Day 84: Re-learning to Walk

Swing Walking (Graphite)

Swing Walking (Graphite)

This week has been quite a long one with lots of stuff happening… some of it has resulted in the subject of today’s practice and therefore needs some explanation.

For several years I’ve had trouble with lower back pain on one side, it varies daily from quite annoying to barely noticeable. For about six years I’ve attended Pilates classes and a chiropractor, which help enormously but haven’t made it go away. I began to think I must be doing something to aggravate it as by the end of each week I need Pilates to stretch it again.

I was recommended to try Rolfing and have now been stretched in even more ways. Better still I’ve been introduced to the idea that the way I walk may be causing all my problems! Maybe you can see where we’re going? My teacher suggested I watch an old video about rhythm which suggests that Zambian women can walk so far and carry such weight on their heads because of the swinging style of their walk – using vertical alignment, rhythm and the elasticity of their muscles to compensate for the load.

So, I am now fascinated with the dynamics of walking and amazed at the gracefulness and strength of these ladies. I’m also practising walking like Marilyn Munroe, who apparently has the same method – and it’s harder than it looks!