Lessons in Movement

Dear friends and members,

Over December I was fortunate enough to travel to Madagascar on a 10 day trip with friends as we Kayaked around parts of Nosy Be up in the North of the country. The area is spectacular with crystal clear blue waters, lush green vegetation, rock and sand beaches, hospitable people and heat, lots of heat!

More so than the surroundings the aspect that made the most impact on me was to see people working on a day to say basis and using their bodies in the most wonderful ways. I never once saw a overweight person (other than Western tourists) and rather than a case of people being hungry it’s that they spend their day lifting, squatting, pulling, rowing & pushing their way around the island to survive. All the movements are natural, there is no gym equipment or treadmills, no special training shoes or dri fit clothing, just what was given to us by our parents and that so many of us working in urban areas & cities have lost.

One of deck hands was fantastic at squatting while paddling. I can tell you from experience most people can’t even get their butt below their knees let alone stay there for 10, 15, 20min   

There was also the stand up paddle example of great balance awareness 

Need to cut the grass, no problem the squat will fix that as well   

Pulling, pushing and lifting to challenge core, grip and shoulder strength. Many people nowadays can’t make it to their cars with their groceries.  

The classic head balance, but it still amazes me now matter how many times I see it. Seriously try it and let me know if you get further than 10 meters without dropping something. 

Had the opportunity to go watch a local “fight club” and while the technique may have been on the scrappy side all the fighters were in great condition. Not because they train specific conditioning drills or lifting exercises but because on a daily basis they are moving and don’t spend their days behind a desk, TV or in traffic.      

It was sad returning home and seeing our shopping mall culture that has been created, people trawling through the malls with shopping bags of things they don’t need, consuming food that it unhealthy for them, children overweight and out breath walking up stairs or just disinterested in the world around them so that they can tweet, facebook and message. There are no “food courts” in Madagascar but you can buy fresh fish, fruit and vegetables from local sellers everyday.     

While we must accept part of the lives we have being in urban areas we can make a choice. A choice to move on a regular basis and not just when exercising, to make better food choices beyond just unprocessed foods but also reducing our meat consumption for sustainability, switching off your devices and walking over to someone to speak to them and on a daily basis connecting with your body and mind through exercise, meditation, walking, music or really anything that you enjoy.

I’ve taken it upon myself to limit time on the computer and emailing as much as possible and outside of my “training” to walk that little bit further each day, squat to pick up something and take time to breath.

What is your purpose for the year?