Four years ago I read the book called Chi Walking – www.chiwalking.com. I have tried the technique without really grasping the concepts. In April of this year, I suffered a painful shin splint from walking. I had a series of keynotes and needed to fix the problem pronto so I wouldn’t be limping on stage. It took three weeks to heal it and multiple trips to a masseuse, chiropractor and acupuncturist.
For long term risk management on my mobility, I wanted to learn a more effective way of walking. I remembered the Chi Walking book and found a class on their website in July that would fit into my schedule.
Katherine Dreyer has put together a phenomenal training program. I’m not that athletically inclined so learning new skills that involve my body doesn’t come naturally to me. In ten hours, Katherine managed to teach 12 of us the skills to start on a path to a safer, healthier way of walking. Katherine and her husband Danny have made their life focus to understand the bio-mechanics of walking and running and to effectively teach it to others. The Chi Living team has also assembled a fantastic train the trainer program and have licensed teachers all over the world.
The Chi Walking technique focuses on engaging your core muscles to move you forward. This way you don’t suffer over use injuries in your feet, calves, knees, quads, or hips. So you can stick with a walking program for more miles and many years. The additional benefit you also trim down your middle – something that just seems to keep spreading as you age. You learn to use gravity to help you instead of hurt you. And the technique in and of itself is a meditative practice as you have to focus on your core – a focus point in most martial arts practices – including Tai Chi. You turn the simple act of walking into a calming, anti-aging exercise.
What I really liked about the Dreyer’s Chi moving techniques is they allow for you to be a beginner and move into this gradually. I have worked with a variety of personal trainers in my life. Most left me feeling like I was just not cut out for their level of physical endurance performance requirements. With Katherine’s style and philosophy – you gradually work your way into this in a focused, gentle, and consistent way. You start where you are, no judgment. Even if you perceive you have physical limitations – the techniques can be adopted gradually over time and actually have you get past those.
Considering I walk several hours a day to move myself from points a to b to c, I am very thankful the Dreyers created a technique that would enable me to maintain life long mobility. Here is the my summary mind map of the class.