A full range of natural movement is what your body should be able to do. Your full potential. Not what you are currently able to do.
With a full range of natural movement the body is able to work at optimal, maintaining the ideal posture and minimising stresses, whatever you are doing.
With a full range of natural movement, the head, arms and legs can all be moved independently, through their full range of motion, in a smooth and controlled manner, without effort or strain. This is possible when the five main muscles of movement can be fully utilised, and the body is free of physical restrictions (that would otherwise limit movement).
With a full range of natural movement the body is dynamically balanced and aligned.
In my experience, very few people have a full range of natural movement.
I didn't appreciate how much movement I was missing until I started to recover.
It's taken several years to get where I am now, every day being able to move a little more than the day before.
Releasing the pain and tension I had been carrying around by focusing on how I use my body.
Restrictions in connective tissues reduce range of movement.
If not released, these restrictions accumulate of time. Old injuries never really go away, the body gets stiffer and physical tensions increase, but getting stiff as you get older shouldn't just be accepted as a normal part of aging.
The body is very adaptable, continuing to function even with severe restrictions. There are many options for the body to achieve what appears to be the same pose (such as touching your toes or touching your nose). The body will skip over painful positions and making adjustments throughout the body to imitate a pose, but it is "cheating" and not using a full range of movement.
Regaining a full range of natural movement is a journey. It takes time and effort. The more stored trauma you have, the longer it will take. But if you don't make the effort to balance and align yourself, the pain will only increase. Little by little, releasing the physical restrictions, pains and tension by working with the right muscles.
You can only do something when your body is able to, so never force anything.
A full range of natural movement is something to work towards. An on-going process facilitated by building the mind-body connection and focusing on how you use your body.
Start by activating your Base-Line muscles: Pelvic floor Base, rectus abdominis Line. (Two of the 5 main muscles of movement.)
These muscles provide the central support needed for a full range of movement. Think of your Base-Line as your 'core pillar of strength' from where the rest of the body extends.
'Breathing with your Base-Line' - stronger and longer with every in breath - will help you build a connection to these muscles, increasing both your ability to activate them and your awareness of their relative positioning.
Focusing on your Base-Line will increasе your awareness of the position your midline anatomy and help develop conscious proprioception (your sense of position, motion and balance).
Conscious proprioception, feeling the relative position of the parts of your body, is the connection between body and mind. and these sense will guide you in how to move to improve your positioning and work towards a full range of natural movement, dynamic balance and alignment.
As you start to connect more with your body you will start to notice the kinks and twists, adjustments made to reach a position or avoid a painful movement. Movement should be smooth and fluid. ass out, knee adjustment etc... avoidance tactics.
Explore movement supported by your Base-Line.
Look for clues about what the body is capable of. From Pilates exercises, the asanas of yoga, the movements of tai chi, ballet and other forms of dancing, the list goes on. Inspiration is everywhere.
Watch a selection of videos for ideas (YouTube is a great resource). Take a few classes if there's something that appeals to you but remember it's not about doing a set number of repetitions, or getting into a certain pose or keeping up with the rest of the class. It's about connecting with your body and doing whatever feels right for you at the time, guided by your Base-Line.
A full range of natural movement is not just about being able to make big changes in positioning. Little movements alter your positioning and will increase your range of motion so keep moving (even if it's just wiggling your toes whilst sitting on the sofa, or rolling your eyes as you read this) and breathing with your Base-Line to build the connection between body and mind.
The roll-down action was my go-to move during my recovery, accompanied by moving however felt natural to release a a little more.
Be more aware of the relative positioning of your midline anatomy and how much you can align on the median plane.
Imagine your midline being straight and smooth, as extended as possible, as you breathe.
Feel for your midline anatomy aligning on the median plane.
Picture in your mind this line being as straight and smooth - as extended - as possible.
Use different parts of your body in contact with each other to give you more sensory information about your positioning.
Making contact gives you more feedback about the relative positioning of the bits of your body and helps to develop your sense of proprioception.