Observing others is a big step towards becoming more conscious of your own movement habits. That’s gotta be one of the biggest perks of the job as a movement teacher: that you get to keep learning every session. And you can be too. Obviously you don’t want to be the suspect perv who’s obviously leering at people from afar… But try to subtly be more mindful of the people around you, and how they move. How they breathe, how the walk, how they hold their posture and how it changes with motion (& emotion!).
I can’t help but notice how people move. I have always wanted to become stronger, faster, climb big mountains, run huge distances, flip and cartwheel, jump high, limbo low, surf, skate, ski, play tennis, soccer, dance. But like so many similarly sporting insatiables before me I eventually became involved in teaching my own movement classes. I want to see the moment others see what it feels like to really move and that when you can, you can move even more. And you’re free!
I have watched clients begin their movement journey rolling, crawling on their elbows or hands and knees, or on their backs no hands or feet at all and not doing anything for them except describing what it might feel like and seeing them click. I’ve overheard them telling friends about a class they did ‘doing things that look like you should be able to do them really easily that turned out in fact to be really hard’. What one guy could blast through, another could even get his body to the ground to even begin. What a guy should’ve been able to do and couldn’t yet his office compatriot smoked him and she didn’t even try.
Our bodies are made to move but somewhere along the way we get ‘set in our ways’. Maybe that’s getting really into one sport (or just getting good at sitting!).
Climbers for instance seem to have shoulders that belong on people four times their age, rolled forward, heads carried forward with them, and hands that should’ve rested on the side of their thighs on the fronts and almost turning inwards!
Surfers are similar to climbers because of a similar overarm reach and strength to paddle, add in tight neck and middle back from lifting to surf and then under or over use of their low back to try make up for what their paddling posture can no longer get them doing.
Actually that’s not fair cos the posture is common to most of us. Forward head, rounded shoulders, caved chest and tight neck and mid back and just sore low back (& mostly dysfunctional abs).
It’s interesting (and in some ways quite sad) to see how movement capacity deteriorates – from the toddler with unlimited potential, to people in their 30s and 40s starting to hunch and feel the aches and pains, all the way up to those of us that have all but curled up like prawns.
But what’s even more interesting is that more and more I’m seeing people bursting out of their skins to move, climb, skate, bounce and flip everywhere I go and it really makes me smile.
What body shape are you? Which will you be next?