One of these things is not like the other.

If you grew up watching Sesame Street then you know the tune “One of these things is not like the other”. In the case of our movement, there is no one thing that is like any other. Each and every movement in the human body is unique. You take a step, and the next step is completely different than the last.

If this is true, looking at or feeling your movement at one moment in time is not an accurate depiction of how you move all the time.

We are all guilty of passing by a window, catching a glimpse of ourselves then standing up tall, sucking in our belly or tucking our pelvis, and pulling our shoulders back in an attempt to correct our posture. Holding your body in what you think is ideal is, in essence, forcing sameness on your movement. Unfortunately, our bodies do not organize that way. Our bodies are complex so imposing a forced idea of movement, posture and patterns is futile, and often detrimental to effective movement.

So how can we affect change in our own bodies, or for our clients if we are Movement Educators when we can’t predict the next move?

One approach is to go by feel. No matter what our body does from step to step, we can feel in real-time how it is choosing to organize at that particular time. Instead of forcing it into a tense holding pattern of “ideal”, how about feeling for effortlessness? Is there a way to organize your body in each step in a way that just feels effortless? Step, check, adjust into ease, repeat.

Sounds easy. right? It definitely may be easier said than done. Try some of these tricks…

To stand and walk with ease:
There is a place in our standing posture where we feel no tension, no holding just the bones balancing on top of each other with perfect harmony among our muscular supports. We all have that moment but for some, it is harder to find. in 2017, I wrote an article about this very subject, Stack your boxes: Strategies for walking and standing. Within you will find useful tricks for finding that effortless place in your body.

To sit with ease:
Sitting down in a chair is one of our most common yet complex movements. Most of us just back up to the chair and fall into the seat. However, in fact, this act is an integrated movement of all parts of our body at once and requires perfect coordination of every bone and muscle in our lower body.

For that reason, I also wrote an article last year called Squat for your life. By the title, it sounds like your life depends on it, doesn’t it? Well, it does in a sense as you need to be able to sit and stand many times a day every day of your life. Wouldn’t it be nice if that movement felt better? Find simple tips for making your squat (yes, sitting and standing is a squat) more comfortable and effortless.

The key to moving better in your body is to allow your body to move, not to force it into contortions that we think are correct. Have you ever seen any other species obsessing about their movement as humans do? Maybe we should take a lesson from our animal friends.


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Written by
Holly Wallis, Certified Movement & Rehabilitation Specialist, PMA®-CPT
Director of US Operations, Body Harmonics Pilates & Movement Institute
Studio Director, ReActive Movement, 6200 LaSalle Ave, Oakland, CA 94611

© 2019. All rights reserved.

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