Research shows that T'ai Chi is the most effective way for seniors to reduce
their risk of falling. As little as 15 weeks of practice lowers the risk of
falling by almost 50%. Eight Ways classes and clinics teach a set of exercises
developed specifically to counteract the effects of aging.
Fall Prevention and T'ai Chi Principles
Timing and balance. The presence of both is experienced
as a graceful, light, stable bearing. Too often though, waning strength
and balance disrupt timing leading to a fall. Most falls happen while changing
direction because we spoil our balance by twisting our torso and knees.
Falls also occur when poor posture puts our weight teetering forward on
our toes or tottering backward on our heels. Missteps and obstacles also
cause falls. Just the fear of falling prevents many seniors from being as
active as they would like. All of these challenges can be handled gracefully
by following T'ai Chi principles.
T'ai Chi is a centuries old Chinese art whose basis is
the application of common sense to movement and alignment. T'ai Chi practice
cultivates a keen sense of timing, balance, suppleness, strength and sensitivity
through study of the slow, rhythmic exercises.
Eight Ways movements progress from simple to more complex, from arm motions to full body
motions, from standing on both legs to progressively standing on one at a time, and finally,
from individual movements to a continuous flow of motion. Animal Forms and Cheng Man-ch'ing's
Eight Ways are the foundation of the work.
Eight Ways Fall Prevention classes teach seniors T'ai
Chi principles with simple yet profound exercises aimed at improving timing
and balance. The purpose of the exercises is to embody the principles so
that they will become integrated into daily activities.