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Creating muscle memory and better balance

December 21, 2008

I am often asked in classes why I spend so much time on how to stand, and take practice steps.  With all the movement being done slow and with focused control, we step, hold, step back and repeat,  and repeat and repeat.

Everything we do has a purpose.  Being comfortable,  relaxed and in full balance while standing still takes practice and is very important as it is the starting position for any other movement.  Taking a balanced step under full control and back from that position  takes practice. This is all subtle learning that affects all movement generating from a standing position.

The result from all this stepping, concentration, learning control and body position creates engrams or muscle “memory” .  My older students find that their balance improves with practice and that they need to concentrate less on taking steps.  Their legs and feet learn where they need to be as the stepping occurs allowing for them to concentrate on other aspects of the movements.  

The process also allows a more relaxed walking gait which causes a stronger balanced walk.  Walking relaxed lets the body adjust to terrain, obstacles and sudden changes in direction and other natural conditions.

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