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Walking and Organizing it All

Walking is not something we think about often. That is, how we walk. How a person organizes their body to walk is referred to as gait. Our gait feels and should feel normal to us although it may have changed over time due to any number of factors. What we do all day, our stress levels, emotional states, injuries, clothing, fatigue, weight change, all can have an effect on our gait. This becomes important because we walk throughout the day. Even if it is not much, we must do it to get ourselves from one place to the next. It is a repetitive and yet beautiful system of many movements that coordinate into the activity we call walking. If one movement is compromised, it can affect gait as a whole. Like putting a wrench in our gears. Of course we are not machines, so it is not as simple as that. Our amazing ability to adapt to change insures that we rarely fall down. Meaning that if the body is restricted in its usual way of functioning, it will find another way of functioning. It is important that we do this, but sometimes these other ways, or compensations, become uncomfortable in the long run. If change is needed, we need a keen sense of consciousness to undo our doing and bring strength back to a more harmonious way. Our nervous system will always work towards making what we do most naturally feel normal regardless of the level of tension or lack of support. This can be tricky, because the sensations of moving differently can feel so wrong or lost to us that it can easily overwhelm the sense of ease created by finding more efficiency. Taking the time to understand gait can be a catalyst to a “wake up” in your own body. It is OK to just go, but “how we go” determines where we end up and in what state of mind and body.