From the most basic of life processes within our cells to the largest animals on the planet, without movement there is no life. This relates to the idea discussed above of the open system. Living systems are open systems that continually exchange matter and energy with their environment. To iterate the idea from Dr. Kravitz, life is exchange. Thinking along these lines, exchange is fundamental to all that we do both physically and mentally. A key component of the ability to exchange is flexibility.
It’s amazing to watch the young move. Their bodies are flexible and open. By open I mean movement passes from one area to another without restriction. Also when one area of the body moves the rest moves along with it. There are no restrictions in the joints, muscles or other soft tissue. As we grow we begin to execute repetitive actions and by doing so our bodies compensate by strengthening one area to be as efficient as possible relative to the purpose motivating the repetitive action. As we age these areas become less able to move resulting in tightness and restrictions. We lose physiological openness as we age.
Master Moy Lin-Shin once shared in a Taoist Arts workshop that it’s easy to have an elderly person open stiff joints and return movement to the body. The reason for this being as we age we all take part of the school of hard knocks which diminishes our ego over time and opens our minds to learning. The reverse is true for the younger practitioners. Their minds are filled with ideas and schemes allowing the ego to get in the way of learning whether they have open bodies or not. No matter what our age, level of openness or mind-full-ness, there is one thing everyone can do. We can all move and exchange energy.