The Elegance of Movement Intelligence
With a nod to Howard Gardner’s Frames of Mind, we define Movement Intelligence [MI] as our innate capacity to recognize and utilize the sweet spots of optimal coordination,
fine tuning the process that transforms intention into action. MI incorporates conventional kinesthetic concepts of flexibility, balance, alignment and strength, as well as integration and endurance, but it is something more: it recognizes the human organism’s ability to organize itself “organically” — elegantly and in its entirety, with spontaneously coordinated harmony — for optimal efficiency, maximal efficacy, and pleasurable, sustainable living.
Its hallmark is an intrinsic sense of effortlessness that comes from having and heeding well-calibrated sensory-motor feedback. In line with the latest research on neuroplastcity, MI recognizes that overcoming physical limitations and dysfunctions is as much a matter of working with the “software” of the brain as with the “hardware” of the body.
Just as infants develop their movement vocabularies while learning to make their way from rolling to creeping to crawling, so too can “grown-ups” continue to expand the range and hone the quality of their adult somatic expression, intelligently cultivating and refining their movement repertoire throughout their lives. With an emphasis on not just surviving, but thriving, our infinite ability to improve in this domain — to mature our “movement I.Q.” — is a lifelong endeavor. It embraces aesthetic as well as athletic pursuits, from “pre-hab” to re-hab, and provides keys to healthy aging and personal fulfillment.
Axis for Orientation, Wave for Locomotion
As an innovative approach to personal ergonomics, MI can take on novel appearances,
such as spiraling trajectories which wind along a moving axis, e.g., when weightlifting.
However, our primary model for optimal locomotion is derived from the centuries-old
Water Carrier’s Walk — still seen commonly in indigenous cultures throughout the world.
Removed from contact with nature by society’s sedentary habits, and curtailed |
in our walking and running on the earth’s irregular yet supportive surfaces,
we often overlook the healthful benefits of full-bodied springy and spiralic movement, whose absence can be seen as the source of many modern maladies, and whose (re)adoption — at any age — can contribute to their cure.
In the context of countering osteoporosis, specific Movement Intelligence strategies entail:
• heightening intrinsic [“slow-twitch”] extensor tone to improve skeletal alignment,
using Kohnstamm’s Phenomenon to elicit these postural shifts spontaneously
• protecting vulnerable joints in order to reliably withstand the impact of
recurrent bone-building vibrations and pulsations
• gently pushing and pulling on bones [springy compression and distraction]
to promote resilient sturdiness and elasticity
• obviating bone fractures by improving balance [in order to prevent falls] as well as
by learning to fall intelligently — spiraling to the ground safely and fearlessly