The clearest way into the Universe is through a forest wilderness.
- John Muir
Most of us can appreciate a leisure jaunt through the woods on a Sunday afternoon, but what about a run through the forest with a pack of your friends? Have you ever gathered up a couple of your gals and guys, and gone to run wild? Neither had I.
I found this to be quite a different feeling then the typical windy woodland walk. There were three of us, all moving in a quick and quiet pace as we glided through the forest with deliberation. None of us spoke, until the first one howled in a bubbled up excitement, forgetting for that moment what it meant to be human, or perhaps instead remembering. I'd like to imagine that all of our hearts were beating together as we ran. Running as a pack through the forest brought about many feelings. Confidence and excitement, are the first to come to mind. Confidence that the pack had your back. It was a feeling that became tangible, as from time to time we would individually break free from the trail to swing on a branch, or leap over a fallen tree, and excitement filled our every breath. We were alive, and we knew it. Better yet, was the feeling of expressing that together.
In his book, Walden, Henry David Thoreau poetically states, "We've settled down on earth, and forgotten heaven." I think we've never completely settled. Running through the forest as a pack was unsettling in its restlessness, but settling in its fundamental footsteps. Heaven was on earth, and we were in rapture of it. I'm not sure who started, but almost as if we were a flock of birds communicating in silence, we broke free from the trail, and continued our run even wilder now through the thick. We weren't just in a forest, we were in a community, and life was in ever inch of space.
Getting away from the poetic significance of running through the forest, was the physical fortitude it took to hurl yourself around. It's interesting to find just how unnatural linear movements are. People have fragile feet more then ever, and perhaps walking around constant flat surfaces wearing space-boots, could be contributing. The conditions of our environment shape our malleable form. It can cripple us, or as Katy Bowman put it, ''cast us''. To explore this further, Katy, in her podcast Katy Says, talks about her professional as well as, personal perspectives on natural human movements from the accolades of a biomechanist. Here's an quick blog post where she talks about the casts that are set upon us from our lifestyles and environment: http://bit.ly/1wUMK3z
Running through the forest was incredible for the feeling of exuberance, expressing your body, and delving into your mind. Exploring the dynamics of our bodies, opens windows into opportunities of thought. In the forest, our entire bodies were involved with our feelings, and we ran as if we were unstoppable. The cast is off.
For some info on movement, MobilityWOD is a valuable resource.