mobility

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

Tai Chi and Alternative Health Exercises

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 left in her bloodstream – greatly down on a younger person.

Then the cells that do not replicate do not die, they enter a lower energy state of senescence where they are not so efficient or effective at converting the energy of blood sugar work. Consequently we become weaker cell by cell, muscle fibre by fibre. The same of course happens with our internal organs which consequently become likewise as capable!

Now perhaps many things including Tai Chi, exercise in general, good diet, a low stress lifestyle etc. can prolong that period of decline extending the onset of senescence some years, but ultimately, unless we die by trauma, then we all die the same way, by gradual aging.

The difference is that Tai Chi offers a way of developing skill in body usage – Tai Chi people age and die like everybody else – they have simply learned how to deal with it better than most. They learn how to manage their body and if you have not learned Tai Chi by age 50 then this is when you probably still have enough energy left to learn.

The connected movement of Tai Chi allows the whole body to act together, supporting and enhancing the weaker parts. Like a convoy protecting and supporting the slower weaker ship. We need to get the whole convoy home – the whole body – with as little damage or loss as possible.

So, like a team who organise themselves so that the strong support the weak and the quick cover for the slow, the clever for the not so clever – of which each individual will exhibit a range of attributes that need to be meshed together so that the whole is greater than the sum of the parts and ensuring that the weakest link does not fail.

As they grow old Tai Chi people learn to do this with their bodies, minds and emotions so that by developing relaxed integrated movement, the body organs and consequently the cells of which they are comprised are less stressed and for any action the whole body is brought to bear – thus compensating for developing weakness.

Check out our classes here

tai-chi-and-alexander-seminars-2016
Tai Chi Stepping at an angle

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 are a wide range of contextual factors that need to be considered and which may improve the acceptance of a program to the participants e.g. the amount of social time and the quality of social interactions built into the class schedule. In addition it is clearly important to establish a lesson plan of Tai Chi based exercises focused on improvement of balance and mobility as well as being within the capabilities of the participants.

Read the full whitepaper here.

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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The role of visualisation in movement – Eric Franklin

18 October 2012

I have been reading a brilliant book on the use of internal visualisation in movement – Dynamic Alignment Through Imagery by Eric Franklin – this was recommended by my teacher Karel Koskuba and it has much in common with the visualisation I have come across in Tai Chi – also sharing a similar rational regarding […]

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Planning a Falls Prevention program

21 October 2011

I’ve done quite a bit of work recently teaching Tai Chi as a falls prevention program, with some brilliant feedback – but it has got me thinking a lot about the wider aspects of the subject and led me to produce a whitepaper on the considerations of setting up a Tai Chi based falls prevention […]

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Fall reduction research

11 May 2011

I am delighted that The Letchworth Centre for Healthy Living have managed to arrange a measured trial of Tai Chi classes to evaluate the effects of Tai Chi related exercises on balance and by extension on the likely risk of falls. Quality of life, longevity and cost to health career stakeholders are all major issues. […]

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