Movement: How Important Is It?

Discussion in 'Exercise' started by Curt :-), Jun 6, 2014.

  1. DButter

    DButter Member

    Mar 11, 2017
    I've been reading this thread recently and thinking about it, so I'll jump into it. Ray's "... a walk through interesting and pleasant surroundings..." is I think so simple yet profound, and I love @BingDing writing about the positive effects (and enjoyment factor which I don't think should ever be overlooked!), of birding.

    The idea that whatever we're up to as far as movement goes, can inlet awareness of ourselves, or simply presence, is I think valuable. Moshe Feldenkrais once said during a session at Esalen, about his Awareness Through Movement sessions, that:

    "We do a big mixture, we don't want any routine for the human brain, so that when it does start a routine it is the best thing it can do, and it is open to revision with any change in circumstances in order to make life easier."

    This quote alone, as well as other things I've read from Moshe, remind me of some of Ray's commentary on knowledge as being provisional, or Ray's:

    "If you simply change your mind, the limits of what is possible become undefined and very open. Changing your mind is the essence of living matter. The biology is changed by every experience. The brain is constantly in development, and that involves what you're learning. So what you learn changes your structure and so your mind is changed and so the meaning of what you learned has changed. You're changing your past every time you learn something because you become a different organism."

    For some reason this reminds me of one of Georgi's posts from a few years back titled "Running Marathons Shrinks The Brain" (Running Marathons Shrinks The Brain), where one of the authors of the study Georgi quoted, basically said he thought the reason for the brain atrophy in the marathon runners was "lack of stimulation".

    Conversely, with something like Feldenkrais' method, (I've experienced a lot of Feldenkrais ATM "lessons" or sessions or whatever they are, over the years), and have appreciated just how exploratory they are, how warm I sometimes feel afterward, how my sense of "self" and surroundings feels heightened or illuminated as compared to how I felt prior to this activity (his ATM sessions acting as basically a laying on the ground and moving gently, curiously, slowly, learning how a tiny movement feels and trying continuously easier ways of doing these tiny movements).

    Ray mentioned in his "Protective CO2 and Aging" that "some of those who claimed extreme longevity practiced controlled breathing and tai chi (involving imagery, movement, and breathing), typically in the early morning hours, when stress reduction is most important. As far as I know, there are no studies of carbon dioxide levels in practitioners of tai chi, but the sensation of warmth they typically report suggests that it involves hypoventilation."

    I've seen Tai Chi compared to Feldenkrais as "different windows on a common vision" (, so I would imagine there may be a similar "hypoventilation" happening in the light, easy, nose breathing of a Feldenkrais session, as well as the far-reaching benefits from the constant neural stimulation involved in Feldenkrais sessions (continually trying new ways of moving, breathing, being... continually looking not for the best way period but the best way for right now - which is always changing).

    Feldenkrais told students once in Tel Aviv, I guess, that:

    “I am generally against breathing exercises in the commonly accepted notion of breathing exercises where I would be teaching someone that they must breathe like this or like that. It is exactly as if you told someone they must say this or that. If you meet with a woman, you must talk a little about politics, a little about the weather, or love, etc. You know what results from such instructions? An idiot results. It is the same thing if you tell someone how they should breathe. The instructions usually destroy their breathing.” I think we can generalize this to his thoughts on any particular movement or way or method, as correct only so much as it is useful in the current context, continually fluxing as whatever situation we find ourselves in continues to change.

    I asked Ray recently about some of Feldenkrais' ideas as related to CO2 and health in general, and he simply wrote [in what seems to be the legendary fashion which only he can]:

    "Yes, those are important and interesting things to think about.
    I used to know several Feldenkrais practitioners, and Reichian therapists."

    Anyway, I first became curious of possible connections when I read that Feldenkrais, while in Washington D.C., I guess saw a bunch of "joggers" and exclaimed:

    "They think they're doing themselves some good" before describing the damage people were inflicting (through jogging) to their knees, backs, shoulders, and overall - and then went on to summarize the act of jogging as "cardiovascular masturbation."

    That made laugh and also made me think, for some reason, of Ray's: "Incidental stresses, such as strenuous exercise combined with fasting (e.g. running or working before eating breakfast) not only directly trigger the production of lactate and ammonia, they also are likely to increase the absorption of bacterial endotoxin from the intestine. Endotoxin is a ubiquitous and chronic stressor..."

    I don't know exactly where I'm going with all this other than to say that Feldenkrais-like movement exploration seems to make sense to me in line with some of the things Ray has said, and that as any kind of first-most consideration, it'd be most personally valuable to DO WHAT WE LIKE TO DO; probably not rocket science (like "birding", or weight lifting, or hiking, or sprinting a hill and then wandering slowly to another in nature, or playing with a footbag, or @tca300 "bouncing on a trampoline", or ... _______).

    I'm left with something like Moshe's: “Movement is life. Life is a process. Improve the quality of the process and you improve the quality of life itself.”


    Without movement, we couldn't eat oysters or drink coffee. Or think. Or pee or poop or explore our animalism.

    So we move to... 1) be alive 2) cogitate 3) play