How to walk well, the Somatic way

 No one taught you how to walk. Yes, you likely had a support team cheering you on, but ultimately YOU taught yourself to walk

There were several preliminary "training" stages to get you to walking stage of development. You neurologically trained of your body over time to balance your head, arch your back, crawl, sit up, stand up, then start learning to walk. A lot goes into walking and it's a process that once mastered, can be taken for granted. That is, until (and if) walking becomes challenging again, later in life.

It's a common myth, but lack of mobility, stability and ease in your body is not due to aging.  Instead, it's caused by repeatedly contracting your body in certain ways, which throw your body off kilter, and therefore alter your relaxed walking pattern. Things like 

  • sprained ankles
  • twisted knees
  • hiking a bag over one shoulder
  • sitting cross legged (usually with the same leg over the other)
  • repeatedly holding your baby on one hip (and not the other)
  • repeating that pattern with baby no. 2, and so on
  • working with a laptop and track pad with your dominate hand 
  • how you hold and play with your devices 
  • and so much more
Chronically using your body in these patterns will alter your posture and gait, which in turn will impact how you do everything else in your life. It's like taking a medication that causes side effects and then you take another medications for the side effect(s), and so on.

Tips to improve your walking (and running) 

Move your TORSO
Imagine a sprinter hauling butt down the track. Her whole body is moving, not just her legs and arms. Your spine should gently rotate around a fulcrum point, near your waist. This rotation will give you a lot more power to move, than just pumping your legs and arms.

Stop bracing
Start by walking and noticing if you are stiff anywhere in your body. Maybe you've been injured in the past and you are still protecting the area, i.e. bracing. Holding an area of your body rigidly will hinder your whole body's ability to move with ease. 

Take nice breaths, ideally lower down in your ribcage, vs up at your collar bones. Upper chest breathing is where we breathe when we are stressed, anxious or in danger. Allowing your breaths to expand down into  lower in your lungs, with your lower ribs expanding out a bit to the sides, behind the breast bone, and even out to the back of the lower ribs can make running more enjoyable and a lot easier. (Belly breathing is great for helping you relax while at rest/sitting/or lying down.  While in motion you should have a slight bit of muscle engagement around your abdominal region.

Push your feet back, vs picking up your feet
Think of ice skating or cross country skiing. If you picked up your feet and put them down, expecting to glide across the ice and snow, you wouldn't get very far, right? You'd need to push back to go forward. Same goes with walking and running! Yeah, you gotta pick up your feet a bit, but the propulsion from the back foot will make motion stronger and faster, with less effort. Try it!

Try this exercise to improve your walking.

Stand with your legs and feet parallel
First, just think about stepping your left foot forward and imagine how you would do that.

Then slowly, start to take an actual step forward.

What do you notice? Can you feel the shift of your weight onto your right leg and foot?

Stop, stand, and repeat that a few times with the left leg swinging forward.

Then repeat with whole process, starting with imagining swinging your right foot and leg forward.

Does it feel different on each side of your body? 
The same?
Can you feel how the standing leg is the one that actually is doing the work to get you to move forward? Kind of cool, right?! 😁

All these tips and explorations are the first steps to improving your walking. But what I'm not saying is just "tell your body" to function a certain way. That's the personal trainer/physical therapist approach. You are told by "professionals" do function a certain way and everything will be peachy. If moving pain free was that easy, everyone would feel great just by thinking it should be that way.

You can't think your way into better movement patterns.

If you want to create lasting changes, you first need to know what you are actually doing, so you can release that pattern before layering on a new one. That is the SOMATIC way to change.

Learning how to use Somatics and the wonders of pandiculations to release this chronic tension is key. You can't just "tell" your body to change, you need to learn to release the tension on a neurological level. 

Somatics make the process a hell of a lot quicker and simpler. Ready to make walking and running easier, at any age? 

I have hundreds of recordings for you to reclaim your freedom of movement and enjoyment for life on my website. 

I offer three membership options to fit your budget and learning style. And you can cancel at any time. :-)

And right now, all levels have access to a 4-Lesson Collection of Somatics for Walkers and Runners. This bundle is always included in the Level 2 & 3 Plans, and for the next 4 weeks or so, Level 1 Members can enjoy it too, along with a permanent collection of the basics of Somatics. 

Oh, one more thing. I have a special offer on the Level 2 plan as well. $10 off the regular price, in honor of Think Somatics 10 year anniversary!

I hope these tips help you. Let me know in the comments or email to let me know. 😀

take good care,


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