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By Jeannine Walston

“Movement is medicine.”
-Gabrielle Roth

Moving the body can raise energy levels and provide other physical benefits, release tension, break up habitual physical, mental, and emotional holding patterns, enhance spirituality, invite self-discovery, and offer other support for all people, including cancer patients. Many forms of movement exist. Explore different styles and find a practice that moves you. Consider classes in your community, instructional video and audio materials about specific movement practices, or turning on music and letting go into the beat. Movement is an essential component to support improved quality of life in an integrative cancer care plan. Depending upon the specific condition in a person with cancer, recommended forms of movement may vary. However, very basic forms of movement are necessary for everyone.

Movement and the Mind-Body

Movement has the capacity to work out more than muscles, organs, and bones. An active physical body with regular movement supports a healthy mind. The physical body is associated with mental and emotional patterns, and vice versa. The body and the mind are in constant communication influencing and shaping one another. The body feeds the mind; the mind feeds the body. An effective strategy to shift the mind is through the body.

Knowing Self Through Movement

The body’s impact on the mind illustrates that movement is more than physical exercise. So, what is movement? Movement is the dynamic nature of life and the moment to moment potential for each person to be more fully alive with presence. Related to the physical body, thoughts, and emotions, the ways in which each individual moves, and does not move, are reflected in every aspect of life. Some examples include breathing, communication, relationships, ambitions, beliefs, worldview, and work. What is your quality of movement in those areas and others? Do you feel fluid or fixed and open or closed? A vast range of movement qualities are expressed by each individual from fluidity with balance and alignment in connection with one’s self and the outside world to feeling really stuck, tense, edgy, closed, and disconnected. Fluid, organic movement that is grounded, open, relaxed, and centered supports a healthy body, mind, and spirit. A lack of fluid qualities creates dramatic restrictions and limitations. People experience blocked movement or energy flow when they feel stuck with habits and patterns that are undesirable and uncomfortable. Yet, unhealthy habits and patterns in the body, mind, and spirit can be changed.

Architecture of Movement

What supports movement? Breath is what gives you life and the foundation of your movement in each and every moment. The rhythms of your breath also create key supportive architecture between your mind and body. Connecting with your breath in movement practices strengthens a bridge to cultivating deeper awareness for your quality and expression of movement in daily life.

Benefits of Movement

Movement invites transformation and brings people closer to themselves. The practice of movement can support opening and expansion to help people discover more of who they are into their full potential. Movement practices can create shifts in the body, mind, and spirit to impact the whole person. Health and healing require fluidity. Supporting and maintaining the flow of body, mind, and spirit vitality, movement guided by breath invigorates the life force to aid health and healing.

Movement and You

How can you create and support movement in your body, mind, and spirit? What moves you? Explore forms of movement practices. Tune into yourself. Observe and listen to what your body communicates. Move your body to expand your mind and spirit. Find the movement medicine for you.

Awaken vitality and find your true self. Turn yourself inside out. Move in the energy of your rhythms to express your organic, authentic movement.

Yoga and Cancer
Leave the mind and enter the body in yoga. Find your ground and balance your body, mind, and spirit. Learn more by Stephanie Jean Sohl, PhD, RYT.

Dancing Shaking Movement
Dance, shake, and move your body.

You can also learn more in Exercise for Cancer.

Another very important book about movement is Returning to Health With Dance Movement And Imagery by Anna Halprin. A vibrant, wise dance teacher and cancer survivor for many years, Anna’s book provides a lot of insights for health and healing.