Practice leads to mastery. If mastery is your goal, it is perhaps the way, the only way, to get there. But there is the other side of the journey. Being free of having the goal of mastery. Totally immersing into the process of learning and experiencing. Discovering, stumbling, and getting closer to understanding the true nature of the body with enormous capabilities to stay resilient under stress and remodel itself.
Here are five considerations which I found helpful in my daily practice of MBX-12. It begins with movement-specific practice, part-whole practice, focused practice, interoceptive feedback, and beginner’s mind practice.
5 Considerations to Improve Your Mindful Movement Practice
- Movement-specific Practice (Tactical Consideration): “Do what you love and love what you do,” as the saying goes. As you do what you love, no matter how little a thing it might be, you do well. Little things well done make the whole done well. So assigning a meaning to a specific movement can enhance a joy of practice. Practicing a specific movement with a specific meaning is a good way to connect the body with the mind, and thus improve upon a given movement. Movement-specific practice also provides more motivation. You love what you do and you are willing to practice, more.
- Part-whole Practice ( Strategic Consideration): Divide and conquer and connect. Once you have practiced each movement sufficiently and developed the ability to do each posture smoothly, practice the groups of each movement, for example MBX-1 through 6, or the entire MBX-12. The practice of individual movement is like seeing the trees in the wood; the practice of the whole sequence is like seeing the wood, providing you with broad perspectives on the effects of MBX-12.
- Focus Practice (Mental Consideration): Seal your attention to what is important at the moment. Focus your attention on a specific part of the body such as heel-out, toe-out, five-points, inhalation through the nose, exhalation through the mouth, etc. When you focus on heel-out, pay attention to nothing but the heel-out movement, leaving all other portions of your awareness of the movement to work in the backgrounds of your attention. Another positive point of focus practice is that where you point your attention to is where your brain gets most wired, helping you perform and feel better and think with clarity.
- Interoceptive Feedback (Physiological Consideration): Interoception is sensing the physiological condition of the body within. Being aware of the interoceptive signals is a good practice for mindful movement. It helps you regulate the intensity of your exercise. For example MBX-8: Lotus Posture influences the dynamics of inner energy flow during forward bending with inhalation and backward arching with exhalation. Understanding the interaction between the interoceptive signals and your movement adaptation is vital to progress in mindful movement practice.
- Don’t-know Mindset (Philosophical Consideration): Don’t know mind is also known as the beginner’s mind in martial arts and Zen practice. It is a good mindset to have for discovering something new from old things and prevent boredom. But more importantly it allows us to feel the freshness of each practice like new, an essential component of an art.
These five considerations may keep your practice enjoyable, doable, and beneficial to improve the quality of your MBX-12 practice and your life as well.
This is a brief summary of the 90-minute workshop on April 15. The workshop was organized and sponsored by the Department of Human Services of the beautiful Town of Falmouth in Massachusetts.