What is ChiWalking?
We all know how to walk but as the years go by we all pick up bad habits that create stress, tension and pain in our bodies. As a child we all walked naturally and efficiently. ChiWalking Chi (pronounced chee) teaches us optimal alignment and balance, how to listen to our bodies, how to reduce the impact on our body and thereby, reduce muscle fatigue by misuse or overuse. ChiWalking also introduces us to a spectrum of different walking focuses which we can use from slow, relaxing, meditative walks (which can help to reduce stress and anxiety) through to faster, aerobic and cardio interval walking.
"Walking is a man's best medicine" said Hippocrates over 2000 years ago and indeed scientific research has revealed that walking can help us in lots of ways (physical and mental).
Recent research recommends that we should be 'actively walking' at least 20 minutes a day but we also need to be moving and walking well. Let's face it, standing and walking is the foundation of most of the tasks we all do, so we need to ensure we are doing it well. The faster, further and more frequently we walk, the greater the health benefits. But we need to walk well and with good posture in order to reap those benefits.
Walking is one of the most common forms of activity we undertake but many people walk with only 50% efficiency or less. This can be due to a number of factors such as pain and discomfort, poor body alignment, lack of core muscle strength or incorrect stride length. The ChiWalking technique emphasizes the proper biomechanics of walking including good posture, alignment, engaging your core muscles, relaxed joints and muscles. This approach makes walking easier on the body and helps improve and reduce the aches, pains and discomfort of walking incorrectly.
We all live with different types of stress in our lives. Poor posture and poor walking habits create discomfort and pain which equates to another layer of stress. Our bodies and minds are intimately connected. If we can relieve the stress in our bodies this has an immediate effect on the mind. When the mind is not having to deal with discomfort in the body, it feels mental relief, awareness and balance.
ChiWalking is a 'whole body approach' to walking and should be regarded as a practice that can be incorporated into everyday life - whether you are walking to the shops, out with the dog or walking in the mountains. It can also compliment other activities such as yoga, running, hill walking or other walking forms, such as nordic walking. ChiWalking - with its roots in the ancient traditions of T'ai Chi and Yoga - is not just a physical practice but also great for your emotional, mental and spiritual well-being. You may very well find that there are elements of ChiWalking that you can incorporate into other areas of your life.