Move your body – stepping back to step forward

For over a year I have expanded (or some call it evolved) my yoga based practice to focus more on movement, stability and strength.  I have been voraciously studying  and practicing functional strength,  movement and bringing many of these elements into my yoga classes. 

I’ve had someone clean my house for many years but due to a number of circumstances we had to part ways.  What to do – hire someone else or shall we do it ourselves?  Inspired by a mind-altering book I have been devouring, Move Your DNA by Katy Bowman , we thought we would give it a go.  With my husband in agreement we proceeded to divvy up the tasks. 

In a nutshell, the book’s message is to move often and in as many ways as possible.  Even if you exercise 1 hour every day, it’s not enough to make-up for our otherwise sedentary patterns. 

My mother was a living example of keeping fit through natural movement.  Born in 1913, her entire life involved movement – farm tasks, raising a large family, cooking, laundry, cleaning, gardening.  Well into her 90’s biceps and triceps were apparent.  Her favourite thing was to spend time in the garden and in the spring she’d overturn the soil in a large garden with only a shovel and did so until she was 94.  Planting, pruning, watering, harvesting, preserving kept her busy… and moving.  I don’t believe the word ‘exercise’ was in her vocabulary but her instincts were spot on – keep moving.

Clearly it’s in my DNA so with my new found appreciation and knowledge I am ready to take on my house cleaning.  Cleaning products in tow, we were on it. While it may seem obvious, I was amazed at the amount of movement involved in house cleaning.  Elbow grease took on a whole new meaning.


By my assessment, these are the movements involved in my 2 1/2 hr cleaning session (my husband received the same benefits in his 2+ hours) :

  • spinal extension, flexion, lateral extension; rotation
  • forward bending
  • shoulder rotation
  • upper body strength
  • balance
  • ankle dorsi flexion and plantar extension
  • grip strength
  • core engagement
  • squats
  • finger and wrist movements
  • leg strength (we have 4 floors so lots of stairs)
  • a feeling of satisfaction at having a clean house and appreciating we did it ourselves

IMG_3372There is no doubt that my years of yoga have made these movements feel natural and quite easy. The cleaning session, added to my morning run and strength session at the gym, made for a very satisfying day.  Housework isn’t sexy and it’s easy to convince ourselves (as I did for years) that we don’t have time for it.  Isn’t it odd that one of the things we may do instead of housework is go to the gym?   


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