Natural movement happens in natural environments when we're engaged in functional tasks or play. Unfortunately, most of us are living in quite unnatural environments where we are sedentary for long periods. Therefore, our efforts to be healthy and exercise sometimes result in injury. Injuries happen when our tissues are not adapted to the loads that we're placing on them.
Traditionally we think that if we get stronger by doing muscle-building exercises, we will perform better and be more resistant to injury. With the emphasis placed on increasing the force-generating capacity of muscle, we do not guarantee that these muscles can work with other muscles to support natural movement. Instead, one muscle may dominate in a movement, which distorts the activity and places abnormal forces on the body, potentially causing injury.
Rather than a random approach to stretching and strengthening, we need a more integrated method of training that will activate our muscles and engage our bodies in a balanced way. The retraining of natural, balanced movement is our goal at Adara.
There are four phases of retraining a movement or skill:
Phase One: Unconscious incompetence is when we become aware that a part of our body is not moving or functioning well. Often this is brought to our attention because we are in pain. As a result, we seek treatment to alleviate that pain. Ideally, the person you seek treatment from will evaluate the root cause, point out the issue, and provide treatment based on restoring movement.
Phase Two: Conscious incompetence is when you become aware of the altered alignment or poor movement pattern, which means the teacher's lessons are beginning to be fruitful. At this point, you will still find it difficult to make corrections on your own. The teacher may have to use tactile cues to help guide your movement, but progress is starting. Hopefully, under the guidance of a good teacher, the next phase quickly follows.
Phase Three: Conscious competence requires close attention to your movement to perform optimally. A teacher may be providing verbal cues to help you do so.
Phase Four: Unconscious competence means the movement is rewired and no longer requires our close attention. Essentially, it becomes your new normal. When we have reached phase four, we can participate in our choice activity without putting undue stress on the body.
Retraining takes dedication. These four phases illustrate that unconscious competence is born out of an ongoing commitment to maintain natural movement.