Grooving by Moving

Girl Smiling by Hortongrou

One day in a Neural Moves class, we were doing tongue circles (around the outside and inside of our teeth), and Mira said she could feel the movement in her ears.  I realized that exercising the tongue with these unusual movements was moving the ear’s eustacian tube, which drains in the back of the throat.

It is so important to remember that our body’s movements affect adjacent parts. With one shout, we move the neck, shoulders, tongue, throat, vocal chords, diaphragm, ribs, cheeks, and chin differently than when we talk.  That shout moves lymph, glands, and the fluid-filled ventricles in our brains in an unusual way.  Yet we say the same words at the same volume and tone most of the time, as if it doesn’t make a difference for our bodies.

Imagine the brain using the same neural circuits or grooves about politics, friends, work, or motor skills for decades and decades.  The same neurotransmitters, hormones, enzymes receiving the same cues for the majority of one’s life, even though there is a universe of neural and hormonal combinations available.

What if it is that easy to give our sweet and hard-working bodies and brains a treat?  Novel movement is a deposit in our health bank that might ease aging and boost the immune system.

Try these new moves for a week.  Be sure to respect your capacity and comfort level.

Motor grooves:

  • Which foot leads when you step up a curb or stair?  Use the other foot.
  • Stand with the weight on the outside or inside of your feet (whichever feels more unusual) the next time you wash dishes or brush your teeth.
  • Use the non-dominant hand when you eat, twist off and on jar lids, brush your teeth.
  • Walk your bike on the unusual side of your body.  Ack!
  • If you walk with your feet pointing outward or pigeon-toed, walk with them pointing straight ahead, or v.v.
  • If you favor one leg/one hip when you stand to talk, use the other leg.

Intellectual Grooves:

  • Pick a topic about which you feel strongly, and justify the opposing view until you understand why intelligent people disagree with you.
  • Choose a habitual behavior, such as giving to panhandlers or not giving to panhandlers, and do the opposite for a week.  Feel good about it.
  • If you eat one food at a time, a little of each, clean your plate, or always leave food; do it the other way.

Grease those cogs and they just might work better longer and with greater pleasure.

Yours in joy and health,