I just got back from an absolutely inspirational weekend with Danny Dreyer, founder of Chi Running and Chi Walking. I was part of a crowd of 13 Certified Chi Running and Walking Instructors from the UK and Europe who flew in to assist Danny in teaching the large group of clients who came to Lee Valley Athletics centre, London for Level 1 and Level 2 workshops.
I have so many written and audio notes from the weekend that I will be adding further blogs with follow up advice, so keep an eye on my blog.
To start with, I'm going to share advice and tips from the day that will help Chi Runners stay focussed on maintaining good posture.
Tip 1: use the Sit Up In Your Chair exercise
Revise the 'sit up in your chair' exercise and repeat this hundreds of times as part of your mindful practice of Chi Running. Yes I said hundreds! This is an important way to help you engage your core muscles to help you maintain good posture. This exercise is one I have worked on with all my clients, is a part of the level 1 workshop course, and is also in the Chi Running book.
A quick reminder of the exercise:
- Sit in your best posture about 2 inches forward from your chair back. Remember the Chi Runnjng posture focusses that you have been working on.
- Feel balanced, with your shoulders over your hips.
- Now relax back in to the chair like you are watching TV.
- Without using your leg muscles, come back upright in to best posture. Do this slowly, and lay attention to the muscles you are using.
- Repeat this a few times, memorising the sensation of sitting up.
- Now prepare to repeat this motion when walking, driving your car, and throughout your every day life. Whenever you catch yourself out of balance just remember the motion of sitting up.
Don't worry if you forget to stay in the posture - you won't be able to. As soon as you do realise that you are out of alignment, remember and repeat the motion of bringing your shoulders back over your hips and feel the light tension in your lower abdominals.
Tip 2: find a mental image to get your posture aligned
You might have a wide range of different ages in your head that help you align your posture. I have used 'reach for the coffee cup' for a long time, imagining I'm reaching to the top shelf in my kitchen. All this depends on your own mental imagery.
During the workshop, we used the image of a parasail, and imagined it tethered to the crown of our heads. It's important to lengthen your spine from the crown of your head. This will mean your chin drops slightly. The nice thing about the my image of the parasail is that you can let it take you up, and then take you forwards, as you apply lean and use gravity to take your body forwards.
Here is an infographic to help you remember this exercise:
Hopefully this has been a useful post. I'd be interested to know which mental images you use to remind you about good posture. Also, how successful are you at sitting up in your chair? Please do feel free to comment.