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What's Up With Your Walk?

With LA's "safer at home" rule, I have a lot more free time to walk. And most of my walking is solo of course to honor social distancing. The good thing is, this allows time for self-exploration. What's happening with my walk today? Where am I holding excess tension? How is what I'm thinking affecting the way I'm walking?

Are you a pusher or a puller? I notice two common ways we interfere with the natural coordination of walking; some of us like to "Push" ourselves through space (myself included!) by leading with the chest or pelvis out in front of the torso which causes a narrowing and tightening in the back body. Or, the "Puller" tends to pull the chest and torso down onto the pelvis which is happening in the photo above. Both of these habitual tendencies cause compensations throughout the entire body which may cause pain and long-term dysfunction.

How do we change these ingrained habits? First we stop and become aware -- awareness is the first principle of the Alexander Technique. The next time you go for a walk take time to pause and do some spatial sensing; First, sense the ground underneath you -- do you even notice your feet? Then, sense the space above you -- where is up? Where is your head in relation to your body? Sense what's in back of you...your own back! And sense a widening out across your shoulders and rib cage so your breath can come in. Sensing yourself this way creates a three dimensional kinesthetic awareness that opens up your joints and muscles so movement happens naturally with less force and strain.

When you walk without all the extra bracing, holding or collapsing, there's a natural rotation that starts to happen. You'll see this in the photo below; this beautiful child isn't interfering with his natural coordination; his head is freely directing up off the top of his spine, his torso is back and wide -- and from this length and expansion, a natural rotation happens from his feet through his entire spine.

So, stop and sense; sense the ground.. sense the fullness of your body in space, and sense your surroundings. Then allow that natural sense of "Up" to release you on your way!

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