Welcome to Part Two of the Intuitive Movement miniseries. I hope you found Part One helpful (if you haven’t read it yet, you can check it out here).
Were you able to practice the first three principles of intuitive movement? You may have chosen just to increase your awareness of the internal cues your body and mind offers you around movement. That is ok too. It’s important to recognise that there is no moral obligation for you to move your body – you are not a good person if you move, nor are you a bad person if you don’t.
If you’d like to continue exploring intuitive movement, here are the next four principles.
#4 Movement, Not Exercise
Exercise, by definition, is planned, structured, and purposeful. It is part of the wider scope of ‘movement’ however it is by no means the only way to move your body. In the intuitive movement world, all forms of movement are valid and valuable. That might be walking around the shops whilst getting your groceries through to deliberate exercise carried out in the gym. Whether you choose to include more traditional forms of exercise in your movement patterns is up to you and ideally reflects what your mind and body needs.
#5 Create Space for Joyful Movement
Joyful movement is essentially any form of movement that brings you joy! It’s delightful and a really wonderful element of moving intuitively. Not all intuitive movement will be joyful – sometimes it will be stress-relieving, challenging, social, relaxing, uncomfortable, energising… or all of the above! However, including some form of joyful movement into your movement patterns is highly encouraged.
Finding movement you enjoy is promoted by many, often with the idea that if you enjoy it, you are more likely to stick to it. Yes, this is true. However, I’d encourage you to make space for joyful movement purely for the purpose of it bringing you joy, whether you stick to it long term or not. When moving intuitively, you might find that different types of movement bring you joy at different stages in your life. It’s ok to explore this and to change it as needed.
#6 Acknowledge the Ebb and Flow
Through life, our capacity to move our bodies will undoubtedly change. Sometimes you’ll move more, sometimes less. Sometimes you’ll move at higher intensities and for longer, whilst at other times gentle or short duration movement will be best. Sometimes, it’s simply a matter of movement not being the greatest priority in your life; you might be unwell, busy, cherishing time spent with a new baby, re-watching the entire Gilmore Girls series for the seventh time, learning a new instrument, recovering from an eating disorder… At other times, you might be savouring every opportunity to move as you enjoy the warm weather, manage stress, rehabilitate an injury, or train for a fun run.
With these ebbs and flows in life, comes the same shift in your fitness. It’s ok if at one stage you can run for a long time, and now you’re out of breath after the first couple of minutes. Offer yourself some compassion here. Reconnect with your mind and body and find the sort of movement, intensity, duration, and frequency that will best nourish you at this given point in time.
#7 Be Curious and Compassionate
Intuitive movement, curiosity, and compassion are a wonderful combination. This principle is a wonderful one to incorporate throughout your intuitive movement experience, however it can be particularly valuable in times where you feel you are struggling (whilst remembering there is no “right” way to move intuitively).
It might be that you pushed yourself really hard during a fun run and have aggravated an injury. Rather than beat yourself up for it, can you offer yourself some compassion first? Then maybe explore what increased the risk of the injury happening? Were you moving in the best way for you at the time? Was your body offering you some signs that you didn’t pick up on or chose not to listen to? What is your body telling you it needs now – maybe some rest or a trip to a health professional?
Maybe your body is sending you some signs that it would like to move more, but you are feeling resistant to the idea. Again, offer yourself some compassion. Explore this with curiosity, rather than judgement. Are there some clear reasons why you might be feeling resistant – have you had negative experiences in the past? Are you really stressed at the moment? Are you placing expectations on yourself about the type of movement you “should” engage in? Is movement the best thing for you right now or maybe consider accepting that this is part of the ebb and flow of your movement capacity? Or does your body really need some movement and taking small steps is a comfortable way to start?
Time to Practice…
When you feel ready, you can begin to build on the principles practiced in part one by practicing the above principles. I invite you to think about “different” sorts of movement and whether you’d like to incorporate these into your intuitive movement patterns – maybe a dance class or martial arts? Maybe taking the stairs instead of the lift or heading out grocery shopping rather than having it delivered? Maybe spending some time stretching your neck and shoulders after a long day at the computer?
What sorts of movement bring you joy? This might be something you know the answer to already, or something you would like to explore over the coming weeks.
What is your capacity to move at the moment? How does it fit into your life and your needs? What movement, intensity, duration, and frequency fits with your abilities in the present, not with expectations you have based on past performance?
As you practice, can you be curious and compassionate with yourself?
The final principles and how to incorporate intuitive movement into a structured training or rehabilitation program.
I’d love to hear how you are progressing with intuitive movement, plus any questions, comments, or musings you might have. You can get in touch with me via Facebook, Twitter (@healthyparadigm), Instagram (@ahealthyparadigm), or here.