The most frequently asked questions re: walking are:
1. How will learning to walk with fluidity be useful if there is no pain?
It is the perfect preventive medicine. A weight-bearing joint that is out of balance or energetically crooked may not show even an ache until it topples over. Something as small as picking up a shoe or pushing a thumbtack into the wall can cause the joint to topple when the it is ready to blow. A balanced gait is also the way to your personal highest strength capacity. Muscles are strongest when used in efficient movement patterns which fluid balance will allow. Lastly, since we develop our shapes and contours in accordance with how we use muscles, (form follows function) things like double chins, saggy buns, pot bellies and saddlebags can be greatly influenced by using them efficiently. Choose a muscle or area you’d like to strengthen. Find the place within your walk that potentially uses it. Use it all the time!
2. Can anyone change how they walk?
Yes. The only people I’ve seen who have a hard time changing a walking or movement habit are people who think they can’t. They often believe that addressing something as basic as walking cannot help, and that it is too deeply ingrained. It takes practice and patience. It takes four focused five minute sessions daily using the corrective walking techniques described in my book. That’s all. And you can speed the process by doing some of the complimentary exercises also described and illustrated in the book, and by visualizing the changes you would like to see. Start by visualizing the long graceful steps that are already there. This walk is our natural vent.
3. Might joints besides those in the spine such as ankles, knees, hips, shoulders and necks be effected or weakened by how you walk?
Absolutely. The obvious ones are ankles, knees and hips. It is clear that if one of these joints is energetically crooked, it will get sore and effect others in a compensatory effort. Shoulders and necks are the surprise. Once you understand how the body works best symmetrically and how it’s all connected, you will understand how a small problem, a sore toe or a stiff neck can eventually cause the whole body to shift. When you walk with this “shift”, you can create real damage someplace far away from the original site of pain. Each weight bearing joint must be balanced and move with symmetry; walking symmetrically will strengthen and heal joints that were formerly out of balance. Imagine your feet are like cars. Press all 8 wheels into the ground as you walk–back wheels to front wheels, back wheels, to front wheels.
4. What is the most common postural or walking problem?
Leaning Back. If when you stand, you find that much of your weight is in your heels with less in the balls of your feet, then you lean back. There are many reasons that this occurs and most often is learned as a child or a compensation for an injury. Leaning back always links to not taking advantage of gravity. Without the help of the most natural physics law, <for every action there is an opposite and equal reaction> we compress instead of lifting up. Lifting up creates more fluid, stable, strong, and agile movement patterns. Press down a little more with every step!
5. What if I am crooked, from a spinal curvature or an old injury. Can I still create fluid movement patterns?
Yes. All of us are crooked. And this is not at all about being level or symmetric. You can have deep spinal curvatures or an old injury or a simple movement habit that creates a collapse on one side of a joint. That can cause trouble. If crooked is there, for any reason, and you learn to lift up inside of it, even if it remains crooked, not dropping down into it, strengthening the tissues all around it, makes it so there is no need for vulnerability or injury, just because of crooked. Start by working with gravity as you sit and read these Q&A’s. Grow taller from inside out. Not to the point or rigid. Try just a little. Put a little sticky note or dot to remind you to do this each time you sit to write or read. Imagine this is your new habit.
6. Can how you walk cause a disc or other back problem? Can changing how you walk reduce pain seemingly caused by back problems ?
Yes. A style of walking which compresses the low back can, by disuse, may weaken the abdomen and the back to the extent that one can develop sudden pain doing a relatively simple task. And, by learning to walk in your individual balance, i.e. using all of the core musculature with every step you take, they stretch and strengthen just the right amount, greatly reducing vulnerability to those kinds of injuries. Often the reason for the pain is actually the instability and weakness around the joint and disc. The movement becomes the healer, especially when it’s a fluid well balanced movement pattern. You can actually Walk Yourself Well.