There is a place of ease where the body is upright in such a way as to minimize the muscular forces working to hold us up. Walking well can be an effortless event carried along by the force of gravity. As we learn to live in this place of ease on a regular basis, ease in the body can become a constant in our lives. Instead most of us live in a body where the muscles are asked to do way more than necessary. Walking well requires a body that is balanced in its alignment. Is yours? Stand up and see for yourself.
Stand with the feet about four inches apart and pay attention to how you hold yourself in space. Where is the weight in your feet? What are your calves doing? Are your thighs falling forward of your ankles or are your legs situated underneath your pelvis? Keep working your way up the body. Is your pelvis tucked under or stuck out?
Try to imagine the base of your ribcage and feel if it is level with both the floor and the pelvis. Last but so far from least, is your head positioned directly over your shoulders?
Walking well is not usually an option because most people have fallen out of alignment in similar ways. See if the picture above resonates with you. The calves sink backward taking the weight of the feet into the heels. The backward movement of the calves is counteracted by a forward thrust of the femur (thigh) bones, which drag the pelvis forward and down at the back. This action arches the lower back and drags down the middle back, which is one of the factors creating the tilting ribcage. The upper back pulls backwards to counter the lower back moving forward and finally the head begins its journey forward because nothing in the spine is providing any support at the neck.
This might not be you exactly but the odds are if you look around as you walk down the street you will find many that fit the bill. It is not hard to start to change and start walking well. Awareness is the beginning of a body’s renaissance. Simply begin to pay attention to how you stand and how you walk. You want to begin to play with the feeling of getting the bottom half of the body underneath the top. If you can find this, muscles will begin to relax.
Here is an easy way to begin your adventure with new posture and walking pattern. Walking well starts with the pelvis. As you stand try to bring your femur (thigh) bones directly beneath the pelvis. This should release your buttocks and allow your quadriceps muscles (thigh) to take a little less of the load. This is a simple and very valuable first step towards walking well.