Anna was born in Russia where she started competing in athletics since early age. It was that passion, which took her to study Sports Science degree at the University of Moscow. At the age of 22, she moved to Indonesia where she started practicing disciplines such as surfing and motocross. The second one served her as a decision maker to move to Spain. Here she have trained riders physically, helping them to improve their overall performance. But she wanted to go further. Anna started to investigate alternative training methods that enhance sports skills in depth. It was then that she found about the concept of Movement Culture, expanded by the Israeli Ido Portal. She began to study from him and have organized several of his events in Spain. Now Anna has started her own project, The Bamboo Body, which is one of the teachers.
You bring Movement Culture to Barcelona, what does it consist of?
The Movement Culture is a concept that is popularised by virtue of the work of Ido Portal. To this day there’s no one who took understanding of movement to such a level by collecting the knowledge from a great variety of disciplines and embodying it in personal practice. He shares his experiences and ideas while being in a process of continuous learning.
We don’t live in our bodies, we are the bodies. There is no separation between body and mind, it’s a lie. And it’s through movement that we erase this barrier and gain understanding of one's self.
What is Movement for you?
The Movement is life. Everything in the universe is subject to the same physical laws, and people are not an exception. In the last century, our way of living has changed a lot towards a more sedentary lifestyle, but our psychology and physiology are still the same as millions years ago. We need to move to be healthy, both in the body and in the mind. Although it seems like a slogan, it’s not. It’s a reality that very few understand.
So, do you think we move less every time?
Yes, the sedentary office work that has been extended in the last years has made us sick. It goes against our nature. Just have a look at the results of recent studies on the subject. All of them indicate that not moving causes chronic diseases. It's the worst thing we can do to our bodies. Unfortunately, more and more people have to remain seated all day for their work. That’s why we want to raise awareness that human beings must move more. The average of two hours per week lifting weights isn’t enough to compensate the harm we do by lack of moving.
Do you see any difference between conventional exercise and movement?
Sure! On one hand, the exercise was invented to cover our basic need to move, simplifying the routines in steps that you don’t even have to think of, but contrary to how fitness is usually defined it is not meant to achieve the objectives progressively in a scalable way. That's why many people feel frustrated with themselves when they don’t see any improvement.
On the other hand, Movement Culture is an alternative way of understanding yourself and the world around you. Movement is something that always existed, at all levels, and that will continue existing when humans disappear from the planet.
Is there any connection between Movement Culture and other physical disciplines?
Movement Culture is not a physical discipline, nor a type of exercise, nor a methodology. It’s much more. It’s a philosophy of life. Physical disciplines actually form part of it, Movement is just a larger scale
Movement is infinite. Humans have always moved, whether it was dance, martial arts, athletics, or any other kind of physical discipline. However, we’ll never get to dominate all those movements. In fact, each time one changes the discipline even being at high level of something, he becomes a newbie in that other modality. It is important for us to start at the beginning from time to time, understand new mechanisms and dimensions, and assimilate the mentally of a rookie in order to progress.
Movement Culture supports generalistic approach. It is developed by and for those who don’t want to specialize in a single thing. Absorb the good of each discipline to apply to others, but this doesn’t mean that you approach each technique superfluously, but that you practice each of them in depth for some time in order to understand the core of it before moving to something else. It is a process that takes years cause this approach requires a lot of time and effort. As Portal says, dominating the movement is a continuous study that we must approach with the mentality of a novice, to open ourselves and conceive it from different angles.
Is there any specific profile interested in Movement Culture?
There isn’t any particular profile. Moreover, our best students are far away from being circus artists (laughs). Those who come to practice with us vary from dancers and professional athletes, who are looking to improve some of their weak links to teachers and administrative employees who are tired of their chronic pains and sedentary life.
With movement people feel benefits at all levels. It’s proven through science and personal experiences, that we need movement to manage our emotions, thoughts, performance... in order not to feel pain over time. The only requisite to this kind of practice is to have a body and be constant.
What can Movement be applied to?
Movement approach helps increase the longevity of professional athletes, for example, among a wide range of other possibilities. Many elite athletes reach a point in their careers where they must choose between leaving the sport or continue and end up being disabled. Nobody cares about the longevity of an athlete when he or she is preparing for the competition. Both athletes and their coaches only focus at the medals they can win.
However, with a correct preparation parallel to athletes technical training it’s possible to avoid that the injuries force the person to leave the race at a young age. There are many ways to take care of the body while keeping a competitive level of performance, but in general it is longer road, so haven’t been developed much.
Dancers, wrestlers, circus artists... everyone can benefit from the movement approach. The range of activities is very broad. It goes from preparing and rehabilitating joints, to working on locomotion and strength, developing cognitive skills, training specific techniques, working on artistic expression, etc. The list is infinite.
Which is the objective of The Bamboo Body?
We hope to make people aware of how important it is to move because we believe that this way we would have a healthier society. I would like people to stop seeing exercise as a luxury and consider it essential for a normal balanced life. But it’s not an easy task.
Thanks to those people who dedicate their lives to movement, anyone can enjoy this approach and improve their quality of life significantly. It’s not necessarily about training many hours per day, but at least about taking advantage of free minutes between those tasks that force us to remain seated.