Updated: Oct 2
I have to admit, when I first heard the term “movement practice,” I didn’t really understand what it meant. In fact, it has taken me nearly a decade of movement exploration, a little investigation and a lot of contemplation to really wrap my brain around the term.
Today, as the owner of Kalispell’s aerial studio, when I think of a movement practice, the first movement artists who come to mind are polers and aerialists. And I am not only talking about the seasoned performers and instructors. I am talking about anyone who makes it through the doors repeatedly for a class. Because a “practice” is defined simply as “performing an activity, exercise or skill repeatedly in order to improve.” So no matter what skill level a practitioner has, as long as they are repeating skills, they have a movement practice.
Obviously, there are other movement practitioners too. From yogis to dancers to gymnasts to martial artists, these individuals all use the gift of movement in a way that goes beyond just exercising for fitness gains. Like pole athletes and aerialists, they are expanding their movement abilities beyond just strength and power. Their practices help improve balance, coordination, rhythm, mobility, and grace.
Movement practices are usually connected to a cause behind the workout; causes such as relaxation, mindfulness, or playtime. An instructor of a yoga class I once attended offered love as an intention. The purposes behind my own practices are deepened by connecting them with the intent to have fun. I find it ironic that although fun workouts and relaxing workouts are on total opposite ends of the spectrum, they both result in stress release. If that isn’t a sign that bodies simply need to move, I don’t know what is!
In my opinion, the biggest advantage of taking up a movement practice is that it can help improve cognitive function as well as creativity. Like muscles, cognitive function and creativity both get stronger the more you use them. I believe this with my whole heart!
If you think a movement practice might be right for you, you can use these questions to help guide you:
If you think a movement practice might be right for you, don’t wait to start one up! I built our studio around the “fitness is fun” motto, so if you are local to Kalispell and interested in exploring movement with playtime/fun as an intention, I encourage you to book a class. We have classes for pre-teens, teens and adults, but if you are looking to get your younger children started in a movement practice, I highly recommend the Flathead Gymnastics Academy. Because, it is never too early…nor too late…to start a movement practice!
Article by Mindy Cochran. Mindy is the founder of Kalispell's Levitation Nation Aerial Studio, where the catch phrase "fitness is fun" is embodied alongside a culture of movement & women empowerment. Mindy is also a columnist for "Montana Woman Magazine." Her column "The Real Levitation Experience" shares expertise for elevating health and wellness that she has acquired through her certifications as a personal trainer and life coach. For more about Mindy, please visit: https://www.levitationnation.org/mindy.