Tag Archives: balance

Sitting tall

Do you have trouble with restless legs that keep you up at night? Sore knees that challenge your balance when you bend to sit or rise to stand? Feeling a little overwhelmed with the holidays?

Seated Tai Chi – a true gift for learning about the signals you receive from your body about the stress it is experiencing and the joy it has found.

These are some of the ideas we explored with our Seated Tai Chi workshop on December 6th.  Our guest instructor, Michelle Greenwell, from Tai Chi Cape Breton, holds a Ph.D. (final) in Complementary and Integrative Health.  Her 30 years of study in Tai Chi and her passion for the benefits of the Seated Form were evident as she shared what our bodies are telling us through our physical signals.

The Seated to Standing Don Yu begins with the movement of the arms in a figure 8 pattern, that massages all the organs, engages the fascia, and expands the body for deeper breathing without any effort.  The second part of the movement engages the feet and legs into a harmony of movement that provides stability, centering, and grounding for ease of rising from a chair.  Lastly, the full rise provides the strength and flexibility of whole-body movement to create a power source for building energy and vitality for the body.  As we explored this unique movement set, exclusive to the seated form repertoire, we were able to identify where we had challenges in movement and how to correct it.

Many people rely on momentum to get up, turning and creating off balance to push with arms on an arm rest, or collapsing the knees together to use the inner thigh muscles to lift the body while the outer leg muscles soften with the angle of the legs.  We realized that our feet, positioned correctly, can guide full power through our knees and hips without pain or strain by our joints. Ease of movement was a quick result.  This set of actions can be helpful for releasing the energy overload that results in restless legs at night. 

Everyone in the group was delighted with the spiral action in the movement, White Stork Spreads Wings, and as we explored the expansion of our arms, we felt the lightness of movement and the ease of breathing that resulted.  In just a few short minutes we had calmed the mind and body, and we were able to re-assess stress in the body to notice more ease of movement, relaxation in the joints, and a calmness that brought us all together. 

It was a remarkable two hours that passed quickly as we played with primary reflexes in the feet.  We discovered that our massaging of the feet during the tai chi movements influences our hips, spine, shoulders, neck, back of skull, eyes, ears, tastebuds, and smell.  Who would have believed feet were so powerful?  We even talked about how emotions were calmed by the feet and their movement patterns.  This awareness through sitting brought a new dynamic to how we sit during the day, with other people, and sitting to energize, rather than sitting to rest.

For those in the group who study the standing form of Tai Chi, this was a realization that time spent sitting and exploring the movement patterns created a completely different learning opportunity, as well as a deeper awareness of the challenges and imbalances in the body.  At the end of the session, we were all empowered and aware of how much we had transformed our bodies in just a short period of time.  We all walked a little lighter, and calmer, out the door, ready for the rest of our day.

Looking for similar results for yourself?  WCTCS is always open to welcoming new students to Tai Chi.  Consider the seated form class on Friday mornings as your best first step into the program.  Your awareness and development of strength and flexibility will be simple, and profound, and begin right from the first class. Email winecountrytaichi@gmail.com for more information or call Yvonne at 778-755-0987 to talk to an instructor.  Start 2023 with your well-being in mind, Tai Chi harnesses your healing potential in minutes.