We are Movement Specialists
Hello, I’m Brian Azarian. Founder of Connect LLC
My journey with movement started just like everyone else’s journey. I was born, I learned how to roll around, crawl, stand, walk, run, jump, climb, so on and so on… and before I knew it, I was 27 years old with crippling pain in every joint and barely able to move through the day. Yet to the untrained eye, I was a lean, mean, 220lb muscle-maxed machine, that looked incredibly fit. My whole life I was told to push past the discomfort, and to keep digging, and that pain was weakness leaving the body. I can finally see now that what I once believe was true fitness, was all smoke and mirrors. So where did I go wrong?
The moment when you are told to “sit still” and “be quiet” goes much further than the meaning of those words. It is a halt of our true expression of ourselves through movement and play that we now must learn how to govern and control. We lose our intuitive and playful inner child, and that child is now forced to “grow up” and act like an adult. What many of us don’t know is that this playtime is essential for our maturation into adulthood and stopping it has serious repercussions regarding emotional, mental, social, and physiological development. It is our birthright to play and move, and we are robbed of it too soon in the process of domestication. Play is what allows us to test the boundaries of our physical capabilities without even realizing it, and also a means for us to explore social interaction and role playing. This is the most natural form of training there has ever been and studies have shown that using the method of play is a catalyst when it comes to learning.
I stopped playing so much when I got to middle school. There was no more recess, girls where now on my radar and I actually began to become self-conscious about how I looked, dressed, moved and acted. In other words, I stopped being my playful, imaginative self and wanted to fit-in. Later, competition in sports added more pressure and lack of confidence (or fear) drove me to a place where I just wanted to be as big and tough as possible, to ward off any danger or threats. This fueled a disembodied career of body building, powerlifting, aggressive behavior in sports and the ultimate road to completely forgetting how to move properly.
So what do you do when your body is broken and you can’t do the things you love anymore? You do what anyone would do and you go to the doctor so he can fix you. I spent thousands of dollars of my own money to be told by numerous medical professionals to; “take a few weeks off”, “don’t do anything that hurts”, let’s try exploratory surgery”, “you’re getting old (really?! I’m 27). Deep down, I knew all of these answers were a load of crap, and I was not about to let my life just erode before me. My fate was to be changed by the hands of a body worker while traveling to Sri Lanka- I thought I was getting a sports massage, turned out to be much, much more This experience was not only one that “woke” my body up (starting with the feet), but it was the first time that all of my ailments could be explained simply by how I was moving my body. It was the most revealing moment of my life and I knew right then and there it was up to me to take responsibility for healing myself from all the damage I had done.
The past 3 years has been transformative physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. And it all started with regaining control over my big toes… Switching to barefoot shoes and waking the soles of my feet up opened the gates to countless breakthroughs in body awareness and my approach to movement in general. The traditional methods I used to train for sports and build muscle had greatly distorted my ability to move fluidly, and the tension was so great, I could barely feel my body. I began to study yoga, martial arts and natural movement. Using my passion for the outdoors to provide an arena of testing my movement capabilities, mountain biking, hiking, surfing, skiing and tree climbing all became my benchmark to measure progress, instead of hitting new personal records in lifting weights or how much body fat I am carrying. Spending my time studying how the body should move instead of studying the physical features of fitness models who aren’t moving on the cover of Men’s Health or Instagram. In other words I shifted my focus from “looks” to “performance” and viewed playing outside as my gym.
Through the practice of natural movement, I not only restored function and relieved chronic pain in my body, but became so much more aware of how I am moving in general. From how I sit at the dinner table to how I take out the trash. I am more and more present in my movements everyday, and in doing so, my body finds the most efficient way to do things- it is a constant process of refinement and awareness. Most of all, I have confidence in the way I move because my life revolves around playing (making everything a game), which means I am constantly testing my capabilities in a fun setting. Total freedom to express myself in movement anyway I want; dance, yoga, riding and skiing, swinging on trees and just viewing the world as my playground. My relationship with myself and my body has been greater than ever before and I am truly “loving” myself for all my strengths and weaknesses as I continue on this journey of healing and self-development.