Evolving Through Adaptation - How Natural Movement Saved Our LifeMar 02, 2018
To create new habits, change must happen, and with change comes adaptation. As we adapt, we evolve and become more resilient. This has been a year of major change and transition. We believe that every challenge is an opportunity for growth.
There are coping mechanisms that have helped us get through our most difficult times. Every day we dance to Moana, Kidz Bop or Frozen and throw in some natural movement or yoga. Moving our bodies followed by stillness has changed our world.
Movement has always been my medicine, and even more as a mother. I’ve practiced meditation on and off, but just recently implemented a consistent daily practice. It has enabled me to stay centered and grounded through these times of immense change and transition. Stress can literally eat us alive, causing illness, mental disorders, organ disfunction, depression and anxiety. Movement combined with a mindfulness practice and a commitment to a more primal eating pattern has been a sustainable solution for us.
Over the years, my family and I have been in the process of rewilding our lifestyle. We’ve shifted our movement paradigm. For years my life was focused around competitive athletism (first as a figure skater and then a runner), but gradually, I opted for greater variety and became more of a movement “generalist” as opposed to a specialist. Repetitive movement creates physical imbalance in our body and can eventually lead to injuries and chronic pain.
Through natural movement (also known as primal movement or functional movement), I am building real-world resilience. Movement that is functional in day to day life, like picking up my children, flowing with ease while getting up and down from the floor, and gardening almost effortlessly without tension. For preparedness and survival in real-world disasters and emergencies, specializing would lead to failure. We experienced this first hand when our entire family had to get into a tiny wooden closet while riding out a category 5 hurricane. If we had not been able to get down on all fours, crawl and hold deep seated primal squats, we would have been exposed to the elements of the storm, and perhaps even lost our lives! Afterwards, we were stranded for a week at our home in the rainforest, having to carry buckets of water from a stream, forage for food in our environment and manage without electricity or a roof over our heads in rainy weather. Then we had to climb over and under huge fallen trees whilst baby wearing and walked a long distance to get evacuated by a helicopter.
As a lifestyle, it’s not just about how you move during your hour long workout, but how you integrate movement practices throughout your day and life. It’s developing new habits of movement that will give you true movement freedom.
Whenever possible, I take my movement outside. Nature is “The Original” movement builder. Our body adapts to our environment. If we limit our environment to flat terrain or machines, we limit our adaptation. The human body has evolved over an unimaginable amount of time to become what it is today. Unfortunately, modern society does not reflect the movements and environment our ancestors performed on a daily basis. And our biology has not been able to keep up with our fast growing technology. Biologically, we are still the same human beings (homo sapiens) that our ancestors were.
Natural movement is beneficial movement done with whole-body alignment that promotes optimal mobility, stability, and longevity. It was at the core of our childhood years. Since having children, I naturally ditched the machines and joined them on the floor and in the trees. We play, dance and move every day, multiple times per day. We walk, run, jump, balance, crawl, climb, lift, carry, throw, catch, push, pull, dance, defend (play fight) and swim whenever possible.
Natural movement is a lifestyle choice which can help us enhance our physical as well as intellectual, emotional, and spiritual body. Along with helping me feel great physically, movement helps me feel and release emotions in tough times. I can see that is does the same for my children. It enables them to express their creativity and unload bottled up emotions which they may not know how to verbally express yet.
As a Certified Holistic Nutritionist, I also visualize movement in a similar concept as nutrition. The more nutrients our body receives the better. Every movement is like a different nutrient for our body. This concept is commonly referred to as “Movement Nutrition”. Variety is key.
When you sit for hours on end, or repeat the same movement, it’s like feeding your body junk food or always eating the same thing. Just like we eat throughout the day, the one hour workout you do after 8 hours of sitting at your desk is not going to make up for your lack of movement. Your body needs little movement “snacks" throughout the day. It thrives on both macronutrients and micronutrients. Like healthy food, healthy movement is also medicine for our body.
If you find yourself asking why you should move like an animal? It’s because you are an animal. We evolved doing movements that are natural for our unique human bodies. The best reason to move is because we can.
With each new experience comes adaptation and growth. The kids and I are off on another adventure. Maybe this is the beginning of the rainbow after the storm. I look forward to being able to give back. I’m going to be collaborating with Annie Adamson and her team from Primal Vinyasa to complete a Primal Movement Training. We are harnessing the powerful spiritual energy of this unique full moon (worm moon) to let go of what doesn’t serve us anymore and welcome this new beginning and rebirth.
First stop, Oregon!
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