In our current worldview there is a prominent paradigm around fitness usually involving a lot of sweating, lifting of heavy things and logging in a certain number of steps. While I believe this activity serves the interests of many, it doesn’t necessarily provide a fitness for the whole person.
I’m going to suggest the following criteria for fitness that can be applied to any activity: gym, yoga, pilates, dance, rock climbing, marathon running, etc.
- Rebuild hapticity. How many of us have done something truly idiotic that ended up with a sprain, strain or break? The key to avoiding such accidents is to rebuild hapticity. Haptic refers to the perception and manipulation of objects using touch and proprioception. The best example of this is walking across a creek by stepping on stones. Not knowing how the stones are balanced under the water, my feet might carefully explore each rock wondering if it is stable enough for me to put all of my weight on to it. Living in Silicon Valley I see how hapticity has been eliminated or reduced. Incoming stimuli is fairly predictable and we no longer need to perceive through touch. Without hapticity, the equivalent to my creek analogy would be to simply tromp along the rocks. But, if I can rebuild my hapticity, the risk of injury is greatly reduced.
- Explore individuation. Whenever I am in contact with something else, it is an opportunity to know myself as separate from the thing I am in contact with. This way my body brain isn’t the weight that I am lifting. I am separated from the weight.
- Unfold our being in CONTEXT. This one is important because it is in all caps. My circumstances and environment shape me, especially when I allow those things to shape me. This one has an easy example, imagine walking into the lobby of a grand castle versus walking into a garage that has been housing old cast off things for years. The context is different making the meaning very different. If I can unfold my being within the context, then I can make appropriate movements.
- Track “fixed places’. We all have a place that doesn’t move as well as others. I call that a fixed place. When I am aware of the fixed place, I can track it during movement. Tracking the fixed places often releases them.
- Explore where movement is confused. This is similar to being fixed and it is definitely related. I might not know how to make movement if the place where movement arises is fixed. Or maybe I try to make movement happen by using everything I have versus only what is needed. In either case case, confusion arises.
- Develop agency. I just recently added this one. It’s important to know that I am doing the movement because I want to. I am the only one that can allow. When I get really clear as to who is moving (preferably me), what I am moving and where I am going with that movement, then I can always be choosing. Otherwise I am just doing something that someone else has told me to do regardless if it is appropriate for me or not.
While this may seem like a lot to embrace, it is quite easy with a little practice. The key to the practice is awareness, mindfulness and slowing down. It may appear as if there is very little going on on the outside, but inside a lot is happening.