Posture is like learning a new language. It takes time and practice.

We in modern society have forgotten how to use our bodies. We suffer a lot of aches and pains because of that. The good news is that we can heal most of the neck pain, planter fasciitis, back pain, repetitive stress injuries and more.  We can do it simply by going back to our primal posture and truly natural ways of bending, sitting and walking. It is in our scope to relearn how to use the correct muscles for what they were actually designed for. Many of us use lesser muscle groups to do tasks that are really meant for a larger under-utilised muscle group.

 idea of learning proper posture can be a bit daunting. It is almost like learning a new language. It takes time, practice and a bit of patience. But you can start to see results from the get-go, if you just start now.  So, here is what I thought I might do, I’ll give you bits of information in this and upcoming articles. Little titbits that you can start to use in your journey towards better posture. 

I will start by addressing a common problem that I observe daily when I see people out walking. It’s the same problem that has contributed to many of my massage clients complaining of knee, hip and back pain. The posture problem I am referring to is walking with the legs internally rotated. This can cause a misalignment in the body. If you look at the photo, you will see a version of this. As the knees come in, the upper body sways causing a great deal of unnecessary movement. There is a lot of shifting side to side when there needn’t be. Walking should be smooth and driven from the gluteal muscles and not jarring the body with every step. Internally rotating the legs not only misaligns the leg, but it inhibits the use of the gluteal muscles.

Internally rotated legs cause misalignment of the ankles, knees and all the way up into the hips

Here is an exercise that you can do to help you address your gluteus medias muscle. This is the muscle that you should be engaging to drive you forward in your stride as you walk. It is also an external leg rotator.

Wake up the Glutes for walking Exercise: 1. Start from a standing position with your feet relatively close together. Now move one leg forward. As you do this, keep the heel of the stable foot down on the ground and your hips facing forward. You should feel the upper buttock muscle (gluteaus medius) engage. You will also notice a nice stretch in the calf muscle of the leg that is not moving. If you do not feel it, try straightening the back leg and moving the front leg a bit further forward while keeping the back heel down. 2. Now move that same leg that you just moved forward, back behind you. You should feel the glute engagement shift to the other side. Try this movement backward and forward on the same side until you can really feel your glute muscles engage. 3. Do the same movement on the other side. See if you notice one side engage more easily than the other or if they are both the same. If you feel like one side is stronger, then you know you need to pay a bit more attention to the weaker muscle to get it activated.

Notice the glute engagement happening from the back leg. The back leg is straight, heel down and the front leg is bent. (Try not to sway the back when doing this move. )

After you have done this exercise, try walking and see if you can locate that same muscle to help move you forward. You can try walking uphill. This will help you find these muscles more easily. Using the gluteus medias in walking helps strengthen these muscles and gives you more control in your stride and landing. It also helps externally rotate the legs and stabilises the entire movement of the body in walking.

Have fun with this. If you want to learn more, I will be teaching a free posture workshop on July 29th at 6pm at the neighbourhood house. There is a maximum of 16 people, so sign up soon. You can either call me on the number listed below or go to www.gokhalemethod.com and sign-up online.

Article written by:  Michelle “ Mickie” Ball, Gokhale Method Teacher and Massage Therapist.  0428 223 271 • Email michelle@gokhalemethod.com

Published by Michelle Ball

I am a massage therapist and Gokhale Method® Teacher I do Hawaiian Lomi Lomi Massage simply for this reason- "It is the most relaxing massage that I have ever received and in turn, it is what I want to share with others." Lomi Lomi involves long rhythmic strokes as well as deep work relaxing the body, mind and spirit on all levels. I thoroughly love giving this massage. I am also a Gokhale Method Teacher. This method is based on the Book "8 Steps to a Pain Free Back" by Esther Gokhale. Primal Posture™ and alignment for Pain-Free living. After discovering this method for myself, it wasn't enough for me to just do massage. I wanted to teach people how they could help themselves when they are off of my table. Many of my clients suffer from chronic or acute pain. It is one thing for me to help people by applying external forces. But it is another to help empower them to help themselves lead a pain-free life 24/7. The Gokhale Method® teaches you how to lengthen strengthen and align your body enabling a pain-free life everyday! It doesn't involve a lot of exercises or gadgets. It incorporates improved movements that you use while sitting, standing, sleeping and walking. Doing daily movements in a way that promotes health and well being as opposed to promoting arthritic conditions, disc degeneration or worse. It is based on posture that you had as a little kid, on cultures where people don't experience back pain and on our ancestors. It is old/new information that we have forgotten how to use put together in an easy to follow, comprehensive way. Gokhale Method inspires you to think that there is something you can do for yourself to help treat your symptoms of pain. I encourage you to look into it further on www.gokhalemethod.com or contact me with any questions.

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