Every beginning of the year is an opportunity for new projects and new ideas, and the chance to be a better You in every aspect of your life. During January and the first week of February, we will go through a series of Intelligent Movement® sessions with strategies to improve different functions, actions and habits of movement and posture, so that your ideas and intentions are better connected, and the possibilities of your body are amplified.

In the first session, we explored the concept of being integrated, and of using more of ourselves to perform an action. As you know, these classes are a laboratory where we use movement as a vehicle for self-discovery. In this case, we use the movement of the knees, which at the beginning seems like something isolated and independent, to begin to connect more parts of the self into the action.

To do this, first we have to realize what happens in the area where the movement begins, then we extend this awareness to the vicinity: from the knees to the hips, from the hips to the spine, from the spine to the head, and then we include the arms, the hands and even the fingers. This way, we begin to act as an integrated being, as a whole, and the idea of simultaneity is the glue that brings together all the elements.

Also important in this lesson is the notion that being whole does not mean moving as a block. We can move different parts in different directions, play with asymmetrical configurations of the body, and still feel integrated. This way, if you have a dysfunctional limb or a part of your body that is suffering pain or is temporarily or permanently disabled, you can still be integrated and function as a complete being.

Here you have the full audio of the lesson:



And here is the video with the short class that corresponds to this session:

Sometimes to address a problem we have to take a step back and see it from a distance. The same is true for the challenges of the body. Some techniques, like certain types of massage, can address the issue in a direct way, by relaxing the muscles of the affected area and returning the mobility and alleviating pain. Some medicines act directly upon the part of the nervous system that processes the pain signals, and can temporarily negate the effects of the discomfort. But in our case, in Intelligent Movement, we use a different approach: we take some steps back to address the problem.

In this case, it means that if we want to improve the lower back, we can learn how to do it in an indirect way, from a distal perspective. Instead of moving directly the muscles of the lumbar area, we engage the muscular systems that are connected to it from the legs, and by becoming more aware of the relationship between the legs and the hip joints, and by improving the mobility of the pelvis in relation to the legs, we reduce the stress and the effort of the muscles in the lower back.

In this particular class, we go a step further with a small and playful exploration: what happens when you mobilize your toes? Does that have an effect somewhere else? We have explored (and we will explore again in future classes) how moving the eyes has a very powerful effect on our ability to roll the pelvis. Could the opposite be true? Can we influence the pelvis and the lower back from the other end, from the toes? This is one of the many questions that we explore in today’s session.

Here is the audio of this session:



And here is the video class that corresponds to this session, in which we mobilize the hip joints distally by moving the feet, opening up the possibilities of this area and indirectly influencing the lower back by reducing the load of the muscles below it:

Class pelvis 2 turk from Movimiento Inteligente on Vimeo.

In this session we explored the relationship between the muscles of the jaw and other parts of the head, like the eyes and the base of the neck. We did several movements to remind these muscular chains that they don’t have to be tight all the time, and that they can also relax.

As we mentioned in the class, the muscles of the jaw have a very peculiar work: they have to fight with gravity all the time, to prevent our mouth from falling down and being open all the time. However, it is also in these muscles that we transfer a lot of the emotional reactions and the stress that we accumulate during the day, so we have to find a balance between them doing their work and not being clenched as a result of non-physical factors.

By the end of the class, we explored briefly the relationship between the head and the pelvis, by creating a bridge between the kay and the ischiums with our hand, arm and leg. This peculiar configuration also has the property of creating a lot of movement in the ribs, chest and spine, so it’s a very interesting exploration that we will continue in future sessions.

Here is the full audio of the class:



And I also made a special short audio class that you can do before you go to bed. In includes only a few of the exercises from the longer session, and I added some new ideas and movements with the tongue that will not only relax your mouth but also serve as some kind of «brain gymnastics» to give your brain a little challenge and continue expanding your ability to have your attention in different places at the same time.

I hope that you enjoy it:




Finally, I want to share with you a series of recommendations that Matthew Walker, a neuroscientist who is dedicated to research sleep, gives to his readers. This comes from a book called «Why we sleep», a very stimulating reading about how to improve our sleep habits and the impact that this can have in our lives. I thought that this part is really worth sharing:

1. Stick to a sleep schedule

We should aim to go to bed and wake up at the same time each day. People generally have a hard time adjusting to changes in sleep patterns. Unfortunately sleeping late on weekends doesn’t make up for poor sleep during the week. If necessary, set an alarm for bedtime. Matthew emphasizes this is the #1 priority from the list; stick to a regular sleep schedule.

2. Don’t exercise too late in the day

Exercise is great, and we should try to exercise at least 30 minutes on most days. But try to time it no later than 2-3 hours before bed.

3. Avoid caffeine & nicotine

Colas, coffee, teas (that aren’t herbal) and chocolate contain caffeine, which is a stimulant. Even consuming these in the afternoon can have an affect on your sleep. Nicotine is also a mild stimulant, and smokers will often wake up earlier than they would otherwise, due to nicotine withdrawal.

4. Avoid alcoholic drinks before bed

The presence of alcohol in the body can reduce your REM sleep, keeping you in the lighter stages of sleep.

5. Avoid large meals and beverages late at night

A lights snack before bed is okay, but a heavy meal can cause digestive issues, which interfers with sleep. Drinking too many fluids can cause freuqent awakenings to urinate.

6. Where possible, avoid medicines that delay or disrupt your sleep

Some commonly prescribed heart, blood pressure or asthma medications, as well as some over the counter and herbal medicines for coughs colds or allergies can disrupt sleep patterns. If you have trouble sleeping, it may be worth speaking to your doctor or pharmacist to see if any of the drugs you’re taking may be contributing to this. It may be possible to take them earlier in the day.

7. Don’t nap after 3pm

Naps are great, but taking them too late in the day can make it hard to fall asleep at night.

8. Make sure to leave time to relax before bed

It’s important to have time before bed to unwind. Try to schedule your days so that there is time to relax before bed.

9. Take a hot bath before bed

The drop in body temperature after a bath may help you to feel sleepy, and the bath can help you to slow down and relax before bed.

10. Have a dark, cool (in temperature), gadget free bedroom

We sleep better at night if the temperature in the room is kept on the cool side. Gadgets such as mobile phones and computers can be a distraction. A comfortable mattress and pillow can set you up for a good sleep. Those with insomnia will often watch the clock, turn it away from view so you don’t have to worry about the time while trying to sleep. Use these tips to optimize your sleeping space.

11. Get the right sunlight exposure

Sun exposure during the day helps us to regulate sleeping patterns. Try to get outside in the natural sunlight for at least 30 minutes per day.

12. Don’t stay in bed if you (really) can’t sleep

If you find yourself still in bed for more than 20 minutes, or you’re starting to get anxious in bed, get up and do something else until you feel sleepy. Anxiety whilst trying to sleep can make it harder to fall asleep.

In this class, we worked with two main things:

One, mobilizing the muscles of the eyes in relation with other muscles of the face, with the neck, the spine and the pelvis. This is very useful because in modern life we spend a lot of time with the eyes fixed on screens, and this makes the muscles of the eyes really tired, because they have to work in keeping the focus in a very close object. In this class we change the focus and we give the eyes a lot of movement to remind these muscles that there are other options of actions.

On the other hand, this lesson poses the challenge of bringing our attention to very small details, and this is not easy for the nervous system. It can bring upon thoughts and feelings of desperation and frustration, or it can be such a big challenge that the nervous system may decide to shut itself down. Or it can be an opportunity to learn something new and to practice a different way of directing your attention. In any case, there’s something that can be learned from every possibility.

Here is the full audio of this session:


And I also edited a short version of this class, much less challenging and more directly involved with the movement of eyes-neck-pelvis where we also continue practicing the possibility of directing the attention to different parts of the body at the same time, while mobilizing the spine and getting many muscles and parts of the skeleton involved. Enjoy!

In different languages there’s a similar idea about the part of our body formed by the ribs and the sternum. In English it’s called rib cage, in Spanish caja torácica (thoracic box) and, in general, it is named around the idea that it’s a strong, protective part of our body that keeps the organs safe.

While this is true, using these names also conveys the idea that this is a rigid, unmoving part of our body, and this is not completely the case. The ribs and the sternum have mobility, and when we become aware of it, our possibilities of movement expand, our breathing becomes deeper, and the articulation of this part of the skeleton with the pelvis, the spine and the legs becomes more clear.

This is the video class that corresponds to this session:


The shoulders is one of the parts of the body where emotional and environmental factors have an effect. When we have the sensation of «carrying the world upon our shoulders» or «carrying a heavy load» it’s because we generate tensions in the muscles of this area as a response from poorly managed emotional challenges.

But it’s not only the psychological and emotional factors; the environment also has an effect on the state of our shoulders, and we can see very clearly in the winter. We tend to hunch our body and to collapse the neck in an attempt to protect ourselves from the cold. This is why today’s class is dedicated to relaxing the shoulders and returning them back to their place, and we will learn also a few other things in the process.

In this class we will focus in the movement of the clavicles as a strategy to relax the shoulders. And to move the clavicles, we will use the movement of the hands as a vehicle. Also, we will experiment with the idea of the habitual versus the non-habitual, and we will explore how something that didn’t seem accessible or didn’t seem «natural» or «normal» at the beginning, can become more familiar for us.

Here is the audio of this session:


In this session we worked with three parts of the body related to the problems caused for the use of the cell phone:

  • Hands, through a gentle massage and very subtle activation of the tendons that work when we hold a mobile phone and tap with the fingers.
  • Shoulders, through the differentiation of the movement of the neck, the arms and the shoulders, so that we learn to distribute the workload in a more appropriate way.
  • Neck, from a distal perspective (moving the arms and the elbows), so that the head can return to a more natural place after being forced to be tilted forward from watching at the screen of the phone.

Here is the full audio of this class:




In this class we worked with three different ideas:

  • Bringing our attention to the relationship that we have with gravity, and making peace with it. How can gravity be my ally instead of my enemy?
  • Mobilizing the shoulder blades from the movement of the hands along the body, while recognizing the different shapes of your body structure and discovering how the hand adapts to them.
  • Directing your attention to two very different things: a body movement, on one hand, and an abstract concept (gravity) on the other.

Here is the full recording of this class:



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Here is the full audio of this session:




And here is the video that corresponds to this session: