Walking doesn’t have to be an uphill struggle! Within the pages of Walking: Nature’s Perfect Exercise you will find guidance, and exercises to help you walk more efficiently — whether you are crossing the street, going up and down stairs, or hiking on trails.
This book will help you:
- Achieve greater comfort and ease in walking by making simple postural changes
- Work with gravity instead of struggling against it
- Invite your muscles to participate naturally by following your “skeletal blueprint”
- Discover how the dynamics of walking apply to various terrains and surfaces
Each “Step” of this book teaches you to walk with greater comfort and power.
- THE FIRST STEP – Allow the Front of You to Lengthen
- SECOND STEP – Walk Smarter, Not Harder
- THIRD STEP – Fully Use Your Footprints
- FOURTH STEP – Allow Your Knees to be Supported by Your Feet
- FIFTH STEP – Allow Your Pelvis to Help You Walk
- SIXTH STEP – Allow Your Upper Body to Help You Walk
- SEVENTH STEP – Walk With Full Awareness
- EIGHTH STEP – Walking As Exercise
- About the Author and the Feldenkrais Method® of Somatic Education
- Subject Index
- Exercise Index
Allow the Front of You to Lengthen.
There is a definite relationship between your posture and the degree of ease you’ll have while walking. You already know that. However, you may not be aware that some of your efforts to maintain your posture may actually be making walking more difficult.
How do you gain posture that’s upright? Do you pull your shoulders back? What do you do to maintain upright posture?
The way you maintain your posture may be challenging your ability to walk comfortably and powerfully.
Any of those three might work long-term if we humans were marionettes with strings holding us up.
EXPERIMENT… Posture from the Top Down?
1. Stand resting both hands on the top of the back of a sturdy chair or have your hands rest on a tabletop or countertop.
2. Slouch. Then, as if you’re seven years old and your teacher commands, “stand up straight,” improve your posture.
3. Slouch again so you can discover what you actually do to bring yourself upright out of a slouch…
Do you pull your head up? If so, does the rest of your body follow?
Do you pull your shoulders back? If so, does that cause tension in your upper back and does your head remain forward in spite of pulling your shoulders back?
Do you pull your chest up? If so, how does this affect your breathing? Could you stay this way for very long?
Since you are not a marionette, would you like to learn how to maintain posture from the bottom up?
Exercise One… Posture from the Bottom Up.
1. Sit on a firm chair without your back touching the chair.
2. Position your feet a comfortable distance apart, making firm contact with the ground. Allow your knees to be as wide apart as the distance between your two feet.
3. Place both hands at your waist with your thumbs forward and your fingertips to the left and the right of your sacrum (five fused vertebrae in the center back of your pelvic bowl).
4. Slouch and notice that the top of your sacrum — your whole pelvic bowl — tilts backward a bit.
5. Rearrange your pelvis so that the top of your sacrum is no longer tilted backward.
6. Gently do this combination of slouching and then rearranging your pelvis a few times.
Notice that each time you rearrange your pelvis so that your sacrum is vertical instead of tilted, you are no longer slouched. Your pelvic bowl has a powerful influence on your posture.
7. As you rest for a moment, think about how your spine is the connecting link between your pelvis and your skull, and that your ribs wrap around from your spine to your sternum (“breastbone”).
8. Place the palm of one hand on your sternum in the center front of your chest, and the back of the other hand on your sacrum in the center back of your pelvis.
9. Sink your sternum a little bit and notice that no matter how little you sink your sternum, the top of your sacrum correspondently tilts backward.
10.Notice that each time your pelvis rearranges to un-tilt your sacrum, your sternum is passively lifted and the front of you lengthens. Notice if it’s easier to breathe fully when the front of you is lengthened.
11.Stand behind the chair with your hands resting on the top of the back of the chair.
12.Let your sternum sink and notice that no matter how little you sink your sternum, your coccyx (“tailbone”) at the bottom of your sacrum scoops forward and under you.
Rearrange your pelvis so that your coccyx is no longer scooped under you and your sacrum is more perpendicular to the ground. Consequently, your sternum also comes up to be perpendicular to the ground — and the front of you lengthens!
When your sternum and your sacrum are perpendicular to the ground, you whole spine is supported by your pelvis.