Most of us take movement for granted. Until we suffer an injury, spend too long doing repetitive movements at a workbench, sit for long hours hunched up in front of a computer – or simply find, as we get older, that our body stiffens up.
We know we need to move more. We know we actually do feel better if we at least take a walk every now and then or have a swim on a hot day.
But, finding the energy, discipline, and time to move more during the day and do regular exercise is not easy, even if we do have gym membership!
And then, suddenly, moving becomes something we have to work at. It stops being normal and natural and becomes a problem. It’s another thing on our to-do list. It’s not fun any more.
Adventures in movement
At Moving Life, I give you back the ability to move your body freely and with a deep sense of pleasure. Christine Morling, founder of Moving Life, achieves this through her deep insight into movement, initially gained through a university degree in movement and then honed through years of being a Pilates and Nia instructor and a Bowen practitioner. She is also a practitioner of neuromuscular massage and, more recently, has completed a Pilates course focused on easing chronic lower back pain.
She applies her wisdom about movement by reminding us that it is all about playing, exploration, curiosity – and challenging ourselves a little at a time. And, in no small measure, reviving our wonder at just how amazing our bodies are. Playing and experimenting with how the body moves is where we all started as babies. At every step of learning to use our fingers, hands, arms, legs, feet, toes – and our bodies as a whole – we did what came naturally. We stretched and bent and wriggled and rolled and jumped… And it was fun because it wasn’t forced. We did what we could in terms of the ways our bodies were developing but also pushed the envelop a little to achieve what we wanted to do: reaching for a toy, standing up for the first time, walking for the first time, figuring out how to maintain our balance without holding on to something.
It was a process of continual learning accompanied by a sense of achievement with each milestone. As adults we lose that mental flexibility, which often results in physical rigidity. Modern living makes us want to make everything easy. Don’t reach for the top shelf. Don’t get on to the floor. Don’t lift something heavy. We stop stretching ourselves physically. Gradually it becomes painful to do those things and we begin to associate movement with discomfort.
As babies and children, however, we moved all the time. We never sat or lay in one place too long. Hardly surprising that studies now show that all we have to do to maintain our body in good working order is to move more in a wide variety of ways. We don’t have to jog 10km’s a day or do even one session in a gym. We simply need to go back to the way we started: being active in a fun and experimental way, seeing what was possible and pleasurable as we went along.
Precise, challenging, and empowering
This is how Christine does her body work for her clients. She turns body work into fun. She shows you how to play in ways that trigger physical wellbeing – by showing you what to move, how to move it to get a particular sense of easement and empowerment, and how to explore movement in terms of what feels good and what brings lasting benefit. And, as a result, she gives you the tools to help yourself heal.
While the body work Christine asks you to do is enjoyable, it is also highly focused and precise, ensuring that muscles, joints, and fascia work as they were designed to and, where they have lost function, are restored or optimised.
So as well as creating challenging movement classes, she also encourages you to incorporate greater natural functional movement into your daily life so that you and your body can actually do more and do it better than conventional exercises make possible.
Pleasure vs punishment
One of the reasons Christine focuses on enjoyment rather than punitive ‘work outs’ for the body is that as a keen sportswoman and gymnast at school, she envisioned a career as a gymnastics coach.
She was disillusioned to find, however, that aspirant gymnasts are often forced beyond their emotional and physical capacity in order to be able to execute the ‘perfect’ move for judges. She saw young people suffer preventable injuries, many of which would disable them for life or, at the very least, cause them lifelong pain and discomfort.
“I saw that the physical injuries also caused emotional and psychological pain. By the same token, I saw young people who came to their gymnastics with emotional baggage struggle with fairly simple exercises. I realised that the mind and body are inextricably linked and, if you create pressure in one, you will inevitably cause problems in the other.“
“So, my search in the past two decades has been to find a balance, for myself and for the people whom I help to restore their bodily health. While I love working hard in a class, I have discovered that working with your body, exploring what it is about movement that feels good for you is one of the pillars of good health. I aim, therefore, to help people connect with their bodies and rediscover the joy of movement. Most often this brings about a rediscovery of their playfulness and a renewed confidence in challenging themselves incrementally, so that the challenges don’t become arduous but do continuously build wellbeing.”
Christine holds regular Pilates and Dance classes for members of the public who want effective exercise that brings balance to the whole being.
In addition, she takes referrals from doctors, psychologists, and other medical practitioners whose patients need to work more effectively with their bodies. In these individual sessions, she integrates all her studies and experience to provide body-work solutions, including massage and Bowen techniques, specific to each person’s needs.
“The human body experiences a powerful gravitational pull in the direction of hope. That is why the patient’s hopes are the physician’s secret weapon. They are the hidden ingredients in any prescription.” Norman Cousins (who among other things, researched the biochemistry of human emotions)