The Gravity of the Situation

February 20, 2014 0 Comments


The Gravity of the Situation “Gravity overcomes grace and form at a certain mass level.”  ― Sara Stark, An Untold Want

The Gravity of the Situation
“Gravity overcomes grace and form at a certain mass level.”
― Sara Stark, An Untold Want

In late January, sixty Tai Chi/Qigong students and teachers celebrated the beginning of the Lunar New Year.  We practiced many forms, had a pot luck and watched Tai Chi demonstrations.  One particular teacher demonstrated Wu Form.   Sonny performed a combination of  finely synchronized, smooth moves  interrupted by exploding vertical jumps and kicks.  He moved with such grace, such beauty and strength.  It was mesmerizing.

Sonny’s arms and legs moved slowly in perfect harmony and balance through Step Up Grasp Bird’s Tail, Single Whip, Cloud Hands, and Left High Pat Horse  all setting the stage for kicking moves Right Separate Foot Kick – Right Parting Leg  and Turn Body Kick with Heel – Turn Body Pedaling Foot  to Step Back Hit Tiger Posture – Retreat Step Beat the Tiger.  Unfamiliar terms, I know, but the titles may give you a sense of the grace and balance of the moves.

While most of us don’t have the years or discipline to become Tai Chi Masters, we can improve our grace and balance.

Think about gravity.  Right now.  Take off your shoes and stand up.  Feel your feet against the floor, pick up your toes and lay them back down, one by one.  Slightly bend your knees, tuck your tailbone, relax your shoulders, slightly tuck your chin, and gently point the crown of your head toward the sky.  Breathe in and out gently, and be present to a sense of gravity.  Allow this awareness of gravitational pull  into your body and your mind.  See if you can feel a solid connection to Mother Earth.  Relax into recalling the simple support you receive every moment of every day from the delicious pull of gravity. Stay in the present for at least five minutes…peaceful and reassuring.

Now consider the many opportunities for gravity to work against you.  Slick surfaces, uneven footing, spilled liquid, poor concentration, cats-dogs underfoot, and a hundred other causes including age-related or chronic disease can influence our ability to stay upright.  I recently read an article about balance in the New York Times.  To quote:  “Noting that each year one in three Americans 65 and older falls, and that falls and their sometimes disastrous medical consequences are becoming more common as the population ages, Scott McCredie (1),  wonders why balance is not talked about in fitness circles as often as strength training, aerobics and stretching. He learned that the sense of balance begins to degrade in one’s twenties and that it is downhill — literally and figuratively — from there unless steps are taken to preserve or restore this delicate and critically important ability to maintain equilibrium.”

I am living, breathing proof that balance can dramatically improve.  When I started Qigong/Tai Chi two years ago, I couldn’t balance on just one foot.  I had an old injury that seriously compromised my balance.  I could stand upright, of course, but needed to concentrate going up and down stairs, reaching up, walking on snow and ice to keep from tripping or falling.  Then, I began to practice y Qigong/Tai Chi.  Today, I am much more stable and can easily stand on just one leg.  Gravity, again, is my friend.  Is it yours?

Check out the article from the New York Times and you will find the balance assessment and suggestions for improving your balance:   Preserving a Fundamental Sense: Balance .  Of course, you could just come to one of my classes to improve your balance as you learn Qigong/Tai Chi!  -Namaste, Becky


(1) Scott McCredie, author of  “Balance: In Search of the Lost Sense,” published June, 2013 by Little, Brown.

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