Thursday, June 7, 2012

Falling, Yes, I Am Falling......

Feel a song coming on?  Yeah.  Me too.  Good times :o)

My colleagues and I have put a lot of time and effort into studying how to achieve perfect alignment (because one's muscles think it is SO FUN). We observe ourselves and our clients before mirrors seeing a great many things:  there are so many different ways to hold unnecessary tension in the body and only ONE way to absolutely relax (and I'm not talking about vodka).

Being in natural alignment means you are not having to grip anything much at all:  everything's in it's natural placement and ready for you to make your next move.  And few of us (in affluent cultures) are there or anywhere near where you could see it with field glasses.

So you've read the book (and if you haven't, it's time) click here, you're stretching your calves and everything else that's tight and that's GREAT.  You rock :o)  Looking in the mirror:  weight's in my heels, check. Pelvis, shoulders, and head backed up and all stacked up perfectly.  Yay!  I've finally made it!  Whoo Hoo.  Too bad you're stuck in front of the mirror, cause when you get your shoes on (your minimalist shoes on) and take your act on the road, the tension's back. "I'm back :o)"

Let this be an amusement to you, but all this alignment study and stretching is pointing toward you being able to arrange yourself naturally and move through life that way.  Which may be a whole lot different from being able to arrange yourself successfully before a mirror....

We often hear reports that the old AND feeble complain their balance isn't good and they're afraid they're going to fall down.   I'd like to give them a shout out to validate their awareness of themselves and what's going on in their universe, because they are falling down.  What's different is they don't catch themselves as reliably as they once did.

Everywhere there's gravity, the act of walking [forward] is driven by posterior leg muscles.  (equal and opposite reaction, right?)  The same all over.  In Venice, the gondolier generates force back to move you forward. 
Paddling your own canoe, you push your paddle back to move you forward.  Well, walking is no different.  You stick your straight leg down on the ground and push back to move you forward.  Oh, no, wait.  You don't walk that way:  you kick your foot out in front of you and you fall on it AND your knee's bent when you hit .  Well, it gets us down the road, but at the expense of our delicate tissues.

If you were very clever, you'd stop falling and start locomoting.  For this to happen, you put your pole (leg) down on the ground and "pole back."  This moves all of you ahead where the inactive leg is dangling (ever so briefly) right beneath you.  You receive your body's weight on that straight leg which is at a right angle to the pull of gravity and you repeat the process on the other side.  Neither foot ever gets out in front of you and you are not at any time in the process, falling down.  This is especially because you swing the passive side's arm back to balance you out. (one day soon: link to a little movie right here)

This process depends on none of you getting ahead of any other part of you, which means for 'fallers' [like you]: quit leaning into it, get your weight back over the front of the heels (right where the bony bump on your ankle is-- which is why you want your weight there, btw) and for maximum enjoyment, supporting the body's weight on straight legs.  You think your legs are straight.  They're not.

If you were all aligned and un-grippy (well, BEING aligned means that all of you is un-grippy) you could walk across the Bering Straits, or the Iberian Peninsula, or a really long way (and our ancestors certainly did).  You'd maximize your output as you'd use your body as the designer intended.  You wouldn't dream of hauling composting cow manure in this, would you?

Or pee here:
Of course you wouldn't.  :o)

So now that you know it's un-clever to be falling instead of locomoting (and/or tooling around in your Tesla roadster), it's time to straighten up and fly right (& I don't mean in an air-chaise like in WALL-E).  

There's a long list of tissue damage that occurs when one's falling which doesn't occur when one's locomoting.  I was keenly aware  my knees weren't happy with me anymore as I had been falling-not-walking for six decades.  In the year or so I've been working on walking-not-falling through life I can testify that my body is a whole lot happier with my ever more natural alignment.  It might be an easier trip for you, but even if it's longer and more arduous, the reward will be the same:  a healthy body ready to respond to whatever your next move is....  tap dancing, anyone?
Betcha Ginger did a LOT of calf-stretching in her time....