Beyond Systems is an approach that literally and figuratively lies beyond regular systems and methods of describing and using ones body, mind and consciousness.
To illustrate how “Beyond Systems” relates to the familiar jungle of fitness, movement, therapy and bodywork I formulated this short blog post.
How we think about “body movement”
For most, there is probably not that big of a difference between a fitness approach, sports, dance martial arts or movement and yet, a closer observation uncovers interesting differences.
We can agree upon one thing, which is that the physical human body is involved in all of them, like a car is in driving. But to stick with this analogy for a second, using a car can have many different reasons. For some it is a means to get from “A” to “B” in order to survive and buy or sell food, for others, it’s a tool to explore the world and again someone else might just use it for fun because he or she likes driving so much.
Physical movement of our bodies is not much different. Looking at the example with the cars again we would agree that the requirements those cars have to meet are quite diverse as one is probably just a regular family car, the other maybe a sports car and the third a truck to deliver all the food.
Creating results through movement
Body movement has a deep effect not just on our physique, but also on our mind and our emotions which is why it can be used in such a variety of ways, from simply having fun to deeply influence our wellbeing or even heal psychological trauma.
Just like you would choose the right car for a specific task, it is important that you choose the right movement practice to literally build your body (the car) in such a way that it best suits your needs.
Let’s take a closer look at how “Beyond Systems” fits in the big picture and where it’s real strengths lie.
Sport is a rather broad term that describes a great number of different movement styles. Basketball, football, hurdles, rock climbing, etc. can all be performed as competitive or recreational activities, yet they have something else in common. The primary focus in the exercise lies on achieving an “external” goal. In ball sports you try to manoeuvre the ball in a specific way or to a specific predetermined area in order to win, in rock climbing you try to reach the top of a wall or boulder and so on. Whatever physical fitness is needed to achieve those set targets is mostly trained with the specific focus of reaching this external goal.
Fitness nowadays divides in so many different methods it’s almost impossible to keep track of them all. Pilates, Piloxing, Body Building, Crossfit, Calisthenics and many more are designed to shape, strengthen and/or mobilize the body using set patterns or sometimes external weights or fitness devices.
The focus is mainly on achieving a certain physique and looks or a quite specific functional aspect, like core stability or upper body strength etc.
Due to amazing marketing of the fitness industry, there is also the consideration to start fitness as a means to become or stay healthy.
We can conclude, that in fitness compared to pure sports the focus is definitely much more on personal improvement for the sake of it, rather than an improvement we mainly seek in order to reach an external goal.
the Movement Movement
This is actually a very interesting development. “Movement” is a rather holistic approach to unlock the possibilities that are stored within our bodies. Often combining elements from martial arts, calisthenics, dance, athleticism, parkour, natural movement in the wild and many more “movement” takes the idea of moving for the sake of being alive and just simply move to the next level. It is as much a fitness training as it is the starting point of an exploration of ones own body in a rather wide sense.
The main focus is not on reaching a specific body shape or ones ability to win a basketball match anymore, but on the pure experience of movement and all its health benefits.
Beyond Systems goes even deeper than that. However, this doesn’t mean that it is inaccessible for untrained or inexperienced people. Quite on the contrary actually. The foundation of Beyond Systems is to take a look at the inner workings physical movement and how to use ones intent to initiate it.
Say for instance you want to do a squat. The first aspect to be focused on using the Beyond Systems approach is “What exactly is your intention? Muscle training, mobility training, coordination training, do you want to increase free flow in movement, do you want to teach the body how to decrease the pressure in the joints in order to minimize risk of injury…. what is it?” According to the answer you give to this question, there are many different ways to use ones mind to most effectively activate joints, muscles, fascia in order to facilitate the intended movement. So basically Beyond Systems is a mindful and intention based way of optimizing movement and the effects movement has on our overall health, body, mind and emotions.
If by now you think well, that sounds like the foundation of human movement itself, you hit the point.
“Beyond Systems” is not a system in the sense of different moves or postures that are linked with each other like say in Yoga or movement patterns in Martial Arts or Calisthenics. In relation to the body it is rather the manual that describes how body, intention and consciousness are linked and can be used to achieve whatever goal one sets his or her mind to.
It doesn’t matter if you are a body builder, football player, “mover” or if you just want to improve your life by moving with more joy and freedom and naturally restructure your posture in the process. The basic principles with which Beyond Systems works can be applied to all forms of movement, and health related improvement of body and mind whether you are a complete beginner or elite athlete.