dAgape.jpgHas moving around become a novel concept for you?  It is for those fixed to chairs, recliners, and couches most of the day.  If you haven’t really moved around lately, you’re missing out on a key element of personal transformation.

I find that I stop moving especially when I get depressed.  I begin to dwell on how difficult it is to find coaching clients.   I get upset about anything that makes me change my routine.  I look at the cloudy and cold skies and shiver, wondering when summer (forget spring!) will arrive.  I spend too much time thinking about what I don’t have instead of showing gratitude for what I do have.

It’s at that point that I have to get moving.  Sometimes I vacuum the house, cook a huge pot of stew, or get into Boston to take a long walk.  I find that I have to force myself to do these things because my depression, which comes upon me suddenly, paralyzes my will to move.

Conscious movement is already familiar for those who practice yoga, have a regular exercise routine or who do anything to counteracts the inertia that creeps into our bodies as a result of our work, eating and recreational habits.  And might I add age to that list?  The older I get the easier it is for that stultifying inertia to invade my body.

Being aware of our bodies’ need for stretching, breathing, and healthy kinetic energy everyday can lead to greater wellness and wellbeing.  We can actually feel and look younger by keeping our body parts moving consciously.  And it relieves situational depression.

Conscious movement can start with breathing.  Our autonomic nervous system allows our internal bodily organs to function without need of conscious thought.  What would we do if we consciously had to “think” a big meal through its digestive cycle?  But when we add conscious awareness to our automatic bodily functions it makes a real difference.

What’s it like for you to breathe?  Notice the fall and rise of your chest and expansion of your abdomen.  What does your breath sound like as it enters and exits your nose, mouth and throat?

aVisitation.jpgPlace your hand on your heart and sense its pumping action.  Do you sometimes notice the sound of your pulse in your head, especially when you lay down to bed?  Imagine: your 5.6 liters of life-blood circulates through the body three times every minute!

Become aware of your skeletal muscle groups.  Contract and then relax them, one limb at a time.  Stand up as if a marionette string were attached to the crown of your head, pulling you up, taller, straighter, stretching you.  Do you sense your spine lengthening, making more room for your internal organs?

Begin to walk, slowly, deliberately.  Feel the soles of your feet on the ground, first the heel, then the arch then the ball, then the toes pushing off for your next step.  Notice your body as you take the next step.

Stop walking and lift your arms over your head.  Breathe deeply, feel the air enter through your mouth into your lungs, hold it for 3 seconds and exhale slowly through your nose.  Repeat five times and resume your walk.

Sit down feet firmly planted on the floor.  Spine straight, yet relaxed into the back of the chair.  Check and see now if your keyboard and monitor are at the right heights for your eyes and your wrists.  When you use your phone is your shoulder relaxed?  Are you consciously breathing as you sit?  Do you get up off your chair at least once an hour for a stretch and take the stairs rather than the elevator whenever possible at work?  Do you make housework an opportunity for movement, maybe to your favorite music, and not just a mindless chore?  Do you notice your brain slowing down when you’re more body-conscious?

It’s time for me to get up and away from this computer.  As much as I enjoy creating in the written word, it can keep me in my head and out of my body.  I sometime catch myself not breathing as I spill my thoughts onto the keyboard, my hands tapping as if playing a symphony on the piano.  I need to move.  Let’s do it together!

All Artwork is copyrighted by the artist Michael Parise