One of the things I’m most appreciating lately about the changes in my body is the return of my undulating spine.
I figured out some years ago as I released lots of patterns with the Flowing Body work I created, our spines are naturally meant to undulate as we walk. When everything is released and I’m mindfully letting it flow, my hips are moving, my lumbar is moving, my upper back is moving and my shoulders are doing full rotations as I walk.
Yep. Everything is moving. Separately. Unlike the guy up above who’s walking the way most of us (in the U.S. anyway–chime in if you think it happens in your country too) do, as if nothing in the entire spine from base to top can move on its own.
As I chatted with my students we realized that around age 12 or so (possibly younger now as children mature faster)
- girls get told that swinging hips are slutty
- boys get told that swinging hips are girly
and everybody starts walking stiffly. Add in a lot of admiration for stiff military posture and you get people walking with backs that don’t move and hips that stay stiff and move as little as possible.
Even after I realized how we’re meant to walk and had released enough to be able to walk that way, I’d still stiffen up while taking a walk unless I kept mindfully paying attention to how I walked. The stiff, motionless style of walking becomes so ingrained, it’s hard to overcome it.
When you walk that way, some muscles are overly tight in order to hold that stiffness. Over time the tightness starts creating patterns in your muscles which can spread throughout your body. Other muscles that are intended to be moving are not being used so they atrophy. The tightness in some muscles and the under use of others together create an aching back.
I’ve talked with so many people who report they, as I did, often finish a walk with a terribly aching back. It became something I dreaded about taking walks and contributed to why I’ve spent more time in recent years on an exercise bike and doing kundalini yoga.
Last year after my amazing healing session with Osunnike I noticed when I practiced the Flowing Body work for spine, even during the practice my spine already felt looser and moved much more than it usually did AFTER completing the release work and was much freer than ever before when I finished.
Since the latest big healing moment many things have been shifting. For a while my back really bothered me and after resolving some contributing bedding issues I started realizing that all the opening in my head is releasing muscles all over my body. As these muscles unfold for the first time in decades, they’re not used to exercise or … moving at all… and they protest. Some of the back issues came from that.
I did quite a bit of the spine releases and some specific yoga work to help, which actually just pushed more opening faster and, for a while, added to the pain. But now that area is all settled down and I’m realizing when I go for walks that I’m undulating pretty naturally. I don’t have to make each walk an exercise in mindfulness about how I move because my back has released so well and everything is flowing so much that most of the time everything is moving as it’s supposed to move.
Right now I cherish to these moments when something shows me clearly how much has changed. On the trip I saw how much more calm and centered I am. The walks I’ve taken since I’ve been home (it’s getting HOT so they’re becoming few and far between 🙂 ) have reminded me how much my body has changed and is still changing.
Do all the parts of your hips and back that should be moving actually move when you walk?