From a historical perspective, being physically normal meant being strong, agile and resilient. In 2019, being weak, stiff and fragile is now the norm and it’s because we have adopted a lifestyle that is incongruent to what our biology requires for optimal health.
In the words of Erwan Le Corre - in order for a tiger to become fit and remain optimally healthy, a tiger needs to move the way tigers move for their day to day survival within their natural environment. When it comes to humans, natural movement means the same thing - moving in accordance to our ancestral requirements for survival.
What movements do you remember doing as a child? Rolling, crawling, walking, carrying things, hanging, running, throwing - these are all examples of innately natural movements. Movements nobody had to teach you how to do and movements that our bodies are specifically adapted to be able to do.
In his book "The Practice of Natural Movement", Erwan Le Corre outlines what he considers to be the 12 principles of natural movement. Taken from his amazing book, here are those 12 principles along with a short sentence to explain what he means:
1) Evolutionary: Natural movement stems from the way our species has adapted to life in nature since the dawn of mankind.
2) Instinctual: Humans start developing fundamental natural movement patterns as infants without needing instruction.
3) Universal: Natural movement is every human's birthright regardless of ethnicity, age or gender.
4) Practical: The primary purpose of natural movement is to be useful at ensuring basic physiological needs like obtaining food or building shelter.
5) Vital: Natural movement supports survival in life-threatening circumstances and serves biological fitness.
6 )Unspecialized: Natural movement skills are interrelated and work symbiotically.
7) Adaptable: Natural movement adjusts to the diverse contextual variables and demands of the real world.
8) Environmental: Natural movement originally developed as adaptive behaviour for the diverse natural environments in which early humans lived.
9) Progressive: Natural movement capability is developed and should be maintained over time.
10) Efficient: Natural movement tends to meet the level of performance necessary for maximum effectiveness, energy conservation, and safety.
11)Mindful: Attention ensures efficiency in natural movement.
12) Cooperative: Humans use natural movement primarily for the benefit of the group or community they belong to.