Intuitive Movement Collection

Over the last years I have spent a considerable amount of time researching and studying different forms of intuitive movement and how we can find healing and authenticity while doing so. In this post I share a collection of exercises that could help tapping into your physical intuition.

Kneading the dough.

 

Knead yourself into suppleness.

Work the floor and massage yourself.

Bring every cell and fiber of yourself to live and sooth your mind.

 

Or something like that. Just try it.

Play your favorite song and get going.

 

Kneadingly,

Nil

A Physical Practice of Letting Go

 

In this Video I want to present to you something I call „a physical practice of letting go“.

It is an open exercise without a clear goal.

The Intention is to physically and through that also mentally let go. What you let go you will find out hopefully. You can also set an intention what you want to let go.

 

I use shaking, clapping, my voice, music and my breath to facilitate that letting go experience.

When you try this, please see for yourself what feels good and what enhances this feeling for you.

After this practice I highly recommend to sit/stand/lie still for a few minutes.

Try to feel the resonance of the exercise and observe yourself without judging.

 

Are there any feelings, sensations, emotions, thoughts arising?

Don’t focus too much on them, let them come and go.

 

And then you continue with your day.

An Intuitive Approach to Movement, Wellbeing and Mobility

 

In this video I present to you a personal take on approaching Movement, Wellbeing and Mobility from an intuitive standpoint.

 

While I absolutely see the value of learning techniques/patterns (squats, lunges, kossacks, just to name three out of probably hundreds of thousands of named patterns) I also see the lack of awareness of individual needs.

When I ask students to warmup for themselves or approach tightness in their bodies I usually see them automatically using fixed patterns that they have learned before and done many times already INSTEAD of firstly sensing how the body feels in that moment and what it could need right now.

 

Through this video I want to offer a simple approach that relies more on FEELING your body first and moving in a way that actually takes your individuality into consideration.

When and how you use this information is up to you.

 

I propose this makes a very good morning routine, warmup, routine for when you feel tight and achy, ..

One-squaremeter-suppleness

Not much room nor equipment needed for some basic body check/maintenance.
What looks like some weird dance is actually my preferred way of doing non-specific-whole-body-out-of-alignment-3D-organic-multiangular-mobility-strengthening-conditioning!

Put one one or two nice songs and get moving – the feels afterwards and whilst doing are worth the weird looks you get.

Trust in ones own Body

A few thoughts on body awareness and trust in one’s own body:

I often talk about the so-called “body feeling”, but sometimes forget to mention what this actually is for me. Body awareness is a rather fuzzy term that includes many components. I want to write a little about one today: Trust in your own body – knowing what your body is actually capable of!

Many people have almost no relationship to their bodies any more. One consequence of this is that the feeling of being able to assess what one’s own body is capable of is lost. Too much is spared, too much is relieved and we forget to listen to the body’s signals.
Often it was in childhood when you last tried to test the limits of your ability and put your body in new situations. Example: When was the last time you climbed a tree? When was the last time you did a forward roll? How long has it been since you balanced on a beam? Etc.

Fortunately, I see a big movement at the moment, for example in some CrossFit boxes, parks or parkour facilities that want to give such a feeling. Confidence in one’s own body is being rebuilt step by step, simply because one moves in a versatile way and pushes oneself to the limit of one’s comfort zone from time to time. I notice this, for example, in the “Gymnastics Class” at CrossFit Munich, which I teach: the participants learn to control their bodies bit by bit – whether it’s rolls on the floor, shimmies or even swings from bar to bar.

For me, I noticed a further boost in confidence in the last acrobatic training sessions when I practised the elements (video). Half a year ago, it was unimaginable for me to perform these movements. Yesterday, however, it *clicked* – the fear was gone!
In my opinion, acrobatic elements in particular have a great potential to increase body awareness, starting with rolls, wheels, handstands etc.

Take Home Message: Get up and try something new! Look around in other disciplines and learn to control your body better in many situations. The fun will come all by itself!

 

Awareness over ones own Body

Anyone who knows me well or has followed my site for a while knows that I place a very high value on body awareness/mastery/control. What do I mean by this?

I understand the terms as follows: It’s mainly about being aware of your own body and feeling, noticing what your body needs at the moment and how it shows it to you. For example, it is about signs of fatigue, i.e. when you should better recover from certain activities, or pain, i.e. signs that something is not right/as usual.

It also includes being able to feel and associate movements correctly, such as noticing whether your back is round or straight during certain movements (squats, handstands, etc.) or what certain movements look like. Many people have absolutely no idea what their movements look like – until you show them photos or videos. The difference between feeling and actual execution is often enormous.

Too often people train mindlessly according to training plans that are designed for a broad mass – individual differences are not taken into account. Too often people compare themselves with each other – especially with some best times or PRs. And too often these “personal records” are seen as criteria for how good one is or how one is progressing in training.
Criteria like having fun or feeling/control during the execution are not taken into account. Small but subtle changes, for example when you really FEEL what you are doing for the first time, like a targeted control of long “paralysed” muscles, etc. are neglected.

In the video a small demonstration of what I mean by this.
Task: supine position – a book on each limb – blindfolded – turn once 360° in both directions WITHOUT the books falling off hands/feet.
By being blindfolded, the sense of sight is taken away, you have to be even more aware of how your body moves. Small changes can cause the books to fall.
Alternatively: eyes open and at first only one book on one foot or in the hands.

 

 

As always, this is only ONE example out of many. Also, you don’t have to be able to do this, it’s just a fun way to train your body awareness….

I would like to end this text with a quote from Moshe Feldenkrais: “If you can feel what you do, you can do what you want.

In this sense: learn to listen to your body, it is much smarter than you are…. 

Stay Loose and Keep Moving,

Nil

Shoes vs. Barefoot

Like the roots of a plant in a pot that is too small, the feet wither in unsuitable shoes.

 

If you look at your bare feet and compare them with your hands you will see some similarities but also differences. (Normally) both have 5 fingers or toes that can move separately from each other – right? Often the opposite is the case: we can coordinate our fingers quite well (some more – some less) – of course, we use our hands and fingers all the time to do all kinds of things: reach for something, support something, make music (piano, guitar, …), beat something, etc.. According to the credo “Use it or Lose it”, it also makes sense that we can control our fingers so well. Through daily practice we strengthen the muscles in the area, strengthen the connection between the nervous system and the muscles, tune all kinds of receptors for perception (pain, pressure, temperature, …) and improve perception – even if we close our eyes.

 

 

What would happen if we put on mittens for 8 hours a day for a year? All the above-mentioned characteristics would most likely deteriorate. After a year, we would have hands that would be numb to sensation, simple tasks would only work with difficulty.

And why should it be any different with our feet?

 

Sure, our hands have many more connections to our nervous system, which makes the finest coordinative tasks possible in the first place. But still: wearing shoes (or better: prisons) every day that constrict our feet, don’t allow the toes to spread, don’t provide ventilation and serve as passive support, weakening the stabilising foot muscles, can’t be good in the long run.

This page is all about movement and long-term performance (gymnastics to the urn). In this sense, it also makes sense to get rid of your shoes from time to time or to change your choice of shoes. More feeling and strength in the feet improves stability in all athletic movements (jumping, running, stopping, etc.), promotes balance and provides a stable basis for every movement in which we stand on our feet!

 

Of course, this doesn’t mean that you should never wear shoes again. Shoes are chic, offer protection and are often important for being able to perform movements. But maybe you should take your shoes off more often and walk around barefoot or find out about barefoot shoes (VivoBareFoot, Joe Nimble, etc.). Your feet will thank you!

 

In addition, you can incorporate the exercises in this Video into your daily routine to get your feet back in shape.

Picture: https://www.facebook.com/joenimbleDE