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How did you figure out glidewalking?

yonat
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How did you figure out glidewalking?
Hi Esther, I'm just started working on glidewalking, and it seems seriously complex! Up until now, in each step in 8steps I tried looking around at other people to see how they do it. I became quite good in inconspicuously taking glances. But I'm not able to get a good idea on how a person walks with a single glance, so I find myself embarrassingly staring at people's behinds while they walk... Which made me wonder: How on earth did YOU figure out glidewalking? Did you hide in a tree or something, to look at people walking? Or took a film and replayed it in slow motion? I'm really curious because it seems so impossible to figure out "from outside". From what I see around here, even people with good posture (usually older people, or PTs) don't glidewalk. (If you have glidewalking clips, would you be willing to upload them somewhere? It would be great to actually see it in motion.)
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There's no way you can see everything at once. You just look for one thing at a time. So you might ask, what part of the foot lands first. Or when does the back leg straighten. Or where are the hips when the swing leg crosses the standing leg. As I stated in my book, I learnt a lot about posture and movement from Noelle Perez and her team of teachers in Paris. Noelle learned a lot from Iyengar. Iyengar told Noelle to walk behind the women in the Indian marketplace - when her shadow matched theirs, she would have learned something. Noelle has a very good eye, but her teaching style is difficult. So you may be left with a pointer like "You are falling forward" for eight months without much else to help you figure it out. I think walking can be learned (but not mastered) by almost everyone in two lessons. It is hard from a book though. Yes, I will post video clips. I have a huge collection that needs sorting out. Walking behind someone with good gait is an excellent way to learn without involving the intellect. You just mimic. When I was in Portugal walking behind people much shorter than I, I learned that my stride was shorter than I thought, for example. I kept falling behind. You can learn a lot about walking from the sound of it - the heaviness of your footfall, the symmetry your gait, the rhythm of your step, etc. I also like to imagine the muscles creating music. So the "sound of the glutes" crescendo as you approach footfall. This is also something that helps you gauge what is happening in someone else's gait. For fine points, it helps to watch slow motion videos or examine still photos. Walking is a big subject. Just break it down and learn it a piece at a time.
yonat
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[quote="Esther"]Or where are the hips when the swing leg crosses the standing leg.[/quote] This one seems really hard. If I try to walk slowly then they are above the standing leg. I have no idea where they are when walking in a normal pace, or where they are supposed to be. I think that for most people they are a little forward compared to the foot of the standing leg, but I'm not sure. Where are they really? I love you "music of waking" metaphor. I'll try listening.
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Hips above the heel at the moment the back knee crosses the front knee (see lower right image on page 185. The man in the foreground has his hips over the heels; the woman in the background has her pelvis thrust forward. You see her enlarged in the center bottom of page 185). You are right - most people lead to some extent with their pelvis.
lynnmarie66
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Speaking of the 'music of walking', my own experience learning to glide-walk started from listening to my stride, and might be of interest here -- I started thinking about walking the day before  I was introduced to Esther's book.  I was going on a walk every morning at the time and during one such walk, I had some insightful memories... I remember my friend telling me about his mountaineering instructor, who walked 'effortlessly' yet always had his feet land in exactly the right place.  He would walk softly though he was carrying a big pack.  I also remember reading about a man that walked silently and I supposed that ninjas and lots of other 'specialists' walked very very quietly as well.  These descriptions indicated a real awareness of body and a deep sense of control and grace that really affected me.  So that day, I wondered: how do you walk silently, what is necessary to land so lightly?  I stopped my walk and tried out different things, and found that I had to place my forward foot on the ground in a solid footing before I shifted any weight onto it.  I had to keep all of my weight on the planted foot while stepping forward, and then I could select a footing and slowly shift my weight onto my forward foot.  When I continued my walk, in my normal walking fashion, I saw that I landed heavily because my weight was already transfered to my forward foot while it was still in the air.  At the time, I was at a loss as to how to keep my weight back while I walked at a normal speed, but I was thinking about it.  When I picked up Esther's book the next day, so much of what she said made sense to me and when I came to the glidewalking section I was really moved and overjoyed at finding such a fine answer to my question.  Of course I hadn't thought to ask a fraction of what is presented in the book, but I felt a real connection to glide-walking and started learning it immediately.  Eight months later, I am still having great insights into my own technique and no other aspect of this work has become more integrated into my life.  -Noah
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There's another really good way that helped me find a good gait: using traditional dance movements as a springboard to learn about ordinary movements. So, for example, Samba is really close to walking (just done backwards). The walking step in Bharata Natyam is very close to glidewalking (with an extra spring in it). Sometimes it's easier to learn a stylized form with some elements exaggerated and then fade out the exaggerated elements. Also, when you are learning a foreign dance movement you start out with a clean slate, so there isn't any unlearning that needs to happen or old patterns that get in the way. I grew up doing Indian dance, but didn't realize the connection with walking till much later. In this video clip of me doing a presentation about dance in a Palo Alto library http://paclboomers.blogspot.com/, you can see a bit of both Samba and Indian dance (though not the walk). Notice how these forms also carry hints about hiphinging, how you use your arms without letting your shoulders go forward, and many more secrets of natural movement.
yonat
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Thanks, I'll definitely try that! For future readers, the URL is http://paclboomers.blogspot.com/2009/05/dance-your-body-mind-and-spirit.html (since it will probably fall off the front page soon)
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Well, I just learned a couple of days ago but from what the instructor told me I am doing it well. Here's what worked for me. I have done quite a bit of skiing, both cross-country and downhill and a lot of skating. I basically just pretend I am cross-country skiing and that pretty much does it. Basically, I believe it's the same movement.
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Good way to go! When cross country skiing and skating were invented, they were more ways to travel across snow and ice than they were sports. So it's not surprising that the form approximates the way people in the day would have walked. The equipment has kept the form close to traditional walking whereas outside of cross country skiing and skating, we in industrial societies have departed from our natural walking form.
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[quote="Esther"] There's another really good way that helped me find a good gait: using traditional dance movements as a springboard to learn about ordinary movements. So, for example, Samba is really close to walking (just done backwards). The walking step in Bharata Natyam is very close to glidewalking (with an extra spring in it). Sometimes it's easier to learn a stylized form with some elements exaggerated and then fade out the exaggerated elements. Also, when you are learning a foreign dance movement you start out with a clean slate, so there isn't any unlearning that needs to happen or old patterns that get in the way. I grew up doing Indian dance, but didn't realize the connection with walking till much later. In this video clip of me doing a presentation about dance in a Palo Alto library http://paclboomers.blogspot.com/, you can see a bit of both Samba and Indian dance (though not the walk). Notice how these forms also carry hints about hiphinging, how you use your arms without letting your shoulders go forward, and many more secrets of natural movement. [/quote] Esther, what do you think of tango walking?
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Tango walking - I think it's fine as long as you're not tucking the pelvis. It's not the most efficient way to move and walk somewhere, and you will be strengthening your quads a bit more and the hamstrings a bit less than in Glidewalking, but walking as efficiently as possible is not your goal when doing the tango. All the basic principles of the Gokhale Method still apply - you want the J shaped spine (not tucking the pelvis, not swaying the back), and you will likely need to use the Inner Corset. The one thing that's a big problem with tango is that women tend to wear really high heels, which is unhealthy - but that's a personal choice and many women know that they are unhealthy and choose to wear them anyway.
JANNELLE
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In terms of models - I am told that criminals walk smoothly so "bobbing" does not attract attention - but I have never had a chance to use them as a model ROFL

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