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Renovation, reversibility, and movement

As the renovation in my house, including that of the practice space, is slowly reaching its culmination moment, the tension of the final decisions and accumulated stress from all the previous ones are having their own peak party time.

I can physically sense how every little issue and every next decision requires more of my mental energy than the previous one.

It appears, there is even a specific scientific term for this - decision fatigue.

In decision-making, there is an important place for the reversibility factor. The easier it is to reverse the decision (i.e. change it afterwards), the easier it should be for a person to make it. Low risks, no need to waste time.

The “not so easily reversible” decisions however, like the type of the tiles for the bathroom, the position of the build-in lights on the ceiling, or the colour of the walls, are considerably harder to change afterwards, so the psychological pressure to make a good choice is much higher. Thus the related emotional stress. Even more so for a conscientious kind of person like myself.

Unfortunately, the latter kind of decision is what fills my life these days.

So, as I’m going through this process, I inevitably draw parallels to the bodywork.

Interestingly enough, reversibility is also one of the principal indicators we use in somatic education to evaluate the quality of the movement.

In the lessons, we aim to do every movement in such a way that we can stop it at any moment, then go back, continue, or decide to do a completely different thing. This is the movement that gives you full freedom to do exactly what you want at any moment. This is a good quality movement (and not the “pushing through” one).

Wait, but why is reversibility so important?

When people think of movement, they often think of movement being successful only as far as it fulfils their intention well enough.

When you want to grab a piece of bread from the plate, you want to end up with the bread in your hand without smashing the plate for example. And that’s a fair point, but there is a “but”.

Very often the way we habitually do a movement is very far from being an optimal way, which over years might create a whole lot of tension and pain problems.

You see, many functions (like walking, turning, reaching for something or lifting an object, etc.) we learn in our early years.

Unfortunately, often way ahead of biological time to learn them due to the encouragement and expectations of the adults (who wished us the best by that, no doubt).

There is a natural sequence to a child’s musculoskeletal system development.

First rolling over, then pushing up, crawling, rocking, sitting, pulling, and so on… (these are only selected indicative steps, with much more in between of course).

Let’s consider walking. When a child’s little body is not ready in its development to start walking but the parents encourage it by different means (for example pushing a toddler to use all kinds of walking assisting devices), the child tries to please the parents and adopts the best way possible.

Learning to walk like that, skipping the natural developmental steps, leads to movement based on effort.

Stronger developed muscles are forced to take all the load on themselves while the underdeveloped muscles (being so because of skipping steps of their development) can not engage and play their role as they should.

This disbalance is strongly encoded in the walking habit of the person and is almost never revisited/reconsidered in adult life. And so are many other ways of movement that we learn as toddlers.

Many of the daily movements are done following the same old script and accompanied by lots of effort without us even noticing it. Just because it’s a usual way of doing things, it feels the “right” way.

And then, suddenly, chronic tension and pain come as a big surprise.

When you bring the reversibility aspect into the picture, it can allow you to evaluate the state of things with a clear eye and reconsider it.

As I shared before, from an evolutional perspective a good posture is connected to a capacity to move in any direction at any given moment. While easily keeping the balance and control of the movement at the same time.

You can notice in yourself that movements that are performed with a lot of effort typically do not allow you to change things easily on the way. Extra effort creates a lot of inertia, so changing the movement or stopping it at any moment requires even more effort.

The trick is to find a way to apply only the minimum necessary energy to each movement. But for that we first need to become aware of the habits and effort we apply to each movement.

Therefore, one of the building blocks of the Mindful Movement practice is the elimination of the non-essential movement from our actions on the subconscious level, through the movement experience itself. It is best achieved through the slow, small and conscious exploration of each movement.

Through learning from the movement itself, on the physical level. To have time to identify and use only those parts that are necessary to do the movement in the most effortless way. To let go of the unnecessary effort and restore better use of the skeleton as a support structure for long-term effect.

In addition to the group lessons, over some months now I have been receiving more and more clients for individual bodywork sessions, weaving together these fundamental Mindful Movement principles and the tremendous benefits of the therapeutic touch.

The more I practice it the more fascinated I become by all the profound and unique effects it has on different people. Seeing joy, curiosity, and ease on the faces of my clients after the session feels so rewarding!

This is what I’m ready to overcome the obstacles for, even such as huge delays in renovation and all this decision-making.

I hope that whatever you are overcoming the challenges for in your own life feels worth it too

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