Pre-Gait Tai Chi Inspired Exericses

Horse Stance

There is a large body of evidence demonstrating the health benefits of Tai Chi.  Decreased risk of falling, improved strength and improved postural balance are some of the benefits that can be achieved.   Traditionally, Tai Chi movements are taught in a flow, smoothly blending one exercise into the next.  This is a difficult task to achieve in the physical therapy clinic.  In order to achieve the benefits of Tai Chi, I will often break down the traditional exercises and begin with the essence of the movement, the weight shifting.

Today’s blog entry will focus on some Tai Chi inspired exercises I use in the clinic almost daily.  These exercises blend traditional pre-gait exercises with the principles of Tai Chi to achieve faster gains in gait quality and safety. Each exercise becomes progressively more challenging, so I recommend beginning with Lateral Weight Shift and then move on to the next once you become more comfortable.   If you would like to learn more, consider attending one of My Tai Chi for Therapists continuing education courses in Illinois or Wisconsin.

Lateral Weight Shift

 

  • Stand in horse stance with arms at your side
  • Shift all of your weight to the R as far as you can
  • Shift all of your weight to the L as far as you can
  • Note: do not rotate or side bend the spine
  • Repeat slowly, focusing on smooth fluid movements and equal weight shift to both sides.

 

Lateral Weight Shift with Forward Step

  • Stand in horse stance with arms at your side
  • Shift all of your weight to the R as far as you can
  • Gently tap the L forward without putting any weight through your L foot
  • Return the L foot
  • Shift all of your weight to the L as far as you can
  • Keeping the R leg “empty” step forward with your R foot
  • Return the R foot
  • Repeat slowly, focusing on smooth, fluid movements and no weight through the moving leg. 

 

 

Lateral Weight Shift with Posterior Step

  • Stand in horse stance with arms at your side
  • Shift all of your weight to the R as far as you can
  • Keeping the L leg “empty” step backward with your L foot
  • Return the L foot
  • Shift all of your weight to the L as far as you can
  • Keeping the R leg “empty” step backward with your R foot
  • Return the R foot
  • Repeat slowly, focusing on smooth, fluid movements and moving the empty leg straight back.

 

Lateral Weight Shift with Diagonal Stance

 

  • Stand in horse stance with arms at your side
  • Shift all of your weight to the R as far as you can
  • Keeping the L leg “empty” tap the L big toe in front of the R big toe
  • Return the L foot
  • Shift all of your weight to the L as far as you can
  • Keeping the R leg “empty” tap the L big toe in front of the R big toe
  • Return the R foot
  • Repeat slowly and smoothly focusing on keeping the moving leg unweighted and moving only to midline
  •  
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1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Shirley
    Jun 22, 2011 @ 09:17:32

    hello, fine article, and a really good understand! definitely one for my book marks.

    Reply

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