Golfer finishing a stroke with great form.
Photo by Courtey-Cook on Unsplash

What does turning mean anyway?

We discussed this recently in a Mindful Movement with Parkinson’s class. We mostly agreed that turning involved all (or at least most) of ourselves. Our eyes and head; shoulders, ribs and pelvis; even the weight on our feet.  Perhaps “turning“ describes our self in relation to the outside environment, a change in orientation or direction. Which aligns with the more official definition of turning.

But as we played with more differentiated movements, twisting came to mind — one or several parts moving in relation to other parts and with some center line or axis around which we move. We can all think of examples – looking over a shoulder without any weight shift on feet or sitting bones, “turning” to look behind us when driving, opening a door or jar. Immediately, language may begin to get a bit muddy. And for some people, “twisting” can carry a slightly negative connotation: the risk of injury as in a twist of an ankle or lower back. Mentally, emotionally, we can get all “twisted up,” generally not an enjoyable experience.

Maybe “twisting” incorporates some sense of staying put or grounding, an ability to let go and still keep something in place. We don’t abandon our self, our connections, our internal relationships as we relate differently to the outside environment. Even though we speak of “turning” the page to a new year, we’re not usually changing direction. We want to keep some stability, carrying memories, experiences and so much more with us. At the same time, we make resolutions which may involve turning away from or leaving something behind. So maybe a bit of both.

Turning, twisting – we incorporate both into movement and life.

It’s been fun considering movement through this lens. I’m reminded of a delightful example one student gave as we ended our class discussion. She turned her whole self around, spinning on one or both feet! It was a free and joyous move – a turn with elements of twisting included – might we call it a twirl? And then there is the spiral. . .but that is a topic for another day.

May you turn – twist – twirl – or spiral – into the New Year!

And, if you want to make turning, twisting and other movements easier, there’s still room in both the online and in person classes starting January 9th. I’d love to see you!

Click Here for Schedule and Registration

Turning Into the New Year

Marg Bartosek

I teach people to move younger as they age, tapping into greater ease and comfort in daily activities as well as enhanced safety, independence, and well-being. I also provides specialized resources for people living with Parkinson's disease. For more information or ask questions, please submit the Contact Form at

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