Play Your Way to Original Strength
Jul 20, 2015
A guest post by OS Instructor, Matt Myers...!
“Men do not quit playing because they grow old; they grow old because they quit playing.”
― Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr.
I’m going to make a bold statement: I believe that Play is the missing ingredient in your secret sauce of restorative movement.
When was the last time you played? I mean really, truly let yourself go and became totally absorbed in the ebb and flow of it? The exuberance of total effort and focus, and the quiet moments of creativity and exploration?
The desire to play is something that exists deep within all of us. All humans play. Some humans stop playing. And there is a cost to that.
We understand children need to play and how it affects their physical, emotional, and cognitive development. We are just beginning to realize that the benefits also include well-being, community, and health on a broader scale for all of us.
Reclaiming our Original Strength means going back to the source of that strength - the blueprint in all of us that drives us to get up on two feet and explore the world. Note that second part: explore. We were far from done once we got upright and oriented - this was just the beginning of a beautiful love story between us, our world and everyone in it. As we continued to develop the skills to understand who we were and what that meant for our tribe and our globe, we played.
This is a call to reclaim not only our movement, but our freedom. For me, play IS freedom - or at least, a powerful expression of freedom. It requires me to let go of my fear. Fear of embarrassment, of isolation, of movement itself. I have to trust my body and trust the people around me and the bonds that connect us.
As soon as we allow play to happen, we find its tendrils reach out and touch all aspects of our lives. We start moving from the fear of “should do” to the joy of “want to”. Play becomes a state of being, rather than an action that happens at a specific time and place (though this is a great start!)
Playing your way to Original Strength starts with a few simple steps.
1) The first step I recommend is a simple one, but powerful nonetheless. Tell yourself it’s OK to let go and play. Actually, say that out loud! Words have power.
2) Second, build on top of your past experiences. What do you love to do? What are the common threads and elements of those activities? How can you reengage with these again?
Also play with transitioning within the Resets. How can you go from this rock-back position, into a roll, and then back again? This connects us with how we first explored and learned to move. Tim’s Movement Snacks on Youtube are a great place to start.
3) Third, look for excuses TO play, rather than not to play. Inspiration is everywhere! Dance with the broom as you clean the kitchen. Spend as much time as possible on the floor with your kids, grandkids, or pets. Invite co-workers and family members out on walks, adventures, etc. Organize a game of Zombie Dodgeball, or play knee tag with your workout partner, or anything!
Build your tribe and strengthen the bonds through play opportunities. This may be awkward at first, both for you and for them. Don’t sweat it. Embrace the awkward moments because this is often where the most growth happens!
To recap: Play = Freedom. Play is a part of how you can reset your body and your heart. Play will connect you with yourself and others in powerful ways. Cultivate play in your life. See what happens.
If you’re interested in learning more about Play and how it connects with your Original Strength, check out OS Play - a specialty workshop where we cover the WHY, HOW, and WHAT of play (and yes, that means lots of playing, laughing, exploring, and generally figuring “stuff” out.)
Matt is the Director of Coaching at Force Fitness and oversees program and coach development. He started his career training fellow school teachers on the playground while living abroad in Japan. It was then he realized his passion for helping others improve quality of life through movement and play, and he hasn’t looked back. He loves teaching others to move like ninjas, crawling on the floor with his son, and dancing as much as humanly possible. You can find more of Matt’s stuff at freefitguy.com or on The Human Animal Podcast on iTunes.