Systemic Integration – Systemic Movement

If you wiggle your toes long enough, your calf muscles will get tired. If you don’t want to wait that long, you can stand up and releve’ until your calf muscles won’t let you rise anymore. Unless you’re a ballet dancer, chances are good it won’t take as long.

Why am I suggesting you perform weird exercises?

Those weird exercises are easy examples of how one part of your body, your feet, are connected to another, your calves. If you don’t feel like getting up you can squeeze and release your hand in and out of a fist until your forearm gets tired. Either way, watch what happens. To make the experience richer, place your other hand on your forearm while you squeeze and release your fist. To further integrate your nervous system, as you did when you added sight and touch, sense for pressure as your fist tightens or your calf muscles shorten as you rise to the balls of your feet.

What do you hear?

If you’re releving (is that a word?!) – you may begin to hear your breath. And, or,  the creaking of your ankle joints.

If you pay attention you may notice that once your calf muscles begin to fatigue, the larger muscles above begin to contract more noticeably than they were before. You may not have felt them earlier. Not only that, but your core – the muscles that support your spine all the way around your body will also begin to work in order to keep you upright. If you find that you are struggling to maintain perfect upright balance and you are leaning forward a little, the muscles in your upper back and neck will also kick in to prevent the weight of your head from causing you to topple. All that from some little movements in your feet!

Ok, now right after your finish one releve’, bend your knees and sink closer to the ground. The muscles that surround your upper leg are going to begin to make a statement. You’re using some of the largest muscles in your body, so don’t be surprised if your heart rate increases.

After you rise again, pretend you’re holding a basketball in your hands and “shoot” it into a basket high over your head and in front of you, making sure that the ball rolls off of your finger tips as it leaves your hand.

Put all of those moves together. Make sure your eyes are following the ball. Ok, now just one more thing: when you’re finished with all of that and the ball is in the basket, look over your shoulder as though someone standing behind you just called your name.

Repeat that same sequence in ssssloooooooowwwwwwww motion. How did that feel? Different from the faster version? Keep it super slow and your releve’s can alternate so that your rising on one foot at a time. Repeat the same movement pattern in slow motion 4 or 5 more times.

Now move it at your natural pace. How does that feel? Is it a relief to have momentum working with you instead of fighting against momentum? Faster is easier… Interesting…

You may have just integrated more of your body’s systems than you usually do


You created systemic movement!

Why did I just bother with all that?

First to suggest that moving systemically is not a foreign concept. It might help to think of systemic integration and movement as the relationships that occur between your body parts. Second, to add a little dimension to the idea that fitness has to be fast. For variety, for balance and to train your body in a different way – to truly cross train all of you – keep your attention on your entire body and change your speed.

What if you put that pattern, fast and slow, to music…

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