My family and I took a trip to Mount Shasta for my birthday this year. As we entered a beautiful, clear, crisp day on the Mountain, we decided to go for a hike. I began the hike with my 7 month old strapped to the front of me and switched to having my 3.5 year old strapped to the back of me as the hike continued. I was aware of my posture and utilizing my gluteal muscles throughout the hike, but other than that I was focused on the beautiful day. As we were descending the mountain, I looked down at my feet to see which rocks were safe for me to step on and suddenly realized that I had been hiking in my flip-flops. What a GREAT birthday present! I realized that I finally TRUSTED that my body works perfectly!
Now I am not recommending everyone to hike in their flip-flops (because it is probably unsafe), but I am uplifting the fact that a couple of years ago, I would not hike in anything but my orthotic filled sneakers for fear that my feet, hips, back would hurt if I did not.
Learning appropriate skeletal alignment and muscular activation patterns allows you to move with intention rather than falling into movements. It brings an awareness to your physical body and how it functions. We often lose this awareness as our non-natural movements (sitting, slouching, driving, etc.) become a larger part of our day than our natural movements (standing, walking, hiking, squatting). Your body was made to move and knows how to function perfectly. It just requires awareness of appropriate skeletal alignment and muscular activation.
Want to begin to become aware of your body and trust it? Start with something as simple as breathing. Take a deep breath into your belly, let it fill up on the inhale. Feel your diaphragm move down as your belly moves out to fill your lungs with air. Can you do it on the first breath OR did it take a couple of breaths to fill your belly up? Can you feel your belly? Now you know how to use your diaphragm and have an awareness of your belly!
Try walking. Walk around and see if you feel any muscles working. Then shift your weight into your heels and walk around again. Can you feel your gluteal muscles (butt muscles) working? (This might take a couple trials prior to feeling them… so don’t be discouraged. It is also influenced by having proper skeletal alignment in pelvic region so make sure that your pelvis is not tucked under you).
Learn how to move with freedom and intention. Your body will thank you!