Walking on the Cotswold Way in Winter sunshine; this National Trail is literally on my doorstep, so it’s a regular walk up onto Kelston Roundhill. The views change dramatically depending on the season and the weather, sometimes I’m with family or friends and sometimes with a neighbour’s beautiful border collie. The constant is that I’m always walking, putting one foot in front of the other and always outdoors. It’s a steep ascent from our house to the surrounding hills of the Cotswold plateau, so there’s plenty of aerobic exercise. The main thing is noticing how I walk, how my feet go one in front of the other and what happens throughout the rest of my body in order to let the walking be “automatic”.
Last week we watched the film “Edie” about a woman in her eighties who had stopped walking outdoors due to family responsibilities. She decided to fulfil a long-term ambition to climb Suilven, a mountain in the North of Scotland. The film follows her journey as she prepares for the epic ascent and then sets out alone. For Edie, walking is now a struggle, rather than being automatic, even when she is walking in suburban streets. The steep uneven terrain provides an enormous challenge for her. It occurred to me that she would have found the challenge easier if she had been able to keep moving throughout her life. She had to re-learn how she was moving in the now unfamiliar environment of the outdoors.
In my previous job, I spent much of my time sitting at a desk, leaving less time for moving around and keeping active. Thankfully, I can now focus on Feldenkrais full time, allowing me the flexibility to walk outdoors most days, before I had to re-learn it from first principles.