I have spent the better part of twenty-five years studying the science of human movement, starting in high school, when I studied and practiced wrestling, cross-country, surfing, skateboarding, football, and track and field, with a specific focus on pole vaulting. After high school, I began formal training in the martial arts and gymnastics. During this time I struggled through the arduous task of learning to integrate the art of relaxation with strenuous physical activity. All true athletes must be relaxed when they perform movement in order to master that movement. After many years, I was finally flexible enough and had cross-trained enough to learn how to relax at high levels of output, regardless of the task. With time, I began to appreciate individual movements rather than specific activities, which was a breakthrough in my understanding of athletics. It’s the mastery of pure, completely-relaxed body movements that give one the ability to correctly apply oneself to any physical task.
Along this journey, I began to notice people were always describing their activities as a primary source of their pleasure. After many hours pondering this, I began to realize that it wasn't necessarily the specific activity itself that brought pleasure, rather it was movement. We are after all, kinetic beings, designed to move. The more we move, the less time we have to focus on things that distract us from our purpose.
Mind, body and soul
People pay a lot of lip service to the concept of “mind, body, and soul”. There is an ancient Eastern philosophy whose basic premise is that if we put equal amounts of energy into each of these three aspects, we’ll become enlightened, happy beings. As a Chiropractor, I listen to a lot of people, and I find that people frequently focus on their problems. Usually the people with the most problems are those that are the most sedentary. In fact, I have realized that I know absolutely no happy people that are sedentary. This enforces the notion that human movement is integral to to the maturation of one’s sense of well-being.
All One Thing
Having been a trainer for over twenty years, I’ve begun to see a common correlation in all physical training: that one is always looking to perfect the human body in motion while being as relaxed as possible. I have begun telling patients, and people that I train, that all “training” is the same thing. I’ve found this concept mentally freeing, because it allows anyone to train for a multitude of activities without feeling like there isn’t time enough for all of them. When you train for one movement, say running, in effect you are also training for other movements, like martial arts, biking, or surfing, because, in all of them, you are working on the fundamental principal of correct human movement. Now, I look at my entire life as training for movement, including the practice of Chiropractic.
Spirituality and movement in nature
One night I was in church listening to our pastor speaking to a common problem with our culture: that people put forth most of their time and energy toward the acquisition of material things. Reverend Renee said, “God gave us everything we need to be happy; we can’t improve upon this”. He explained that the natural beauty seen in forests, trees, or the ocean, is what brings us a true sense of pleasure and well-being. The greater point can be made that, when we move our bodies in a natural environment, we come the closest to our genetic purpose. Phylogenetically speaking, we are hunter-gatherers; for tens of thousands of years, we covered significant distances walking, running and climbing to gather food and carry it back to our highly dependent young. So, today, when we move in nature, at some root level, we are accomplishing our genetic purpose, which brings us pleasure.