I am often asked what tai chi can do for balance and falls prevention, both important topics especially as we age.  So first of all, let me say that if these issues are of concern to you, then learning and applying the principles of tai chi are what will make the difference.  However, you must practice (did I just hear you groan?).  Here are some of the things in tai chi I find helpful:

-Alignment: if you remain conscious of your physical alignment (which we do in every class), then you are already building a structure of support from the ground up. And this alignment is not just vertical—it is also the connection between nose and belly button, or the aligning of the knees with ankle and feet.  Small constant changes make big differences.

-Strengthening legs and coordination: the first three warm-ups that we do in my tai chi classes are all about working to create a stronger structure from the ground up to get muscles and joints ready to move as well as to open the flow of energy from the earth.  Learning how to make sure a foot is in place before shifting weight and taking the weight off the foot before you move it will teach you how to become more mindful in walking as well.

In addition you are getting practice balancing your weight on one leg while the other leg works.  The warm ups for shoulders and head with the gentle squats that are included (when we sink down and come back up) are very good for strengthening the upper thigh muscles and bringing the flow of energy from the ground up.

-Maintaining your focus: In tai chi you learn to maintain your focus.  When your mind wanders, you may suddenly not remember where you are in the form ( I call this tai chi humor).   In this day and age it is so easy to lose focus, or move too quickly.  This can lead to loss of balance and falls.

Awareness is key to maintaining your balance.

These are some of the ways that you can work to create better balance in your body.  So if you don’t have time to do anything else, do the warm-ups from our class as the key ingredients are included there.  When you practice the tai chi movements from the 24 forms, you continue this strengthening process while bringing a new level of coordination to your body.


Categories Tai Chi | Tags: | Posted on November 23, 2017

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