Updated: Jan 19, 2022
This week I'm still in recovery mode. It will be a while, but my body craves movement and activity. I understand that I need to go slowly to rebuild my stamina. So writing some of my thoughts about it seemed appropriate.
Activity is vital, and it is not a one size fits all type of thing. What we enjoy is so varied, and from my personal experience and observations of others, I have noticed that movement has so many different valuable things, some not so obvious.
Here are some definitions of movement:
A distinct structural unit or division having its own key, rhythmic structure, and themes and forming part of an extended musical composition
the act or process of moving especially: change of place or position or posture studying the movement of planets
a particular instance or manner of moving
As a trained opera singer, I have a fondness for the first definition in my past life. So I'm going to focus on it for this post.
How we move and why reaches into all aspects of our being. But I don't do just one kind of movement because there are nuances and layers in the opera of my life. Each type of movement has distinct structures and themes as to why I do them, and I think it is representative of all parts of my life;
Walking is what I do to clear my head. It helps me sort out those simmering issues in the inner depths of my being. Sometimes I plan my cooking for the week; other times, I plot where I want to go in life. I have always talked and walked. I enjoy it alone so I can figure things out. Walking represents the recitative or the parts between the musical numbers in an opera.
Strength training is essential to me to feel strong physically. It's so I can function and continue to do so. Strong body, strong mind. Strength training would represent the physical notes and directions on the paper essential for any piece of music.
Stretching/Yoga is my way to slow down. This part of the opera is a duet between lovers. It is slow and seductive, beautiful and a way to give love to your body.
Dancing/HIIT helps get that little bit of energy so you can make it to the end of that super long, never-ending opera (Wagner's "Parsifal" is over 4 hours, so I know of what I speak).
Running is when I put on headphones to listen to my favourite tunes and block the world. And when I say the world, I mean my brain as well. To be swept up in the sweat and the feeling of accomplishment is an exciting rush. I think of it as the high point of the aria when you let go and sing the crap out of it.
Group movement, for me, is as much about community and connection to others than it is about the activity. Sure, it's good to do the exercise, but how many of us are more excited when we see a friend we can interact with within the class. This community represents those fun and often beautiful opera choruses.
Each one of us has a musical composition that is our life. There are good and bad moments, but working together makes it a work of art. I seek out all of these things to feed a different part of the opera that is my life to make me a whole, fully-functioning human.