I’ve been a people watcher for almost two decades. I gather information from watching the way that people move, from how hold themselves, and so on. I’m not as good as that guy on Lie to Me, but I can read body language pretty well.
So I was at a 5Rhythms class in Manhattan recently (two glorious hours of movement meditation). At one point I paused to look the sea of people. And it hit me.
People need to move more.
You might think this is a strange response to watching a group of dancers. It IS unusual and it caught me a little off guard. It had something to do with how the class was moving as a whole; about the WAY the people were moving. A lot of bouncing (which is great for spinal decompression) but something wasn’t connecting.
And then it clicked. At that moment I could SEE the impact of modern day lifestyles – namely the effect of being groomed to sit in chairs. I mean ALL chairs – desks, couches, cars, airplanes, trains, buses, bicycles – even toilets! And don’t get me started on the effects of sitting and watching TV. And it wasn’t just in their physical bodies – I could see the effect of being routinely cut off from the lower power centers of the body.
It’s no secret that sedentary lifestyles are a slow killer. We know that moving is essential for good health, that it prevents Alzheimer’s, etc. So most people go to exercise classes, the gym, or do their own practices for maybe a few hours a week.
Here’s the thing though - it’s not enough. Adult bodies were designed for movement. Not to sit around and talk, or work at a desk for 8-10 hours a day, or have our legs go numb in seated meditation. Even if you do work out on a regular basis, those benefits are being undone by too much sitting.
So I’m on a mission to change this. I’m encouraging people to move their bodies a whole lot more, in ways that help them re-integrate the upper and lower halves of their bodies. It sounds basic enough but the process of actually doing it takes some effort. There’s some lifestyle reconstruction involved, certainly.
As part of this effort I’m offering an eight-week online series called the Equinox Yoga Marathon. It’s a journey to the summit of 108 sun salutations, without the sore hamstrings that tend to result from “weekend warrior” versions of these kinds of marathons. Sun salutations are a great way to awaken the circuitry of your whole body, especially when they’re practiced in a way that’s rhythmic and meditative.
What do you think about the sedentary epidemic? How can we fix it? Feel free to leave a comment in the box below.