Practicing Tai Chi or any martial arts after an injury is an excellent opportunity to learn or relearn basic principles. I recently sprained my ankle. After a few days of taking it easy on my affected leg, I practiced some forms and was reminded of how important it is to connect with the bubbling springs.
Every time we bend our knees and hips to lower our center of gravity, being grounded in the sole of our foot allows the structure to carry the weight instead of the soft tissues. A small deviation away from balanced structure is felt immediately with an injury somewhere along the chain of pearls connecting our feet with our spinal engine. Moving slowly through the forms also allows us to listen to the rest of our structure as a small change outside of proper alignment can be felt with the injured tissues.
A couple of principles of martial arts apply here:
- The fundamentals are always good to practice and relearn.
- Listen with all of your senses to ensure alignment and connection.
- Be mindful of injury, but do not allow the injury to define you or your movement.
- We can learn our form from anyone, even someone who doesn’t practice our form, even from our own injured body.