Most of us don’t move enough. In fact, we don’t walk much or even fully breathe. The human body is made for movement, which is life. When movement stops completely, we call it death. Movement starts with the very first experimental kicks of the foetus within the mother’s body. It registers as a tickle and the expectant parents are thrilled, saying, “the baby kicked.” It also registers in sonography and the parents are happy that everything is normal.
No matter what your age, no matter what your station in life, no matter what the current state of your health, make ‘movement’ your priority. It isn’t about ‘just do it’, as the Nike advert says. At any stage in life, we must do it. It doesn’t have to be planned and it doesn’t have to be perfect, but the dance of life has to be performed.
There’s movement all around us – kids on a merry-go-round, rain lapping on the ground, a butterfly’s erratic flight, the sun fading into night… There’s also constant movement within us – the beating of the heart, the circulating blood, the throbbing pulse, etc.
If you’ve been inactive so far, never mind. It’s never too late. The time to start moving is now and the place is here! Take baby-steps. Take your time. Do everything at your pace. Life is not a race. Take it slow. But do hear the music before the song is over! Several senior citizens complain that their knees and backs hurt, so they just take it easy all day, either on the sofa or on the bed. They hardly leave the house. This is wrong because today they are house-bound but tomorrow, their muscles will atrophy and they will be bed-ridden. Old people should be motivated, “Get out of that sofa, get out of the house and walk.” If you are too sick to go out and climb stairs, walk around the house – start with two minutes every hour and then increase it to five, then ten, fifteen and soon you’ll manage half an hour. Just get out of your mental block and try it.
I stay on the third floor and am so grateful to God that there’s no lift because unlike my friends who go to fancy gyms to do step-climbing, I get to do it for free twice and sometimes thrice a day. While climbing, I find it difficult to take two steps at a time as I could till I was 75, but I still manage one step at a time, imagining that I’m going up two steps at a time.
Your mind is always where the limitations start and finish. Reawaken and refurbish your mind with the youthful spirit. What are you afraid of? Are you afraid to die or are you afraid to live? When you walk, or jog, or run or dance, your energy becomes more fluid and consequently, your chakras become aligned – that is what I learnt in Yoga!
You can walk, jog, run or dance to songs, chants, rhythm or rhymes. Find a way to move your body daily. Trust your body. Say, “I will, and I can”. Take the first step because as the philosopher said, “the journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step.”
Each and every spiritual tradition includes the practice of “paying attention”, focusing, being in the moment. Pay attention to your movement. The older you grow the more you should move. Look for opportunities to move. Don’t worry about your “foot-speed”. Walk as slowly as you can at first. Be consistent and over time, you’ll get a good foot-speed. You are not in a race. You are not walking to prove anything to anybody. You are slower than the others. So what? Your body knows exactly at what pace you should walk, so honour your individual pace and your inner body- rhythm.
In music, we learn that a grace-note is an extra-note, a tiny little note. In life, grace-notes are the little things that make us happy and cost nothing. Movement is one of them and it’s so important to live a good “quality” of life. And life is so fragile, so temporary. Why not move and dance till we are alive?
Rhythm is inherent in nature and therefore in humans. The beat of our body is the beat of the Earth. The cycles of day and night, the moon and the seasons are all reflected in the body. Which is the best time for movement? As soon as you get up. Your body has already rested for eight hours and your mind is fresh. This is the best time to go and walk which is why we call it a ‘morning-walk’. However, don’t just walk mechanically. Observe everything around you in silence. Trees, grass, flowers, clouds and the road (or else you’ll trip and fall) and other morning walkers. Listen to sounds as you walk. The chirping of birds, the rustle of leaves and the cycle-ring of the milk-man or the bread-wala. Breathe in the positivity of the fresh morning air. Breathe deeply, to energise your lungs. Do this just for a few days and chances are you will not only get hooked to it but also start enjoying it, so much that you’ll never miss out on your morning-walks. In fact, you’ll look forward to them as you wake up each morning with a prayer on your lips and a wow in your mind!! You’ll feel so good about yourself because you are doing something positive for your health.
What about a person in a wheelchair? Well, move your neck, hands and arms to do simple exercises. If your feet can’t do the movement, nod your head, roll your neck, wink your eye and listen to the dancing beat of your heart. Trust your body. Move to your own rhythm but move, because movement is life. Behavior is based on beliefs. Action doesn’t begin in muscles, it begins in your mind. Movement will help you recognise and reacquaint yourself with the magic of your childhood and to capture the power of movement – of dancing through life!! And your time begins NOW!