Most of us should move more.
We wake up in the morning and sit in cars or buses or trains, which take us to jobs where we’ll sit at a desk for 8 hours. When we’re done, we take the train or car or bus back home, where we have a well earned rest on the sofa before going to bed.
Then the next day we do it again.
Given that, I should make it clear that none of the following is meant to criticise, or to imply that somehow you aren’t doing movement right. If you’re doing any form of movement with any regularity then you’re on the right track.
But, although most of us are aware that moving is important, not nearly as many of us appreciate the value of a movement practice.
So what’s the difference between movement and a movement practice?
Put simply, a movement practice is an activity which allows the mover’s focus to remain on themselves. In other words, it’s a system of movement where the focus isn’t on going faster, or being stronger, or winning.
For instance, in most martial arts the focus is on overcoming an opponent. In the gym, the focus is on performing more reps or lifting a heavier weight, or going faster. In parkour, the focus is on traversing the obstacles.
It’s true that in these disciplines, attention is often paid to the quality of movement, at least in training, but when it comes to the real thing, it’s generally accepted that there will be a decline in quality, in favour of getting the job done.
And perhaps it’s this point that separates movement practices from other movement disciplines; the fact that there is no “real thing”.
In a movement practice, the movements aren’t being practised so that they can be used to achieve a greater goal, they’re being practised so that through them, the practitioner can learn about themselves.
A movement practice is a rare opportunity to practise the skill of measuring our progress against nobody but ourselves. It is a chance to practise the art of paying attention. It is a way of being less serious, of rediscovering the joy of being.
It is a practise for being ourselves.