"Food is not just fuel. Food is about family, food is about community, food is about identity. And we nourish all those things when we eat well." ~ Michael Pollan
As the holiday season begins, we all look forward to good friends, drink and food. Everyone has ideas about eating well. It is usually based on what we eat: vegetables, fruits, lean meat and the occasional (or not so occasional) goody. We tend to overlook “how” we eat and that may be just as important as the “what”.
In my early days, I was a picky eater. I would gulp down favored foods, picked at what I disliked and outright refuse to eat what looked gross (liver). Growing out of childhood, I became a more adventurous and discerning with food. I no longer rushed, picked or rejected food. Eating became an experience to be savored. It was wonderful to take the time to smell the rich assortments of spices and seasonings. I could feel taste buds come alive. The how of eating went from chomping to slow and gently chewing. Why rush such a pleasurable experience?
It is possible to think about movement in the same way. Do we really need to rush our actions to go on to what’s next? Or is possible to slow down to make each motion as pleasant as possible. Could one make movement productive while also being tasty and nourishing?
Fine dining and Feldenkrais lessons have a lot in common. It is possible to use awareness to enhance both experiences. Just as you make yourself comfortable at the dining table, you find a comfortable starting position on the floor. Just as you take one bite at a time, you focus on one movement at a time. You may explore different types of food with the same attention as comparing different speeds and range of motions in movement. You discover new things about yourself: I do like sushi, or I can use my pelvis to make looking up easier on my neck.
Movement is not just burning fuel. Movement is about family (how we touch each other), food is about community (how we all move together). Movement is about identity (our self image). And we nourish all those things when we move well.