Move It


We come into the world fascinated by movement.  An infant begins joyfully exploring how his fingers and toes move, experiments with rolling over, then crawling, eventually standing, and finally walking.  The process takes almost a year which is unimpressive compared to a newborn horse but then they have the advantage of four legs.  In that first year we discover that we were designed to move with ease, we find all these parts that are connected –  joints, tendons, bones, muscles – and we try them out, we see how they interact with parts of the brain that form intentions.  And no we’re not neuro-scientists, just gurgling  bundles of natural impulses.  The growing years bring more discoveries — running, skipping, jumping – followed by the more complicated organizational skills like riding a bike, swimming, skiing, skating.  What happens next cannot be blamed on our century or our society.  After mastering physical movement, we enter into our education phase.  We explore the mind’s capacity for learning, understanding the world around us and finding our place in it.  This comes with a price.  Whether our training requires sitting in classrooms, apprenticing at physical labor, or navigating the internet, opportunities for movement diminish.  We settle into a routine.  In our world this might mean sitting in front of a computer, working on an assembly line, or building houses, not to mention those hours spent commuting.  In former times, we might have been the village weaver, potter, baker, tailor or courier running messages from one settlement to the next.  All of these occupations require repetitive movement.  In other words, our work has the effect of limiting and eventually constraining the body.  No wonder our joints ache by the time we reach middle age.  “MOVE ME,” they shout.  Our bodies cry out for balance as they did in ancient times.  And this is why we have disciplines like Yoga and QiGong, movement that harmonizes body, mind, and breath, movement that is absolutely necessary for our well-being.  As my favorite teacher used to say, “Move it or lose it.”

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