“Nobody can learn anything in a day.” said the martial arts pro after I had briefly explained to him about a Natural Walking workshop. His dismissive response got me thinking. Surely, anybody can learn anything in a day but I suppose what he was really trying to say is that, in order to master something, we should put hours and hours in; we should push, sweat, and struggle to achieve results. So naturally, when something comes along that seems effortless, our conditioned response is to doubt it. Our short conversation gave me much to reflect on. What was it that required mastering in Natural Walking? I knew from experience and so the answer was clear; there is nothing to “master”. In fact, through Natural Walking what really happens is the unlearning and dismantling of old habits and concepts that have, truthfully, not been the best for our physical body. Through relaxation, enjoying each key and all the adjustments, we let go of our control over our body and give it a chance to heal and function naturally, the way it was designed.
Looking at the past few years and the different sports or fitness crazes that have taken the world by storm, I notice that each different regimen requires you to exert yourself, to contort your muscles this way and that, to believe that pain is progress towards a healthier you. I speak from experience of having been swept up in these very fads myself. I’m not trying to say that we don’t need to be active to be healthy, because the science has shown that it is very much necessary. What has changed, however, is my belief that it shouldn’t be so difficult and painful. I used to look at my body as this vessel which served the purpose of transporting me from A to B. This unintelligent mass of muscle, organs, bones, and skin that I had to animate and control. Yet, my well researched methods of exercise and diligent routines that had definitely produced some results did not make me feel that I was wholly healthy. There seemed to be something missing.
Natural Walking helped me to realise that certain aspects of the physical activity I had been doing so rigorously were in fact keeping my body from healing. This mentality of having to control, supervise and monitor my physical body was beginning to take its toll on me, even mentally and emotionally. The frustration of pushing through pain and scrutinising each little bit of progress was making me very unhappy. One sport that I really enjoyed at the time was boxing. I enjoyed the warm up drills, the swift movements that resembled dancing and the idea that I was getting stronger and tougher. Looking back now, during each session, though there was an outward excitement, inside my chest there was a balled up fist that grew harder and harder. Natural Walking has allowed me to become cognisant of the eternal truth that our physical wellbeing is directly correlated to our mental/emotional wellbeing and vice versa. Though what is visible to the naked eye during Natural Walking appears to be too simple and minimal, the changes that have happened on all levels of my being are indisputable.
Each session of Natural Walking genuinely leaves me feeling rejuvenated, like my muscles are more engaged naturally and most importantly, I feel happy - all the way from the inside. Instead of trying to control each movement, like a puppet master does with marionettes, I take a step back from the command centre and allow my body to move in a way that is most natural for it. As I do each key and I feel my body adjusting itself, realigning itself, disassembling all the restraints and limitations I had unknowingly imposed for the last 26 years, I am filled with a gentle glowing joy. We often float through life without giving much thought to how our body is functioning, autonomously, each and every day. How the white blood cells rush to the site of a wound, how a hairline fracture is fused together again, how each and every organ is doing exactly what it was made to do. The calm and clarity I experience during Natural Walking has helped me understand that this body is not a haphazardly put together, dumb mass of matter. That it is in fact an intelligent ecosystem, developed over millions of years of evolution, with advanced communication capabilities, achieving mind-boggling feats each and every moment without us so much as noticing.
I’m sure it does take more than a day to master a skill, but it only takes a few moments of us stopping and letting go for us to start to realise that