The Direction Of The Body In Locomotion

Categories: Uncategorized
Sources: Power Through Repose

LIFTING brings us to the use of the entire body, which is considered

simply in the most common of all its movements,--that of walking.

The rhythm of a perfect walk is not only delightful, but restful; so

that having once gained a natural walk there is no pleasanter way to

rest from brain fatigue than by means of this muscle fatigue. And

yet we are constantly contradicting and interfering with Nature in

walking. Women--perhaps partly owing to their unfortunate style of

dress--seem to hold themselves together as if fearing that having

once given their muscles free play, they would fall to pieces

entirely. Rather than move easily forward, and for fear they might

tumble to pieces, they shake their shoulders and hips from side to

side, hold their arms perfectly rigid from the shoulders down, and

instead of the easy, natural swing that the motion of walking would

give the arms, they go forward and back with no regularity, but are

in a chronic state of jerk. The very force used in holding an arm as

stiff as the ordinary woman holds it, would be enough to give her an

extra mile in every five-mile walk. Then again, the muscles of the

throat must help, and more than anywhere else is force unnecessarily

expended in the waist muscles. They can be very soon felt, pushing

with all their might--and it is not a small might--officiously

trying to assist in the action of the legs; whereas if they would

only let go, mind their own business, and let the legs swing easily

as if from the shoulders, they might reflect the rhythmic motion,

and gain in a true freedom and power. Of course all this waste of

force comes from nervous strain and is nervous strain, and a long

walk in the open air, when so much of the new life gained is wrongly

expended, does not begin to do the good work that might be

accomplished. To walk with your muscles and not use superfluous

nervous force is the first thing to be learned, and after or at the

same time to direct your muscles as Nature meant they should be

directed,--indeed we might almost say to let Nature direct them

herself, without our interference. Hurry with your muscles and not

with your nerves. This tells especially in hurrying for a train,

where the nervous anxiety in the fear of losing it wakes all

possible unnecessary tension and often impedes the motion instead of

assisting it. The same law applies here that was mentioned before

with regard to the carriage,--only instead of being quiet and

letting the carriage take you, be quiet and let your walking machine

do its work. So in all hurrying, and the warning can hardly be given

too many times, we must use our nerves only as transmitters--calm,

well-balanced transmitters--that our muscles may be more efficient

and more able servants.

The same mistakes of unnecessary tension will be found in running,

and, indeed, in all bodily motion, where the machine is not trained

to do its work with only the nerves and muscles needed for the

purpose. We shall have opportunity to consider these motions in a

new light when we come to the directions for gaining a power of

natural motion; now we are dealing only with mistakes.