Our posture and the way we walk reflects so much of our journey through life– from imitating those who you bonded with as a child, to bearing the compensatory scars of accidents and injuries both large and small, and the primal, sometimes crippling effect that fear, our most primal emotion, has on our muscles and bones. It is an exploration that is both physical and emotional as we confront the why of our movement pattern and physical traits. But there is danger on this path. To quote the German writer Geothe “Know myself? If I knew myself I’d run and hide.”
The body is designed to work and walk in a specific pattern but it doesn’t take much for it to lose its way. Even in utero events are conspiring against us; positioning in the womb, birth trauma, and our first breaths can affect our movement and posture long before we have control of our own destiny. Add to that the day-to-day reality of a life lived amongst others and machines, its aches pains and injuries all make finding ideal alignment difficult.
If your car gets a flat you are not going to go very far. The body doesn’t work in the same way. For example, if the inside of the foot falls into disrepair the outside of the foot will begin to help and you will keep on walking. The problem with this is that the outside of the foot is then compromised in its original purpose, because it has now taken on two roles instead of one.
This is going on all over the body, but it doesn’t need to be a bad thing. Think of yourself as a detective. Start to explore the way you walk and try to think about why things are moving the way they do. Does one arm seem to move more than the other while you are walking? In your best posture is one shoulder lower or higher than the other? Can you think of why this might be?
It is very easy to go through life accepting your posture as what it is. You can walk the way you walk and reach your dying day without much trouble. But you can also rebuild your self in an image of your choice.
It starts with simple awareness. Begin to take note of where you ache. What moves where when you are walking? What seems right and what seems wrong? Most interestingly, begin to watch those close to you. You are your parents and siblings. Take note of the similarities and differences. Begin to watch strangers as well. Try to see how they walk and try to develop a sense of what seems right and wrong. Get to know yourself and the deeper meanings of the body will be revealed.