Intention Changes Motion and Ownership

You know how it takes time to warm up a conversation sometimes, especially when the topics are heavy?

There’s mindfulness in the words we choose, the tone we use, our body language congruent with our intention and even giving unplanned space where necessary. Being aware that we already know how to do this intuitively can help us applying these skills to other aspects of life.

When we know our intentions, the perception of effort changes. The term “effortless” becomes subjective depending on the individual.

I use movement to process so here goes.

Whether it’s warming up the musculoskeletal system or overcoming the psychological barriers, it takes 2 things to practice this:

  1. Slow down
  2. Listen

What is the “main event” that we are preparing for?

Are we mindful of the movement selected as preparation?

How do we feel right now?

Does the body feel as good as “the other day”?

If it feels worse, might it need more care, more time today even though we’re doing the exact same prep routine?

What do we need today and how can we address that need?

In this video, it looks like I’m doing yoga movement, movement training movement, mobility movement and whatever other labels that help you identify them in your head.

Moving from structured labels can feel restricting sometimes, as we get caught up with thoughts like “Am I doing this right?” Do I look stupid?”

My thoughts were not “I have to move like a yogi” or “I have to move like an animal flow-er” 

I wanted to feeeeeeel my spine from head to tail, I wanted to feeeeel my hips open from sitting too much, I wanted to feeeeeel my breath as I explore unconventional postures

I am moving the way I needed to that day, I am not moving the same way someone else moves in THEIR bodies. Maybe it looks effortless to some eyes but it certainly wasn’t effortless to me. Then again, where we perceive effort here would differ. While some predict the most effort would stem from lack of flexibility, my effort was actually in staying connected to my breath throughout the sequence. Looks can be deceiving varied through the eyes of the looker.

This could probably be applied to life (I love observing analogies) and there’s plenty to apply within the scope of physical wellbeing.

Simply put, movement preparation selection used for kickboxing are not going to be the same for powerlifting.

Understand your needs, make choices aligned with your goals, have fun

FUN? Yes, it needs to be fun, however fun looks like to you.

Fun keeps it sustainable.

I’m a sucker for routine YET I get bored when I don’t feel challenged.  Doing the same warm up and movement prep routine for every single physical activity is absolutely not my jam.  I’d find myself checking out even before my heart rate warms up, when I really want to be checking in.

This took reflection to understand what works for me – and that is, I need to be engaged in whatever it is I am doing, and which “trick” I can use for the day. These “tricks” can be like themes but largely, they are skills.

Skills of nurturing our curious nature, broadening perspectives, training mental agility, practicing mind & body connection and accessing playfulness.

Perhaps I do the exact same movement sequence 5 days a week but my “main event” are all different (3x heavy lifting and 2x Brazilian jiu-jitsu).  During the heavy lifting days, I move with the task of slowly increasing load using tempo and range of motion.  During BJJ days, I move with the task of fluidity and breath.  

Intention changes the motion, just as it changes those conversations we need warming up for.

In the work of psychology and psychiatry Professor, Richard Davidson, he founded Center for Healthy Minds. The Center’s website states:

We’re learning we can shape our brains in more adaptive and beneficial ways by cultivating healthy habits of mind…When given a challenging situation your brain hasn’t encountered before, it can reorganise and restructure to respond to that situation. The more often your brain is exposed to that new challenge – like learning a musical instrument, for instance – the more it reorganises and makes that path more established…Our brains are constantly being shaped wittingly or unwittingly – most of the time unwittingly….We’re raising the possibility to intentionally training our brains to improve well-being.

Now, I am also enthusiastic about psychology and neuroscience. That enthusiasm sometimes get misconstrued as intense persuasion towards consulting clinical practitioners. Although it works for me, I am aware it doesn’t work for everyone. On the contrary, some folks think we need textbooks & experts to train our Emotional Intelligence proficiency, forgetting that these are skills/muscles many of us already possess from a young age but have not trained them for retention.

 (Disclaimer: I am NOT saying “forget experts”! I work with them and learn from them, they are highly valuable to me. I’m saying NOT to dump the responsibility for ourselves on someone else just because they are the experts. We have to take ownership over our own growth, which means actually seeing an expert for some folks)

We become de-conditioned, muscles atrophied.

Fortunately, if that is the case, these “muscles” can be conditioned again.

Self-leadership is one of our objectives at Mental Muscle. One of the ways we do this within our community is empowering you to access what hasn’t been trained in a while (or at all). Connect with us on Instagram

Connect with me on Instagram @theEmilyTan

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