How to Walk
I do a lot of walking.
I don’t drive (getting my driver’s license is still a thing I need to do, despite me trying, but not ever finishing- several times. This is a topic for a whole separate blog post! 🙂 ), and also I have a 3 year old who love going to parks and running around, and I have a lot of groceries and errands that constantly need doing. So I walk. A lot.
I find that I see things differently, experience things differently when my feet are on the ground. I can notice interesting shops, and whenever possible, I go into said shops and feel as though I am in a different universe instantly. Random stores with odd trinkets and 90’s brands of perfume and Buddhas and toilet brushes all for sale at once, with a swirl incense smoke circling around….. vintage shops with jazz music and old women sipping tea behind the counter…. I love these kinds of places. There’s also the outside. The sky, and the trees, the air. Being outside and walking lets you experience, really experience the beauty of nature. I believe that a good walk outside is almost like medicine. Even on the days when I’m super sleep deprived because I’ve been up all night with a sick, teething baby, a quick jaunt outside makes me feel more energized. It instantly makes me feel better.
So, how do you walk properly though? Another thing I sometimes notice when I’m out walking is feet. My feet, other people’s feet…. How do these feet move when they are walking? How are my feet moving, and is it healthy? Is it the right way to walk? You can blame yoga for this fixation. In yoga, we are training ourselves to become more aware of the subtleties of the body. Where our bodies are in space, where are we tight, where are we looser, how do we move, and what are our habits? Anyone who’s taken a yoga class understands that the feet are a major part of the practice. We spread our toes, we feel where the weight is under the feet; is it more under the heel or the ball of the foot? Is the foot collapsing inward or is the inner arch lifted? The feet are important because they are the foundation for the pose. What the rest of your body is doing can effect the feet, and vice versa as well; what your feet are doing can effect the rest of the body.
This is something I am always working on when walking. How am I walking?? Where, under my heel, am I hitting? Is it the centre of the back of heel, or falling inward, or outward, slightly? When you really start to focus on it, there is so much to think about!!!
Leslie Kaminoff, and anatomy expert, made a short, concise video about how the foot was designed to work, and how to walk properly.
There are also quite a few articles on the interwebs that explain proper walking form really well. I enjoyed this one.
Another interesting thing I do is to look at bottom of my shoes. (I am a party animal.) Where do my shoes wear out the most? Is the wear extreme, or subtle? If you notice your shoes start to get really worn in one particular area over time, this may be a sign of other imbalances in the body as well. Over time, this may result in bad knees, bad hips, or a bad back.
If you do find a crazy imbalance, might be a good idea to go see a body worker, like a physio therapist, osteopath, or chiropractor. They can help you determine what the exact causes of imbalance are, and help you to start to work your way towards a more balanced body. In fact, from my experience, one of the first things some body workers do to assess you is ask you to walk around so they can watch how your body moves. It’s not awkward at all. 🙂
So now I walk outside, I peak into magical shops, I take in the air and sun and trees, and I feel my feet and my spine and my shoulders. And I try to put myself into balance. As much as I can. And I keep breathing. And loving every step of it.