The best way for your arms and shoulders to help in your walking is not to help.
Use Thinking to Transform Your Walking
Nothing happens in isolation in the body.
When you’re walking, the arms and shoulders are also involved, and what they’re doing (or not doing) makes a crucial difference to the quality of your walk.
You can use your thinking to make your walking easy and enjoyable and that’s what we’re going to be looking at in this activity. The best way to do this is to read through the instructions first and then use the talk through to guide yourself through the procedure.
What You’ll Need
- 15 – 20 minutes
- A quiet space where you can walk and think. Work by yourself initially; as you get comfortable with this, you can use it wherever you are.
What You Do: Stage 1
We’re going to start with Restful Standing, which we worked with in the section on Standing Well. That is, we start by
- Asking the neck to free up.
- Noticing the feet. Take the time to really be aware of how you’re standing on them, how your weight drops through them into the ground.
- Asking the feet to release onto the floor. Think of them releasing and spreading out on the floor so that the little muscles in your feet can have some space to work.
- Thinking up from the feet. You have to be very watchful with this one. Before you know it you’ll be trying to stretch yourself up, and that’s not what we want at all. Just stay with the thought of gently lengthening up from the floor, and let your muscles respond as they will.
Now we can think of going on into walking.
- Take a step forward. Let your foot rest completely on the floor as you put your weight on it.
- Think up off the foot so that it’s supporting you, but you’re not pushing down into it.
- Lift the other foot. Keep thinking up off the supporting foot which is now taking all your weight.
- Bring the lifted foot down onto the floor. Think up off it as it begins to take your weight.
- Remind your neck to stay free.
So far you have been working with the legs and feet. Now as you continue taking steps, pay attention to your arms and shoulders.
- Ask your shoulders to free up and your arms to drop at your side as you walk. You don’t need to hold on to them.
- Pay attention to your neck. Ask for it to remain free as you walk.
- Be aware of your eyes. Think of your eyes staying in your head, soft but aware, and not trying to push out in order to see.
You’re walking with thought and care, in a way that allows your muscles to work without strain.
As you explored these activities, I hope you’ve realised just how skilled, complex and intricate these simple acts of standing, sitting and walking are. Working with them regularly and patiently can bring about a whole lot of change in your movement.
How You Use This:
You can work with this any time you’re walking. Initially it will be easier to work with it when you’re by yourself. As you grow more skilled at it, you’ll be able to apply it wherever you are.
Create a Wellness Plan gives you a systematic way building your thinking and moving practice. The suggestions given there will help you to keep going until you’re comfortable with the whole process and ready for more independent explorations.
Other Activities You Can Try:
- Go through What the Alexander Technique Is Not. This will give you a clear idea of how exactly the Alexander Technique can help you.
- Check out Thinking Well to get a sense of how strongly our thinking influences our muscles.
- You can also opt for lessons. At the moment I’m only offering online sessions because that’s the safest way to have a lesson. Do check out Online Learning so that you can decide what would work best for you.
- Prefer an introductory lesson straightaway? Contact me to book a lesson – online, of course!
We don’t want the activity to be carried out by the doing process, we want to be carried out by a releasing process. (Walter Carrington)