Move your body

 

Have you ever watched babies or toddlers dance?  Isn't it the best?  Sometimes I bob along to the music that inspires my eleven-month-old to shake his head back and forth, and sometimes he finds a beat that only he can hear.  But he loves to move his body.  He has his go-to moves right now: bouncing across the room on his squishy thighs, shaking--never nodding--his head rapidly (why is no so much more fun than yes?), clapping his hands together, pedaling his heels backward in Downward Dog.

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Some of  his crazy gestures come from a place of exploration.  The world, his body, everything is new, and he is figuring out how it all works together.  Yet what also drives his movement is pure delight.  I love watching little kids when they are excited.  They get the bounce, where they jump up and down because they literally cannot contain their excitement.  It spills over, from their brains to their smiles to their bodies.  Already my six-year-old has mostly lost the bounce.  Our culture trains us to be self-conscious about our bodies, and with each year, we become more reserved, too cool for happy wiggles.

 

Sure, adults have dancing and yoga, but what is different about these forms of movement is that they are almost always premeditated and purpose-driven.  We dance because there is a wedding or it is date night, and we do yoga for exercise or mindfulness.  We may have the occasional spontaneous dance party in the kitchen with our kids before dinner, but our minds also are thinking about when to pull the lasagna out of the oven and how long we think it will take us to fill out our tax forms. 

 

Little children teach us, just as we teach them.  Babies remind us of the simple pleasures that our bodies give us and how we are made to move.  Especially now, in today's sedentary world, where we all have text neck from staring at computer screens and cell phones all day long, and lower back pain from sitting for hours, we could stand to find more chances to give ourselves over to our bodies, to spend less time in our heads and more time enjoying our bellies and limbs and tongues and toes.  Frolic, skip, squirm, jump, whirl.

 

 

 
Emily Rowell Brown