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How to Use My feet

bettydr40
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How to Use My feet

I am confused about your description of the glide walk. You say that the front and back foot form a L. That means that one of the feet is completely turned out at some point. Need clarification on that point.
As far as I can make out, the walk is initiated from the hip. The hip sways out and slightly down toward the back, supporting leg, pushing the body weight to the outside of that foot and creating a stretch all along the outside of the standing leg. The hip of the front, articulating leg, raises slightly to allow the leg to swing forward.
Then the hip swings to the other side, initiating the next step. The weight shifts to the what was the front leg as the previously standing leg swings forward. This shift in the hips brings the body weight to the front and inside of the back leg. Then the final push off comes from the big toe of the back leg.
Corrections, please.

deb voisin Bild
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Hi, Betty- I am glad you asked a question!

Walking is more and more enjoyable as it starts to smooth out and you feel like you are gliding. At the same time, it can be a bit tricky to put all the pieces together.

We like to focus on one thing at a time when practicing while keeping our mind on the big picture of strong, smooth, relaxed gliding. Sometimes I imagine that I have a big pot of water on my head and think about whether all the water would stay in the pot or spill out as a measure of how well I am "glide walking".

I'm not sure where you got the impression that the back foot forms an "L" with the front foot. The oldest human foot prints found 3.4 million years ago in Tanzania show the natural shape of the human foot path while walking (page 192 in 8 Steps to a Pain Free Back).  The feet are in the kidney-bean shape, which means they are both rotated out slightly at 10 to 15 degrees and the heels touch either side of a line. There is a slight external rotation on both legs but nothing extreme. We recommend standing over a line on a floor board and getting in the position where both your front and back foot are at a 10 to 15 degree angle out and the inner edges of the heels both just barely touch the line running underneath your pelvis from front to back. (Also in the book)

We find it helps people to think about the hips primarily as staying even right to left and there is a little bit of natural rise and fall of the hips side to side, but not very much. 

Grabbing the earth with your kidney bean feet/arches and keeping the back heel pressing into the ground with a straight back leg and landing quietly on a soft front knee in a smooth fashion, with the hips parallell to the direction you are walking, and with the feet properly angled and spaced results in a gliding walking motion.

Walking is very difficult to describe in writing so here is an inspirational video of Esther for you to watch.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3fYClv-eems&feature=youtu.be

There is also nothing like a refresher class with a Gokhale Method teacher to really refine your walk! Walking has the most components and an element of timing that can really use feedback from a teacher.

Deb Voisin

Gokhale Method Teacher

 

 

 

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Dear Betty,

Thanks for your interest in learning the important points in the glidewalk.  I hope that the thoughtful and detailed comments you have received in response to your questions are helpful to you. I have one more thought to add to this discussion. Each forward step of the glidewalk is initiated by the contraction of the buttock and leg muscles on the opposite side of your body pushing your back heel into the ground and thus providing the energy to propel your front leg forward. So, if you want to step forward with your right leg, you contract your left buttock and leg muscles, thus pushing your left heel into the ground and causing your right leg to move forward.  Once your right foot lands on the ground, your left buttock and leg muscles relax and the right buttock and leg muscles engage to send your left leg forward.  Moving your hips a bit might help some people to engage their buttock (or gluteal) muscles but it is the engagement of the buttock(gluteal) and leg muscles that always initiates the glidewalk. In order to do a proper glidewalk it is very important to have your pelvis in an anteverted position. An anteverted pelvis means your behind is behind you and your buttock or gluteal muscles are in the proper position to engage with each step you take.

Good luck with finding the healthy, strong, relaxed and balanced glidewalk that all of us were born to use throughout our lives.

Roberta Cooks, MD

Gokhale Teacher

bettydr40
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06/04/2013 - 3:04pm

Thank you both for your thoughtful comments. Both are helpful.

bettydr40
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I thought I had heard the comment about the feet forming an L on a Gokhale video. Indeed, I did. It's around minute 14 in the video you recommended. The good news is I got to listen to the video again and loved even more than I did the first time. In the beginning of the video Esther talks about the feet being slightly turned out. It is only that one comment about the feet being in an L-shaped relationship.

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