Friday, May 09, 2008

Hurry With Your Heels

I've been working with a Physical Therapist recently on some long standing low back issues that I struggle with. I'd never been to a PT before, and was a little bit skeptical. I'm now a total believer! :)

We've been working on many things, including strengthening my 'core' (the abdominal and low back area of the body). It turns out that for some reason, my body has gotten confused. Some critically important muscles have become chronically 'turned off' while other muscles have been working overtime - to the point of cramping and spasm at times. Fascinating.

We have some theories about why this has happened, and as I work to address those issues (both physcially and in consciousness) we are busy retraining my muscles to come off and on when they are supposed to. It's a very interesting process.

My PT gave me a really neat 'modification' to my way of walking this week. She said that she observed me leaving the clinic one day and noticed that I walked in a very distinct and somewhat unbalanced way.

She said, "It's almost like your head and heart are charging out in front to lead the way and your body is just running to catch up." She talked to me about what that was doing to the muscles in my low back, and how it was most likely involved in some of the problems I was having.

She pointed out that it isn't as simple as 'changing the way we walk, sit or move' because all of those things reflect deeper aspects of our character and personality. We have to do some interior work in order to restore a more healthy physcial stance. That, of course, makes perfect sense to me.

She went on to explain that I needed to get grounded on my feet, centered in my core, and move my whole body, mind and spirit from that solid, stable place. She calls it 'hurrying from your heels.' In other words, I can still hurry, be efficitient, get lots done, but she's advocating that my body be completely involved in the process, and not merely drug along for the ride!

So now, my process is to center myself on my heels/feet (I was tending to walk a bit on my toes), 'activate' my core, and swing my legs from my hips very deliberately. It feels AMAZING! What a difference it makes to get centered before moving!!

All the while, I'm working on the 'inner' part of this equation. My head and heart are critically important to me, and I value their judgement and their guidance. Now, however, I seek to balance their input with my physicality and let it all move together in one fluid, coordinated, balanced dance. It is making a huge difference in how I feel physcially... as well as mentally and emotionally.

Whenever I catch myself about to 'take off' with my head and heart out in front of my body, I take a deep breath, settle in to my core and 'hurry from my heels.'

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