Saturday, September 8, 2007

Brainless Movement

Can the body move without the brain telling it what to do?
Conventional wisdom tells us that our brains control all functions of the body. We lift our finger because a nerve impulse from our brain tells the finger to lift. As a result, it may be difficult for you to believe that your body can initiate its own movements.

I remember when we did the first “let your body move like it wants to” exercise in my Hellerwork training. We lied on the floor and listened to music with the instruction to let our bodies move on their own. I thought that they were nuts, since I knew that my body could only work how my brain told it to.

After 20 minutes of telling my brain to disengage, my left shoulder started to twitch a tiny bit. “That’s interesting,” I thought and continued to tell my brain to let my body do its own thing for a while. My shoulder twitched off and on until the end of the exercise 10 minutes later. When I got up, my shoulder felt wonderful.

I have not been able to duplicate that twitch with conscious movement. My shoulder knew it needed to let go of some tension, but my brain didn’t know how to make that happen. Consider this: your body knows exactly where it’s stuck and what is in its best interests.

The benefits of letting the body direct movement are:

§ Takes pressure off the body to perform, which takes pressure off of injured tissues.
§ Allows the body’s wisdom to heal itself.
§ Adds variety—and therefore youthfulness—to movements.
§ It’s a form of relaxing meditation (after you learn to do it).

Find ways to let your body ask for what it needs. You can try dancing, floating in water, and especially undulation. The slower you go, the more likely you can hear your body’s requests.

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