Here’s a word or two from Claire Barker about her Tai Chi experience.
I took up Tai Chi in January 2018 as one of my New Year resolutions. Two years on I am still learning and improving and most important all enjoying myself.
I suffered a slipped disc in my lower back in 2013. There was no obvious cause, it just happened shockingly quickly. I had surgery but not before significant damage had been done to the function of my left foot. After over 6 months off from work, I eventually took early retirement.
6 years later I can walk reasonably, although not long distances most of the time, but my foot still can be very painful. In the winter of 2017, I reached the point when I could not get downstairs except on my bottom and any movement was difficult. Having always been a very active sporty person this was a bit of a trial. Tai Chi is the exercise I can do. I already knew how good it was for balance and posture, but the help it has been with my mobility, principally walking, is a big added bonus.
I may arrive at Tai Chi a bit stiff and footsore but by the end of the class not only am I more relaxed, but my foot is less stiff and painful and that can last for several days.
How has it helped?
As Steve quaintly puts it, ”Claire you have to remember walking is not just a case of throwing one foot in front of the other!” I have taken all the work we do in class on posture and foot placement and put it into my walking. So it is relaxation, head up, back straight, a bit more bend in the knees and hips and shorter steps. I have also learned to be much more aware of the ground and really concentrate on the sensations coming back to me through my feet.
Although it has taken a while I can now look forward to a walk albeit on flat ground and can do a couple of miles. This for me is very special and has added to my confidence.
I am no longer a person who cannot walk, but one who walks with knowledge about movement thanks to Tai Chi with good advice and training and much humor with like-minded people.