Blog of the Week: The Power of Walking Backwards

Originally posted on  by  at wayopenscenter.com/blog.

college tour guide

Last week I spent several days touring colleges with my daughter, a rising high school senior. The standard program for these visits  includes a presentation followed by a campus tour, and the student tour guides all lead the group while walking backwards. I wondered which took more practice: the spiel about the school or the backwards walking? It’s a bit of a trick, this backwards walking, but the tour guides are so lucky they had to learn this skill, because doing it is empowering and can be fascinating.

I often ask my Alexander students to explore walking backwards, because it provides so much useful information. It bypasses habitual assumptions about our bodies in motion and our relationship to the space we’re in. For starters, how often do you move with an awareness of the space behind you?  Are you, in fact,  including what’s in back of you right now (or to the side or above or below you)?

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Comments

Blog of the Week: The Power of Walking Backwards — 3 Comments

  1. I often get my pupils to walk backwards. I then get them to stop, tell themselves that they are still walking backwards as they give consent to walk forwards. The results are amazing.
    I’ve also tried getting them to think they are cycling backwards whilst moving forward.

  2. That’s the idea exactly, Mark. The results are fascinating, and very consistent. It’s similar to negative directions — “I’m not walking” is something I occasionally say to myself as I walk, especially when I notice myself endgaining (like when I’m late for an appointment or something.

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