My Thoughts on Primal Play and Natural Movement

Recently I was interviewed for Paleo en forma, a website dedicated to the Paleo lifestyle and geared toward the Spanish speaking audience. You can find creative, original recipes, and advice on choosing healthy fats for cooking, as well as what foods to avoid and why.

For those unable to read Spanish, check out the English version of my interview below.

Tell us a bit about who you are, and how you ended up learning and doing Primal Play?
Hello everyone, I’m honored to be asked to share my story, and so pleased to have met my new friend and Paleo Sister, Catalina.

My name is Jasmine. I’m 41 and originally from New York, but spent most of my life in California, and now reside in Florida. Because of health issues, I’ve made it my mission to better my mind and body, and to reverse conditions brought on after years of following bad advice from doctors and specialists who were not properly trained in nutrition.

In 2013 I read “Primal Blueprint” by Mark Sisson and it completely changed the way I looked at food, sleeping habits and exercise. I was determined to give Paleo eating and primal living a try in order to improve my health. After a few months I felt, looked, and performed so much better that I was hooked, and promised myself I would never return to the Standard American Diet.

I used to be an athlete, but after trying different prescription medications for pain that caused weight gain, dizziness and fatigue, I became a couch potato. The increased inflammation from medication, sedentary living, and weight gain caused terrible joint pain, so it was impossible to exercise.

Once I felt better through Paleo, I had that old familiar desire to move my body again. I walked, jogged, and later sprinted my way to a happier me. Hearing more and more about Crossfit, I was eager to lift weights, which did wonders for my mind. Unfortunately, I kept injuring my back under load so I moved away from weightlifting back toward body weight exercises. But then boredom would set in.

I needed a change of pace, but couldn’t figure out what to do. When Paleo f(x) came around, and I saw the many outdoor workshops based on Primal Play and Natural Movement, I couldn’t wait to attend and learn from the experts.

What is Primal Play?
I see Primal Play as a way to become a child in nature again. Children love to use their imagination and make games out of their surroundings. We lose that ability as adults. And natural movement – squatting, jumping, balancing, climbing trees, sprinting – is a way to recapture childlike curiosity and imagination while absorbing everything nature has to offer.

Advantages and disadvantages of Primal Play versus Crossfit, Yoga?
I’m still at the early stages of learning primal play, but so far I like the randomness and spontaneity of it versus yoga where you repeat the same movement patterns and hold them. There’s also less emphasis on breathing in during ‘this’ pose and breathing out during ‘that’ pose. And you’re not fixed to one area like a yoga mat, following a leader. Instead you’re guided by nature and rely on your own instincts, challenging both body and mind.

I don’t mean to imply that yoga isn’t challenging or of any benefit. You can incorporate crossfit, yoga, and primal play, or any other form of exercise, in your routine if you so desire.

I have no experience with crossfit to compare it with primal play, but after spending some time on my own squatting, dead-lifting and pressing under load, I think crossfit is more work than play. But you can incorporate lifting under load in nature, where you aren’t repeating specific movement patterns but instead moving about in a more challenging environment.

So, it’s a lifestyle, not a diet or a fad. How does Primal Play contribute to a Paleo Lifestyle?
Any type of play contributes to a paleo lifestyle. For example, Mark Sisson loves slack-lining and stand up paddle-boarding – two activities I’ve yet to try, but they look like so much fun. Others spend time rolling around the dirt with their children.

Adding primal play to your weekly routine, whether that routine be crossfit or yoga, helps you connect with nature, breathe fresher air, get Vitamin D from the sun, come into contact with healthy microbes in the soil, as well as achieve a great workout. The workout isn’t the purpose with primal play like it is when going to the gym, which so many see as a chore or a job.

Moving in nature does so much for your mind and your mood, and offers a much-needed break from fluorescent lights, recycled air, computer and television screens, noise pollution, and exercise machines that limit what the body can do.

I want to learn Primal Play but I have no athletic background. Is that okay?
If you can walk barefoot, you can slowly learn to jump and sprint.
If you can sit, you can adapt toward a proper squat position.
If you can crawl, you can slowly build toward crab walks and bear crawls.

The simple practice of balancing on one leg requires absolutely no athletic background, and can benefit you in so many ways.

If you have a child, watch how they move in your yard or local playground, and mimic their movements. Don’t worry about how you look – just enjoy yourself, and most important…laugh.

Can I combine Primal Play with other modalities?
Absolutely! Some examples of things I’m looking into are Capoeira, Aikido, Parkour, and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Every form of exercise includes and relies on some primal movements like squatting, lifting, rolling, climbing, etc.

Where do I go to learn more? Resources? Videos?
Those in the natural movement community who inspire me to play are:
Ido Portal
Erwan Le Corre of MovNat
Rafe Kelley of EvolveMovePlay
Darryl Edwards The Fitness Explorer
Katy Bowman

Where to find Jasmine online:

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