Functional Movements and Yoga

by | Jul 16, 2018 | Uncategorized

Functional movement patterns are fundamental movements also known as primitive movement patterns. When was the last time you thought about or actually crawled on hands and knees like an infant? According to a growing number of health and wellness experts, bringing our awareness back to movement basics is key to optimal health.

We all began learning to move as babies in order to grow and adapt appropriately to the world around us. These movements include pushing up, rolling, and crawling. Unfortunately, in a culture that is very restricted in terms of movement, our bodies are lacking many vital movements and ranges of motions simply because we do not learn these movements correctly or use them frequently enough.

All of us are “casted” in many ways by sitting in chairs frequently, sitting in baby contraptions like swings and play centers, and even being carried in slings and carriers. All of these contraptions essentially outsource movement and create weakness in our developing bodies.

The body is highly adaptable to whatever environment it is placed in and bones and tissues will become “casted” and “set” to a minimally functioning range of motion. We continue on in these dysfunctional patterns by spending the majority of our time in office chairs, sitting to eat, and looking down at our phones with poor neck allignment. Functional Movements brings back the awareness of what is natural rather than normal within our sick Western culture.

In yoga, we practice similar positions, postures that essentially are functional movements just called by a different name. Yoga bird-dog asana (opposite arm and leg extension in tabletop asana) use the same principles as the quadruped exercise. This helps lower back health and training core stiffness as well as improving static motor control and rotary stability.

To try it out for yourself get on your hands and knees. First, find neutral in your spine. Keep the knees directly under the hips. Stack the shoulders, elbows, and wrists in a line. Use your diaphragm to keep the breath smooth and steady. Extend the left arm while also extending the right leg. Repeat on the opposite side.

As we age the body naturally accumulates excess iron while magnesium stores are depleted. This in combination with poor diet and environmental toxins creates an increasingly acidic body. While diet can be changed to greatly assist in alkalizing the body, we also need to breathe deeply to oxygenate at the cellular level. In other cultures, people walk on a daily basis and do healthful movements like squatting to use the restroom. Because our bodies are not used to their full range of motion and a wide variety of loads each day over time this causes a whole host of western illnesses such as obesity, diabetes, incontinence, joint issues, and heart disease.

When you sit in a chair or a couch you are outsourcing a host of vital movements and loads to an object (probably an object you paid for which is essentially destroying your health). You are essentially missing a micro workout which your body is constantly meant to be getting in a wide variety of ways from sitting on the ground, squatting, standing, laying. No amount of going to the gym or yoga classes (even daily) can undo the frequent cast you are putting your body in constantly throughout the day by sitting in the same position, most of the time.

It’s time to start thinking about how to bring yoga asanas into *all* areas of your life, not just for a couple of hours at the gym or studio. Come learn how to do so at Intentional Wellness and Yoga Center.