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.

 

6 – Allow – there is no flow in-tension

freemocean-blog6art

Key Take-Away – Flow states allow us to resonate with complex patterns of information in real time. Fear has a physical tension component that inhibits our ability to access our senses, pulling us out of the moment and back into the world of meanings and the desire to control.

Business is about trying to control the flow of goods and information, of things and motivation. We need to do this to pay for our lives, but controlling is very different from flowing.

Looking out on the mirror-like ocean this morning, I recall that, feeling alive (feeling life), happens from a place of receptivity, rather than control.

The reason the wise keep returning our attention to the possibility of “Acceptance” is that it allows our tissues to return to optimal tension. From this place we can avoid much conflict simply by conforming to our shared reality.

Today, I will hold back less, I will respect and trust you to “resonate or re-designate” how you spend the next few minutes.

Drunk people may fall a lot, but get hurt surprisingly little. That is because it is the sudden stop that hurts. Absorbing impact is expensive, allowing force to be expended elsewhere is usually preferable. Ocean swell is bounced against land and cancelled against itself, in so doing it turns rock into sand. If water is unable to transfer the energy, it would changes to a gas. Our bodies do not have that luxury, if we tense inappropriately, if we resist too much, we swell and become toxic.

Energy moves in waveforms. The properties of the waveform, pitch, frequency, magnitude, shape and trajectory, don’t just contain information, they are information. Since the measurable beginning, the matter of the universe is moving towards dis-order, scientists call this entropy. Life, however, moves in the opposite direction. Biodiversity, keeps energy in formation, in ever more complex  patterns of inter-relation.
Our bodies are made of organs, made of tissues, formed by cells. Each cell, (apart from red blood cells) contains DNA containing a range of possible expressions. Each cell has the ability to sense and react, but it operates as part of the larger community of the organism. The integrity of the organism depends on its ability to organize effectively. For this it requires fuel, spare parts and most of all, accurate information about where and how to acquire, synthesize and distribute that energy and those components.

You see – It’s always been the Information Age, but it’s moving fast, it’s flowing and it can only be accessed in real time. What we call knowledge is a snap-shot, a fragment, a tiny piece of a much larger pattern.

Social creatures, such as dogs and humans have access to something called “flow state”. It allows us to synchronize with a much larger bandwidth of changing data. To access flow state, we synch with our environment through our senses. To stay there, we cease to resist, we judge risk but do not over-react with pre-programmed fear responses. Our internal commands, move in synch with external patterns, we use energy with grace, our co-ordination and our communication move towards optimal.

This is what I was speaking of as “aliveness”, it’s the experience of being the flow of life, and yes, of death also. Energy can not be destroyed, but it can loose form, it can loose information, loose it’s place in the formation, move back towards separation.

Our highest calling is to resonate with the flow of life, to add the data contained in our unique perspective to the total. Flow is the “co” in communication. The senses of each individual add depth and complexity to our shared reality. If we pull back in fear, if we pollute the data of our senses with our opinions, the thread we add to the tapestry is tangled, the formation is mangled.
Sand dunes, like water are moved by the wind, as their bonds are supple, they embody the waveform, are shaped by the waveform, store the information of the waveform. We could say that the pattern of the dunes, contains sand particles that are “in formation”.

Tense or Allow, Flow or Resist, Move or be moved. When we tense we absorb energy but we alter the information, we impact the flow. We need not do this like a billiard ball that goes on to disrupt. Posture allows us to behave more like bamboo, more like a sea anemone.

If we can maintain our relative position but allow ourselves to be swayed like a sea anemone, we may filter what we require, energy, parts and information, without being cast adrift or breaking formation.

Of course I speak in metaphors. The idea of freemocean is to share understanding through experience, rather than control with ridged opinion. I aim to inspire you to experience your posture in real motion, rather than manipulate your position through stories and emotion.

Stand rigid on a board, or walk with stiff legs, notice how much your head moves and what that does to your focus. Now allow all below your eyes to sway, maintaining just enough tension to keep your head over your base of support. Experience the difference, notice how much energy each requires, how much impact your body must withstand.

Notice how tension effects your focus, and how your focus effects your tension. Your Focus determines the quality of your posture.  Your posture determines how well you use energy and how well you respond to data. Your ability to choose and maintain your direction is determined by your ability to hold your focus.

We are able to maintain our focus to the degree that we can release excessive tension. That is why our Attention is so precious, it determines the quality of our posture. Our posture determines how we are moved, how we receive energy, how we receive and transmit information. Fear pulls us out of flow, because it resists what might happen next. When we fear we try to control, when we flow, we receive more information about what is really unfolding.

Now consider the cost of excessive and inappropriate fear. You see now why   stories are so powerful, they determine formation, by altering how we receive information. We live in a world where we rarely interact with nature directly, everything is controlled. The more we control, the less we are free to flow.

Freedom is appropriate tension, it arises from returning focus to our senses, allowing our posture to move with gracefully with the forces at play.

Loss of focus, loss of posture, ignorance of connection, reinforces the embodiment of fear, this is when information becomes inflammation.

Freedom is proportional to situational awareness. The toys we rent, sell and buy are bio-feedback devices, that can be used to bring greater awareness to focus and posture in the forgiving and dynamic environment of ocean and wetlands. Water is a great teacher of flow.

 

 

5 – Appropriate – The graceful use of energy

Grace - no fear, no self,
Fear is the enemy of grace. To return focus awareness into the senses, accept what is, be grateful for aliveness and allow happiness to arise.

Key Take-away: We spend much of our lives earning money that we will spend trying to change the way we feel. Many of the feelings we have are not fully relevant to the situation at hand, yet often we find we have responded to them anyway. These negative feedback loops are stored in our body tissues as tension. Thinking in terms of energy and nature may be helpful for understanding why focused movement allows us to access  and release these patterns. The more of our body we bring awareness to, the more alive we feel. When we are less reactive, we are more creative and playful, nicer to ourselves and each other.

Life is very much about energy, using it effectively means getting more, using it efficiently means needing less. In nature, energy is stored in fats and starches,(sugars are more of a low value lure), in societies, we store energy as money and assets. We meet our food, shelter, entertainment, social, education and medication needs with money. This keeps us removed from thinking of energy in terms of nature, (where else could it originate?). In this post I will look at energy in terms of movement. Words won’t make you move better, but I hope they will bring a greater depth and quality to your movement training, or just getting around.

Drive to Survive or Allow to Thrive

The world of organisms is composed of a diverse multitude of creatures, living, reproducing and yes, eating each other in a complex network of relationships. They have common drives, yet many ways of achieving them.

Organisms must get enough food to live, grow and reproduce. In the search for resources and breeding partners, both cooperation and competition dominate their existence.  Success is measured in the acquisition, storage and expression of energy. In so called higher life forms, we begin to recognize qualities beyond survival and reproduction. Such as creative expression and understanding, the ultimate being compassion, which is seeing the self in all things. This recognition of connection, arises naturally in the absence of fear.

Graceful or lunch

Predators such as lions and wolves will test a herd to select the prey which is least able to utilize energy, that being, the very young, the old and the sick. This selection process both saves the predators own energy and ensures that only the prey that are best adapted to their environment survive for breeding. It also keeps herds moving, preventing over-grazing and feeding the bacteria in the soil.

The best use of energy is the perfect application of tension to a body’s tissues, (or just cells for the little guys) at the ideal moment. The appropriate application of force for optimal outcomes is what we recognize as physical gracefulness. An engineer may think of this in terms of increased mechanical efficiency through optimal mechanical advantage together with minimal friction.

To move gracefully, we must release excess tension, to stand on a narrow SUP on moving water, we must allow the board to move beneath us. To maintain balance, we must surrender some of our desire to control. To keep our heads over our base of support, we simply allow our bodies to be supple, this requires releasing non-useful tension, also known as stress, also known as fear.

Fear is the enemy of grace

Squeeze and repeat

Organisms are composed of single or multiple cells, and in larger instances, tissues and organs arranged in a way that gathers food, processes it and expels the waste. This is done by contraction and relaxation to harvest and move gasses, solids and liquids from process to process, (in larger organisms these wave like contractions are known as peristalsis). Energy moves in waves, in water you can see them and play with them. You can attune to them.

Each contraction uses energy to the degree that force is required. Residual tension in the organism is wasteful and interferes with the process of movement. So the ability for the organism to relax is as important as its ability to contract. That goes for propelling substances, limbs or entire “bodies”.

Tension transfers force, softness absorbs it. There is information in waveforms also, when we are soft we may feel it, when we are tense we alter it, like a rock in a stream creating turbulence, we destroy the signal. When we resonate with a waveform or signal we gain its information. In this way movement makes us smarter, while tension keeps us in the dark and fearful.

Energy, the currency of life

Residual tension also wastes energy by keeping substances trapped where they are more likely to be oxidized and cause damage to their surroundings. In the case of capillaries, insulin and PUFA 6 acids are more likely to cause damage. In the case of joints, over-compression reduces circulation and leads to inflammation of tendon sheaths and damage to the articular cartilage, (the shiny end of your bones).

Contraction and relaxation are necessary for respiration, food acquisition, digestion and expulsion. Also for changing location and reproduction. In the animal kingdom, movement is life, the currency of life is energy, only the most effective at acquiring and using it will survive and pass on their genes. In higher life forms, it’s all about the quality of consciousness, fear and dellusion, create tension and turbulence. Understanding flows out of acceptance, abundance flows  out of recognizing synergies. Freedom arises out of reliquinshing control.

Our nervous system is the electrical wiring with the brain computer sitting on top, our heart is pumping our blood, loaded with hormones oxygen and spare parts. These systems are our communications and supply lines, when they are inflamed, restricted or out of alignment we are not just using energy very poorly, we are waiting to be eaten.

The predators waiting for us are disease, politicians and salespeople.  The things that make us tense, inflamed and mal-aligned are what I call – “swelling mistakes” and the biggest one is fear. Our egos have worked out clever ways of making sure we never face the real source of our fears directly, that is why we use names like “stress” instead. Everyone is under pressure, everyone has stress, but nobody has fear, only the weak  or victimized are scared, right? Puh! I am shitting myself 🙂

Research Notes: Most of this comes to me, while working with students on the water. Looking at the way they move, where there eyes go, how their body follows their head and their head follows their focus. The moment they loose concentration, (opinions are triggered) their eyes wander and they fall. Conversely, when they un-tense, hold focus and allow their bodies to move with the rhythm in the water, they take off. They begin to un-wind. It’s a joy to facilitate and I am sure I learn much more than they do.