body awareness

Why Attention to Contact is for Everyone

Why Attention to Contact is for Everyone

If you look at any beginner movement class, you'll see widely-varying degrees of bodily awareness. However, regardless of how someone moves, with a little bit of cueing, anyone can feel if they are in contact with the floor or not.

You don’t need skill or imagination to sense your contact with the floor. You may not be paying attention to it most of the time, but it doesn't require anatomical awareness to grasp what 'weight-bearing' is or to notice which of your parts have the most pressure.

Weight bearing is a constant thing (unless you are temporarily airborne, space traveling, or swimming, you are bearing weight, somehow).

Yet, the details of rolling contacts are rarely zeroed in on outside of higher-level movement environments. But...they could be.

Expectation Makeover

Expectation Makeover

Have you ever noticed how much a dose of movement impacts your mood? 

If you've been sitting down all day and you go outside for a walk, you are likely to feel better. I know I do.  However, if you go to a practice session with unreasonably lofty expectations ('I'm gonna do this hard thing I saw and it'll be perfect, just like that Instagram video'), you probably won't leave feeling like a winner. And if you're not skilled at overriding and reframing your own nay-saying... you might not walk away feeling vibrant. 

You've likely heard of the research which confirms that exercise is mood boosting (it's usually accompanied by a stock image of people in bright-colors faux-grinning on a jog). While movement does provoke chemical changes that make you feel nice, your approach can amplify the positive after-effects or knock them right out of you.

Bodily Awareness is Possibly the Most Undervalued Element of Fitness

Photo by Christian Buitron Photography

Photo by Christian Buitron Photography

By Marlo Fisken, Creator of Flow Movement

For as many magazines, blogs, and memes on fitness as there are, there is a general lack of understanding on what fitness actually is. I am not at all surprised; people value different things when it comes to aesthetics and lifestyle. But fitness is more than most of us realize. Let's have a look at the definition of fitness before I share some of my recent thoughts with you.

Fitness is a measure of how you adapt to stressors. It is often defined as the combination of your strength, mobility, endurance, body composition, power, speed, balance, and agility. Fitness, however, is also a measure of how efficiently and effectively you work and play, your emotional well-being and how well you avoid the diseases of inactivity. It is your reaction time and how you adapt to diverse environments and challenges. Fitness is important to each and every one of us (whether you choose to care now or not). 

Your fitness level is evidenced in all aspects of your life. 

Yet few broad-reaching fitness outlets (outside of the mind/body sphere) talk about the importance of awareness.  I believe that bodily awareness is the most overlooked aspect of fitness. 

Bodily awareness is key to improving alignment, and healthy alignment is key to growing our skill set, meeting many physique goals, and avoiding pain.

Science has shown that poor postural habits negatively impact mood and stress.  Beyond that, postural issues can cause pain, leaving us wondering why we cannot meet our fitness goals. In my experience, there is a strong correlation between your ability to move without pain and making progress. I have usually had to learn something about my patterns and make a priority of staying aware of them (both during training and daily activities) in order to remedy pain and injuries (and even a poochy belly situation).

Body awareness helps you to fully engage in your training and find joy in the process. Not only can you can train more if you feel good, you can do it for much more of your life! 

In case this body awareness talk doesn't sound flashy enough and doesn't seem to have anything to do with your goals of "being hot," consider this:

Even across many non-human species, strong posture, (which is the same as good alignment), gets noticed. The strong and robust are in demand because they appear to have the best health and genetics. Confidence is ultimately a way of moving, and often is a projection of awareness. 

I feel the most confident after physical training that requires absolute focus and immersion. When I practice movements that require me to tap into detailed self-awareness, I move better, I breathe better, I stand tall and sit better throughout the day.

So, What do you do to develop your body awareness?