By Peri Zourides, MovNat Team Instructor
I’d love to tell you that I’m swinging from tree tops, saving people from burning buildings and chopping wood with my bare hands every day, but that’s just not the case. Sorry to burst your bubble! Natural Movement has become a lifestyle for me, not only because I teach for MovNat and own a training facility, but also because I incorporate it at home as much as possible. The benefits have resulted in better balance, strength, mobility, sleep, and digestion. Here are some of things I do at home that you can, too.
The effects of sitting too much have been highlighted a lot in recent years. At MovNat, we focus a lot on ground based sitting and movements, but there are times when you need to sit, like going to the toilet. While a full deep squat in nature really isn’t viable most of the time, getting into a squat position helps how our stomach is positioned and creates an easier pathway for fecal matter to pass. Your colon is “untangled” in a squat position and your pelvic floor is able to fully relax.
Granted for some people the issue may not be the angle, but their constitution. So, diet and other lifestyle factors play a key role in a healthy stool. The carryover from practicing this potty position on a daily basis is that we can get into a resting squat, unsupported on the ground, and do our business naturally if we needed to.
Exposing your feet to the ground on various surfaces is key in building resilience through them, as they are your main points of contact a lot of the time. For many people, though, the option to be barefoot most of the day just isn’t realistic. So, putting pebbles in a tray at home (I have mine in the bathroom) and walking on them for 1-3 minutes is a great way to massage your feet, which softens tight tissues and musculature and stimulates acupressure points. I’ll walk and wash my hands, shave or brush my teeth in this way.
If you can’t be barefoot for most of the day, aim to work in thinner soled shoes that are in closer contact to the ground to allow your feet and ankles more freedom. Vivobarefoot is a great brand to help your foot be as natural as possible while being covered.
Note: Or, try the Natural Movement Moccasins.
BATHROOM BALANCE PLANK
Balance is such a key skill that we teach during MovNat events, with testing happening on a variety of surfaces and contexts. The importance of balance in the real world is so critical to how we move daily, how we age, and how we handle many situations we encounter. Your vestibular system is part of your inner ear, and it sends information about head motion and orientation to the brain. This processing helps send the right commands to the rest of your body.
We have to be sensible in how and when we train balance, and there is there is no need to put yourself at risk by balancing on a high tree branch everyday (great if you can and have the capacity to do so). But for most people, the the act of standing on 1 leg for some time is useful enough.
I’ll get onto a small, wooden plank I have in bathroom, either in a deep knee bend or upright balancing position while I brush my teeth for a minute.
There are a lot of tasks around the house that many people do by excessively flexing their back. While a task like picking up your shoes doesn’t require you to squat down every time, doing something like taking a pan out of the cupboard could. This allows you to lower your center of gravity and safely pick up and move specific items.
We want to retain the ability to squat fully as this indicates good health in the hips, knees and ankles. In many cultures where modern comforts and habits aren’t prevalent, people will squat daily as part of their usual routine of cooking, cleaning, conversation, manual labor, and of course, potty time ☺
NATURAL ELEMENTS…AT HOME
I want to be outdoors as much as possible. However, I can’t always get to a park or go for a hike to practice my skills. Thankfully, I have an outside space where I stay, and I’ve brought some natural elements home. I have timber planks of various lengths, as well as rocks, stones and large pieces of wood. These help me work on balance skills such as low split squat walking, inline crawling, deadlifting, squatting, and lapping.
However, when I’m home, the focus is not on major workouts, but just skill maintenance and daily “neural input”. For example I walk to my car outside, and I balance walk on the planks to the gate. I go outside to throw some trash away and do an inline hand foot crawl on the way back. I just walked my dogs and then spent a few minutes lifting and moving some items. Nothing too intense or time extensive; just keeping the motor running and ticking over.
KNEELING AND SITTING LOW
I don’t like being online a lot, but it needs to be done. And articles like this don’t get written by just lifting rocks (I wish). Whether at home or work, I have emails to answer, social media to post, meetings online, and other admin-related tasks. While there is no escaping certain time online, I have set myself up to either sit low to the ground, kneel on a meditation stool, or be at a standing desk. I no longer have a conventional chair that I work on, and at times, I will balance on an exercise ball at work, if I do sit. All of these things help to keep me moving in different ways, even while sitting and doing work on the computer.
The biggest change in my body with Natural Movement that has impacted me the most is in my mobility, and ability to not only do more at various intensities, but also feel less stiff in many areas of my body. I remember when I did sit for long periods and would get up with a really stiff lower back and hips. Now, when kneeling or sitting low, I can get up and move freely straight away.
The choice is yours as to how you want to live, move, feel and age. While there may be some who see how I live and the things I do as weird, I look it at as free medicine, daily enjoyment, continued strength and a path to old age that keeps me engaged and alert. I hope you find your path, too.
About the Author
Peri Zourides is a MovNat Team Instructor and the owner of Seven Star Energy Centre in Johannesburg, South Africa, which is a multi-disciplined training facility that offers Natural Movement, kettlebells, calisthenics, martial arts, rehabilitation treatment and mindfulness training. Peri has a background playing in competitive football and basketball as well as coaching both sports. He’s trained and taught traditional Kung Fu and Tai Chi, has been certified through StrongFirst as a Bodyweight and Level 2 Kettlebell instructor, and also facilitates corporate wellness programs.
Start Moving Naturally At Home
Our e-course, MovNat Level 1 Fundamentals, is a perfect resource for beginning your Natural Movement Fitness journey at home! If you want to build your movement and fitness from the ground up and regenerate your body using practical, natural movements that enhance fitness, function, and physical capability, learn more at the link below.