Much of my clinical work as a Craniosacral Therapist involves supporting clients to develop their skill in feeling safe, centred and grounded in their body. When this felt-sense of the body really starts lighting up, clients often find that their physical movement in day-to-day life improves and they have more energy and motivation to get moving by starting new exercise or movement practices or rekindling former passions like sport, dance or yoga. Movement feeds our ability to feel our bodies with huge physical and psychological benefits. With this in mind and as part of my own self care, I decided to do the 28 day Movement Multivitamin course with GMB, here’s a summary of my experiences.
GMB and the MMV Course
I became interested in GMB’s approach having tried out a few of their tutorials on youtube with gymnastics style training for non-gymnasts and found immediate benefit from them. The emphasis on skill rather than quantity was a big motivator for me and much more enjoyable than training for ‘how far’, ‘how fast’ and ‘how heavy, how many times’ etc.
The MMV course is 28 days long, split into four weeks, each week has a theme and each day has its own movement. Every morning, I received an email prompt to login to the site for the day’s video tutorial (usually 5-7 mins long) containing instructions and demonstrations of the day’s movement with progressions from a super-simple version, right through to more advanced skills. Each week started with an intro video preparing the week’s theme and ended with a summary, review and feedback session to integrate the movements from each day.
For 28 days I had different rolling, cartwheeling, crawling, squatting and jumping movements to learn and play with, some of which were familiar, some were new, some I had not done since childhood and some I have NEVER been able to do. Whatever my previous experience of the movement, I gained something from each one. Whether 2, 15 or 30 minutes, the idea was to dedicate time each day to doing the day’s movement. This kept things fresh while practicing and also created excitement for the next day, “I wonder where we go from here?“.
What I liked and learned from the GMB MMV
I had fun! This was more of an open-ended exploration of movement than a race to cross the finish line. The emphasis was explicitly on exploring, playing and having fun with movement. The explanations were simple and clear with excellent demonstrations, supported by a lighthearted presentation style which I found really helpful in letting go of my desire to “get it right” or becoming wrapped up in whether or not I was able to do the advanced version of the movement. Point being, there was something to enjoy every step of the way, at every progression, everyday so long as I paid attention to being present with the movement. A playful mind leads to playful movement.
Movements were not named, beyond Week 1 Day 2 etc, which made a surprising difference to how I approached each day. Although I knew Week 1 Day 5 as a forward roll, there was something really helpful in NOT calling it “a forward roll”. There were some movements where seeing the name would bring up preconceptions about whether it was possible or how to do it, “a cartwheel?! I CAN’T do a cartwheel!” or “crow pose?! I find balances REALLY difficult!”, or “a forward roll?! piece of cake, I’ll skip straight to the advanced progression!”. Not naming the movements helped me approach them with a more open (beginner’s) mind, removing a load of pressure and fear, giving more space to feel my way into exploring the movement. There was no way of knowing which movements were coming up later in the course meaning that I had to focus on the current day, a great tool in staying present!
Community. Knowing that other people from a wide range of body types and abilities are trying the movements and having fun at every stage is really inspiring. There are also comments from the site coaches and members are encouraged to post videos of themselves for more in-depth feedback. I found motivation from watching the progress of the other members doing the early progressions as much as the more advanced ones. This peer support also helped on days when I created excuses to skip the day’s movement, things like “my room is too small” and then seeing how others had moved their sofas or found more space elsewhere!
Simple instruction. Less was definitely more when it came to the descriptions and demonstrations of the movements. Having less talk about the absolute specifics of how to perform a movement reduced the lead towards doing the movement ‘perfectly‘ which can take away from feeling the experience of learning the skill and demotivate (“only THE BEST will do, so why bother trying?“). The simple language used gave me more space to explore and work through the movements at my own pace, I noticed my body responding differently with this mindset.
Progression. The structure of the course meant that foundations were laid from week to week, setting up new skills for the latter stages. Each day also had a thorough range of progressions, meaning that even on a day where I was not YET able to do the more advanced version, I had a solid foundational move to start practicing and so still had a sense of progress. Even the advanced moves were described as being just one of the possible ways of doing this movement and others will appear if you play around enough. With a new movement every day, I found I made exponential progress over the 28 days as I was picking up and at least attempting more complex moves with a greater sense of openness, confidence and enthusiasm than at the start of the course. In other words, my brain and body were getting better at learning new skills and responding accordingly.
My biggest take home from the course is the importance to just move, EVERY DAY. Being mindful and having fun with movement made the experience much more rewarding and enjoyable, meaning that I was more motivated to keep practicing and playing. A few weeks have passed since finishing the course and I’m still playing around with most of the moves, making good progress and having a great time crawling, rolling and bouncing around my living room floor and as a result, I feel I’m moving better in all other areas of my life.