Tai Chi Walking

Essentially, the idea is to create an area to walk up and down a railroad track (should width apart) and re-train the mind's view of stride so the actual walk becomes a passive movement onto the foot, knee, and hip.

Benefits include faster recovery time for injuries below the hip and improved athletic response making a whole body movement. This therapeutic response can be applied to many different types of conditions.

Essentials of the walk.

  1. Separate the weight completely from side to side.
    Try this first, move to the right and lift up the other foot. Move to the left and pick up the foot. If this is difficult, start by building up the strength to separate the weight.
  2. Press the weight into the other leg by bending into the knee.
    Try this second, be able to sift from side to side while absorbing the difference in height with bend knees. There should be no bobbing up and down from this movement.
  3. Move the foot forward by lifting up the leg with the psoas muscle and placing it down moving forward from heel to toe.
    Try this third, moving the foot only about 1/2 of the foot's length on each step -- baby steps. Move the foot first, then shift the body across to the foot. A typical person moves with their weight and slams down on the foot, knee, and hip. This active part has gone away and been replaced. The active part is the back psoas muscle bringing the foot forward. Slowly prove this step; do not have any weight on the foot after the transfer, and then transfer the weight.
  4. Try this fourth, do as many backward steps as forward steps.
    A small hallway in the house is perfect, about ten steps. The backward and forward movement should be made with the foot moving in a straight line (the outside edge of the foot should be straight). At this point be practicing about 2-3 times a day. This stage is retraining the injured part, or the athletic response to move the whole body smoothly.
  5. Use the walk whenever possible.
    Think of walking as including a hesitation (which is the foot being moved forward by the psoas muscle with about an 11 degree tilt in the pelvis), then a smooth movement across to the foot. Pretend to be skating and moving from the center of the body. Be sure and move from a bent knee so the lower two great springs of the body (the legs) are propelling the body with a new sense of power, at the same time this treats the joints with care.

Many great dancers and athletes can been seen using this technique. It gives them the maximum thrust when they want to apply it. It gives them freedom to change direction at will. As a dancer they can appear to be floating up stairs as if the stairs are not there.

The walking backward is as important as the walking forward. It has the side benefit of helping the back to unwind and release some of its compressed tension. It is important to slightly bend the hips upward to take out the curve in the small of the back to get this effect. It will help the lower back relax.

2009 David Scott -- All rights Reserved