ChiWalking Form Intervals Improve your Technique and Efficiency

Posted by Katherine Dreyer on Thu Oct 13th, 2011, No comments (be the first!)

Refining your Chi Walking technique can be a breeze, but only through practice. The key to lifelong health, fitness and injury-free walking is not engaging the Chi Walking Form Focuses…it is re-engaging them, over and over, until they become a natural part of how you move. The best way to improve health and maintain good walking technique is by integrating Form Intervals into your workouts.

Form Intervals make your walks more interesting and keep your mind from wandering to lingering projects, family obligations, etc. Instead, your mind becomes engaged in moving your body well, strengthening your core, relaxing all other muscles. The Form Focuses teach you how to move from a centered and relaxed place. When it’s time to work on that business report, your mind will be clear, efficient, focused and more creative.

Practicing Form Intervals is a kind of “maintenance” for your walking technique. It’s like a check-up visit – you get an evaluation of where you are and what areas may need improvement. It also keeps you from slipping into old, bad habits or picking up new ones. Form Intervals train your mind and body to better communicate while allowing you to do more with less effort.

In any given walk, you can practice single focuses, several focuses or focus pairs. Here are some different ways to do Form Intervals:

The Form Focus Walk: Before going out for your next walk, pick a few Chi Walking Form Focuses that will help improve the efficiency of your walking technique the most. Set your countdown timer on your watch for one-minute intervals. Move through your chosen focuses, practicing each one for one minute at a time. Continue cycling through all your focuses for the entire walk.

One-on-One-off: Choose a Form Focus and practice it for one minute. The next minute, don’t do it. Pay close attention and Body Sense the difference between using the focus and not using it. Here’s an example:

  • Try it with the “C” shape. Walk one minute with the “C” shape and then rest for a minute. Notice how holding the “C” shape changes your walking technique. Do this one-on-one-off for ten minutes.
  • Then, switch to allowing your pelvis to rotate. With each step, focus closely on allowing your hips to be pulled to the rear each time your legs straighten out behind you. Rest for a minute and notice what your hips and legs do when you aren’t concentrating on rotating your pelvis. If your pelvis doesn’t naturally move, you may notice that your legs have to work harder to push you forward, and your hips may feel tight.

Double Focuses: Choose Focus Pairs. Do one focus for one minute, then the other for one minute, then practice doing these two focuses at once at the same time for 1-3 minutes.

Relaxation Intervals: Devote an entire walk and all your Form Intervals to relaxing different parts of your body. Focus on areas where you hold tension, such as your hips, lower back, shoulders, etc. Really relax and loosen those parts of your body. (Make sure you do the Body Looseners before you start your walk.)

One Focus Walk: Devote an entire walk and all your intervals to practicing one Form Focus, such as pelvic rotation. Do one-on-one-off, or set your countdown timer to go off every two minutes to remind you to go back to your focus. Re-engage that focus as often as possible and feel what your stride is like when you practice that one aspect of the Chi Walking technique really well.

When you practice in this way, your Form Focuses become such an effortless,  ingrained part of your movement that just a quick reminder will adjust your body into correct form; thought and movement, mind and body as one.

Here’s a sampling of Chi Walking Focuses to get you started:

Start with Good Posture

  • Align your legs
  • Lengthen your spine
  • Level your pelvis

Upper Body & Arm Swing

  • Curl fingers with thumbs on top; relax hands
  • Hands don’t cross your center-line
  • Lead with your forehead, drop your chin
  • Shoulders low and relaxed

Lean

  • Lean from your hips
  • Relax lower legs and ankles
  • Lead with upper body, feet will follow

Lower Body

  • Soften knees
  • Lift your ankles
  • Land on front of heel, roll forward
  • Allow pelvic rotation to happen


You’ll find more Form Focuses to make your walking technique easier and more enjoyable in the Chi Walking DVD and book.
 

Tags

  • fitness walking,
  • walking technique,
  • mindful practice

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