Roundtable # 9 – Relationships


Roundtable # 9 – Relationships


Do they suffer because of it?  Are they strengthened and/or reinforced through it?  Is their a hierarchy to the two or do you to your best to simply keep them balanced?


There was a time when my movement practice was very dedicated to achievement. Every day, I was pushing towards increased strength, mobility, complexity…that led me to sacrifice some time spent with friends and family, going out, and being a “normal” 20-something. But honestly, it wasn’t a sacrifice–I was doing doing what I wanted to be doing. Choosing to spend a lot of time training helped show me what I cared about in my relationships. I prioritize a small number of relationships that I consider deep, and I tend not to put much work into maintaining ones that I feel less connected to.
Recently, I’ve been spending more time in a meta-practice–spending less energy training qualities, and more time exploring why I do what I do, and what really matters to me. This was partially created by spending more time engaged in work and relationships, and it partially made room for those things. My hope is that engaging in meaningful relationships will inform my personal movement practice, and engaging in movement will help strengthen my relationships. But for now, I’m mostly trying to spend time doing what I value and asking lots of questions. — Jeremy Fein


My obsession with movement and the body has a place in all of my relationships. I care about the relationships of the body and recognize the flawed movement tendencies of ALL humans around me. If given the time and presented with an openness to change, I will always help my loved ones restore more ideal function to their bodies.
As far as the time I devote to my movement practice, IT IS MINE. I seldom workout with others and the time I spend dialoguing with my body is understood by my beloved, as being important to me. As such, it is supported. The time I spend working and teaching takes a far larger percentage of my time, than my 5-10 hours per week going through regimented movement practice. — Gary Stockdale


I believe my movement practice is the thing that creates the bonds in many of my relationships. The beginning of my relationship with my husband revolved around movement. We enjoyed our walks, hikes and bike riding together. We hugely understand the importance of getting some sort of daily movement, as it serves as a salve and antidote to the stressors in each of our lives.
Now that we have kids they know that both mommy and daddy do much better when they have done their exercise. They are understanding in our making time for it, and will sometimes join in on some of the activities.
Most of my friendships are also formed or strengthened through some form of movement practice. I find the best buddy conversations are had out on the trail surrounded by nature.

I have structured my life so that I usually don’t have to create a hierarchy of the two, there is most often time for both exercise and other priorities.  — Catherine Cowey


My movement practice strengthens my relationships by making me a better, more calm person, but it is at the expense of time that could be spent with people in my life. It’s a priority, and I create a semblance of balance by practicing early in the morning, before people are up, and scheduling time with friends and family after I am finished. The biggest challenge is my schedule; since I am up early, I am tired early, so I often skip night time functions or leave early. I am better for my practice, but it also means I spend a lot of my free time alone.  — Jenn Pilotti


Generally, I don’t place much stock in social currency.  Relationships tend to deplete rather than reinvigorate my energy.  I move alone the vast majority of the time, and even if I am at the gym with someone we tend to do our own things independently, sharing physical space instead of a mental one.  My movement practice has certainly contributed to the downfall/breakdown of past relationships, simply because I value it more.  I treat my work as if it was a person, the most engaging entity I have ever known. It is my controllable constant I can banter with and find fulfillment in.
I am trying, though, to be more open here.  My relationships, both tactile and virtual, revolve around the movement world.  (I met my current partner through an instagram meet up.) It’s almost as if I am using my physical relational strengths to become more adept at the interpersonal ones.  The creation of this site was a means to reach out to other humans in a mutually beneficial way, and I believe it is serving its purpose.  — Chris Ruffolo


My movement practice enhances my relationships.  Sometimes I’ll have my partner or friend join in so we can both explore and play.  Other times I play by myself (most of the time).
It most certainly never takes away from a relationship, and if it does, then its for the better.
I wouldn’t say there is any balance and therefore, imbalance.  It just happens.  I move, I play, I grow.  Sometimes with others who are around or who I schedule to be around with.  Oftentimes by myself.  — Tyler Wall


Since my movement practice is my main job, so I do my trainings on weekdays during the morning, while non-movement friends are at work. So it is not that big of an issue to keep them in my life, but I am not a super social person amyway, so we probably see each other once in every 4 months or something, haha!
On the other hand I do have a stronger bond with people who are already movers, my husband is a long time parkour athlete and does all sorts of things I am interested in, so sharing these interests makes it easier to grow as a couple. I don’t think I could share a life with a person who isn’t a mover, I tried anyway, it failed miserably. Maybe it is because my dad and sisters life also revolves around movement that we became used to sharing life intertwined with sports and activity, who knows! — Sev Gurman


Well, the answer depends mostly on my partner. It depends on the way my partner idiosyncrasies match my idiosyncrasies. Now one could argue, that a relationship which is built on trust and acceptance may overcome the greatest distances. I think and believe by now that a partner with a similar outlook on life and daily activities would be quite reinforcing. Just imagine waking up at 6am and crawling through the apartment, doing a few handstands, doing some deep squat holds and dead hangs interspersed with some Feldenkrais, the afternoon is lifting day with squats and the like, the evening is blocked for mindful meditation. Where is space and time for the partner? If the partner is up to the same cup of coffee, that would be a blast. That would be reinforcing, strengthening and balancing. Both people love movement for life.
But, let´s assume that just one partner love movement. I have experienced that to a certain level a partner accepts that. There is no discussion about heading to a gym three times a week, but we are not talking about the three times a week thing, since that gym could be replaced by running, climbing, dancing or even pottery or checking out a Philosophy evening. If it is more than the three time model, if it is each day several times, even when eating, like eating with awareness/mindfully, it turns out that it fosters disagreement. Now the big question, what comes next, keep continuing with this life style and looking for a better match or adapting it to the partner and changing the life style. This question would come first to me, then the partner.  What is important in my life, what lifts me up, what makes me happy, all that I bring into the relationship, so why would I want something taking it away?  So to say, I am a pro-movement-practice person who says, birds of the same feather flock together. — Christian Rabhansl 


For me the practice can consume lots of time if I don’t pay attention. This can draw time and energy from other areas of life; relationships included. My practice, though, when done well, will ‘strengthen and mobilize’ my physical body, and this will seep through to the emotional and mental body too which in turn affects my relationships in a positive direction. It can give me clarity in how to be for the relationships to evolve; how they can grow strong with the flexibility it needs for one part of the relationship to not overtake in any way but consider each others differences and accept them to keep a unified and happy relationship. Forever changing and evolving the relationships, just like the physical practice.  — Fanny Tulloch


Hmmm… Well, I wouldn’t say that my practice is detrimental to my relationships, but I’m married with no children and not a lot of family obligations, so perhaps I’m able to lead a more self-centered life than most people.  It’s definitely made me very accommodating for whatever time my wife needs for her practice — she has a desk job, and I appreciate how important it is for her to get out and move, after work, whether it’s something I want to join her in or not (and she’s very accommodating about me going off the deep end with this stuff).  My practice has actually made me much more comfortable in spending time on my own as well, giving me space to move and think.  At the same time, I’ve been quite social with the people I’ve met in gyms and studios, so that now I have a diverse range of friendships, like I haven’t really had since college, and movement / exercise is a good common base to relate to other people.  It’s made me less social with people who I’d mostly just drink with, or sit and watch movies or whatever with — fewer situations where I get together with people to be a spectator.  I’m pretty happy with the direction this has set my life toward, so I’d say that it’s “balanced”.  — Chris Davis

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