mobility

Some years ago my teacher Karel Koskuba told me to practice slowly and to notice the feelings in my body – needless to say I understood the words – but crucially not the meaning – I did not truly understand.

So I am delighted that now I think I do – in a sort of “ah so that is what he meant” sort of way.

Consequently I am encouraging my students to look for opportunities to sink and to stretch in a slow and very relaxed way.

An interesting piece this week in New Scientist – they do not recommend Tai Chi but practice does fit the sort of activity they suggest and  I have a number of students who tell me their back pain has disappeared since doing Tai Chi. They do not offer a recipe for a quick cure but the piece is certainly well worth a read.

Tai Chi master

I have recently taken to putting on the website articles which are not carefully crafted – rather they are what may be regarded as thought pieces – something quite traditional as one might recognise from the way the “Tai Chi Classics” were put together for example.

Once thinking about a topic after a while quite suddenly the thoughts just tumble out and it is all I can do to get them on paper – I simply don’t have the time these days to carefully craft them into well structured articles or to fill out the background on everything. So I must leave it to my readers to explore further. I expect that from time to time I will revisit and expand on points.

One that comes to mind is the reference to a difference between preventative and remedial Tai Chi when considering the health of older people. We can think that while a person has the ability to do normal Tai Chi exercises then this may be regarded as preventative of falls or other health issues – on the other hand once a person has reached a point where they can no longer do something like walk the length of a hall or stand for half an hour exercising then they are in need of remedial work. Preventative Tai Chi is simply exercising normally – but in the case of older people perhaps not so vigorously as we once did and can easily be accommodated in a normal beginners level class – this is why I often refer to them as “over 50s classes since  at that age people still have a good 10 years to learn and develop their skill  before they reach a point at which they would otherwise become vulnerable to falls. Start at 50 and one can hope to improve one’s proprioception, body mapping and Tai Chi skill to a point that staves off problems of falling.

On the other hand I sometimes see people with walking frames or in wheel chairs – or get phone calls from relatives who’s father/mother has just been diagnosed/admitted to a care home and  have seen that Tai Chi is good for their condition – and would I please go to the care home every day to teach their parent. Sadly it is expected that they have probably reached a point where more work is needed than either I or they can put in. It is possible they could do the work but unlikely if they do not already have the discipline, habit and skill  of doing it already. This is what I mean by remedial. In these case I suspect that some daily Tai Chi informed exercises and physiotherapy would be as helpful as anything else and would encourage physios and carers to learn enough to pass on simple exercises.

Recent examples of this sort of article include Thoughts on Tai Chi Movement and Martial Arts as a Philosophy also Managing getting Old with Tai Chi

Ian and Judy Celebrating Spirals in Tai Chi and Alexander Technique

On 12-14 May 2017 at the Belsey Bridge Conference Centre, Suffolk we will be holding our first  Alternative Health Exercises Residential Weekend – of gentle movement and body awareness exercises in a environment of light humour and relaxation.

The weekend program will be based on our popular seminar series of exercises  developed  from Tai Chi &  Alexander Technique with  elements of dance incorporated  into two days of mindfulness exercises  and meditation ‐ developing a practical  way of being.

Widely experienced Alexander teacher  Judy Hammond and long‐term Tai Chi  instructor Ian Deavin have created this  program of physical and mental  exercises suitable for both complete  beginners seeking a retreat weekend,  or for more experienced exercisers  looking to “workshop” their mind and  body development.

Belsey Bridge Conference Centre offers  a delightful mix of space, quietness and excellent hospitality  ‐ the  package includes tuition with full board plus morning and  afternoon tea.

  • an introduction to Tai Chi and  Alexander Technique
  • Relaxing and strengthening  movement
  • Individual, partner and group  work
  • Meditation, visualisations

To book your place contact here

Why Tai Chi works for the over 50’s

16 November 2016
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Well there are many factors and to begin, as I understand it, during aging cellular replication slows down around 50 or so, that is the number of stem cells in our body start to run down. The 115 year old woman who died a while ago was found to have only two types of stem cell […]

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Tai Chi and Alexander Technique seminar 13th November

29 September 2016
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Considerations on Tai Chi in the role of Falls Prevention – a whitepaper

26 November 2015
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Experience has shown that Tai Chi is an effective practice for addressing the problems of falls in the elderly and others vulnerable to falls, leading to a reduction in risk in the order of 40% to 50%. However while Tai Chi practice of itself can work well it is not necessarily suited to everyone. There […]

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Tai Chi and other Martial Arts come full circle

21 January 2015

Having for centuries borrowed from everywhere else in developing martial arts, those same ideas and practices are being fed back into the mainstream of society, for example by use of Tai Chi as a source of meditation practice, by use of partner work in developing co-operative approaches, using mindful physical practices to improve balance and […]

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Improved physical and mental health – from Tai Chi practice

6 November 2014

My friends and colleagues at The Letchworth Centre for Healthy Living have put together an excellent review of medical reports on the statistically significant effects reported in medical studies attributed to the practice of Tai Chi. These include: “Better physical and mental health statuses, lower blood pressure, less mood disturbance, more positive mood states”, “Breast […]

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Tai Chi for a Good Back

17 October 2014

I thought I might pass on some personal thoughts on how Tai Chi fits into the mix of approaches to “bad back” syndrome arising from deterioration of posture and poor habits of body use. Tai Chi emphasises keeping a relaxed straight back leading to a vertical posture carried with poise. Tai Chi achieves this by […]

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