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Last Updated: 12.06.23

Ido Portal: The Science & Practice of Movement

Huberman hosts Ido Portal, the world’s leading expert on human movement. They explore the role of the nervous system, reflexive versus deliberate movement, and the mind-​​body connection. Ido shares valuable knowledge on learning, neuroplasticity, and leveraging movement for cognitive and creative skills.

Key Takeaways

High level takeaways from the episode.

Ido Portal: world expert in movement

  • Studies various forms of movement (capoeira, martial arts, dance, gymnastics, etc.)
  • Trained top athletes like Conor McGregor
  • Both a practitioner and intellectual of movement

Ido’s conception of movement practice:

  • Encompasses physical movement, movement of emotions, and movement of thoughts

Movement practice involves:

  • Focusing on the movement of limbs
  • Focusing on how movement makes you feel and how feelings make you move

Movement is the entity that ties everything together

  • Integrates mind and body in motion
  • Action, emotion, and thought are three streams of movement

Squat challenge: accumulate 30 minutes a day in the squat position, unloaded, just resting

  • Fundamental resting position, replaced by sitting
  • Useful for digestion, lower back pain, hip pain, knee pain, and aging
  • Helps maintain body’s foldability

Value in observing animal movements for inspiration and understanding of our own movement capabilities

  • Example: chameleon’s feet and their ability to stick to walls using vanderval forces

No concrete evidence, but experiences suggest that movement of the core of the body can evoke certain categories of emotional states

  • Ida Rolf: “The issues are in the tissues”

Singing and dancing may have come before articulated speech and language

  • Species with elaborate language and true song also have the capacity to dance
  • Movement of the body may have promoted or driven the evolution of speech and language

Language is movement and movement is language

  • Reading involves low-​​level muscular activity in the larynx and pharynx

More accurate language becomes, the more “dead” it becomes

  • Less of a movement entity, less dynamic in nature

Chin placement and its effect on vision and alertness

  • Chin down, eyes up: increased alertness
  • Chin up, eyes down: more calm and quiescence

Peripheral vision and reaction time

  • Reaction time is faster in peripheral vision mode
  • Useful in sports and driving

Balancing focus and open awareness

  • Modern culture overly emphasizes focus
  • Open awareness is more natural and can improve overall well-being

Visual deficits in young people

  • Myopia (nearsightedness) caused by lack of panoramic vision
  • Importance of looking at distant objects to maintain eye health

Playful exploration of new possibilities can lead to evolution in sports, music, dance, and intellectual endeavors

  • Introducing variability can lead to mastery and innovation

Humans are natural improvisers

Touch deprivation in adults is an issue

  • People seek out activities like Brazilian Jiu-​​Jitsu for touch

Communicating through movement with loved ones

  • Walking, playing, and being romantic together
  • Sex as a continuum, not a defined start and end point

Touch can help with trauma recovery

  • Controlled reexposure to trauma can diminish emotional response
  • Avoiding traumatic experiences can heighten state of readiness and prime more trauma

Linear forms of exercise (e.g., weight training, yoga, running)

  • Can be limiting in terms of movement exploration

Emphasizes the importance of exploration and play in movement practices

  • Encourages trying different combinations and approaches to discover new things
  • Practitioners should have a humble, open-​​minded, and curious attitude


Science-​​based tools and supplements that push the needle.

Ido Portal: Daily Squat for Pain, Aging



We recommend using this distillation as a supplemental resource to the source material.

  • Ido Portal: The Science & Practice of Movement

    Huberman Lab #77

    Ido Portal, the world’s top movement expert, discusses the nervous system, reflexive movement, and the mind-​​body connection.

Full Notes

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