It’s a Secret

Every day during my lunch break, I take a walk. It feels so good to get out and be in the sunshine and simply move. When I returned to the office building one day last week, I caught my reflection in the glass.I noticed that, thanks to my dance training, I was standing up straight, with my neck back and in alignment, neck cords unforced but prominent, my pelvis remained in a neutral position, and I was using my legs’ full range of motion.

A reflection in an office window of Tammy walking by

As I got into the hallway by my office, I noticed that my footsteps were heavy, making a lot of noise. Without changing my pace, I started to walk silently down the hall. Wow! That’s a neat trick. That got me to thinking about what I’d tell someone if they asked me how I did it. I had to laugh.

Flashback Alert!

When I was training with dance, particularly when my body was demonstrating that I wasn’t designed to dance Latin, the main problem that I had was that I wasn’t fast enough. No matter how much I practiced, I wasn’t getting any quicker. So I asked Kurt how to increase my speed. His response: “Do everything you are currently doing, only faster.”

It killed me, especially since that was his serious answer!  To be fair, for other things, Kurt gave wonderful dance instruction – when I kept losing my balance coming out of a turn, he suggested, “hold on to an imaginary handle”. OMG – that worked like a charm! I guess because I had received such concrete advice in the past, I wanted it whenever things weren’t working.

I thought I’d trained Kurt better than expecting me to come up with solutions on my own, considering how weird my brain works. Normally my “fixes” to problems ended up getting me further from the standard than I was before, and him looking at me with a very puzzled expression. Little did I know he was using me as a source of new material for training new dance instructors. My little quirks allow him to stump his students!

So when I was thinking of how to describe how to walk quieter, I giggled as I thought the answer should be, “Do what you are doing right now, only with less sound!” I also considered not answering it. It seemed magical, and I wanted to keep the secret!

Finally I went through the process of figuring out exactly what I was doing to decrease the volume of my steps: rolling through my foot but NOT giving an extra “umph” with my toes at the end of each step which sent me with a thump onto my other foot; keeping my quads tensed the entire time – not just when extending my leg; and softening the knees so there was no jarring full extension.

Years ago I wouldn’t have been able to work through that – I wasn’t body aware enough to be able to figure it out, much less be able to walk quietly!  Now if only I could apply it in other areas – like not tripping over curbs or my own feet!

Does anyone else perform “magic” whose secret they don’t want to share?

6 thoughts on “It’s a Secret”

  1. I can’t think of any ‘magic’ per se, but I loved how you became totally aware of how your choice to do dance has affected your body and the way you hold yourself. Additionally of course the way you hold yourself physically will affect how you feel about yourself. How wonderful!

    More proof that it doesn’t have to be all about pain and restrictions when you want to improve something about your structure.

    The other thing I rather enjoyed was the ‘oh you want to be faster…do what you are doing but with more speed!’ I actually believe that a lot of things in life are that straightforward, a lot of the time we just don’t want to admit it because that would put the onus back on to us to just get on with it. 🙂

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    1. Pea, I think you and Kurt would get along splendidly! I can see the humor (and truth) in the situation now, but when it was happening it was more frustrating than humorous.

      Your statement about how one holds oneself affects how one feels is so true. I find now that when I start to get nervous I take a moment and do my inner checklist. I normally find that my posture is off. Once I stand up in proper form, I can take full breaths again and my confidence increases.

      Little things (practiced over and over and over) make a huge difference.

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  2. It’s not a secret, but having parents that didn’t want to hear us as kids helped out a lot in this department. We had to walk quietly, sit quietly, eat quietly…to the point where I notice if someone flops into a seat, or walks by my desk with ‘heavy feet’, or even swallows loudly. I am not quite as good as I was when I was younger. Plus, I never realized the difference back then, but now I know that having strict rules weren’t all that bad. 😉

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  3. Yeah, I so agree wih the comments above. When we stand tall and straight we breathe better and we feel better. When i sit blogging and writing, if I’m postured correctly, I last longer. And Kurt’s advice was so simple – but works. I think in many more ways than simply walking. if you want to feel better, smile. If you want to feel more at peace – think gentler thoughts. If you want to be attractive – feel pretty. I’m going to try the walking quieter thing. Thanks for the secrets.

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