A holistic perspective on training and fitness involves viewing mind and body as an integrated whole—our mind-body. Looking at the body from a holistic perspective, then, requires an ability to see things in context instead of just looking at the content. Context forms the relationship between the parts of any system and its surrounding environment. In short, context makes things what they are.
Keeping this in mind, when we look at the body from a holistic perspective, we soon realize that no single muscle, joint, or bone can be moved without the support of other parts of the body. The body always moves as a unit.
Ida Rolf, creator of the famous mind-body Rolfing method, noted that balance comes first, before you can gain strength. However, in her system, balance is not merely the ability to avoid falling. Instead, she was referring to how the integration of the whole structure generates strength. From this perspective, then, when we perform any movement, or aim to train or develop an embodied skill, the key is to focus on the whole body—because that is what the body is always doing.
For example, you might assume you are working on your biceps when you do a bicep curl. However, the body does not “think” that way because it is always seeking the integrity of the structure in relation to gravity.
Thinking with our head always involves some assumptions, and limits the body’s possibility for movement. Action that relies too much on cognition soon becomes repetitive and loses focus.
But what if you didn’t intellectually know anything about the body and, instead, allowed the body to feel what’s happening in the moment? Try it, and you are likely to find it’s much better to let the body feel its position, for instance, in relation to gravity—its context. This movement will be a very different and probably a much richer experience.
Kicking butt appears to be a developing trend in the fitness industry (as in martial arts). But ask yourself “Am I more likely to become better, more balanced in all aspects of life, just by learning to beat others?” Would you even have greater mastery of your own body just because you can kick butt? If you are “head-driven” by your ego, you might think so. Unfortunately, that’s more likely to land you in trouble than get you what you want.
Now ask: What do our bodies (not our egos) really want? The moment we shift attention to the body, we realize that our bodies always seek “support”—from all its parts and from its relation to gravity. Next question: How can the body be supported for optimum performance?
When you start looking for the body’s “internal support” in every movement, you naturally step onto the path of mind-body connection—a path of structural integration that restores your health and well-being.