Over the past year, many of us have experienced a decreased level of daily movement. Of course the closure of gyms and yoga studios might have played a role in disrupting your exercise regime, but there’s also less obvious ways that daily movements have been impacted. Your commute to work might have once meant walking to the train station and back, but now means walking a few steps to the spare room. Back to back meetings might have once meant travelling from one destination to another, but now means sitting in the same position fixated to Zoom for hours on end. Taking the kids to school might have once meant walking to drop them off, but now means setting up homeschool at the kitchen table. You get the idea. Beyond the idea of traditional ‘exercise’, these are all examples of how we might be experiencing less movement on a day to day basis. It’s not anyone's fault, it’s simply a byproduct of the situation that we find ourselves in. But movement is medicine. It can help to raise our vibrational frequency, lifting us up along with those around us. With just a bit of effort, we can all invite more movement into our daily lives and experience the magic that it has to offer.
Back in hunter-gatherer times, we would have been moving more often and in more varied ways than we do now. We would have been walking long distances for food and water, we’d be lifting heavy objects to build shelters, we’d be squatting down low to cook food and reaching up high to pick fruit off trees. Our modern lifestyles and new technology has meant that these movements are no longer necessary for survival. In developed countries we can get food delivered to our doors and fresh running water from our kitchen sinks. Modern technological developments like these are wonderful inventions that we should be grateful for, but as a result we find ourselves living more sedentary lives. And this has been exacerbated by the global pandemic.
So why is this a problem? Well the fact that the human body likes to move isn’t a secret to anyone. The physical benefits have been researched for decades and regular movement has been cited to help improve cardiovascular health, joint health, bone density, muscle mass, the respiration system and much more. But this is just the tip of the iceberg. Movement goes beyond the physical body to influence our mood, sleep, emotions, and even brain function. It can help to reduce stress by encouraging the release of feel-good chemicals like serotonin and promote the production of new brain cells and synapses. Recent studies have even shown that movement can help improve creativity and productivity. Movement is one of the body’s basic functions and when we’re not making use of this gift, our bodies and our minds can start to suffer.
We all have days where our sofa is our best friend and all we want to do is lie there and binge watch Netflix, and that’s okay sometimes. Rest is also important. But putting the science to one side for a second, if we find ourselves in this stagnant state too often, we just don’t feel great. We might start to enter a cycle of feeling low, tired and holding tension in the body. We’re all made up of energy and put simply, movement gets the energy flowing. It helps to raise our vibration. Yes this makes us feel better physically, but it also filters into other aspects of our lives. The higher vibrational frequency can positively influence our thoughts, feelings and behaviors, making us feel lighter, more open and more connected to the world around us.
Again I’m not talking about ‘working out’, unless you want to. It can be as simple as a brisk walk outside, a short yoga sequence, some jumping jacks, a dance around to your favourite song, or even cleaning the house! Anything that makes you feel alive and gets the juices flowing. It shouldn’t feel like a chore, it should be something that lights you up and sparks enjoyment. This is where it can be so powerful to get other people involved. Dancing around the house with children or family members, going for a walk with a friend or practicing yoga online as part of a class are great ways to keep you accountable and motivated, whilst also having some fun with it. Energy is infectious and when you join forces with others, you’re helping to lift them up too.
So movement is medicine for our mind, our bodies and our energy. It really is magic. If you’re ready to invite some more of this magic into your life, here are some other simple ways to weave it into your day:
- Take the stairs rather than a lift where possible
- Walk or cycle short distances rather than driving
- Get off the bus a stop earlier and walk the rest of the way
- If working at a desk, set a timer and every 30 minutes and get up to walk around or do a few stretches
- Drink lots of water so that you are hydrated and need to get up to walk to the toilet more often
As the saying goes, if you don’t use it, you lose it. Opt for the former and use movement as a tool to feel good in your body and mind. Notice how the energy you put out into the world shifts as a result.
Nikki has a strong passion for movement and mindfulness. Living on the south coast of the UK, her teachings are centred around encouraging people to develop stability and space in their bodies through their yoga practice. She combines ancient yogic wisdom with modern scientific developments to help individuals learn more about their minds and bodies, and live in a healthier and more fulfilling way both on and off the mat.
You can learn more about Nikki at her website www.monayoga.co.uk and be sure to give her a follow on Instagram at @nikkitimney_yoga