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What is Natural Movement?

In my last post (click here to read), I talked about how seemingly natural movements are not necessarily so natural. I also said that I would write about how to make your movement practice more natural, or effective. However it’s taken me quite some time to get this post ready because defining what is natural movement for humans is not so easy as we are capable of learning and developing a vast array of movements. If you compare the movements of a ballet dancer, to a strong woman competitor, to a surgeon to a musician, you will find high levels of vastly different skill sets and abilities.

What I can glean from researching articles and advertisements from natural movement proponents is that natural movement is the ideal movement from our evolution as a species. The reasoning goes like this: Our species reached its highest level of movement development as hunter/gatherers and since that time, with the advent of agriculture and later, the industrial revolution and now smart phones, we’ve been declining in strength and ability ever since. Therefore, in order to regain our optimal health, we need to return to doing things like our ancestors did. So that means, the dancer, the strong woman athlete, the surgeon and the violinist should all possess some common movement abilities, as should the rest of us.

What are those basic movement abilities?

In response to our modern lifestyle, with all the conveniences that “save us time and energy,” and  destroy our collective health, there are a growing number of “natural” or “primal” based fitness methods sprouting up all over the fitness landscape. From my perspective as a Feldenkrais practitioner, this is a welcome and long overdue development.

  Some years ago, I felt that Father Time was prematurely catching up to me in the inevitable race. I know, at least intellectually, that I’ll lose this race, but I was falling behind too soon for my taste. Adult life, with its responsibilities and spoils had turned me into sluggish blob. The worst part

Never before have we (those of us who are lucky enough to be so privileged) had so much access to such a rich variety of movement opportunities. We can go dancing, do yoga, crossfit, primal moves, and it seems like every week a new and better movement system is born. Plus, we’re continually reminded of

Restoring Balance, Restoring Dignity

Monday, 01 February 2016 by

On Saturday, January Lena Petersson Tarr (my wife) and I taught a Feldenkrais workshop entitled, “Balance Beyond the Middle.” One of the participant’s stories was particularly moving and reminded us of how important balance can be, beyond just being able to stand on one leg (a common test of balance). Balance: We all know what it

Meaningful Movement and the Mind

Saturday, 12 December 2015 by

Does exercise support cognition, in other words better thinking? And if so, how much and what kind is most effective? These questions are being asked over an over, and the conclusion seems to be: that exercise has positive effects on how we think. Dr. John Ratey’s (author of Spark and Go Wild) website “Sparking Life”

Falling, to help others fall

Wednesday, 02 December 2015 by

One of the biggest fears that many people develop as they age is the fear of falling. And there’s much to be feared, broken bones, visits to the hospital and loss of independence by ending up in a nursing home. Unfortunately, the fear of falling can make it more likely that you’ll fall. Fear makes us

New Parkour Park

Tuesday, 17 November 2015 by

The city of Växjö, Sweden just opened a new outdoor parkour park and it’s very cool.   I was fortunate enough to be able to try it out but there was much more than I could do that evening. There are numerous bars to balance on and hang from, walls and fences to jump over