Did you ever have one of those days on the ice that made you so happy that afterwards you felt like skipping back to your car–except that you were so tired from skating that you decided to skip only in your heart?
Tonight at the rink there was hardly anyone there, just another adult figure skater (Dave of the enviable spread eagles) and a hockey skater. So I had lots of space to work on those basic principles that I wrote about in my last blog post. In particular, I really focused on three parts of my body that I haven’t really been aware of until fairly recently.
1. First was my thighbone (femur). I used to simply balance on or (uh-oh) hang from my skating leg. But now, oh joy, if I push correctly I can actually feel the energy of my push go into the new skating leg, right into the thighbone as it bends and moves forward. This is an amazing feeling, especially if I have the correct lean with it.
No wonder Davis and White are so smiley (okay, at least Davis is smiley).
2. Second, are my sit bones. These are the bony protuberances at the bottom of the pelvis. With my misaligned hip, I actually had a hard time feeling both of them equally when I would sit.
Now that my hips are more aligned, I’m much more aware of them. And this is proving to be very useful. Remember how difficult it was for me to get my hips to stay level? And how difficult it was to fire my left gluteal muscles? And how I had to keep reminding myself to keep my tailbone down so that my hips would remain under me?
Well, I found that if I try to imagine my sit bones staying very close to one another, it’s much easier to keep my whole pelvic girdle aligned, my glutes and core muscles engaged, and my tailbone down. I know that the sit bones actually don’t really move that way; this is just a bit of imagery that helps me to stay aligned and to make sure my free side is not pulling me out of my circle. And it works on all kinds of moves and turns.
3. This dynamic duo (if you count the sit bones as one unit since they stay so close to each other) has been joined by a third wonderful body part: my foot.
My left foot has given me all kinds of problems over the past few years. It has only been recently that I have been able to do calf raises on one foot without pain. There’s still some tenderness and occasional pain in my foot, but it is way better. And the exercises are paying off; I can actually use my left foot to help shape edges now.
Did you know that there are three arches in the foot? The medial longitudinal arch runs the length of the foot, and I found that I can help shape my edges by pressing my foot along this curve. It feels like I’m using a curved-blade kitchen knife (I have one with a double blade for chopping nuts). It’s much more exciting than chopping nuts!
You can use the other two arches as well (like pressing the pinky toe down to get a better outside edge). I’m still at the beginning part of understanding this, so hopefully I’ll write more about it another time.
But I do know that good things come in threes. As the youngest of three daughters, I’ve long believed that!
So here’s a happy trio of skating friends. Femurs, sit bones, and feet at the ready!