The 10th MovNat Principle: EnvironmentalPosted | 5 comments
Move naturally…in nature!
This principle emphasizes the need for moving naturally…in nature. Nature is the cradle where we have tested human natural movement abilities over millions of years of evolution. While it is fundamental that you learn to navigate your body through any environment, including indoor environments, it is especially important that you learn to move your body through natural environments. Natural environments typically provide more variety than indoor environments, which stimulates adaptability, alertness, and reactivity. Though you may never master your environment, you may learn to master how you will move through it.
‘That is because nature is not an enriched environment, as it is – in most places – naturally rich. Only a dull environment, like an indoor setting, can be “enriched.” ‘
At the same time, if you’re going to move naturally as your primary form of exercise, that doesn’t mean that you must train MovNat in nature all of the time, as it can be practical and often safer to exercise indoors when the indoor venue is suited for adaptive, natural human movement.
The bottom line: move in environments that encourage the engagement of complex motor skills and where the ability to adapt efficiently to environmental demands is key. Science has proven that complex movement in complex environments stimulates and increases brain function, as it requires greater body intelligence and mind-body connection. You see, in nature, big guns don’t matter. They never did.
A biological need for nature
Evolutionarily, we are shaped by nature and our interaction with it. Nature is not a “jungle gym.” It is much more than that. Nature is where we all come from, what we are made of.
‘We are nature. Such a statement is in no way a romantic view, but a fact.’
This reality has a tremendous impact on who we are and on our biological needs. Lack of interaction with nature and lack of movement have been shown to lead to sensory processing disorders, because nature contains the environmental stressors that have participated in the construction and evolution of our human species-specific biology.
A deficit of nature in our daily life has also been shown to increase our general stress. In one study, participants viewing scenes of man-made urban environments experienced a significant increase in activity in the area of the brain associated with fear and stress. In another study, it was shown that natural environments, on the other hand, can improve our mood and enhance our ability to focus. When healthy adults view nature scenes rich in vegetation, areas of the brain associated with emotional stability, empathy, and love become immediately more active. Nature scenes will even enhance brain-wave activity in ways that are similar to the benefits of meditation. The air in nature is normally pure, energizing and healing, while frequent exposure with natural dirt will reinforce your immune system tremendously. Moving barefoot on the Earth is also proven to have powerful impact on your good health. So what are you waiting for?
Nature restores human nature
The first environment you should respect and protect is your own self. Connecting to the nature that exists within you is the surest way to reconnect with the nature outside of you and help you learn to respect, understand, and value it. You see, the natural world is not only outside of you. You are the natural world, too. This is why I encourage you to cultivate a sense of yourself that includes the natural world. This is called Biophilia – an innate tendency to affiliate with other living creatures and processes. You never reinvent nature. You can relearn it by remembering it. It is in you, and it has a miraculous plan for you. When you move naturally in nature, you are taking that “green pill” which you won’t find in any pharmacy. Ultimately, you may not need the chemical pills to feel better anymore.
So – get out there! Move naturally in nature! Go back more often to where you truly belong…and become true to your nature again: strong, healthy, happy and free. Just remember that Nature is not a jungle gym, it is to many animals a biome. Strive always to disturb as little as possible.
Renowned journalist and author, Richard Louv, makes the powerful statement that we must become “nature-smart”:
“The future will belong to the nature-smart—those individuals, families, businesses, and political leaders who develop a deeper understanding of the transformative power of the natural world and who balance the virtual with the real. The more high-tech we become, the more nature we need.”
I love this quote. But I would like to extend this concept of nature to ourselves, to human beings. Nature is not just outside of us, but also, and primarily, within us. It implies a lifestyle that restores and celebrates our natural, biological needs, such as natural human movement. In a nutshell and as a conclusion, we belong to the environment, and our physical and mental behaviors are part of this environment. We may accept living in a “zoo,” or instead we can become “nature-smart,” or as I like to put it, “true to our nature.” Personally,
‘When I move naturally in nature, I am a physical experience of my spirit…and I am a spiritual experience of my body.’
It is that powerful. Move naturally in nature, and reconnect to, explore and experience your true nature!
Erwan Le Corre
Founder of MovNat and Master Instructor