For as long as I can remember, I’ve carried this notion that movement has to be such a production. This idea that, if I don’t put on the right clothes, drive to a studio, breathe deeply enough, have perfect alignment and form, and do a beautifully planned, seamless flow that my movement doesn’t “count.”
I still think that way– and often. I still work myself into a tizzy and think, “Well, I’d better head over to my studio and spend an hour on the reformer so I can get my movement in.” And then, if I procrastinate or for some other reason don’t get to to it, I tell myself it’s too late, and I can’t get in any movement today, and I’ll try again tomorrow. I do this for days, weeks, months on end, and then I wake up stiff and sad and wondering the last time I moved for myself.
Just Shove the Coffee Table Out of the Way
One morning, a few years ago, I woke up and– still in my pajamas– walked downstairs, shoved the coffee table out of the way, put on a favorite record, and just moved in the middle of my living room. I didn’t think about what muscle groups I was targeting. I didn’t have a perfect flow planned, and I didn’t try to think ahead and make one as I went. I just moved and let my body and how it felt be my guide. I don’t know what overcame me that morning, but I let go of my expectations of what movement looked like. It felt like a new frontier, and afterward, I felt freer than I ever had in my own body.
That morning taught me that movement actually doesn’t have to look like anything. And I don’t just mean that movement doesn’t have to be an “Instagram-worthy” movement flow. Movement can be whatever I need it to be. Period.
This morning, it happened again. I woke up and felt a tinge of depression. A hint of “I’ll never get it all done, so why even try. I don’t have time to move— I have to trudge through my to do list.” After a while of lying in bed and wallowing in that defeat (before I even GOT OUT OF BED), a switch flipped. I got up, put on some comfy clothes, shoved the coffee table out of the way, put on that same record, and moved on the living room floor.
Shove Those Limiting Thoughts Out of the Way, Too
Many times, I let my brain get in the way. “You have too much to do,” it’ll tell me. “You can’t get any relief from your pain unless you plan a program designed for that sticky hip,” it’ll say. “You need to get the house ready for this trip before you go up to the studio and move… you don’t have time right now,” it carries on.
But today, I let my body drive the ship. Today, my body didn’t hesitate to shove the coffee table out of the way. With it, it felt like I was also “shoving” my brain’s expectations and limiting beliefs out of the way. My body jumped into deep breaths and random movements I didn’t even know I could do, right here in my living room. If felt like a miracle that I was able to “get out of my head” and fully inhabit my body for a while.
Moving without a Plan
I often forget that movement isn’t just a logical, planned program I use to help correct a muscular imbalance or improve posture. Physical changes are NOT the only benefit of movement. Movement is also a spiritual experience, and it can often set free whatever has been trapped in my body. It doesn’t have to be pre-meditated to be intentional and freeing and wonderful and healing.
I want more of this “free of expectations and parameters” movement in my life. As a movement teacher, my professionalism and my “have a plan” mindset often overrides that deep “just move” prompting in my soul. But as I enter a new season of my life, I long for less rigidity and more intuitive, body-driven movement and action.
I believe there’s room for both, and my hope and intention as I enter a new season of life is to hold space for both. I don’t know yet what it will look like, but here are a few practices I want to incorporate for my own healing:
- Movement without a “plan”
- Hiking and walks in nature
What practices have you found to help you get out of your head and into your body?