05 Jun Thinking about walking …….
By Michelle Cole
I hope you continue to be well and are finding some positive aspects to life at this time.
The Alexander Technique is about process rather than outcome. It’s about learning to listen to your body. It’s not about faster or further but about flow and greater awareness.
Like many, I’ve been walking more as my daily exercise outdoors. Applying some Alexander thinking makes walking more fun, lighter and freer. Lucky for us all, it’s spring and we’re more likely to have a spring in our step!
Are you walking to get fit and work off that quarantine over-eating? If we are too goal orientated and not enjoying the walk we won’t move so well and this can lead to injury. Rushing while walking is also likely to create tension.
Experiment with some walking after lying down in Alexander Technique semi-supine.
Enjoy some conscious walking around your room after semi-supine. I find this time is an opportunity to experience myself in a different way provided I stay listening in to myself and not rushing off in to my next activity! You might notice a sense of being more grounded. You might notice that you feel more open; that you have more length and width. Continue to allow this as you walk around the room.
Here are some prompts:
Be on the ground
Bring awareness to the contact of your feet on the ground. Give yourself time to stop. Let your feet be wide and long with toes ungripping.
Pay attention to what is around you
What can you see? What sounds are coming to you? How does the air feel on your skin? Expand your field of attention.
Notice where your eyes are looking. Are they looking at the ground? Refocus to look out around you; remember to have a panoramic vision. This will help your head to be more poised on top of your spine. Your head is releasing upwards away from your spine. Keep thinking up as you walk.
Be in your back
You could start your walk by taking a very small step backward with one foot. Just bring it half a foot behind you and use it as an opportunity to think about your back and to be aware of the space behind you.
Allow your knees rather than your feet to lead the stride. Practise this first by walking on the spot. Think about allowing movement in all 3 joints of your legs: – ankles, knees, hips. As you walk think of the backs of your knees softening. Consider the length of your stride. I’ve noticed that too long a stride is a habit many people have that makes walking less free.
Once you’ve tried these ideas at home. Try them outdoors. Here are a couple more suggestions to consider.
Free your arms
Bags! Can you avoid carrying anything? Enjoy your arms swinging freely. At least don’t have your arms in your pockets and take a bag that hangs across your body diagonally (my preference) or backpack.Think of yourself as a whole body as you walk. Not just legs.
One of Alexander’s important observations was that we aren’t doing what we think we are doing. These days it’s so easy to use a phone to video ourselves. Get someone to video you walking and see what you notice about your habits. Or use a shop window. If you’re passing a shop window, stop and take the opportunity to notice your profile. Are you leaning forward?
Remember to look outwards and let your body move as a whole with softening in the backs of your knees and nicely swinging arms.