Walking – As a Diagnostic Tool

7 Oct


(This is a post from my older blog from 2007/2008. Enjoy 🙂

Walking as a diagnostic tool

One of the most common activities in our day is walking. It allows us to get from one place to another with minimum effort and can be sustained for long periods of time.

Walking can also be used as a diagnostic tool to determine the condition of your body or psyche.
To start with you need to become aware of your excessive physical tension:

Part 1
To feel this the first drill is to start walking and breathing calmly, in through the nose and out through the mouth.
After a short time exhale and hold. That’s it, hold your breath after the exhale, for as long as possible.

Now the important part of this exercise is to stay calm and feel what is happening inside of you.
Do you feel an uncomfortable pain in your stomach or chest, or is it somewhere else? The place where this feeling arises is where you have excessive tension.

Repeat this drill a few times and for a variation count your steps while holding your breath.
Try to hold your breath longer and longer each time.

Part 2
Next we will look for muscular or structural imbalances.
Start walking again and breath calmly.
Now try to notice a number of things about your walk:
– do you have a slight bounce or bee-bop
– do you sway from side to side or forwards and backwards
– does one leg tighten up excessively more than the other
– is your lower back or spine tense (a good drill to check this is put your hands on your lower back and feel how it tenses up when you walk and attempting to minimize that tension)
– are your feet facing forwards or are they pointing outwards like a duck
are you allowing your feet to strike the ground heel to toe, toe to heel or are you slapping them flatly down
– are you holding your shoulders up or keeping your arms stiff and not allowing them to move gently.
Try to feel as many things as you can about your walk.

Part 3 – with a partner

For the final drill we are going to train our walk to be as free and relaxed as possible. This one requires a partner.

1 – You start walking around fowards backwards, rotating etc and first the partner looks at you and tells you where he/she sees tension.

2 – After this they will walk beside you and massage any tense points they see. They can also pat, or slap the tense parts of your body so you become aware of the tension.

Do this drill for a while and you will find that your spine, hip and shoulders are a lot more free and mobile.

Have fun walking.


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