Walk This Way with Nic - Part 2 (Week 6, Term 4, 2016)

In classes this term we've talked about our exercises supporting our ability to move differently in every day life. So it's not so much you are trying to radically change how you walk while you walk, that can be a little intense people! It's more that after doing your Gait Essentials exercises (or just a calf stretch) you have woken up the muscles you'd like to get involved (and given them some extra space to do so without strain).

Last week in classes we practiced pelvic listing (a key to walking well) before and after our exercises - and found it felt a lot smoother. The week before we worked on external rotation before and after a series of supporting exercises, and, again, found it much easier at the end. Nicole has summed this up in Part 2 of her walking series. Remember, Nic is not saying go out there and immediately change your gait to look exactly like this. What we work to do is recognise where our current patterns might limit us and change them to support our ability to walk more like this. More on changing habits next week!

Some Components of walking well…

•Walking is like a jet propulsion forward, a push from behind. {We tend to walk nowadays by putting one foot out in front of the other (with the knee bend driving the movement) and using that to stop us from falling forward}
 
•Smooth/easy pattern
 
•Torso is above the legs not out in front of them or bent over
 
•Arms swing to the rear (rather than out in front)
 
•Pelvis and head are relatively still
 
•Legs are straight both on push off and landing
 
•Hamstrings are required to be at their full length and strong
 
•Hip adductors are strong
 
•Gluteal muscles are naturally strong
 
•Relaxed psoas/hip flexors/quads so that stride is long behind you
 
•Optimal pattern is heel / toe

So we need the length and the strength in our muscles to allow the impetus for healthy walking to come from behind us - but a lot of the aspects of a Western life mean the opposite tends to be true. Don't take our word for it though - do your Gait Essentials practice before you go for a walk and see how it feels. Or do what I did the other day, run upstairs to do something having only calf stretched one leg. Actually don't, it felt terrible! But it really emphasised to me how important that one exercise can be.  Thanks for some inspiring classes and Blogs Nic!

 This weeks entry in our Standing Massage Mat competition comes from the lovely Annette. Annette had asked about the Strap Stretch. While it is great to do it utilising your upper body strength to hold the strap - there is also great benefit in a longer release. Here we are using a door frame for support and this week in classes we'll also try using a chair. Don't forget to put the strap around the ball of the foot and draw it back towards you (elbows in and shoulders down away from ears) - that way you'll feel that delicious sense of opening from the back of the foot all the way up the back of the leg - and keep your neck and shoulders happy too.

This weeks entry in our Standing Massage Mat competition comes from the lovely Annette. Annette had asked about the Strap Stretch. While it is great to do it utilising your upper body strength to hold the strap - there is also great benefit in a longer release. Here we are using a door frame for support and this week in classes we'll also try using a chair. Don't forget to put the strap around the ball of the foot and draw it back towards you (elbows in and shoulders down away from ears) - that way you'll feel that delicious sense of opening from the back of the foot all the way up the back of the leg - and keep your neck and shoulders happy too.

 A group entry for the standing massage mat competition? Might be tricky to share. This is post Nic's brilliant Neck and Shoulder workshop on Tuesday. We had our coffee and a catch up on the floor afterwards, rather than sitting on chairs! Haven't had a chance to work with Nic yet?  She's teaching some Summer classes. If you crave a blend of Yoga wisdom, deep relaxation and a biomechanically based, functional approach to movement - look no further!

A group entry for the standing massage mat competition? Might be tricky to share. This is post Nic's brilliant Neck and Shoulder workshop on Tuesday. We had our coffee and a catch up on the floor afterwards, rather than sitting on chairs! Haven't had a chance to work with Nic yet? She's teaching some Summer classes. If you crave a blend of Yoga wisdom, deep relaxation and a biomechanically based, functional approach to movement - look no further!