A beautiful image of the power of surrender, by Ron Hamad

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Every step you take.

Now if you know me at all, you know I am a fan of step work.

But only recently, thanks to my enlightening injury to the hip, have I really started to take stock of my feet and how I literally take steps in my day-to-day life.

If you do Pilates, especially if you have studied with any of the elders of the method like Lolita San Miguel or Ron Fletcher, you understand that footwork is critical to alignment. Lolita, in fact, takes 15 minutes or more of her Mat class to work on the feet. Anyone who has had a Reflexology session understands how the world of the body lives in the feet. And when foot flexibility and strength are lost, generally so is balance, which throws the whole frame of the body out of whack.

I understood this and practiced it well in my Pilates. I can maintain pretty darn good foot posture in all of the positions demanded of me, so long as I am in a controlled environment and concentrating really hard.

So then I went and messed up my hip. So I was thinking a lot about alignment and taking more Pilates classes. In class, I asked the instructors to keep an eye on my alignment pitfalls. After one class, John Goettle mentioned my feet - how I seemed to be gripping in the front and not moving through the whole foot.

At first, of course, I thought he was crazy. Because I thought "I am GREAT at footwork." But then I started examining my walking gait, off the Reformer. And by God, John was dead-on right. I wasn't rolling through the entire foot at all. And when I did it correctly, concentrating on connecting the heel first and then moving to the ball of the foot and articulating through the toes, voila, it was magic. My nagging heel pain on the right foot went away and any lingering tightness in the left hip was also gone.

So today, one step at a time, I am going to bring Pilates off the Reformer and into my day.

And thanks to all the Pendleton staff for keeping an eye on me and helping get back on the right foot.