If you see a woman walking down the street with that vacant look in her eye (like the way people look when they’re on the phone – the eyes are still there taking in input, but they’re not the primary sense on deck), it could be that she’s focused on her gait.
Me, for instance. Thanks to Barbara, Grace, and Gwynn at Body Dynamics in Falls Church, VA (personal trainers and therapeutic masseuse; and they TALK to each other, which is sort of disconcerting when I think I can get away with something with one that the other doesn’t know about…) (they always know), this is the evolution of my gait:
Pre-Body Dynamics: I’m walking. I’m walking. I wish I wasn’t walking. My lower back feels like it’s going to start spasming or cramping. Christ I hate to walk.
Barbara plus two months: I’m walking. Grip the low abs. GRRRRIP. Tilt the hips, tilt the hips, tilt the hips, damn, this feels weird… but my back feels a little better.
Barbara plus four months: I’m walking. Pelvis up, ribs down. Up. Down. My back doesn’t hurt but I feel constipated from my collar bones to my knees. How long can I keep this up?
Barbara plus Grace (ten months in): Neutral pelvis. Neutral. Where the hell is neutral? Rock the hips all the way up – now all the way back – now in between, that’s neutral. Oh, excuse me – I didn’t see you there. Yes, I was doing a rather odd dance. My apologies; I’ll pay more attention.
Barbara plus Grace (one year in): Neutral pelvis. Ribs down. Glutes. GLUTES. Where are the glutes? I can’t feel anything in my butt.
Barbara plus Grace plus Gwynn (one year, two weeks in): Extennnnnnd through the hip. Extennnnnd through the hip. Hey – butt muscles! Oops – neutral pelvis. Ribs down. Extennnnnd through the hips. I’m walking! Lookit me walking!
Barbara plus Grace plus Gwynn (fifteen months in): Obliques. Shoulders opposite hips. Twist from the waist. Tight abs. Neutral pelvis. Ribs DOWN – down, I say! Extennnnnd through the hips. Damn it – where did the obliques go?
Barbara plus Grace plus Gwynn (eighteen months in; today): Imagine a magnet between my thighs, drawing my aductors magnus together. Turn off the big glutes max that pull me splay-footed; let the feet fall straighter by focusing on the inner thighs. Stand up TALL. Neutral pelvis. Ribs down. Obliques do the twisting. Extennnnnd through the hips. Now move the LEFT foot.
The struggle to correct my gait now takes in so many muscle groups that I must either be getting smarter or some of this is becoming automatic; I suspect the later! Grace added the adductor magnets today. I walk like a robot.
No, that’s not true; I lost that constipated, rigid feeling pretty early (and not just because of Chip’s beneficial effect on my diet!), and when I move, I feel like I’m swinging pretty easily.
And now my back NEVER hurts… but you can see it in my eyes that I’m not really watching what’s in front of me when I walk; instead I’m chanting a litany of commands to my willful, wayward body and focusing on improving my gait.
So take pity on me if you see me on the street and give me a wide berth; there’s a whole lot of concentration going on!
Joshua Nava Arts. Used without permission, but lots of admiration.