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Movement Is The Best Medicine

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Michelle Bouvier joins us on the blog today to share her revolutionary Movement Medicine approach to yoga and for living your best life. She will be leading a Movement Medicine series of workshops on January 4th, 2020. Join her to upgrade your practice so that it supports a life of adaptation, resiliency, and freedom.

Movement Is The Best Medicine


By Michelle Bouvier

Brains developed first for sensing the surrounding world and then for responding through movement! Research shows that cognitive abilities were laid over the neurological networks created for movement. This is but one of the links between mind and body that science now shows, and that has been taught in spiritual traditions through millennia.

At its heart, yoga is about experiencing unity.

Isolation is a mental construct. This is true for the body and mind, and also true for anatomy. The thinking mind likes to isolate a muscle and its action, but in reality movements are coordinated patterns. It is impossible to truly isolate a muscle or to trace its activation to a single neuron. Movements are mapped in the brain as patterns, just as conditioned responses are patterns that persist unless there is a change. Like a riverbed, there are less options for responding in different ways when there is a deep pattern of response.

Humans are made to move just like other animals.

Your physical form was and is continually being shaped by the movements of living on Earth. You are shaped by the forces you put on your structure. The biomechanics SAID principle says that tissues (fascia, bones, muscles,) respond with Specific Adaptations to Imposed Demands. For example, your body will adapt if you sit at a desk for most of your day. Your body will shape itself to make it better suited for sitting at a desk and less suited for things other than sitting at a desk. Any movement pattern gets written into your architecture.

Adaptability and resiliency to change serves the human body, mind, and spirit.

They can help your body recover from injury and keep your body mobile and free into old age. So how do you cultivate this resilience in your embodiment?Variety is the best medicine! The modern life of convenience has decreased the quality and quantity of movement. Embodiment practices that add diversity of movement will lead to greater resilience and vitality over time. It will leave you more abled and resourced to do what you love to do and to meet the simple demands of life.

Yoga helps cultivate more awareness of your patterns.

It also helps you create more options for response. You can impact the deep patterns of the nervous system, thoughts and emotions by merging awareness of sensation, breath, and presence. According to the SAID principle, if you only practice standard asana, you will adapt to practicing asana better and better. However, routine asana will not meet your edge of growth in the same way. Eventually you have to change in order to remain on the path of growth.

Yoga Garden SF’s Movement as Medicine series are my offerings to share this Movement as Medicine approach. It is my intention to help inspire a more liberating yoga practice and life. Resilience in embodiment creates more resilience and freedom within your mind and heart because your body is a gateway to your inner life.

What are you asking of your body? Which patterns are you choosing? What are your goals? Have your goals changed? Where are you now and where do you want to go? Knowledge leads to the power of choice. There is no one way for everyone, but there is someway for everyone. It is also unlikely that there is one way for you over the extent of your lifetime. Stay exquisitely curious and give yourself permission to adapt and change, within and without!

Change is always with you. May living yoga serve you in making the best choices for YOU to live in your greatest freedom, vitality, and love.

Join me January 4th for a workshop series on Movement Medicine.

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