Using Tai Chi to become more balanced

Tai Chi stepping teaches us how to walk softly and with balance. This has the benefit of eliminating the damaging impact that heavy heal strikes have on the lower back and greatly reduces the risk of falls even on slippery or uneven ground. It seems almost ridiculous to say, but many of us really don’t do walking very well and learning to do it with a little more awareness will realign the joints to help prevent or relieve all sorts of feet, knee and hip problems.

 

Take your time trying this simple exercise and then go for a walk and feel the difference.

 

Stepping with the right foot:

Stand with the feet hip width apart but this time with the feet angled outwards slightly. Put your weight on the left foot and when you feel balance in it (not before) swing the “empty’ right leg forward, keeping all the weight still on the left. Let the heal of the swinging leg touch the ground followed by the whole foot (toes pointing forward) Then, when you are ready (not before) transfer the weight from the back (left) foot to the front (right) foot. Keep the now “empty” back foot flat on the ground.

 

Now transfer the weight back to the left foot again and when you feel balanced on it (and not before) pick up the right again and step back to where you started. This time lightly placing first the toes then the whole foot down flat and then (when you are ready) transfer all the weight back from left to right. The whole idea is to break the habit of ‘falling’ on to the foot and learn instead to take a step without automatically committing your weight to it. As you get the hang of it you can increase the speed of your stepping and let the arms just swing naturally as the body moves. Repeat all of the above for Stepping with left foot.

If your feet feel a little tired or unresponsive wake them up first by treading on a tennis ball. Be sure to find all the sore places and massage them away with the ball.

Keith Graham is a member of the Breathe London wellbeing team and is  a senior Tai Chi and Chi Gong Instructor with The Tai Chi Union of Great Britain. He lives and teaches on the Isle of Wight and in London. For more information about classes and workshops with Keith go to http://breathe-london.com/rolfing

Posted on August 5, 2011, in Physical Therapies and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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