EMHH Episode 39 - Improve Your Movement by Changing How You Initiate ItNov 30, 2022
Did you know that you can improve your movement simply by changing the very beginning of a movement? You can develop better body awareness and improve your coordination simply by pausing and changing the very BEGINNING of a movement.
This applies to any movement that you do, including riding, leading your horse, taking hold of your steering wheel, walking or any other movement you do.
This is a fun exercise that has applications to your horse was well. In fact, I teach students in my online group coaching program how to help their HORSES change how they initiate movement. (That program is called Move with Your Horse. Click here to get on the wait list. There's no obligation.)
Listen to this podcast episode to learn WHY changing how you initiate movement is a key element in being able to improve your movement. And get some tips on how to pout it into practice!
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Hello and welcome to Easier Movement, happier Horses. I'm Mary Debono, and today we're going to talk about the importance of how you initiate movement. And this is important for you as well as your horse. So let me explain. When you do any movement, it could be as simple, something as simple as lifting your finger, like literally, or rounding your back or walking across the room or running or riding your horse or you know,
any number of things. There has to be a point of initiation, like what is the first thing you do to start that movement? So let's use the example of rounding your back. So I'm sitting here recording this podcast and I can think, oh, maybe I want to just round my back. So one way I could start that movement or initiate that movement is to simply drop my chin,
right? So I get my head and neck involved, and then I feel the rest of myself follow. So that's one way. Another way that I can initiate that movement is to think about my, my sternum, my ribs kind of softening my chest folding a bit. And as I do that, if I just think about that and they start to,
to fold a little bit, I feel how my lower back starts to round my pelvis comes under, and suddenly my whole spine is rounding. By the way, just as a little shout out to my move with your horse students, this is something that I teach in the hands on program that we teach how you can help your horses round their backs much more easily.
And we do it with kind of waking up these different parts using our hands. Okay? So that's a little aside. So that's another way that you can think of rounding your back, initiating that movement. Another way is to think of initiating it from your seat bones. So I'm sitting here, I could think of, I like imagining that my seat bones are on little rails,
like train tracks, and I can slide them forward. So suddenly I'm on the back of my seat bones, right? My, my pelvis starts to come under, my lower back starts to round, and I can allow the rest of myself to follow. It's another way. Yet, another way of initiating the movement could be from my breath, cuz I know that on the exhalation that's going to allow more folding or softening of the chest and allow the sternum and ribs to go downward as we need to,
right? Need to in the context of rounding the back, right? That's another way to initiate. So I can exhale. Maybe that's my initiation. Okay, so now why all this attention on initiation? Who cares how you initiate movement? Well, it's really valuable to know how you initiate movement, because how you initiate movement is that part of the movement that very beginning is where you can affect the change,
right? It, you won't have very much effect on the rest of the movement, but you have a lot more control over that very beginning of the movement, that initiation point. So for example, if I, I'm sitting here, my arms are, or my elbows are bent, if I suddenly bring my right arm out to the side, right?
Once I kind of commit to that movement, there isn't much I can do to change the quality of that movement. But the very beginning part of that movement, there is a lot I can do. I can think of softening in my sternal clavicular joint. That's where the sternum in the collarbone attaches, right? I can, you know, do any number of things.
I can soften the my hand, I can soften other muscles, I can breathe in a different way. I can change how I initiate that movement. So this is, again, very important for your horse's movement as well. And in my program, we talk about how you can use your hands to help your horse experience different ways of initiating movement. So for yourself,
you can consciously play with this, okay? So you have a conscious mind, you can play with all different ways of initiating movement. And the reason that's so powerful is that when you change how you initiate movement, you're adding variety to your movement. You're adding novelty, it's non habitual. So it gets the attention of your brain, your nervous system kind of lights up and pays attention.
And this is what can get you out of some really stuck movement habits. We all have movement habits and many of them are no longer serving us. They're actually detrimental to us. Same applies to horses by the way. They have their own movement habits and we can help them with that. But this is really key. So it it, it's just like anything else.
You, you have habits of how certain things feel, like the way your clothes feel on you, there's certain habits around that. So your, your brain has learned to tune that out because okay, that's how it always feels. Otherwise it would go crazy thinking about how your clothes felt. But there are times when we want to get the attention of the nervous system to be able to change things.
And our movement is a prime example of that. If we want to sit in a more balanced way, we have to get our nervous system to pay attention to how we're sitting and how we can move into and out of sitting in an easier, healthier way. So changing the initiation of movement is a very, very powerful way to do this. Okay?
And it's really fun too, because you can play with this, you can think of maybe five different ways to initiate movement, right? And it, and I wanna add that, yes, in the beginning you'll be doing this quite consciously and you'll just be making these small little movements changing how you initiate them. But then what happens is you're, you're building up like a bank of experiences for your nervous system of these new possibility,
these new choices in how to move. And when you do that, then when the opportunity presents itself, your brain will have like this whole buffet to choose from, if you will. It won't be stuck in a very limited, habitual way of responding to whatever the situation is. Instead, you'll have so much more variety to choose from. This is,
this can really play a big role, by the way, in improving your balance as well as the ease of movement, overall comfort, reduce aches and pains, reduce wear and tear, all that good stuff. So very, very important. So the initiation of movement is where you can really affect a lot of change. So start to play with this,
play with this idea, you know, whatever it is you decide to do, maybe you decide to get up from your desk and walk across the room. Maybe you wanna get a glass of water from the kitchen or something. How do you do that? Right? And maybe this time do it a certain way. Play with, okay, I'm gonna initiate it.
Maybe I'm going to extend my my upper back a little bit, right? You know, whatever it is, play around with it. There's no right or wrong answers, okay? It's just, you're changing it. You're giving your brain these novel situations, this novel, these novel experiences so that your brain can start to choose from a wider, a bigger palette if you will,
and you have more choice. I often say that movement benefits from choice and we want more choice in our life. That brings up another point, another part of this whole idea of initiating movement is thinking about what is the mental motivation to do the movement, whatever that movement is, whatever it is, is it's getting up to get a glass of water.
Is it running across, you know, down the hall, whatever, whatever the movement is. What is motivating that movement? That's kind of fun to play with too, to be curious about. You know, they is, are you motivated out of a fear of something or, you know, like a happy excitement, right? A positive feeling. So,
so is the motivation coming from like a positive place or a more negative place? And again, this is something that, that we talk about with the horses as well. You know, getting back to the example of rounding the back. That's something I help a lot of horses with and a lot of humans, you have to think about what is the motivation they have.
So when you're asking them to do that, are they thinking, and maybe it's not intellectually thinking, but are they responding out of a fear of being punished if they don't do it, like sharper spurs, you know, more whip, more, more, you know, harsh rain aids, or is it out of a natural feeling that they just start to do it in a very easy,
effortless way? Okay, so there's different ways of thinking about that. So this is important for you as well to think about what is your mind, like, what is the motivation in your mind to doing a movement? And can you change that? Because this also gives you more options then in how you think and how you respond in certain situations is just like our movement habits.
We get into habits of thought, habits of just, you know, reacting as opposed to acting, right? We just kind of react to an environmental stimulus. But can you take a moment and pause and think, how do I really want to respond? So change that point of initiation, that's where wonderful possibilities exist, okay? You have much more choice than you probably realize in your life,
both in your movement and in your thinking. So play with this, have fun, and let me know how it goes for you. What do you discover about yourself when you play with this idea of changing how you initiate movement? Okay? Remember, you're opening your, you're giving yourself this lovely, like opening a window to great new possibilities. All right?
Thank you so much for being here, and I look forward to sharing more with you. Bye for now.