3 Principles of Movement and Meditation

This guest post here was written by a good friend and mentor of mine, Seth Oberst.  Seth is the guy I call when I have a tough chronic pain patient I'm stuck with and can't progress.  He always has good advice that ultimately helps me and my patients.  He wrote me a nice article outlining some of the benefits of movement and meditation, a new system he's developed.  We all know there are a myriad of benefits to meditation.  Seth's latest program is my new go to resource for my patients looking for both performance, relaxation and getting out of chronic pain (It's something I really need myself...).  This is a game changer for so many reasons.  Enjoy!

Many of you feel, or have felt, as though you are stuck. No matter how much mobility or
corrective exercises you do, your performance just isn’t improving or you remain stiff and
painful. The problem is that you are locked into habitual patterns of moving and without the
ability to change your perceptions, you remain stuck. In order to perform better or get out of
pain, you have to do something different.


When you move repetitively in a certain way, as typically occurs during a work out, you begin to
perceive that as the only way to move. Take back squats for example. The more you perform
them, the better you get at doing them with a particular biomechanical and neurological
pattern. With repetition and the chronic stressors of training, you may find yourself unable to
break free of these habits – a big problem if you are trying to change your squat pattern for
instance.


And with this stuckness comes an inability to relax in your body as if you felt compelled to hold
your body in a certain posture and find yourself clenching your teeth or overgripping the
steering wheel.


In working with patients across the spectrum from chronic pain to high performance, I have
found that doing what I call Movement Meditations allows you to learn, on a subconscious
level, how to move more smoothly and relax more deeply. This loosens you up and allows for
new movement patterns to form.


These Movement Meditations are based on 3 principles:


1) Relaxation


Stressors at work and home along with the applied stress of training or recovering from
an injury place a huge burden on us. Stress affects every cell in our body and hijacks our
brain to focus on negative stimuli while increasing muscular tension and reducing
movement variability. In other words, stress locks us up. Meditation of course, can help
reset our brain and body. But the traditional meditation techniques (sitting there trying
not to think) are challenging and the more stressed you are the harder it is. But using
movement to meditate occupies our attention and allows the parasympathetic nervous
system (the rest and digest portion of the autonomic nervous system) to increase its
control in the body, yielding marked relaxation.


2) Sensory Attunement


Many of us move about without any attention paid to what we are experiencing in each
moment. We run on autopilot. This makes us efficient but it comes at the cost of losing
valuable perceptions about ourselves and the world around us. Our learning is slowed
because proper, organic learning is guided by sensation – the ability to feel your body in
space. If you can perceive your body more accurately on a subconscious level you are
teaching your brain how to override its learned instinct to react or move in a certain
way. Without sensory attunement you are destined to move in habitual ways.

 

3) Intentional movement


Movement helps shape our objective world. Moving intentionally is the ticket to
breaking old habits because it allows us to literally reshape our world. What do I mean
by intentional movement? To move slowly and with full attention on the movement you
are performing as if you’ve never done it before. I typically have people perform these
movements close to the ground so that their nervous system is not preoccupied with
keeping them from falling or maintaining a certain posture. By moving with full
attention it allows the brain to find new ways of doing, as if taking off the rose-colored
lenses of your habits.

Here's a short clip of a Movement Meditation you can use that helps teach you how to calm and re-orient your visual system.  


Here’s another short clip of a Movement Meditation you can try that teaches you how to relax
your shoulders and free your shoulder blades from your ribs.  


Moving with relaxation, attunement, and intention will allow you to break your habits of
stuckness and reduce the excessive muscle tension and stiffness that so many of us
experience.


If you want to learn how to meditate using movement, you can check out Dr. Seth
Oberst’s new guided audio course Movement Meditations, which is on sale now.  Click HERE to learn more.  Just make sure you use the coupon code to save:

Use the Code: FPF15 

at checkout to save $15 off your order.


You can read more of Seth’s writing at www.SethOberst.com

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