movement & exercise

Most of us spend a large part of our days sitting down, at work, in a car, and on our couch during our free time. The only time we move is when we go for a work-out or a walk when we have an occasional party. This collective lack of movement could be one of the main causes of the increasing amount of people with obesity, and with a variety of diseases. Animals that live in nature and have to move around often for safety, gathering food, playing, and exploring, don’t have these problems. Also, our ancestors who lived in nomadic communities and were on the move often, and who didn’t have screens for professional or entertainment purposes, seemed to be in better shape and have better health than people today. To live healthy lives with strong physical, mental, and emotional balance, integrating a lot of movement activities in our daily reality is important.

While we move, we do not only burn calories and train our muscles. An important result of movement is that it improves our blood circulation which is highly beneficial for our system. Our blood contains cells that have full-time jobs in finding toxins and waste. These cells hook onto the toxins and waste in our system and bring these to the correct place, such as the pores in our skin, the kidneys, or the liver. When there is an intensified blood circulation several times a day, the toxins that could cause painful conditions or diseases, don’t get a chance to accumulate in our system. Another important result of movement is that it stimulates our brain to release chemicals that make us feel happy. When our body releases regular shots of hormones that make us feel peaceful and positive, we notice effects in our mood, our relationships, our choices, and our view on life: we become an overall more optimistic version of ourselves.

Exercise can be more than a commitment we made to ourselves to stay fit. It can be a source of playful and joyful feelings. There is also the aspect of challenging ourselves to learn a new style of sport or movement, that invites us to go on a journey of learning, discovering, improving, and reaching our goals. Much like learning to play a new instrument, it can feel very empowering to acquire new skills. At the same time, it opens a door to meet new people in a positive and playful setting. It is worth investing the time and energy into finding the style of exercise that feels like a good fit, within the reasonable limitations of our health, age, flexibility, and fitness level. This challenges us enough to keep improving our physical performance.

Traditional combat practices have developed into several modern-day martial art styles. The original purpose of combat practices was to prepare for battle. Later, their purpose was competition and entertainment. But there are special elements still alive in these practices, that cause the practice to not only be physical but to enhance mental and spiritual aspects. A balanced mindset, determination, self-confidence, and absolute focus are necessary ingredients to perform optimally in life. These aspects come together perfectly in martial arts and regular practice has a constructive impact on our health, our life, and the way we approach people, challenges, and life in general.

When we hear music, especially when it is played through high-quality speakers, or when we are listening to live music, our bodies seem to automatically start moving. Many of our ancestors used rhythm, drums, and songs as a way to pass down knowledge and wisdom through the generations. Rhythm, drums, and songs were also used in healing ceremonies and celebrations. In ancient times, people were  more closely connected to the planet, to their bodies, and to their intuition. Sometimes music can guide us back to that state of close connection. In that state, our bodies can feel like instruments of collective energy. Everybody responds differently to various types of sound and music, but when we find the sound that literally moves us, the dancing comes naturally and playfully. This can be a beautiful way of exercising, playing, socializing, and reconnecting to ourselves.