MovNat® and natural movement for healthy aging with Astrid Boesser ↓
Astrid Boesser is a MovNat® certified coach from Germany, with a 25 year background in martial arts, parkour and competitive sports…
What’s your fitness philosophy?
When I took my first Parkour class I felt like a total loser. Everything my young coach considered easy-peasy was impossible to me. While all the youths did it hands down. I was so frustrated I nearly quit.
It was the same with chronic back pain. I did all the recommended exercises. Saw great orthopedists, osteopaths, rolfers. Yet the pain kept returning.
Being disappointed like that also has it’s upside. I recognized what was missing.
So I started gathering solutions and condensed them into practical methods that help, durably. And that became my mission.
My method enables committed people to develop a resilient body-mind, become clear on their goals and reach them efficiently while enjoying the journey. I love supporting adults in resolving chronic pain and gaining confidence in their abilities.
What common beliefs do you find get in the way of a healthy life?
There are a few trappy beliefs that tend to get in the way with being well, fit and happy.
Belief #1: Our body & mind are separate.
This one leads us to believe that if we just eat right and exercise plenty we will lose that weight, get fit and rid of back pain. Or that for some diseases all we can do is take pills.
And yes, in some cases the right pills do help. And a sensible regimen can aid healing or getting fit.
If our life already feels full of chores though, so we’re chronically stressed, and we now force ourselves to undergo a regimen that feels like just another imposition, it also ups our cortisol levels in ways that thwart our efforts.
Chronically raised blood cortisol levels cause our organism to eat up muscle, take up more sugar and deposit unused fuel in the most unfortunate places. They jointly cause high blood pressure, heart diseases, and push our metabolism towards diabetes.
It’s the same if a part of us doubts that we can succeed, constantly criticizes, or otherwise doesn’t approve of what we attempt. Resistance eats up energy. The inner conflict stresses us. The more we force, the more difficult it gets. So how to solve this?
First: Pick a regimen we enjoy. Joy cuts fear, melts resistance, and lowers stress. As a result we progress with less effort and prevent stress related injuries.
Secondly: Clear any blocks that clash with our goals. Once we get aware of, and process emotions or limiting beliefs, we free up energy. Getting in line with ourselves can cure disease and resolve chronic pain. It definitely makes us more centered and helps see and reach fitting goals.
Using embodied techniques, such as EFT can vastly easen this process.
Belief #2: If I fail, I’m a failure.
Faced with a skill or task we’re unused to, the automated response for many of us is “I can’t”. Springing from fears and limiting beliefs such as, “As an adult, I have to be perfect”. “If I don’t succeed right away, I’m incapable”, “People will laugh at me”. “I could hurt myself”, “If I fail, I’m a failure”.
In short: Many of us forgot that we can learn and improve. No matter what age. That as humans we’re wired to learn real quick and that it’s actually great fun to do so. However – learning requires going where we can fail. And failing frequently. Failing forward.
Unfortunately, our culture sets great store by success, while shining little light on how we get there. That’s why failing is a threat to our ego / self-image. The mere thought of it is so scary we usually hide behind some pretense like I’m too old, fat, stiff, injured or not athletic enough. Another limiting belief that keeps us from exposing ourselves. Which would allow us to grow.
So with time, nature eradicates what we don’t use – our brain, nerves, muscle, courage and freedom. The best we can do to remedy this is drop our ego, practice, allow ourselves to fail. And in this process, learn so outrageously fast that we’ll encourage everyone to join.
Belief #3: I need to be thin, bendy, athletic or born talented.
While everyone is born with predispositions, they don’t guarantee success. Or failure. Mastery comes only after many hours of deep practice. By implication, you can learn whatever you are willing to attentively practice for a long time.
And last, my favorite:
Belief #4: Age makes us sick & frail.
Are you sure? Look at two 90 year olds. One scuffing about with a Zimmer frame. The other subsisting on his mountain farm. How come many of our elders decline unnaturally fast while others stay agile til they drop?
I claim it’s vastly influenced by how we live. To what extent we use our capabilities. How spirited we meet challenges. Which again is based on what we believe.
If we’re convinced that from a certain age we’re less adaptable. Not as capable anymore. Plus more susceptible to injuries. This fear will likely cause us to pass on that fascinating new sport, job or adventure. Or even quit activities we love to avoid some potential risk.
This lack of confidence and use weakens us. At the same time we deprive ourselves of new experiences, chances to grow and the poise that comes with it. Which eats up our zest for life as we let ourselves wither. So yes, I claim that the unnatural decline we associate with aging creates anxiety. Which leads us to initiate our own downward spirals. And fulfill what we prophesied.
How can we change tack? It helps to notice all our agile, dedicated and witty elders. To know our human brain can adapt as long as we live. To be aware there’s more than all or nothing: Instead of quitting what we love, we can change a bit and go at our own pace. Or take up something new that fascinates us. To recall we can learn -and remain capable of- whatever we are willing to practice. To be curious. Choose a purpose. Develop courage and confidence. To evolve steadily and be so alive that decay can barely catch up.
How do you help people not give up exercising, before they see results?
Many of us think all or nothing. We try to change too fast in too big steps while lacking consistency.
For example, if we workout too frequently, intensely or at times that throw off our biorhythm, we end up stressing ourselves. We use up tons of willpower. Yet after an initial boost, stagnate, lose motivation and quit. If we keep forcing in turn, the load might be more than our body can adapt to. So we end up exhausted or injured.
Better break things down to steps so ridiculously small we can’t say no to. Then pursue our goals consistently. Day by day. As a part of our lifestyle.
How do you help people who’ve struggled in the past, develop the courage to try exercise again?
I offer sessions so playful you hardly know you practice. And yet, just some minutes into a new skill, you realize how much you progressed. Once you experience this – the joy of growing – you’ll naturally want to grow more. And become open to other novel, simple and manageable steps which allow you to do so.
How do you help people persist in the early learning period when exercise is a struggle?
I emphasize how much they profit from practicing stuff complex enough for them to fail. Why, failing lights a firework in our brain which fosters the growth of new neurons and speeds up motor learning. That’s why I applaud every try and celebrate this phase – that nourishes and allows us to grow quickly.
How should people measure their progress in a healthy way?
Damn good question. When it comes to skill training I like to record my initial tries. Gauge what I can improve. Then use them to show myself how much I progressed over time. If you’re health oriented it’s usually enough to regularly do what you want to be able to do.
What is the realistic timescale for people to start experiencing results with MovNat®?
5 Minutes. The beauty of starting out is that you progress so much in such a short time. Take coordination: Try a complex new move. Fail miserably. Practice some minutes. Almost there! Now comes the trick: Pause. Notice how much you just progressed. Unbelievingly quick too. Hell yeah, let’s do a little dance!
What are your favorite fitness resources?
My all time fav is The Art Of Falling by Amos Rendao. It explains how, the more skilled you become at falling, the more likely you dare new stuff. And stand up again.
I also enjoy the HandEyeBody by Dr. Jacob Weiss. Playful tools that help wake up your body & brain. For all ages.
On my own website Armory Of Courage shares nine tools for braving fear and acting helpfully. As well as movement inspiration and games geared to silverbacks (60/70+) on my Instagram, Facebook and YouTube channels.
Alternatively you could find a MovNat® coach in your area.
What type of people do you generally work with?
I help committed folks heal, get back active and build a body/mind they enjoy. Especially people who suffer from chronic pain, neurological diseases or are overweight and don’t see lasting results from conventional medical approaches.
Teaching movement for 25+ years, two of my pet issues are healthy aging and making movement enjoyable for everyone. By playfulness as well as incremental introduction and somatic tricks of all sorts. In this vein, I also lead outdoor playgroups for silverbacks (60/70+).
What do you love about natural movement, and where can people train with you?
I love shining a light on possibilities. Join dots. Pointing out alternative ways and perspectives. And offering tiny steps. Steps that enable you to playfully succeed at difficult or scary new stuff. So you go from strength to strength. Gather confidence. Build resilience. Develop the courage necessary to keep growing. And live freely and happily.
I support people online as well as locally in Mörfelden-Walldorf, Hessen, Germany. Amid the triangle of Frankfurt, Darmstadt and Mainz.
Bordered by the rivers Rhein and Main, ensconced in mountain ranges such as Taunus and Odenwald we’re playing outdoors all year round. Strengthening our defenses in radiant sun, earthy spring winds, swirls of reddening leaves or slithering on glinty ice.
We use everything we find – rocks, trees, logs across rivers or patches of grass – as our playgrounds. Where we laughingly grow, cultivate courage, or lift the roots of chronic pain.
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Interview by Paul Montreal. MovNat® and Natural Movement® are registered trademarks of Erwan Le Corre.
"The future has not been written.
There is no fate but what we make for ourselves."
© 2019, 2020, 2021 Paul Montreal.