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The Distinction Between Movement & Mobility

There is a key distinction between movement and mobility. This distinction is subtle, though once pointed out, it becomes obvious. Movement is the articulation of your body in one place. An example of movement is the swinging of your arms whilst sitting. Mobility is the moving of your body through space, from one place to another (point A to point B). An example of mobility is running.

All mobility has movement, though not all movement has mobility. Running, for example, involves the movement of the arms and legs, but the movement of the arms and legs does not always involve running. Movement and mobility work together organically and both have their functions and importance. Neither one is greater than the other. There are configurations of movement and mobility that are efficient and full of vitality and configurations that are inefficient and restrict vitality. For example, to optimize running, the arms need to swing close to the body. On the other hand, running with the arms swinging above the head makes running inefficient and awkward.

The distinction between movement and mobility can serve as a framework for engaging and understanding movement practices. Failure to see this distinction can hinder you from progressing with your practice. A good starting point when learning or refining a movement practice is to determine whether you are moving in place (movement) or if you are moving from one place to another (mobility). From here you can explore and refine the efficiencies of the practice (or technique). To go a bit further, you can explore how moving in one place can be applied/transitioned to a different space (movement to mobility). Similarly, you can deconstruct and refine each of the movements contained in a sequence that allows you travel from one space to another (mobility to movement). At the very least, the distinction between movement and mobility will help and enable you to skillfully refine how you physically carry yourself. Refining your physicalities can then affect and influence the other non-tangible parts of your being in a positive and beneficial way. Through effort and cultivation, the distinction between movement and mobility will become more obvious and useful.

Enjoy your practice and all that you do.


Sincere thanks to Rob McMullin for assistance with this post.


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