SPEED HIDES NEED. In everyday movement, whether in sport, performance, or in everyday activities, being able to fully express the body's full range of motion with breath and efficiency is one of the greatest feelings. This is where we have the sensations of "feeling really comfortable" and "at ease" with our movements. Over time, it's possible to loose certain ranges of motion in joints, and this may not be so noticeable until you try a new exercise or it is revealed through your instructor/trainer. Learning how to "feel" for things in the body, when something "feels" uncomfortable or when something feels "off," can really be a great gift and opportunity to develop strength in those particular areas. Here is a great article and video by Max Shank, called the Neglected Secret of Strength which addresses circumstances in which one feels “less strong” and how those circumstances can be opportunities for growth. He makes a correlation to learning piano strokes and how focusing on refinement can create beneficial global effects.
We can say the same for dance. Taking the time to slow down movement, can reveal areas of opportunity and need for refinement. On several occasions, I have given myself a challenge. Although I have always been a fan of freestyle, I am familiar with the fact that the body loves to go into patterns it is familiar with. And so in order to carve out new patterns, the challenge is to take an opposite or alternate direction of movement whenever you feel your body moving into a familiar direction. This can be quite a painstaking exercise but very rewarding at the end. You will have acquired new movement patterns (maybe stretch some new muscles you haven’t stretched in a while) and increased your movement vocabulary ;) I would love to hear how it goes if you decide to take on this movement challenge.