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Fall 2009

Acton, MA

Walking: The key to Optimum Health

L: Most people don’t know how to walk in a healthy way.  They amble along like you’re doing right now.  They aren’t conscious of their feet.  Many of my generation were taught by their mothers to stand up straight, stomach pulled in, chest out, and shoulders back.  And never, ever wiggle your hips when you walk, like Marilyn Monroe did!  Looking at you standing there, I see that version of perfect posture.  However, your walk reflects all the tension in your body that is necessary to maintain that posture.  You walk like you’re holding it all in…tight!  Health starts with movement.  Therefore, you need to loosen your walk.

R: I always wondered why I trip over my own feet a lot, and I’m never comfortable walking long distances. 

L: That problem has to do with proprioception; knowing where your body is in relation to the rest of the world.  There are many reasons why that happens but often it’s simply that our senses are not working at 100 percent efficiency.  We’re living in a three-dimensional world, but we’ve limited our senses to two-dimensions by watching television and computers.   Also we desensitize our senses by standing in that perfect posture, and then don’t see the bump in the road.  Our feet don’t sense it.

The way to start is to loosen that all up and then you can walk.  The way to walk with less tension is to rotate our hip backwards as we step.  I’m speaking here of the ASIS; the anterior superior iliac spine.  This is the bone we feel if we place our thumbs just below waist height so our fingers wrap around our bodies to the back.  The hip bone’s job is to stabilize the muscles that lift the leg; as they contract they lift our leg.  Now, just try walking as you move your hip bones backward.  Just be conscious of the movement.  It means that you have to swing your hips from side to side. 

R: That makes sense.

[R trying the new walk]

L: Does that feel better?

R: Yeah, much more fluid. 

L: See what happens immediately? Your arms start swinging in a relaxed fashion.  What did you feel when it clicked in?

R: My whole body was swaying with the movement. 

L: Exactly. Now, from where we’re standing to that last tree on the left is just about a hundred yards.  We’re going to walk to that tree - backwards.  I want you to put one leg behind the other when you’re stepping back, so that your steps are in a straight line instead of straddling a line.  In order to do that, you’re going to be swinging your hips.

[L and R begin walking backward]

L: What do you feel now?

R: I felt a bit off balance before, but now I’m starting to get into the rhythm of the movement. 

L: That’s definitely it; you’re getting into a flow, like a wave. 

R: I feel like this is why white people can’t dance, because we never learned the hip movements. 

L: Yes.  Walking backwards gives you better proprioception and allows your body to move rhythmically.  Can you feel the earth’s energy pulling your foot down to the ground?

R: Yeah.

L: It’s doing the same thing when we’re walking forwards, we just don’t notice it.  Walking backward adds another dimension.  It takes us out of two-dimensional perception and puts us into three-dimensional perception.  This gives us a freer way of moving, and as a result, all of our organs are being massaged as we walk.

R: It’s funny because people respect others who hold themselves stiffly and walk very straight-backed and upright. 

L: Yeah.  What about it makes people respect that movement?

R: It’s an old world belief that it’s good to be in control of yourself and your emotions.

L: Definitely, and it’s also a symbol of authority. 

R: That makes sense then why everyone says my boyfriend, Pete, looks like he’s in the military, because he hold himself that way, very controlled.

L: That’s probably why Kali suggested to you that Pete join the military.  We appreciate people who are visibly authoritarian, as in the army, because it represents a commitment to an ideal.  Chauvinism is an idea that we honor.

R: Well, we want other people to take that on instead of doing it ourselves.

L: We would rather pay other people to do it, yes.  There’s a reggae song about soldiers around the world; that they’re killing for me and you, and that if there were no soldiers there would be no more killing.  But as long as we continue to honor the discipline that soldiering represents, rigidity is the result.  When we start honoring walking and relaxed movement as well, then loose and free and moving would also be important.  That’s when things will change.

[L and R come to the top of a small rise]

Open space in a cemetary

L: This is one of my favorite places here.  What do you see?

R: Well, my eye is immediately drawn to the open space over on the right, and I like those spindly trees.  And then there’s the circular path to our left.

L: Those are some of the aspects that make this a lovely scene. But for me this is a crossroads. We’re on one path and there’s another one crossing it.  Every time we come to a crossroad, we have a transition, and we need to make a choice.  Every time we come to a crossroad, we have an opportunity to make change, take a new direction.  To help make the choice, find the exact center of the crossroad.  That’s where the sacred space is located.  From that spot you can determine which path to take.  So right now, find the exact center of this crossroad.  Find the center of each of the roads, and then go stand in the center of all the roads.

A crossroads in the cemetary

[R finding center of crossroads]

L: Now, does that feel like the center?  I didn’t ask if it looks like the center.  Does it feel like the center?

R: Almost.

L: Take a small step forward.  How does that feel?

R: Better.

L: You are now in the exact center.  Which way do you want to go? Go into yourself, go into the silence within you, and ask yourself which direction to go. 

[R figuring it out]

R: Back the way we came.

L: Ok, let’s go.  Tell me about how you made that decision.

R: For some reason the other directions didn’t seem like good options.  I felt pulled forward. 

L: You made a movement of your hands going forward and I noticed you swaying in each direction when you were deciding, like testing the different ways to go. 

R: Yeah, the other directions didn’t feel good. 

L: That’s what getting into your body and being aware of it is like.  You start to notice how it feels, and from that, what your body is telling you.  For instance, we put a lot of things in our mouths that our body doesn’t need.  If you’re conscious of what you’re eating and how you’re eating, then you’re going to have a better concept of what’s going on in your body.  The nutrients that you eat do very specific things.  Such as if you learn that vitamin C helps your immune system, you might want to take some to build up your immune system at the beginning of a cold season.  You can help yourself towards health.

Next time we’ll talk more about how our bodies move and about how we get these bodies in the first place.

Test yourself for Optimum Health

Western medical tests

1. Height/Weight

For most people, the goal for a healthy waist is:

  • Less than 40in. for men.
  • Less than 35in. for women.

 (Source: Webmd.com)

Is your waist measurement under the recommended size for a healthy waist? Yes: ____  No: ____
Is your weight within the healthy range for your height? Yes: ____  No: ____

Height versus Weiggt chart

2. Heart Rate (pulse)

“The easiest way to measure your heart rate, if you don’t already have a device to do so, is with your fingers and a stopwatch. Lay your right hand palm-up on a table. Put two fingers (NOT your thumb) of your left hand on your right wrist and feel for the pulse there. Start the stopwatch and then count how many times you feel a pulse within 1 minute. That is your heart rate.

Most people have a heart rate between 60 and 90 beats per minute. Athletes can have a heart rate in the 40-60 range.
Your “resting heart rate” should be measured in the morning, before you do any activity or encounter any stress. This is your baseline heart rate.”

(http://www.bellaonline.com/articles/art15465.asp)

Is your resting heart rate within the healthy range?  Yes: ____  No: ____

3. Blood Pressure

Many drugstores have blood pressure machines.  Or the next time you’re at the doctor’s office ask the nurse to write down your blood pressure so you can check it out on the following charts.

Normal Blood Pressure Range
Systolic (mm Hg) Diastolic (mm Hg) Blood Pressure Range
130 85 High / Normal Blood Pressure
120 80 Normal Blood Pressure
110 75 Low / Normal Blood Pressure
High Blood Pressure Range
Systolic (mm Hg) Diastolic (mm Hg) High Blood Pressure Stages
140 90 Stage 1
160 100 Stage 2
180 110 Stage 3
210 120 Stage 4
Low Blood Pressure Range
Systolic (mm Hg) Diastolic (mm Hg) Blood Pressure Range
90 60 Borderline Low Blood Pressure
60 40 Too Low Blood Pressure
50 33 Dangerously Low Blood Pressure

(http://www.highbloodpressureinfo.org/normal-blood-pressure-range.html)

Average Blood Pressure
Age 0-35: 120 systolic / 80 Diastolic
Age 36+: 140 systolic /90 Diastolic

(http://www.bellaonline.com/articles/art15458.asp)

Is your blood pressure in the healthy range?  Yes: ____  No: ____

4. pH

The proper pH for blood should be between 7.2 and 7.6. Anything over 7 is said to be alkaline, and below 7 is acidic.

The pH scale is from   0-14

0 1 2  3  4  5  6  7 healthy  8 9 10 11 12 13 14

(http://blpublications.com/html/body_healthyph.html)

The saliva pH of healthy person is in the 7.5 to 7.1.
Most children are a pH of 7.5.
Over half of adults are a pH of 6.5 or lower

Testing your Salivary pH

The pH strips with a range of 6.0-8.0 pH are best for people who to test their saliva. This range is where most healthy people, who are working at becoming alkaline, will find their salivary pH. Optimal pH for saliva is above 7 pH.

Testing Your Urinary pH

Urine pH can vary from around 4.5 to 9.0 for its extremes, but the ideal range is 6.5 to 7.0+. Urinary pH tends to be lower in the morning and higher in the evening.
(http://www.ionizers.org/ph-balance.html)

Is your salivary pH in the healthy range?  Yes: ____  No: ____

Is your urinary pH in the healthy range?  Yes: ____  No: ____

If you answered “no” to any of the questions after the tests, you should know that 40% of premature deaths in the US last year were caused by lifestyle choices such as: smoking, diet and exercise.  If you answered “yes” to all of the questions, you should know that 75% of health care costs are due to these same lifestyle choices.  Everyone should know that 60% of bankruptcies in 2007 were due to medical costs.  It’s time we started learning how to care for our bodies.  It is the most important action we can take to influence the “Health Care” Debate.  Gwenio’s Optimum Health can show you how to create a strong body, stable emotions, mental clarity and a sense of peace.

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