“Avid beginner here! My walking gait is completely off. I went back to Hanna’s book on standing hip hikes, which helped my body. But something in my glutes is so stuck, knotted, or in tight spasm. How do I work out an old muscle pattern and/or replace it with better function?!”

This person made a wonderful discovery when she explored the “hip hikers” in standing. While the hip hikers (also shown in Martha’s book, Move Without Pain) are a gentle up-and down movement – much like doing a salsa or cha-cha – if there is excess tension on one side of our waist and torso more than the other, this movement can create tension in the glutes (or buttock muscles).

Why? There are two possible reasons:

  1. This person may be stuck in the “green light” posture of “go-go-go” with tight back muscles that are not allowing her to sense the movement of the waist. In short, her back is trying to do the work of the waist.

What to do? Step one is to learn to release the tight muscles of the back, then release any tension in the front. Remember that the front and back of the body work together to allow us to bend forward and back.

The Back Lift is a wonderful and powerful movement that pandiculates all the muscles of the back of the body, including the glutes!

  1. She may also be habituated to the Trauma reflex. It is the primary reflex that gets in the way of smooth and effortless walking.

The Trauma Reflex is a compensatory reflex that causes you to tighten one side of the body more than the other in response to pain or injury. If you’ve ever twisted your ankle and limped around, you know what we’re talking about.

Once the front and back are moving in coordination, it’s important to directly re-educate and release the waist muscles and learn to let the pelvis swing again.

The Side Bend is the best movement we know of to release chronic tension and imbalance in the waist muscles so that you can lengthen one side as you allow the other side to shorten.

The Side Bend will reestablish symmetry in the center so you can walk again with ease and balance. Follow the Side Bend with the Washrag so you can integrate the sides, shoulders, and pelvis. Then go ahead and stand up and do your Hip Hikes! Let your belly and back be soft as your waist muscles and pelvis enjoy the movement!