From conception through infancy and on to walking, we progress through organized movements, or patterns of skill and organization, in overlapping waves. Each movement pattern is preceded and followed by other patterns that balance the overall developmental progression. From flexing to extending, pushing to reaching, the pieces of development gradually integrate to become purposeful, pleasurable and communicative movement through space. When all of these movement pathways are available and utilized, then physical, emotional and cognitive growth from childhood to adulthood is supported.
When any of the BNP’s are skipped or only partially developed, this can manifest in our lives as limitations or problems with our perceptions, movement or thinking. The developmental material and exploration of our movements include the Reflexes, Righting Reactions and Equilibrium Responses (RRR). These comprise an “alphabet” of movement which, when combined in sequence, forms the “words” of our movement, which we call the Basic Neurocellular Patterns (BNP). Together, the Reflexes and the Basic Neurocellular Patterns underlie volitional movement and establish a baseline for physical, emotional and cognitive choice-making.
There are also congenital or neurological impairments which can cause a gap in the natural progression of this sequencing. The developmental process can also be negatively impacted by abuse or trauma, either in infancy or later in childhood. Whatever the cause, when interruption of this process is severe, it often leaves a rigid survival pattern in its wake. These interruptions are carried into our adult lives, where they show up as limitations in our choice making.
The good news is that the pathways in our nervous system which govern BNPs are not destroyed and can be revived through movement. If we revisit these BNP movement patterns, with skilled support, we can awaken the intrinsic knowledge. By exploring and integrating missing links of developmental movement, the mind can respond, finding flexibility with less habitual reactions. We expand our capacity for greater ease in our relationship and interaction with our environment.