People Watching


Long before I started practicing osteopathy, before I taught yoga and even before I reached into my first asana, I was a people watcher. Just as I became aware of myself moving, I became interested in the way other people managed their bodies as they went about their daily lives.

From early on I observed the efficiency, grace, or awkwardness, with which a person bent down to retrieve a fallen item, reached up to a shelf beyond their height or turned their torso to close a door behind them. I watched the way people stood while waiting and of course how individuals walk, taking their unsuspecting steps. I became aware how human walking, in spite of being one of the hallmarks of humanity, was as individual as a finger print. While some stride forwards determinedly other shuffle along awkwardly, some are light on their feet, others drag themselves around, some people's walk has swing and spring, others plod heavily and so it goes, on and on.

All these things I watched on others, and myself, as I was growing up and moving through my life. I came to view the rhythm and shapes of a person’s daily routine as a form of unique personal choreography.

As a practitioner and teacher of yoga I became familiar with the concepts of posture and flexibility, and later when I came to study osteopathy I learnt anatomy and mechanics that have given my observations a terminology and a technical dimension.

The role of the moving body has changed dramatically in my lifetime.

Much time has passed and, alongside the many people I have treated osteopathically over the last 25 years, I still watch how people move. In that time technologies have developed and in response to these, new trends have emerged for the way people manage their bodies. I have noted how the role of the moving body has changed dramatically in my lifetime and how theories and attitudes to physical activity have altered.

It is in my capacity as an observer, an osteopath and a believer in functional movement and moving that I am setting down my observations, my understanding and my recommendations for 'living a moving life'.

  • Do you watch the way people move in their everyday lives?

  • Are you aware of your own body (the shapes and positions) as you move through your day?

#moving #functionality #evolution #technology #bipedal #urbanism #walking #bones #children #spine #growing #posture #sustainability #muscles

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Living a moving life is a blog by Gabriela Cohen. All rights 2015.

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