Natural Mobility is about developing the freedom to move your body pain-free in an unrestricted way. This means developing strong, resilient joints, practical flexibility, and greater efficiency in natural movement patterns. If we think of our health as a progression, we start with relieving abnormal pain and tension and restoring more balanced structural alignment before strengthening weaknesses and focusing on expanding functional flexibility. Finally we apply these rebalanced attributes to athletic abilities to expand our movement potential.
Our Approach to Training Progression
We may not all need to focus on everything. The chart below shows us where to start depending on how we are feeling in our bodies.
If you are tense and suffer from pain in your body, or even if you have no pain, but are very inflexible, you'll want to start with the restorative, therapeutic modalities as your focus. Skipping ahead just creates deeper imbalances and compensations. The restorative modalities include Shiatsu, Sotai, and Meridian Stretching, and focusing on these will restore your natural alignment while relieving abnormal pain & tension.
If you are not in pain, and are flexible enough, you can focus more on foundational modalities such as injury prevention (breakfalls, rolling, balancing, etc...) and Natural Movement strengthening (bodyweight exercises like single leg strengthening, hanging, ground movement, etc...). A focus on these modalities builds our resilience against injury and builds our capacity to support more advanced movement skills.
No matter how you feel, you should spend some time focusing on all of these aspects, but you should spend some extra time focused on what will address your biggest limitations.
You'll notice there's no straight path to the athletic modalities, and one should always be focusing on deepening their foundation (and restoration when needed), even when there is an athletic goal to achieve.
Discover the Facets of our Movement Practice
The facets of our practice are interrelated. First we need to cultivate our health and balance. Then we need to reinforce our resilience against injury. Finally we need to be able to move freely. These are vital life skills:
A Restorative Focus with Sotai & Shiatsu Therapy
Self-healing doesn't mean magically healing yourself, rather it refers to doing everything you can to facilitate your body's own natural healing process through the wisdom of Japanese Shiatsu, & Sotai self-regulation techniques, along with natural movement principles.
This facet of a balanced movement practice includes both treatment administered by a professional therapist, and self-care techniques to maintaining the momentum of your healing process.
The self-care elements involves learning how to use palm and finger pressure to treat your own muscles and joints, stretches and joint mobilizations that you can do to make your joints more limber and free of restriction or pain, and special techniques to bring balance to your postural alignment. This is both preventative and complimentary medicine while being adaptable and suitable for everyone. Check out the link below for a guide in starting the Meridian Stretching practice.
A Foundational Focus with Natural Movement Strengthening & Injury Prevention
Injury Prevention includes learning the techniques of safely falling and rolling, but it is also concerned with our range of motion and the strength and resilience of our joints. The elements of Ukemi (Breakfalls and Rolls), Junan Taiso (Flexibility Conditioning), and the strength and joint stability to control our bodies (bodyweight strengthening) such as lowering ourselves to the ground on one leg with control, balancing, and transitioning to support ourselves on our hands (as in a cartwheel) all fit into this category.
This facet of our practice is the foundation for safe practice of all more advanced movement, and this is where we should all focus a significant amount of our attention when we are feeling pain-free and fairly flexible.
An Athletic Focus with Natural Movement Training
This includes ground movement, the obstacle traversal skills shared with Parkour, and manipulation techniques of lifting, carrying, throwing and catching. It also includes combatives and aquatic skills. MovNat is the owner's manual for human movement in the real world. Even the Foundational stuff is mostly MovNat-based, but we really get to explore it when we start playing with more athletically demand aspects of training.
MovNat is a system to cultivate natural fitness and better movement in the body by reconnect with your innate movement capability as a human being. This training introduces you to the full spectrum of human movement skills, and imparts an approach to improving these skills that empowers you to continue to lead your own improvement.
Try it out at home with this free training program:
Why Do We Need This?
We live in a society that has removed us from our natural environment as human beings. On an evolutionary scale, we haven't spent nearly enough time in this relatively new way of life to be able to make the appropriate adaptations.
When we look at indigenous societies that live as their ancestors do, there are certain natural movements that are performed many times per day. The most predominant movements in this regard are transitioning between floor-sitting positions, getting up and down from the ground, standing, walking, and carrying things. Other movement skills are important, but without these key movement patterns, our bodies create strange patterns that distort the alignment and balance of tension in our bodies.
The vision of Natural Mobility is to inspire a paradigm shift in how you take care of your body. You should be able to move freely, interface with your environment with confidence, and feel healthy and happy in your body. There is a transformation of mindset that must occur, and this comes with learning the tools that allow you to take control of your health and well-being.
Drawing from nearly two decades of professional experience in the healing arts, martial arts, and the pursuit of natural fitness, Alex is devoted to helping people learn about their bodies and how to maintain health and balance in our modern world. Our bodies should support what we want to do with them. If we're suffering from abnormal pain, tension and misalignment, that starts with restorative movement. If we're feeling fine, but our bodies lack strength and stability, it starts with developing natural strength and flexibility to lay a strong foundation and prevent injury.
Once a strong foundation has been established, our training can begin to explore more athletic movement patterns like Parkour skills, lifting and carrying, aquatics and combative skills. Not everyone will be interested in getting deep into all of these categories, but the point is to create the capacity for our bodies to support what we want to use them for.