I have just returned from a class called ChiWalking and it was amazing! This is the second class I have taken in the past two weeks and I can already feel a difference when I move. This is good news for me because I haven’t been going on my morning walks as often due to this weird pain I was getting in my right leg. I felt like it had something to do with my gait and probably my posture, but I wasn’t quite sure why it was happening. When I saw this class advertised, I was intrigued. I had heard of ChiRunning, but not ChiWalking. I thought maybe this would be the answer I was looking for!!
As I mentioned, I was familiar with ChiRunning which became popular in early 2000. The founder, Danny Dreyer, released his first book, ChiRunning: A Revolutionary Approach to Effortless, Injury-free Running in 2004. In 2006, he released ChiWalking; Fitness Walking for Lifelong Health and Energy. Utilizing his extensive background in tai chi and ultra running, Danny created a form of running and walking that teaches people how to relax their body allowing them to use less muscle power. The idea is to bring awareness to your posture, specifically your core. This is where our power lies. When we are mindful of our core, we can bring balance to this powerful energy source which opens up the flow of chi. Chi is our lifeforce energy. I have studied qi gong for a long time so this made perfect sense to me. If it sounds a little “woo woo” to you, don’t worry. You can still follow the principles and over time, you will begin to feel the energy flow.
The proper posture for ChiWalking is to have your upper body straight with a slight crunch in the lower abdominals. This levels the pelvis and brings the upper body forward slightly. Your feet are directly under your hips. Imagine a small child when they are learning to walk. Notice how they lean their upper body forward and look as if they are going to topple over. That is basically the feeling you have with chiwalking. This can feel a little awkward at first because we are so used to having our legs out in front of us and our upper body tilted back slightly. I was shocked at how much lighter I felt when I was practicing the chiwalking posture. My body moved so much easier and I definitely felt like I was using less muscle power to walk. I did feel a little goofy but after the second class, I felt more comfortable. I’m sure I still looked goofy, but who cares…my joints were happy 🙂
As you can imagine, mindfulness is a big part of this process. We all know we need to incorporate more mindfulness into our activities, but how often are we mindful when we walk or stand or sit? Without the awareness, we develop holding patterns in our body and lose the fluidity in our movements. Ultimately, this leads to poor posture and improper body mechanics. Knee pain, back pain and plantar fasciitis are just some of the common injuries that can result from poor posture. Don’t we owe it to our bodies to do as much as we can to prevent these injuries?
If you are ready to eliminate your pain, I highly recommend getting a copy of the book. It is chock full of stretches, mobility exercises and walking programs. There are online videos and DVD’s you can order, but I thought it was so helpful to have the one on one coaching. The woman that taught the class, Lisa Pozzoni, is the only instructor in Arizona and she lives in Phoenix. Lisa typically does not come to Tucson over the summer, but she said if I could get a group together, she would come for a class. So, for all my peeps who live in Tucson, if anyone is interested in learning ChiWalking, I would love to help organize a class. The class is about 2 hours and it is really fun! For those of you who live out of state, check out the website http://www.chiwalking.com. I am sure you can find classes in your area.
I hope you will consider joining me for a class. Your body will thank you 🙂
If you have any questions about Chiwalking or the class, comment below and let’s chat.