October 11, 2012 at 12:25 PM

Walking on the Right Side: How Stable Is Your Gait?

"As we get older, it become iimportant to maintain stability in walking and turning by lowering our energy below the waist"

By Levi Ben-Shmuel

Speaking for a Wiser Life

Levi Ben-Shmuel is a Tai Chi and Kabbalah teacher, and co-creator of "Sulam Chi: A Dance of Life."

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Early on in my years as a student of Tai Chi, I attended a personal growth workshop. At one point during the multi-day event, I volunteered to go up on stage to do an exercise with the facilitator in front of the 150-200 participants in the room.

At the time, I took pride in my physical stability. One of the hallmarks of a Tai Chi player is the ability to root oneself to the earth. In the exercise, I was asked to stand in a way that conveyed as much strength and stability as I could muster. The facilitator asked if I was ready. I replied, "Yes." She took a step toward me and gently pushed my chest. I immediately was thrown off balance and had to take a step back to stay upright. So much for me mastering Tai Chi rooting!

My mistake was holding my chest and upper body in a tense, rigid way. (Being in front of a large crowd had nothing to do with it!) Most of my energy was held above my waist instead of dropping it below the waist and into my legs and feet. Holding myself as I did, I was an easy target to be pushed over.

As a Tai Chi teacher, I have met many people who hold their energy in their upper bodies. As we get older, it becomes more and more important to maintain stability in walking and turning by lowering our energy below the waist. In the video clip below from my DVD Sulam Chi: A Dance of Life, I demonstrate a simple and powerful exercise to help you walk with more awareness, stability, and strength:

If you enjoy the walking exercise, I invite you to explore my Sulam Chi DVD. Sulam Chi means "ladder of life force energy." It is a set of movements I co-created that integrate Tai Chi-like movement and Kabbalah's Tree of Life. Sulam Chi is an efficient mind/body/spirit exercise that promotes being in the flow of life through letting go of tension and stress. No background in Tai Chi or Kabbalah is required to learn Sulam Chi. It is a wonderful practice to increase your overall well-being in just a few minutes a day.

May your steps be grounded, balanced, and smooth!

Originally posted on Huffingtonpost.com.

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