Happy Feet

I badly sprained my ankle about 8 months ago and, a long story short, it’s only now getting better (everything was torn).

Even building up its strength via physiotherapy every day, walking on it still set it off — till the other day, when I discovered this.

Esther Gokhale goes into great depth when teaching “glidewalking” in her book. She also says walking this way — the proper way — will tone the buttocks, and you will feel a pull in those muscles when doing it right.

I’ve found a way which achieves this “proper” walk without having to memorize 15 photographs.

Introducing Happy Feet

Imagine you are walking on your hands. What would that be like? It would be kind of like a grabbing motion, like you’re grabbing the ground with each “step” to pull yourself along.

Now, when you next go for a walk, imagine your feet are hands, doing just this.

If you are anything like me, you don’t think about your legs at all while walking. It’s a very passive process. You let them move you along while thinking about other shit. Alas, all kinds of bad habits are thus born.

Now, make your legs part of you again. Allow your feet to pull you along, like you are gripping the floor with each step.

This will probably be exaggerated at first, but those old neural networks will quickly reactivate and you will be gliding along purposefully in no time. The “pull” in the buttocks (and in fact many muscles rarely used in the legs) will be the dead giveaway.

Strangely, walking like this actually feels happy. HAPPY FEET! 🙂

And my ankle no longer gives way just walking to the fucking pub.

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14 Responses

  1. AJM says:

    I came across this more then a year ago when studying glide walking (not the grabbing thing, but the happy feet) and tried to explain this on the forum, but as non-native speaker didn’t get it across well enough. I still do it sometimes and I found it helps with the anckle too (I’ve had some issues after playing floorball), but it never stuck as something I would be doing all the time.

  2. Mark says:

    Great info! Short and to the point!

    Ya, I tore a tendon in my neck. It also took about 8 months to heal. I just had to walk around with my shoulder against my neck and never carry anything heavy.

    If I’ve learned anything about injuries it is to 1.) give them time to heal, and 2.) range of motion not weight bearing exercises heal it.

    Unfortunately, most physical therapy goes the opposite.

    • Illuminatus says:

      Haha, yeah. I’ve got a post half-written which slates physiotherapy (the context is posture retraining though; PT’s exercises are completely useless for that).

  3. Pat says:

    just curious, will there be more posts like this in the future (general physical health/posture/muscle tension related stuff?)

    • Illuminatus says:

      Yes. I have an entire posture method notated. It’s actually one very simple concept: re-lengthen ALL muscles in the body back to 100% length. Bad posture is only caused by muscle shortening. But re-lengthening all these muscles is not always straightforward. I’ve ended up with pages upon pages of notes and haven’t decided what to do with them yet, but it will possibly be released as a posture product for heavy computer users, since those are the ones who are most fucked and for whom existing methods won’t really scratch the surface.

      As for general health stuff, I write about stuff as it comes up, so it’s basically whatever pops into my reality will be covered.

    • Vick says:

      Yep posture is mostly about tense, short and weak muscles.
      I fixed my posture the following way:

      1. lie on a carpet or some sort of hard surface, stretch your head up (compared to the body) and put it on the floor. Do not use pillows.
      You should feel a stretch just under your neck. 5-10 minutes every day
      2. stretch your chest muscles, they are probably short and tense and pull your shoulders forward.
      3. When you sit push the crown of your head up, keep it aligned with your body. make sure its not in front of your shoulders.
      Dont pull your shoulders back as it wont hold. push them forward, lift them up, pull them back and relax.
      4. Check out youtube videos of Esther Gokhale for pelvic alignment. it should feel neutral, lower back and abs relaxed. you may have to stretch the lower back.
      5. Squats and deadlifts at the gym.
      6. Elliott Hulse has a video “truth about posture”, you might want to check that one out.

      Do that until Illuminatus comes out with a complete system.

      • Vick says:


        I noticed that back pain is mostly in the lower part and is due to sitting with a rounded lower back.
        When you sit try to keep your lower back straight at all times. Its easier than keeping the entire back straight, since you can lean back.
        Make sure you dont push your head forward.

      • Illuminatus says:

        All good Vick but this sort of thing simply won’t fix the intricately fucked-up tightened shoulders of a heavy computer user.

        One must stretch out manually EVERY muscle in the shoulder, and there are about a billion of them. It is no small task.

        • Pat says:

          hey sorry it took me so long to reply to this, computer was fucked up and I just got it fixed. It seems to me like my shoulders actually arent that messed up, and my main problem is chronic abdominal tightness that pulls my entire upper body forward and down. In this case, would I still solve the problem by stretching the shoulder muscles?

          • Illuminatus says:

            No. Abdominal tightness is a really serious issue, especially pertaining to emotions and how they are experienced, especially in ANTICIPATION of an event. A lot of our stress is held in the abdomen. In Reichian therapy this is known as EMOTIONAL ARMOURING.

            How I fixed it was to lie down in the Alexander Technique position (knees up, head raised). I use a pillow under my head, and a stack of pillows under my knees so I can relax everything. Then I use the principle of the “full breath” which occurs in many practices, including Reichian therapy. How I do it is I try to breathe using my whole rib cage. I do it very slowly and really try to relax everything. With the full breath, breathing feels very “transparent”. A bliss state is almost always activated.

            If you experience tremors from this, go with them. That’s the muscles unlocking themselves.

            The full breath is EXTREMELY important for posture, too.

          • Pat says:

            the technique you are describing sounds a lot like the bow from bioenergetics, which makes sense, as Alexander Lowen, the creator of bioenergetics, was one of Reich’s students. gonna try your way, with the pillows.

  4. Vick says:

    yeah theres lots to do if someone is completely fucked up. I myself need to stretch the shoulders and neck to lower them down a bit more.
    But I think this is a good starting point, this should eliminate lower back pain (especially the heavy squats and deadlifts) and its better then nothing for now.
    I fixed my posture when I was 18, it was a huge pain in the ass and took months just to get the basics right.
    I can only imagine what it’s like to do that when youre older with years of horrible posture and hours in front of the computer.

  5. Illuminatus says:

    The main problem is the shoulders, and upper body generally. Most of the upper body is actually dedicated to the arms. That was counter-intuitive for me.

    The computer completely fucks the upper body. Because the computer is all about an “arms frozen forward” lock. This pulls the whole upper body downwards with that tightness.

    And Esther Gokhale, Alexander Technique and co. simply aren’t going to be able to undo that. It requires dedicated, specific stretching. Luckily ol’ me has come along and figured it all out. πŸ˜€ Only took me about three fucking years *mutter mutter* πŸ˜›

  6. Vick says:

    Better late than never πŸ˜€
    I see what you mean, I just sat like most people in front of the pc and the shoulders go up and the biseps slightly tense up.
    Not to mention the head forward, back and chest muscles… Thats a whole lot of stretching…
    I dont know how to lower spine doesn’t snap with all the pressure on it.

    People who’ll try to fix it are in for a few months of hell…

    Make sure you dont leave out neck stretching, they have a huge effect on the shoulders.

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