Why movement is the best medicine and how it makes us smarter

Our senses operate through resonance, by allowing ourselves to be moved, we gain information, and may play wiht grace.

You will not find these ideas in books on neuroscience and psychology, rather than hard facts, my explanations better resemble metaphors.  They are my attempt to rearrange fragments of knowledge and allow a fresh picture to emerge. One that better matches biology and the possibility of greater bio-diversity.

Relax to receive – Information as movement

Emotions lend power and texture to communications. As discussed in depth in my previous post, although emotions come in many flavours, perhaps it is useful to see them as being either: based in physical contraction or expansion. Notice, that I chose to write expansion rather relaxation.

When cells, tissues, organs and bodies are relaxed they are able to resonate or be moved more freely they are receptive to in-comming signals. They gather, transmit and move with more information, expanding their inter-relationship.

Do our Intentions determine our intelligence?

Intelligence can be defined either as pure information, for example, to gather intelligence. Or the ability to recognise and store repeating patterns. To sense and make sense of what is happening.

In nature, which encompasses everything, all is interrelated, even chaos or the dissolving of order happens predictably. We tend to hang onto or memorise the repeating elements or pieces of this larger pattern that we see advantage in.

Those broken of pieces of the greater pattern become our intentions. How we store or memorise these fragments determines both what we are able to feel and how we feel.

There are ways to make sense of the data that allow us to move gracefully and effectively in the flow of what is happening. When we cling to patterns that seem to bring personal advantage, but do not flow with what  is happening we experience and perpetuate turbulence.  Lets explore this.

Synapses form loose connections like sea grass swaying in the currents, like Ram they are up-datable. Hard memories are stored elsewhere, like ROM these determine how we react to inputs with less flexible responses.

Virtual Reality of the Synapses – The Mind Field

Neuroplasticity refers to the ability of the our nerve endings to make and break connections like trees waving together in the wind. As we have more  rich and engaging experiences we make more connections, we come to understand what is happening and how to move with it. These types of connections are flexible and update readily. They begin to form an inner map that resonates with our environment and circumstances.

Our instincts shuttle resources away from this part of the brain, away from healing, rejuvenation and protection of the DNA. Into our muscle memories for fast life saving actions. Our muscle memories are a collection of learned skills that provide moving experiences. But skill are not the only patterns stored in our bodies.

May the Force be without you for a while

We need to contract to transfer or generate force. Applying less force for less time not only saves energy, it allows us to return to greater sensitivity faster.

Grace, elegance and efficiency are measures of how effectively we apply force. All of these are determined by how well our cells move in relation to each other and how well our bodies move in relation to their surroundings.

Friction is a cost of moving things, (like Inertia) it is a force that must be overcome in order create movement. In our bodies, non useful stored tension wastes energy as it hinders our ability to move and be moved.

Sensitivity is the ability to resonate or be moved by incoming energy, be it, sound, light, heat, magnetism or another expression of force, (they are likely all one anyway).

So if Neuroplasticity is in fact, all wavy and tree-like, how dow we come to be so tense and why do we have the ability to not be moved?

How do we store these patterns that do not “resonate” or move nicely with the passing energy, like leaves in the wind and waves in the ocean?

So glad you asked 🙂

Tension is what we think, Sensation is what can not be thought.
Fascia is stores and releases energy. If not released tension becomes memory that we experience as emotion. Is this tension who we are, or who we think we are?

The Spring within – Fascia is the tissue of Connection or is it?

A cell, much like an amoeba, is an individual unit of life, as such it can move (contract/relax), produce energy from food, and sense its environment and reproduce. It senses its environment predominantly, through its membrane or surface.

To increase access to information from environment it can increase its surface area, if it gets too big it will become unstable and fragile. At some point it is just easier to “join forces” with adjacent cells to create a more complex organism.

Cells become tissues, different tissues join to become organs, organ systems, organisms and eventually organisations of organisms. Yet binding this all is the tissue of connection – the fascia. Yes even our societies are bound by fascia.

is freedom proportional to acceptance?
We are hard wired for validation, the more threatened we feel, the more alone we feel, the more seek attention and validation. Is leadership the art of relaxing people or creating tension?

Fascia becomes the tissue that determines if there is an issue.

Fascia forms a moving, sliding, gliding three dimensional web that binds us to together. It is elastic and stretchy, combined with muscle and nerve fibres it both receives and transmits force. Fascia takes on the role of the membrane in that simple amoeba model, it is all about inter-action.

Due to the elastic nature of fascia, it can store and release tension like a rubber band.  Imagine a cheetah running, as its foot absorbs the weight of its body returning to Earth, that force is stored, as it springs of the ground, that stored energy is released. Together with powerful muscle contractions the combined force is enormously effective.

For this to work, the fascia must release all non relevant tension, (friction) and get out of the way. The cheetah’s nervous system must coordinate muscle contractions and relaxations in perfect timing to the changing circumstances. Total and perfect sensitivity to environment though the senses is required.

Sensitivity is a function of softness, of suppleness of the membrane of the fascia of the organism to “allow” what is to be.

Threatened with extinction

When we perceive a threat, the emergency part of our brain selects a spontaneous instinctive response. Enormous resources are sent to move us out of danger. If there is in fact no real and present danger those resources remain unspent.

Precious bio-chemicals, electrolytes, endorphins, neurotransmitters, hormones, ATP remain in the system, we get a rush.  The fascia gets wound up ready to spring.

We experience these minor and major tensions as the emotions of contraction. If not released, the spring remains wound up, that stored tension becomes a kind of body memory. The corresponding emotion is un-pleasent, unbearable in fact, as it keeps us blind un-easy, threatened and vulnerable. It makes us feel alone.

When we repeat this many times, fail to move and feed our bodies poorly, the fascia gets stuck in the prepared state and we loose both agility and sensitivity. We embody the fear response and as we become increasingly deadened, we get scared more easily. This turns us back to the tribe for comfort, re-assurance and validation. Attention seeking.

Stories Kill the possibility of life.
Can we work together without controlling each other, with out squeezing the life out of the biosphere? Yes – but first we must accept our fears and sense what is real. We must let go of our stories.

Swell times ahead – inflammation vs information

In the animal kingdom, animals that move poorly become lunch, their molecules are recycled early. In the world of Sapiens, we have learned how to re-direct the forces of nature, we can create swelling in the environment and harvest from it, saving our energy.

We no longer need to be graceful and sensitive, so long as we are up-stream of the swelling we can harvest easily. We are taught how to behave and what is valuable. We play the game of squeezing nature and competing for a place up-stream. Those downstream in the land of lack, are obviously un-educated or lazy.

These stories that maintain the status quo and are not fluid and wavy at all, they are all about fear, contraction, swelling and control. Perhaps we can not store these kind of memories in our synapses, maybe they are stored in the fascia, in the skin within. They are transmitted and re-enforced via stories empowered by tone of voice and body language, via the emotions of contraction.

When action arises out of understanding, there is beauty and grace. The possibility of Abundance returns. Fear is the opposite, can we move beyond fear? what is the alternative?

Movement as Medicine

Movement brings awareness to both tension and relaxation, to where we are stuck and swollen and to where we are fluid, alive and sensitive. All movement happens in relation to the energy or forces that are present in our environment.

To free ourselves from the stories that are anchored in our fascia with emotion we need to return our focus to sensitivity. This is the most difficult task their is and very few succeed totally.

Most of us have fleeting experiences of the alive connected, timelessness and selflessness of these “states”. We call them altered states, but I wonder if they are our birthright and it is our collective culture that alters us?

The purpose of these writings and illustrations is to explore letting go of non-relevant tension. Allow our synapses to build better models, to understand the flowing biology that coats this planet. To return to Information, accept our vulnerabilities and release inflammation.

 

Spinal Hack – break in formation

break in-formation, allowing biology to con-from to gravity.

Balance demands focus

Instead of letting my mind wonder while trying to burn calories. I use a nutrient dense diet and use movements that demand that I pay close attention to my posture.

By training in un balanced situations, such as on Stand Up Paddle Boards and body weight games, I learn to keep my head aligned over the base of my support.

This requires that my total focus be anchored in the signals streaming into the nervous system. My body follows my head, which follows my eyes, which follows my thoughts. In other words if I think I fall.

Trillions of human and bacterial cells work together to form my tissues and organ systems. I am pretty sure that did not happen just so they could listen and respond to replays of my last argument.

More likely, they want the vital environmental data so that they can allocate energy and resources gracefully.

Getting my head I the right place.

Simply by leaning your head forward you can feel the weight shift to the balls of your feet, notice also how this affects tension in the back of the neck and pulling into the sides of knee joints.

SUP training is fantastic, as the energy moving through the water continually shifts the ideal place for our hips to be. In order for our heads to remain situated over our feet, we sway, we embody the wave-form that is moving through the water. We un-wind, just as the ocean is “un winding”.

Conforming to the effects of the sun and the moon on water is a great healthy way to reset our base tension levels. The more tense we are the less we can feel, and the more likely we are to operate from reactive programs.

Do not try the experiment in the photo, without the advice and supervision of a chiropractor. I use the rings and my feet to gradually increase the load on my occipital ridge, de-compressing the vertebra and allowing my body to soften and “swing” back underneath my head.

Wellness remains a possibility and a choice to the degree that we understand, through direct experience, the relationships that run through biology in real time.

 

2 – Attunement – learning the interface

Attunement - the dance of life

The key take-away here is: We begin learning our key beliefs about how safe we are, how valuable we are, and which strategies and communication techniques alleviate and manage fear from the moment sensations begin. Feelings of pain and fear strengthen the sensation of self as seperate and in danger. Feelings of acceptance and curiosity strengthen the sensation of self as connected, safe and valuable. Which do you suppose feels more playful and creative? Events in our lives tilt us more towards fear or towards expansiveness. Healing is about learning to create a lifestyle that reinforces safe connections. Attunement is a life-long quest to communicate without fear and neediness.

 

In the first blog I talked about aliveness, connection and worthiness. In this post I briefly discuss trauma and how processing sub-optimal experiences affects the way we communicate and the choices we make.

Over time, resistance to the feelings in our own bodies alters our body language, our posture, and our faces. Apart from driving how we spend our income and much of the free time we do get, I suspect it is the most overlooked cause of inflammation and disease. Which makes it worth understanding.

When we are less “reactive” it is easier to remain focused on the things that we are good at. Those things that make us feel alive, valuable and included. Our behavior is affected by the signals we receive from each other. We begin learning how to send and interpret those signals from when we are in the womb. Without a healing practice, we tend to become less receptive yet more “touchy” as we get older. Out most creative work is often done in our younger years.
I suspect that we store resistance to life, (fear covered by opinions) as tension in our bodies, which is why a practice of conscious un-winding, like Yoga, helps us to remain kind and effective members of our families and communities.
My personal favorite is SUP and animal type movements with body weight exercises. Eat right and repetitive motion such as “cardio” is un-nessecary.

 Getting with the program

Attunement is the name that arose from the work of the psychiatrist John Bowlby and his contemporary Donald Winnicot in the 1940’s. It describes a process that happens between newborns and their primary caretaker.

Newborns begin learning about safe and appropriate action and communication by making sounds; actions and gestures, building neural connections that mirror their caretaker. It is also when the baby begins building a “felt sense” of self. Attunement begins in the womb, and when it happens “normally”, forms the foundations for an adult who will grow up to feel safe and be well integrated into their community.

Attunement is where we begin to build our sense of self as being part of a group or tribe. It is where our nervous system first starts creating the automated responses that will shape our lives.

As we grow from baby, to child through our teenage years and into adult hood, the chances of us integrating healthily decrease with each exposure to a traumatic experience.

Contrary to popular belief, (part of the John Wayne legacy) it is not something we can tough out, instead we tend to suppress or avoid the triggers. Suppressing causes us to loose the higher emotions along with the low ones. This tends to kill our feelings of aliveness and effect our on going attunement.

Being Defensive

Automatic responses can save us from injury or death. Fight and flight reactions are given priority over other bodily functions. When something happens that over-loads our ability to understand and assimilate, when we are overwhelmed by an experience, we experience trauma and it becomes wired into our future.

Trauma’s from the past, when re-triggered, create physical reactions that range from subtle uneasiness to complete shutdown.
The key thing here, is that the experience of trauma changes both our internal and external communications. Experiencing trauma is part of ordinary life, we usually only address it when the dysfunction it creates becomes unbearable for those around us.

Healing Trauma with Focused Movement

Traumas may trigger thoughts, images and even flashbacks; but they are stored in the body. They exist because they have become part of our autonomic nervous system, below and before our prefrontal cortex. It seems that focusing on movement can reset those pathways and re-map how we are wired. There are many modalities for re-attuning ourselves. If we can understand their core principles, we may be able to develop extremely powerful, yet simple routines for returning to full aliveness.

Simply exercising has benefits. What really empowers movement, is focus in a state of acceptance, especially in situations that require balance and reward optimal posture. I will be exploring this in depth, these early blogs are background information so that we understand the challenges to freedom.

 

Waxing lyrical

The ocean can never replace your mother, but she is moving to the heat of our sun, and the beat of our moon. From the gravity of heavenly bodies to a passing cloud, myriad forces form coherent lines. To be cancelled in turbulence against the constraints of distant shores. Both oxygenating the sea and allowing the possibility of stillness and serenity to return.

Research notes:
Trauma is a vast subject and a rather intimate one to discuss. I can not do it justice in a few paragraphs, nor am I qualified to. Bessel van der Kolt MD, in his book, “The body Keeps the Score” presents the most comprehensive overview that I have read so far. Peter Levine also has an understanding built on a wealth of experience. Both of these doctors continue to study, try new things and publish their findings. Freemocean is not about trauma, it is about receiving clean data from nature, so that we may use energy more effectively.