An Organic Approach to Restoring Functionality and Play to our bodies
Words by Dr Marika Geis From the Prairie Sky Health Blog
She’s pretty hard to miss. You’ll often see this statuesque creature decked out in some form of Addidas track pants and Pumas with a gaggle of kids following her around like The Pied Piper. Together, they scale walls, vault over planters, climb staircases and generally giggle and frolic about, each environment presenting rich opportunities to explore how their bodies move in the context of their surroundings. Now, for grownups, it’s a little different and almost impossible to define. Darci Anderson is to the health and fitness arena what naturopaths are to the medical one. Drawing from a WIDE array of disciplines such as Olympic weightlifting, gymnastics, Parkour, Capoeira, and CrossFit (among others), she tailors each program for each individual, understanding that life writes on us in unique ways and thus informs how we play, how we reach for that thing behind the back seat of the car, how we live and love in this body.
‘Flux Movement’ is a wonderful alternative to the conventional ‘gym rat’ culture, where predictable and routine exercises only serve to perpetuate dysfunctional patterns in our bodies. In this model, the focus on aesthetics rarely translates to functional movement. Darci emphasizes things like ‘cross body rotational patterns’, rhythm and coordination, the inherent elasticity of connective tissue, and the need to constantly expose our bodies to new situations. This allows us to move more efficiently, with less effort, translating to a body that is spontaneous, adaptive, supple and resilient.
It wasn’t that long ago that my body went through a huge transformation. I was depleted, I was weak and oh, soooo skinny. At that time, I was on my way to resolving many of the variables that kept me inflamed, fatigued and depressed but knew at some point I would have to enlist some help to recover my strength lest I whither away to nothing. I first met Darci at ‘Flux School of Human Movement’ back in 2014. I knew her values were congruent with ours in the Naturopathic community, and would not only be able to guide my body back to strength but to integrate that practice into a wider vision of interconnectedness between myself, my community and my environment.
And guide my body she did.
I move better, have less pain, more joy, and Lordy! I can even do two strict chin ups! In a row!! The best part is that I never felt as though I needed to kill myself in order to get results. The pace itself felt quite civilized (lol). The coolest part is that with my continued involvement, Darci’s approach seems to have unlocked parts of my brain that now allow me to move in ways I never thought possible. I just about fell off my chair the other day when she said that I was athletic and nimble. To a kid that was ALWAYS picked last for teams, a gal that was all arms and legs with no capacity for coordination, to experience this level of function is tremendously liberating, like being emancipated from my own ‘stuckness’.
One would be forgiven for thinking that as humans, we live divorced from nature. The pandemic has reinforced this as we moved the bulk of our ‘living’ on to a digital platform. But here’s the thing, we CANNOT escape the pesky reality that we live in a biological body that has fundamental biological needs. Our bodies are a microcosm of the planet in that we are constantly in a state of flux. All levels of our existence are interacting with all layers of our environment on a second-by-second basis. We are not the same from one moment to the next.
This is, at once, inspiring and daunting. On the one hand we have the freedom to move forward and leave infirmity and dysfunction behind. On the other, it can seem impossible to overcome attachments to old patterns that feel safe and comfortable, however unhelpful, especially when they seem to have served us. Now that I am on the other side of that awful period, I can see how I got in my own way. I can see how resistant I was to trying new things. It was only once I surrendered completely to the process that I discovered what my body was truly capable of. I want the same for you.