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Walking as a portal to the present

Walking, or our "divine human neutral" as somatics teacher Sondra Fraleigh says, is a wonderful way to bring awareness to what we are feeling and sensing in our bodies. We often use walking in my classes to get a sense of where we are starting from, and after we explore a few movement patterns, we check back in to see - has our walk changed in any way? If so, how? This gives us interesting information about how even very simple movements can have an immediate effect on how we feel, move and sense ourselves and the world around us.

For example, try this: if you feel a bit scattered, take a walk. It doesn't have to be long and it doesn't have to be outside. You can even walk back and forth or in a circle around your living room. Let it be your natural walk, and just notice feelings and sensations. Now, pause. Stand with your feet hip width apart (ideally be barefoot, but shoes are okay too, as long as they don't have high heels.) Feel your feet making soft contact with the floor and the floor meeting your feet. Take a few easy bounces, keeping your knees soft, as if you are standing on a springy surface, like a trampoline. You don't have to jump, just feel the springy-ness of this bounce through your whole body, as if your body were a bag of sloshing water (it actually is, in a way.) Pause again. Now, take another walk and notice if you feel any different than the first time you walked. What has changed?

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