“If you can’t get out of your head, get into your body. Get out and move.”
We all need to feel like we are productive, that our lives have meaning and purpose. Sometimes, however, we feel trapped, like we are stuck, in a rut, or running around in circles with no direction or momentum. One of the easiest ways to overcome the feeling of aimless idleness is through a movement practice.
While a movement practice contains exercise within it, it is generally more than simply exercise for exercise’s sake. Typically, a movement practice is made up of a variety of movements or routines that focus on range of motion, stretching, breathing, and a holistic, ie whole body, approach to the strengthening and conditioning of the muscles, bones, and connective tissues. A movement practice usually begins as an unloaded, meaning without additional weights, activity, but many movement practices, especially those focusing on so-called ‘functional fitness’ also incorporate weights, tools, or other props to assist the practitioner and/or to add difficulty or intensity over time.
Yoga, qigong, and tai chi are well known movement practices, but some forms of dancing, martial arts, and even parkour or pilates can be considered movement practices. Like any physical activity, the first thing a person should consider when seeking out a movement practice is what his or her goals, as well as what his or her physical, space, and time limitations are, all without getting so caught up in research and reading that it turns into procrastination. It is called a movement practice, after all, and it requires both movement and practice.
Holistic Budo: As it is in budo, so too it is in life. As it is in life, so too it is in budo.
All photos by Robert Van Valkenburgh unless otherwise noted.
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