I was asked a while ago why I do what I do, and it has taken me a while to dig deep and really find my reason. Although it turns out I have several reasons. I thought I would share them with you.
I want to welcome the fact that my body isn’t broken
From an early age – while I was in primary school I started to have problems with one of my knees, excruciating pain which was hard to describe and which no-one could give me a reason for except ‘it’s growing pains, you just have to put up with it’ later in middle school I landed awkwardly over a high jump and my back went in to spasm I couldn’t move for a while, having been taught to ‘grin and bear it’ I never actually told anyone until years later when I was seeing a chiropractor for recurring back pain and he asked me if I could trace back to when this pain started. I used to visit a chiropractor yearly and feel a bit better but never had much relief from that nagging back pain, the knee pain was also a mystery to doctors, even after an arthroscopy I was told it was just one of those things.
Finding out about natural movement and alignment and that there was a reason that this was happening AND there was things I could do to reduce the pain and become stronger has been such a revelation for me. I now rarely have knee or back pain.
Most of exercise and fitness stuff I have done in the past has been about beating my body into fitness, strength and to get a flat tummy. Natural movement work is so much more about understanding my body, what it’s limits are and why and careful work to gain more strength, more flexibility, more co-ordination and more balance. You get to ask questions – ‘can I do this?’ oops no, not yet! And rather than forcing it and feeling that I am not good enough, I can gently work on the exercises and feel improvements really happening rather than getting disheartened and giving up or ending up injuring myself and having to recover and then start all over again.
I want to grow old disgracefully
Yeah, I know that old chestnut. But seeing how some people have grown old and so immobile (especially when I was delivering Meals on Wheels) and seeing others of the same age still strong and mobile and enjoying life – I definitely want to stack the cards in my favour to live life to the full right up to the end. It’s so easy to get wrapped up in being an adult that we forget to have fun, we neglect to carry on testing what our bodies can do and finding time to play. Now I am always looking for a different terrain to walk on, something to climb over or on, a way to practice my balancing or jumping or hanging.
I don’t want to be a burden to my children
I don’t want them worrying about having to care for me or having to make decisions about where I spend my old age. I want to be able to play with my grandchildren (if that happens – finger crossed, no pressure boys!)I don’t want them limiting where they decide to live or feeling guilty that they have moved away and aren’t there to share the care. I want them to be able to enjoy their lives confident that I am as strong and able as possible.
I want to inspire them that growing old doesn’t mean the end of adventures and fun. I want to teach them that self-care is important and that you don’t have to sacrifice yourself in order to care for others. In this age of technology, I want them to understand and see how vital natural movement is and how achievable it is.
I’ve got a bucket list to complete!
And that means writing it too – now I can see that my life can include doing physical stuff I had always thought wasn’t achievable for me I am tentatively thinking about what I’d like to do.
I see working on my alignment and creating a movement-rich life as an investment in myself, I don’t want to resign myself to thinking that hip and knee replacements are an inevitable part of growing old. I want to get stronger as I grow older, not weaker – natural movement will help me achieve that.
Rosie Dhoopun is a Movement Teacher, pregnancy & postnatal exercise specialist and consultant for diastasis recti and pelvic floor rehabilitation. She runs classes, workshops and 1-2-1 coaching sessions in Ipswich.