Tips4Teachers – “These bods were made for walking…”

I am often asked why I work so much with ‘walking’ when I am teaching, and there are a number of reasons:

  • human beings evolved as creatures that walk, more than as creatures that get in and out of chairs
  • although many of our habits and misuses are in our support system, many are in our patterns of movement; and our primary movement is walking
  • using ‘hands-on’ to direct a pupil’s head forward and up and into movement is an excellent way to demonstrate that a small change of ‘orientation” has a big impact on ‘carriage’
  • the ‘angle-poise lamp’ model of the musculo-skeletal system (the antagonistic pulls of head against hips against knees) is very helpful for understanding bending movements, but for walking we need to understand kinaesthetically the natural trunk rotations involved in weight transfer; see http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11240051 and
  • http://www.alexandertechnique-running.com/george-coghill-serge-gracovetsky-and-the-spinal-engine-theory/

As with many habits, an injury may have set up a pattern which subsequently becomes the norm.

  • I have often observed that people trying to put into practice “inhibition” and “direction” are able to find a certain ‘tone’, particularly in the back, because of the antagonistic pulls of the support system, but then inadvertently block the capacity of the pelvis and thorax to counter-rotate freely. Whilst lengthening can help to free up the counter rotations, the corollary is also true; finding freedom in the rotary movements can facilitate lengthening.

For a trained Alexander teacher it is not so difficult to adapt what you have been applying to ‘chair-work’ to ‘walking’; just use your powers of observation and your refined kinaesthesia and get your pupils walking…….

© 2013 John S Hunter

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3 responses to “Tips4Teachers – “These bods were made for walking…””

  1. Ian Cross says :

    Thanks very much for this John. Perhaps the last bit could read, ‘Get yourself walking….’ Hope you’re well, Ian

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