Movement is our natural birth right and one of the main pillars of physical, mental and emotional health but since the fitness industry has been promoting exercise, the idea of moving the body has become a trigger for many.
I like moving because it helps me get out of my head and into my body. I find it easier to be in the present moment as my body always experiences the world as it is at any given moment, with no story or narrative attached to experiences.
How do you feel when you don’t move all day? Does it affect your mood and behaviour?
Lack of movement increases the chance of developing chronic illnesses and it also negatively affects mental health. It can decrease your motivation in other areas of your life and can deplete your energy supplies.
This doesn’t mean that you need to start working out 5 times a week at a gym or that you need to start training for a marathon.
There are different variations movement I would reach for intuitively, depending on what I need:
- Some days, I may move very gently and consciously to feel and befriend every sensation in my body – this is self-inquiry through movement
- Or the other way around, I may express my feelings and emotions via movement by just letting my body twist and turn, whatever it feels like doing. This can be in the form of a conscious dance practice eg. ecstatic dance, 5 Rhythms or Continuum
- Sometimes I need to downregulate to feel more grounded, especially useful after a hectic day of running around – then I take a gentle Yin yoga class, where it is all about surrendering into each pose rather than pushing and fighting
- At other times I may need to energise myself (upregulate) and I do that by pushing through a quick HIIT session or a Vinyasa yoga class
- Occasionally, I need to feel my own strength and power, so I would go for heavy weight lifting.
- And when I feel the need to challenge myself, I would choose a more extreme sport like surfing or climbing.
These are just examples of my practices and not something you need to follow, but I would invite you to develop a different perspective on moving your body: become intentional about it and use it as a tool.
Do you want to shift your state/mood? Do you want to develop specific traits eg tenacity? Or do you want to improve your overall physical health?
I would like to encourage you to find a movement practice (just 1 type for the first few weeks) that you enjoy doing and can commit to it. Baby steps are still steps forward.
Why do I want to move my body? How can I make this more pleasurable? What can I fully commit to?
Your own movement practice can look like going for a long walk or rollerblading with a friend twice a week. Even just 15 minutes of movement is better than no movement at all; it’s all about building healthy habits.
To find more useful tips and practices (as well as online workouts) on movement as one of the main pillars of emotional balance, check out our self-study course, Cultivating Emotional Wellbeing in the School of Emotions! And don’t forget, if you’re on our mailing list, you can get 30% off your first course.