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  • Anna Buchanan

Same destination, different path


Chances are if you’re reading this, you already know the benefits of exercise. It brings flexibility, resilience and strength for both our bodies and minds. And with so many formats to choose from, there is a real buffet of movement options to serve our individual needs.


In last month’s blog I wrote about how running is a favorite of mine. It allows me to drop into a state of flow, where my brain takes a break and my body just goes. The repetitive pattern of moving forward brings reliable and predictable results. In this plane of motion, the regulated and mechanical focus lets our legs take over and our minds wander. Though it serves us most of the time, it has its flaws. Running, like walking and cycling, is a linear movement and from a biomechanical perspective it achieves only one-third of our movement potential.


Think of Tesla’s self-driving cars. As a driver, we just plug the destination into the system, sit back and let the machine take over. What a treat! But wait, this invites our awareness to lull. This same thing can happen in our bodies when we utilize just one-third of our movement potential. Like zoning out on a road trip, we miss out on some of the scenery that passes by.


Now imagine driving a perky little five-speed sports car, zipping around corners, up and down the hills. The attention required to change gears and constantly adjust to the terrain is an example of the other two-thirds of our human movement potential.


We’re designed to twist, bend, reach, stretch, curl and move up and down. This non-linear exercise serves both body and mind, as the brain becomes the attentive driver, sensitive to changes in the body’s terrain and the mind’s awareness. Non-linear movement is unbound, creative and explorative, allowing the mind and body to unite in an experience of full awareness and offering a greater understanding of our whole selves. We learn our limits and our potential – and maybe a few surprises about ourselves that we may have never acknowledged, noticed or valued. Essentially, when we move in all directions, we’re inching closer to the body’s wisdom as a guide.


So, what kind of exercise options are there to achieve this kind of body awareness and movement? Here are some available from A-Ha.

  • Both Essentrics and Aging Backwards classes are safe and rewarding, full-body fitness workouts that use all planes of motion. This is what student Sylvia has to say, “I’ve exercised my entire life, yet Aging Backwards has helped me feel muscles I’ve never noticed.”

  • Embodied Yoga offers familiar yoga techniques and poses to satisfy the need for movement, while it also teaches skills for inner awareness, and calm resilience. This is what student Angie has to say, "This is exactly what I need to calm my mind down and just be in my body. It's helped me become more in touch with myself and understand who I'm destined to be."



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