Are you getting and feeling older?
Are you having more problems and pains?
Do you find yourself depending more on treatment, medications, and surgical interventions to keep you going?
What looks “normal” is actually a sign of slow degeneration. Aging without improving requires enormous amounts of expense, leads to a feeling of helplessness, anxiety, and depression with degeneration of both body and mind. This book shows how to turn it around, awakening your body’s responsive ability to live fit, long and well.
Movement is the best body-brain food there is. But not just any kind of exercise. Just as with food and diet, it’s the quality that makes all the difference.
Awaken Movement – the Key to Life: Your Body’s Way of Knowing, takes you on a journey into the author’s personal and professional life experiences explaining how he developed and taught an effective, research-supported program to maintain your body wellness and fitness far beyond the present average; reverse inevitable degeneration and downslides into illness and palliative care. Learn the basics of how to turn it around,
awakening your body’s responsive ability to live fit, long and well!
Josef DellaGrotte offers a profoundly transforming approach to healing, integrating body movement with some of the latest findings in neuroscience. Having worked with him for many years, I can attest to the subtlety of his understanding and the effectiveness of re-wiring some of our old established patterns of how we move through the world. This book is a great contribution to the art of well-being.
Author of Mindfulness: A Practical Guide to Awakening
Dr. Josef DellaGrotte’s approach does nothing less than raise the body’s IQ to levels I never imagined.
Frederick Farryl Goodwin
Poet, and Author
Table of Contents
- Acknowledgments – 4
- Note To The Reader – 5
- Foreword – 9
- Introduction – Asleep Or Just Confused: No Map, No Plan – 12
- Chapter 1
- How I Began My Journey Of Discoveries – 18
- A Journey Through Time – 20
- Moshe Feldenkrais – 24
- My Personal Journey Continued – 28
- Crisis Is Opportunity – Meeting The Challenge – 33
- Finding Solutions – 36
- Bringing It All Together – 39
- Chapter 2
- Return To The Biological Imperative – 42
- Either You Are Getting Better Or You Are Getting Worse! – 43
- Signals From The Source: Where To Begin And How – 44
- Knowing, Thinking And Moving – 47
- Internal Mapping: Knowing Where You Are, Who You Are – 47
- Operational-Organizational Basics: Cars, Boats, Machines, And Drivers – 49
- What Is Happening To Us? How Can We Reverse It? – 51
- Chapter 3
- Crisis And Change – 53
- Story From History – 53
- The Pains Of Change – 55
- Habit, The Hidden Controller, Meets The Angel Of Change – 58
- Habitual Patterns And Changing Conditions – 60
- How Pain Cycles Continue – 61
- The Case Of Cora – 64
- The Limits Of Adaptation – 65
- Where To Go From Here – 67
- Chapter 4
- Exercise And The Brain – 69
- Brain Food: Learning Through Exercise – 71
- Towards A Social Change Paradigm – 73
- Out Of The Darkness: The Brain Rediscovered – 74
- Biologically Based Exercise Vs. Consumer-Driven Varieties – 74
- Body Movement Mapping: Connecting The Dots – 78
- Getting Ready For The Change Over: Transforming Stress Into Health And Wellness – 78
- Precision Movement Programming – 81
- How It Works: The Physics & Physiological Components Of Good Movement – 84
- Chapter 5
- Born To Walk – 91
- The Way Of The Walk – 92
- Even Elephants Walk Till The Last Day – 93
- Key Factors: Walk, Track, Love, And Trust – 96
- Varieties Of The Walking Experience: Bushmen To Modern – 98
- Benefits Of Walking – 100
- Walking Requires Skill – 101
- Making The Improbable A Reality, The Difficult Easy, Or How One Person Improved Dramatically In Just Six Weeks – 102
- From My Journey (Part 2) – 103
- Some Backup Research Projects – 108
- The Actual Biomechanics Of Walking – 109
- From Natural And Developmental To Learning And Training – 111
- Research Results: Want To Live Longer, Walk Faster Some Say – 113
- Some Further Commentaries For Those Interested In How To Walk Fast And Efficiently – 114
- Chapter 6
- The Sedentary Sitting Epidemic – 116
- Sitting: Staying Upright, Easy And Supported, Or Sagging? – 116
- The Downside – And Downslides – Of Sedentary Sitting – 118
- Core Centered Sitting: Stable And Supported – 120
- Lessons From The East: What The Buddha Knew About Sitting That We May Not – 122
- Observing And Working With Active Sitting – 125
- Chapter 7
- Psycho-Somatic Connections: Where Body & Mind Meet Emotions, Feelings, Concepts, Beliefs – 127
- Working With Feeling States – 129
- Psycho-Somatic (Psycho-Physical) Pain Disorders – 131
- The Limitations Of Thinking Your Way Through – 133
- A Clinical Case Of Split Body-Mind – 134
- Where To Go From Here – 135
- Ambivalence And Psychosomatics – 136Releasing Emotional Energies – 138
- Case Of Affliction-Redemption – 140
- How Habits Get Internalized: Engram Fixation – 141
- Case Of Retarded Recovery And Somatic Amnesia – 143
- Case Of Fear Of “Falling Apart” – A Doomsday Scenario Reversed – 146
- Case Of Feeling “Hopeless” – 147
- Chapter 8
- Varieties Of Movement Maintenance: Comparisons And Contrasts – 149
- Running – 149
- Exercise – Gym Style – 151
- Dance As Expressive Exercise – 154
- Yoga: Positive And Healthy, But Not Without Pitfalls – 154
- Yoga: The View From Physics, Biomechanics, And Physiology – 158
- Tai Chi Qigong – 160
- Chapter 9
- Needed Changes In Traditional Hands-On Therapies – 162
- Maintenance And Regeneration: Related But Different – 163
- Skills And Tools – 165
- Enhancing Somatic Awareness – 167
- Summary – 167
- Bibliography – 169
Read an Excerpt
Introduction: Asleep or Just Confused: No Map, No Plan
How many of us grew up believing that good health, flexibility, self-confidence, feeling able, well and ft for a good long lifetime run was either to be expected or supported as a reward for good moral behavior? Is it just a matter of chance and good fortune for those naturally selected out and so blessed, or something requiring too much effort and therefore only for the young, the genetically endowed?
So what happens when the bubble bursts? You start to notice increasing body disorders, inescapable viral infections, discomfort, and pain. You are told by your physician, “It’s just normal aging, arthritis, or genetics causing you all these problems.” Whatever the condition – heart, high blood pressure, diabetes, and the rest of the current top ten nationwide disorders – doctors assure, “We can treat you.” No doubt that this is a gentler way to go out than waiting for and enduring the worst. If you are now among the minority who have made it through your middle years without chronic pains, stiffness, and other physical disorders – consider yourself fortunate. Don’t keep hoping it will continue by doing nothing!
The mindset of assumed unavoidable degeneration in getting older was a given, and still is. The consequence? Sooner or later when the body starts having problems, we somehow get hypnotically trance-induced to accept this as inevitable. What might follow is some form of medical explanation sounding scientific. Enter the “white coats,” the new socially sanctioned and empowered authorities who give some approximation of a diagnosis that looks scientific, and many times is not always so. They prescribe medications, pain pills, a panoply of ongoing tests, corrective surgeries, and other continuing therapeutic interventions to keep us going. Some people who do not find answers with the medical establishment get desperate, try a variety of alternatives, some helpful, some more woo-woo esoteric, and may even turn to forced vigorous exercise to ward of the dreaded “gombo” of impending body decline. Is this the path to a better life, or can it also intensify more fear-based stress, worry, and insecurity? How we give our own inner healing power away is a story in itself!
Everywhere I go, here and abroad, person to person, the story is the same: getting older, having more problems, with the bigger closeted problem looming large – aging parents or close relatives who require enormous amounts of extended nursing or home care. Every 4 seconds there is another case of Alzheimer’s in the Western world, a documented crisis if not turned around. How long can this go on? It has been possible so far only because of the patrimony, the investments, and savings, plus most important, a partially protective government insurance social net (Medicare, Medicaid) that can help you pay for all these services. Unless there is a major upswing in economic growth, an upsurge not yet on the distant horizon, it will be impossible to sustain the amount it takes to keep people going. Some are predicting the increasing debilitations, and especially the super draining costs of dementia, unless halted, will break the economic bank. Yet this crisis can be turned around. That is what this book is all about. And it will have to begin with this generation, as early as possible.
The big picture, the studies and the trajectories surrounding our present state of self-help and health may look more discouraging than optimistic, with no visible changes forthcoming on the health horizon. On the other side, for the first time, we have the knowledge and science available to not only maintain a level of wellness for years longer but also be excited about enhancing that elusive quality of life which enables us to continue to do activities that are meaningful and satisfying throughout our lifespan. And then, the big missing piece: how to make it a reality, not just another set of expectations, not another un-realistic “pie in the sky” about what might change the direction of the current descent. Between these two polarities, a new synthesis is arising out of biological foundations with science backing it. Yes, there are obstacles along this path. They need to be identified and addressed. We all sense, but cannot identify, what it is that seems off the track.
From our early optimistic years to our middle and later years, what many people are sensing but cannot get a coherent picture about, is a noticeable disconnect between our own body perception. Most other creatures seem to have a connection with the bio-physical ground of being. They know how to move and do it well. On the human side, and demonstrably shown to be related with our lifestyle, something seems to have gone wrong in the way we are treating our body – all components included.
Simply observe the way people move, the shuffling gait, curved backs, and poor postures. Observe also the prevalence of pain syndromes, dependency on treatment, medications, surgical interventions. What looks normal is actually a sign of slow degeneration. Not a good trend at all. The good news is that the body can relearn, return, re-enter the biological sphere of natural intelligence and intuition, the way to wellness and fitness, and at almost any reasonable age. We now know that aging is not about getting worse, but can be a biological period in which we certainly slow down, but also get better and wiser at self-management. We can reduce the negative effects of what has in recent times come to be expected, namely body-mind decline, and actually improve in some important areas of everyday functional life.
If all this has meaning and interest for you, now not later is the time to improve your quality of life, explore new territory, let go of old notions and beliefs about movement and exercise, and increase your longevity/wellness potential, then read on.
One thing is guaranteed – this real inner journey is not a head trip, but rather leads toward a process best designed to shift your orientation, upgrade your internal GPS navigational skills, and lead you into those promised greener pastures only written about, shown in films, and seldom actualized in real life experience. This is the kind of functionally enhanced and healthful living we are capable of but poorly prepared for.
These landscaping tools will allow you to rediscover, regrow, and revitalize your basic foundation. Being in a human biological body we are subject to the laws of nature – especially gravity and physiology – and clearly more psychologically grounded and secure when we can do activities we prefer, choose, and enjoy. This I’ll refer to as our daily life functional movement potential. When we are in this basic zone, common to all creatures large or small, we feel, think, act better, and make more of the right choices. In effect, we live longer and well with a good chance of an extended run and closing – like the elephants and other animals who walk until their last day! Most would choose, with just a few exceptions, to enjoy each day (carpe diem) and experience the true quality of life (qualita di vita!) To be fully enabled in the here and now we can safely assume a highly desirable state. With this foundation, we can, as will be shown, stay well even with aging. The key, as with any good investment seeking greater return, is to start early.