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Movement As A Way Of Life defines ‘movement’ as:


“the act, process, or result of moving.

A particular manner or style of movement.

Usually movements. Actions or activities, as of a person or a body of persons.”


Movement can have many meanings in our lives. To move something means to take that object from point A to point B. That object has been moved. A movement can also be seen as a group of people with a common worldview who wish to spread their ideas to others and work as a collective to move that idea along to as many people as they can.

Both meanings are defined by change. Whether you’re moving your foot from one point on the floor to another or motivating a large number of people to spread the word of a common cause, what you are doing is all about change.

So what does movement mean to me? I refer to myself as a ‘movement practitioner’. Not only do I help people move better through teaching salsa and retraining people’s joints to move more efficiently as an Anatomy in Motion practitioner. But I also consider movement a way of life.

Our bodies were born to move. They were born to spend a heck of a lot of time moving us around to get stuff done. It’s incredible to think that our bodies are actually expecting us to walk many miles every day, carry heavy objects, run, jump and pull for most of our day.

Our modern lifestyles have given us convenience but at the cost of movement. Even a few generations ago people walked to work, to the butcher, to the vegetable farm stand, to the doctor, or walked while tending to animals. We used to bake our own bread, make food from scratch, collect water from wells, and wash our own clothes with our own muscle power. Our life has been incredibly convenient but at what cost?

Even our working lives are sedentary. We commute sitting in our cars or on the bus or the train, to go sit in our desk chairs for 8 hours, to reverse the process and then sit on the couch all evening. It’s said that sitting is the new smoking in terms of impacts to our bodies. In fact, the impacts on our bodies and our metabolisms of sitting as much as we do cannot be undone by simply going to the gym and joining a beer league softball team in the spring.

As a movement practitioner I enjoy getting to hang out in places like airports and shopping malls because I can people watch. It is endlessly fascinating to see how people move about as a result of the choices they’ve made in their own activity levels, and dealing with past injuries. But what is becoming increasingly apparent is how so many people’s bodies are chair-shaped.

From the moment we leave the hospital as an infant we are placed in chairs. Car seats, booster seats, strollers, desk chairs at school and then office chairs. With the amount of time we’ve been asked to sit in chairs it’s no wonder our bodies are chair-shaped.

Not to mention our feet. From the moment we leave the hospital our feet are cooped up in and their joint actions are controlled by shoes. Our feet have as many joints as our incredibly supple hands. They are meant to move. And yet we bind them in non-foot-shaped shoes with raised heels (even your runners have raised heels) and walk around on completely level floors all day long. And we wonder why there’s an epidemic of foot problems, knee problems and ‘sleepy glutes’. I’d be sleepy, too, if you never asked me to do any work.

So it comes down to making choices. As a movement practitioner I have made some choices. I was a very active child. Then I grew up and spent 12 years being very sedentary getting my post-secondary education. When I graduated and started taking exercise seriously again I wondered why my body was no longer able to do the things it once was able to. It wasn’t just age, it was more than a decade of teaching my body to be chair-like. My choices include behaving more like the way our human bodies were meant to behave. I’m hoping that my own movement practice inspires others to have a movement practice of their own and perhaps we’ll start a movement movement together!

Here are a few changes I’ve made:

Standing for as much of my work day as possible.

I’ve often heard people say ‘move more? But I don’t have time’. If you have time to sit all day at a desk you have all those hours where you could be standing or swaying and stretching your joints. I don’t just stand at my desk, I do hip circles, I bend and straighten alternating knees, I stretch my torso side to side, I rotate my neck. I am forever shifting my weight and using my joints all day long. Just the way the human body was meant to be used. If you can’t have a standing desk, try standing up whenever you take a phonecall.

Walking as much as possible.

The dance studio I teach at is a 35 minute brisk walk from my home. The library is a 45 minute walk. The mall where I buy my staples is also 45 minutes away. The bank is 25 minutes away. I walk to these places and I make a conscious effort to do it every day. If we were meant to move then I make sure I move.

Learning to do a deep squat.

If you look at kids just learning to walk they will crouch down to play with objects on the floor in a deep squat. Over time, with more time spent in chairs and not squatting down we lose this ability. Asian people maintain this ability partly due to customs that require they retain this ability. So part of my movement practice is regaining my mobility in a deep squat. I spend upwards of 30 minutes at a time reading or typing in a deep squat several times a day. (You can see a post about this in a blog post last month).

Making food from scratch.

There’s no doubt that you’re getting a workout when you knead some dough, beat together eggs and sugar for cookies, or do the dishes by hand. The benefits are not just in using your joints, but you can save money and make less garbage by making things from scratch. Our grandparents used to do this and it must seem crazy to them that we get a simple staple like bread from a massive factory where you don’t even know the name of your baker.

Developing a movement practice.

By movement practice I mean a set of exercises or ways of moving that feel great to your body and that you can use as a way of checking in with where your body is at from day to day. After leaving the Dance Vancouver salsa teams I have chosen to take up a different movement practice. For me, I am diving into Animal Flow ( and learning handstands. It’s what feels right for me and it’s what’s right right now. Who knows, that will probably evolve over time.

If you want to know more about how our bodies have changed with our modern lifestyle I recommend the book Primate Change by Vybarr Cregan-Reid. For an incredible exploration of what a movement practice is and what it means to different people I recommend Monika Volkmar’s blog (