So, the world just got turned upside down by a tiny virus. The rate and extent of change to our lives is beyond anything we have seen in our lifetime. During times of turmoil and change it is routine and regular practices that can bring us a sense of calm and control. If you are seeking ways to look after your health over the next few months starting a movement practice is a great idea!
When things hit the fan it is always good to have a regular practice. This creates predictability for the brain and can calm the nervous system. I always found the practice of sitting meditation stifling, I enjoy the focus on my breath but I become much more settled if I can move. For me Pilates is a wonderful combination of breath focus and movement to bring me into the present moment.
A movement practice is a commitment. You decide how often you will do it, and stick to it. Every day, twice a day, every second day, once or twice a week. It doesn’t matter although you will get more benefits the more frequently you do it. What matters is that you SHOW UP on your mat to move. You can do this in a class with a teacher or with exercises you have learned and take home. You can do it for an hour or a couple of minutes.
There is at least one essential ingredient for a movement practice. A focus on and control of your breath. Controlling our breath or breathing with conscious and curious attention brings us present with our bodies and into the present moment. This aspect of a movement practice is essential.
To begin a movement practice you will need:
- A space to move where you can swing your arms and legs;
- A mat to be comfortable on the floor
- A series of movements to repeat.
It doesn’t really matter what movements you repeat. You can do yoga poses, Pilates routines, stretching from the gym or a combination of moves you remember from all over the place. There are only three things that really count when developing a movement practice:
- A focus on the breath
- A willingness to listen to what feels good in your body and what doesn’t
- And showing up regularly.
My movement practice started when I was about 7 years old, I started ballet at the local church hall and I haven’t stopped moving since. Regular movement has helped me weather many storms in my life. I hope the idea of a movement practice is useful to you during this crazy time. Try it and let me know how you go.