Many people don’t even realize that they have difficulties balancing because they have never been diagnosed with a balance disorder. However, a startling number of people avoid situations where their balance could be challenged, and these people frequently find themselves looking down at the floor or sidewalk whenever they move about.
Learning how to fall and learning how to recover is a major goal in the Change Your Age Program.
Learning how to move more fluently, deftly and increase bodily control is a goal for anyone and can greatly increase stability, equilibrium, and control of their bodies.
Below is a lesson to improve your balance. In the Improving Balance lesson, you will learn how to move from your pelvis and hips with your center of gravity. You will also learn to have your feet and legs comfortably supporting you in a very narrow space.
Lesson 26: Improving Balance
Intention: To greatly improve your balance and contribute to your enjoyment of walking.
Starting Position: Stand with your feet shoulder width apart.
This lesson will be much easier to perform if you are standing next to a chair or at a wall or counter that you can touch to provide support. This lesson will challenge your balance, so make sure you feel comfortable and safe.
1. Cross your right leg over your left leg so that your ankles are crossed and your right foot is standing on the floor just outside your left foot. Make sure that your whole foot is on the floor and that both heels are down.
2. Slowly shift your hips left and right as far as it is comfortable to go. Reduce the effort you make to maintain balance. Do this enough times that you learn to feel secure and comfortable. Relax your jaw and look out into the room, breathing fully. Uncross your legs and rest while standing.
Change Your Age Tip: As you shift your hips, you will feel yourself pressing more on one foot and then the other. As your hips move from side to side, your head remains stationary.
3. Now cross your left foot in front of your right foot, so that your left foot is standing on the floor just outside your right foot. Again, oscillate your hips from side to side until you feel certain of how to organize your back, hips, head, neck, and shoulders, repeating until this feels like a natural movement. Uncross your legs and rest while standing.
4. Cross your right foot over your left foot again, as in Step 1. Now shift your head and shoulders from side to side. What do your hips need to do? Learn to make your body comfortable by using all of its parts. Gauge your comfort by the ease of your breathing. Uncross your legs and rest in standing.
5. Cross your left foot over your right foot. Again, move your head and shoulders from side to side. Is it easier or harder with your legs crossed in this arrangement? Uncross your legs and rest while standing. After you have rested, walk around the room. Are you more aware of your hips?
6. Return to the chair or wall for some support. Once again, cross your right foot over your left foot so that your ankles are crossed and your right foot is standing outside your left foot. This time, move your pelvis forward and backward so that you press toward the balls of your feet and then toward your heels. If you are comfortable enough with this movement, you might be able to lift both heels off the floor when you go forward with your pelvis, and perhaps you can lift your toes and the balls of your feet when you push your pelvis backward. Uncross your legs and rest while standing.
Change Your Age Tip: As you move your pelvis forward and backward, let your arms, shoulders, and neck relax completely so that you can feel your head and your arms moving in opposition to your pelvis to help you balance. Your head will feel as if it’s reaching forward and pulling backward.
7. Cross your left foot over your right foot so that your ankles are crossed with the left foot just outside the right foot. Oscillate your pelvis forward and back, as in Step 6. Uncross your legs, rest, and then go for a short walk around the room.
8. Place one of your hands on the back of your chair or on the wall and again cross your right leg over your left leg. Stand tall, but comfortably. Turn your head to look around the room. As you do, look in back of yourself as far as possible. Look at the ceiling and the floor. Can you feel the adjustments that your hips need to make?
9. Recross your legs with the left one crossed in front. Continue looking around the room in this arrangement. Which way of crossing your legs gives you better balance? Take time to discover the answer for yourself.
Rest in standing.
10. Stand with your right leg crossed over your left leg. Can you make a circle of pressure on the bottoms of your feet? Move your pelvis in a circle so that you feel as if both your pelvis and the bottoms of your feet are tracing circles, one in the air and one on the floor. Uncross your legs and rest in standing.
11. Cross your left leg over the right one and explore your circle of pressure this way. Which side creates the roundest, smoothest circles on the bottoms of your feet?
Rest by walking around the room. You might find that your legs can walk in a narrower path than usual.
12. Once again cross your right leg over the left one and raise both of your arms out to your sides at the height of your shoulders. While you imagine holding on to two swords, lunge first to one side and then to the other, as far as you can reach, keeping your legs crossed. Can you also reach one arm in front of you and the other in back of you and alternate reaching forward and backward with your arms?
13. Try the same lunging and reaching actions of your arm in as many directions as possible with your left leg crossed over your right leg.
Rest by going for a walk and notice if you can feel an improvement in your balance and a keener awareness of what you need to do with your hips to help yourself balance more easily. This will improve your balance in all situations, including walking in narrow high heels.