We have a fish-brain. That is the reason why we have so many burn-outs, depressions, additions to pain killers, alchohol etc. Our fish-brain is not yet adapted to our modern day society with all of its electronics and the information overload. Roughly speaking, that is the claim of Witte Hoogendijk, a psychiatrist, and Wilma De Rek, a journalist, in their book “From Big Bang to Burn-out”.
Turning away from stressor stimuli in the environment is the easiest way to deal with this, some argue (newspaper article). The implication is that our brain and our environment do not match up well (yet), and that our brain needs thousands more years to adjust to today’s reality.
There may be truth to that.
But there’s other ways to tackle the mismatch. One that does not require another thousand years before our brain and the environment match up well, or that does not require us to necessarily turn away from “stressors” artificially.
The essence of that other approach is that the problem is with our bodies, not with our brains.
We don’t move our bodies like fish anymore. And we should.
That is not a joke.
We need more of exactly that fluent “fish” like motion that essentially makes our body move like a wave; our hip from left to right, and back.
The broader point is this: it all comes down to how rigid, instead of fluid, the core of our body has become.
In the office, we keep it frozen on a chair. In the gym we are encouraged to stiffen it up by “strengthening” or “stabilizing” it. On a bike, the saddle isn’t allowing for much core movement either. And when walking we essentially have to keep it in check or we get called a hooker (girls) or “gay” (guys). All of that is steering our bodies/cores/spine away from the “fish-like” movement.
Too bad because the crux of the matter is that fluid subtle movements of our core hugely improve our energy levels, and thus help us to select stimuli/stressors that are important to us, and ignore others.
There’s a reason why “flow” is so important. Flow is a psychological concept. But it has its roots in our bodies, and indeed in our “fish” ancestors.
But we lost touch with it. We’ve been led to believe that we as advanced and civilised human beings are to walk upright and uptight at all times — with our backs and spine firmly “stabilised”. The result is that we got stuck in our heads and don’t have enough energy to select/process the stimuli that we need, and ignore those that we don’t need. Burn-outs and depression are the outcome.
There are several ways to re-introduce fish-like movements. And they’re not necessarily the movements we now know as “swimming”.
There is fascinating psoas work. But one example we like to work with is what I call dynamic balancing. Balancing on the OneWheel is an excellent example because it allows for a subtle seesaw-like motion that explicitly engages the core — let’s it move from left to right, and back — simulating the fish-like motion.
The interesting part is that a healthy and fluid body core can tackle energy deficiencies like burn-out and depression. But it also facilitates personal development and spiritual growth for those not suffering from apparent energy deficiencies.