Keep Your Options Open
Oct 11, 2022
There are many reasons why it is a great idea to spend time moving on the floor. Spending time on the ground builds familiarity with simply being on the ground, where the ground is not threatening but a comfortable place to be. Spending time on the floor also helps build a body’s strength and mobility. Sure, it’s probably not strength training in the way your mind would imagine, but it’s a deeper, more foundational way of strength training. It builds reflexive strength, mobility, stability, and control. These are the keys to moving well through our day to day lives.
Again, these are great reasons to spend time on the ground. But another great reason is that exploring movement on the ground builds familiarity with your body’s abilities, and it helps build your body’s options. Notice I used the word “exploring.” Any movement you perform on the ground will have benefits, but there is a difference between performing movement rituals and exploring movement.
A movement ritual (like exercises with sets and reps) can help you build very efficient movement pathways, and it can make you proficient and strong in those rituals. But movement exploration leads to both discovery and options. When we deliberately explore where we can move, we find out where we can’t move or where we have movement challenges. We also find and learn new ways to move - essentially, we build our options to move. When we have options, well, we have options! The more options we have to move, the better off we are.
Options lead to health and well-being. Imagine for a moment that you only had one way to go from lying on your back to standing. Then imagine you injure your right leg, and you can no longer stand from a lying position because the one option you had to stand required the right leg. Well, that would suck should you find yourself on your back. But not imagine that you had thirty-seven ways to go from lying on your back to standing with eighteen of those ways not needing the right leg at all. Well, then you could easily stand from a lying position no matter if your right leg was injured or not, so it would be no big deal or burden to find yourself on your back.
But let’s also imagine that if you did indeed have thirty-seven ways to stand from lying that those ways could have potentially kept you from injuring your leg to start with. Movement options can help keep you healthy and able as life throws things in front of you. Having multiple options to move in and through various positions is like having a broad vocabulary. When you have a large vocabulary, you can communicate ideas with more depth and clarity. When you have a limited vocabulary, you can communicate, but it may be hard to convey exactly what you want to convey, or worse, it may be hard to understand what someone else is trying to convey. Similarly, having a wide range of movement options allows you to discover more depth in your own body, and it allows you to navigate through life much easier with grace and fluidity physically.
Options keep you healthy. Deliberately exploring where you can move on a regular basis helps you to keep your movement options open, and it allows you to find joy through movement. Exploration is the key. Movement rituals have merit, but they don’t allow for discovery, and they can actually put you in a “movement box” if you are only checking boxes with your movement rituals.
So do both.
Perform your movement rituals if you have them, AND spend time on the floor exploring where you can move on a regular basis. This can give you the best of both worlds - the world you think you need and the world you really want; a world with options.
If you don’t know where to start, just pick two days a week and set aside ten to twenty minutes to just roll on the floor. Roll everywhere you can. Be curious. Roll slow. Roll fast. Use your limbs. Use your eyes. Imagine you don’t have bones. Imagine you are made of liquid. Explore.
Try that for four weeks. Discover how amazing rolling can be, and discover all the ways your body can move.
Then, if you enjoyed that, start exploring all the different ways you stand up from lying on the floor. Or, explore all the different ways you can lie down from a standing position. Just take two days or so for 10 minutes at a time and learn where you can move and build your options.
Whatever you do, keep your options open and move.