Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Short Stuff?

When I stopped growing at the young age of 12, I was measured at 5'2". Now in my family, that was tall.. and trained in ballet I had 'good' posture. Later I became involved in swimming and finally Tai Chi and Qigong.
When I was 32 we had a health fair at one fitness club I was teaching at, and for the first time in 20 years my height was measured for a fitness assessment. I surprised to find I was now 5'3" tall!
How did that happen?
The training I did in Tai Chi helped to adjust the curvature in the spine, align my hips properly - after years of dance training which had made my hip flexors off balance.
I wondered if this was a common happening? No one I knew had this experience. Until last week I hardly thought about it, then one of my long time students told me he had gone to his doctor for a check up and he reported that he had gained 1/2" from his previous measuring a few years ago.
In addition to doing Tai Chi regularly, he had been doing some back physio exercises to strengthen his back after suffering from a pinched nerve and sciatica.
One exercise we follow in Tai Chi class is to lift from the crown of the head and drop from the tailbone during Qigong standing meditation. This gentle 2 way stretch slightly temporarily removes the natural S curve of the spine and allows the vertebrae to open up a small amount more than normal posture. Think of an accordion; when you open it up from both ends the spaces between the folds gets bigger fills with air and then when you press it back it compresses.
Perhaps this is why people with disc problems and pinched nerves get some relief from these exercises.
I would like to know if anyone else has had this pleasant side effect from doing Tai Chi and if it has been studied at all?
Email me or reply in the comments,

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