Episode 77: Ido Portal – The Science & Practice Of Movement | Huberman Lab

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Key Takeaways

  • The opportunity for movement comes from deep within our bodies, we’re always in an anticipatory state of movement
  • Don’t overthink and overly constrain movement – approach movement practice with play and exploration
  • Much value of movement practice is interaction with someone else: don’t forget to incorporate touch & remove certain reactivity by exploring closer proximity
  • Gathering around movement is culturally traditional, strengthens bonds, and builds community (today’s modern equivalent is a gym buddy or yoga friend) – try communicating with a loved one through movement instead of eating and drinking
  • Dynamic nature of movement & evolution: we go from unskilled to skilled to mastery to virtuosity (true freedom, inviting variability and chance back in to try new things)
  • Visualization may not be helpful unless you’ve developed tangible experience reinforced by feedback
  • Bins of perspective are helpful in analyzing movement practice – are you moving towards or away from the following: (1) contraction/relaxation; (2) martial; (3) environment; (4) somatic/internal practice; (5) object manipulatory
  • Consider infusing more movement in your current exercises – for example, step and bicep curl instead of standing still

Introduction

Ido Portal (idoportal.com) is a movement teacher and expert on human movement. He created the Ido Portal Method, a physical fitness practice utilizing the practitioner’s own body weight and movements, rather than external weights and machines, to develop strength, agility, and flexibility.

Andrew Huberman and Ido Portal take a deep dive into movement, covering topics from the role of the nervous system and mind-body connection, to how to leverage movement to expand mental and physical skills.

Host: Andrew Huberman (@hubermanlab)

What Is A Movement Practice?

  • Humans have a greater variety of movement than any other animal species
  • Change is important and the primary way to sustain – it’s difficult to overcome at first and within the tension and adaptation lies the beauty
  • Movement is not just physical, we can move through our emotions and thoughts as well
  • “We are not just a brain with a body, we are a body with a brain.” – Ido Portal
  • “Movement is the entity that ties everything together – it’s the magic.” – Ido Portal
  • The mind and body are in motion when integrated properly – there are not purely physical or purely mental processes
  • The idea is to find the balance between fun, play, and discomfort, strain – what you want to do versus what you need to do
  • “Discomfort is necessary to recognize you are in the right place. When it’s too high and you are unable to make progress, you went overboard.” – Ido Portal

Approaching Movement Practice

  • A movement practice can start from anywhere in the body or mind (e.g., spine, fun, etc.)
  • Start with education – discuss, examine, look, but try not to stringently define
  • Bring awareness to the fact that you are in a body, living in motion, and the mind and life are types of movement – nothing stops
  • Movement can and should be incorporated into your entire life: pay attention to the rhythm of your breath, and don’t be passive in your physical and mental movements
  • You don’t need a gym or specific equipment, just move and move often
  • Domains of movement practice: posture (emotional, mental, physical), integration of postures
  • Bins of perspective helpful in analyzing movement practice: (1) contraction/relaxation; (2) martial; (3) environment; (4) somatic/internal practice; (5) object manipulatory
  • Spinal wave: when emotion is evoked, undulate the spine to shift and adapt
  • Ido Portal squat challenge: accumulate 30 minutes in squat position per day (build-up to this if needed)
  • Explore different distances and touch: don’t forget to incorporate touch & remove certain reactivity by exploring closer proximity

Theories Of Movement & The Nervous System

  • The nervous system is receiving information from internal and external stimuli
  • When something is reflexive or second nature, we use the lower motor neurons
  • Theory: movements of small digits and portions of distal body parts evoke different sensations than movements in the core of the body or closer to the spine
  • Central orientation (swinging, running, jumping, throwing) is rarer than it used to be – we’ve decentralized our ancient patterns and use our fingertips and extremities more
  • The opportunity for movement comes from deep within our bodies, we’re always in an anticipatory state of movement

Leveraging Anatomy

  • The architecture of our body changes our experiences
  • Start with the eyes: the eyes are the entry point – we can adjust the aperture of our eyesight to adapt to focus
  • When eyes (not head) are up, the focus is increased; when eyes (not head) are lower, we go into calmer states
  • Practice panoramic vision: because our culture has pushed us to more narrowly focused states, we rarely use our panoramic vision – but in nature, we wouldn’t focus on a single leaf, we’d look at the tree
  • Have a checklist of what you’re looking to do and use it as a guide
  • Certain body types and emotions facilitate some movements over others
  • Visualization may not be helpful unless you’ve developed tangible experience reinforced by feedback
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Notes By Maryann

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