Monday, March 18, 2019

Tai Chi Assessment: Part 2

Progress Assessment:

It took 4 sessions but Chris is now able to perform the tai chi movements without producing excessive stresses to his shoulders and upper back.  The conflicting strains are much reduced.  He is able to coordinate his tai chi movements without excessive forward leaning and straining. 

Objective 1:                                                                                                  

The goal is to reduce the compressive strains from his mid and upper back that contribute to his right shoulder pain and discomfort. 

Objective 2:

To reduce the mid upper back from an excessive kyphotic compression. This will be accomplished by pulling the chest forward to reverse the kyphosis and then have the student engage in a gentle upward lift to lengthen the spine and vertebral bodies. The spine will then fall back into a natural more normal kyphosis. The arms and hands will gently push forward to aid in the uplifting motion.

It will be important for Chris to engage his pelvis to allow for lengthening of the spine and a full stretch.                                     

Chris’ arm position was moved slightly forward to allow for his scapula to be repositioned to an aligned position. Also necessary was to develop more awareness into the relaxation of his arm.   

Objective 3:

Create a connection through the upper and lower part of Chris’ body through the development and engagement of the sitting with the low back/hip in tai chi.

It is important to establish sitting during the transitional movements as this is where Chris loses the sitting during this move. 

The lumbars and pelvis lose the appropriate orientation to maintain a healthy sit and maintain a proper connection throughout the whole body during the movement.

Importance of shoulder mechanics in the tai chi movement:

In tai chi, some moves require the elbows to be down with space in the armpit. This allows for the hand and arm movement to glide in such a way that the shoulder joint will open. 

The shoulder muscles can be so tight that they can hold the joint in misalignment. Conversely the joint can be out of alignment and this may not allow the muscle tissues to correct the shoulder joint until it becomes aligned.

In the latter case, this can present a problem where the joint is resistant to correction until the joint is realigned.   

During the teaching of a tai chi movement, the teacher can aid in the  proper execution of the move to ensure that the shoulder joint maintains an openness in the movement. Any deviation from the normal will allow the instructor to analyze the causes of the distortions and point the way to effective corrections. 

An instructor can hands on sculpt the motion to ensure the proper execution of the tai chi movement. This will bring about body memory for the student to aid in remembering the movement to perform in the new way.    

When the arm and shoulder motion is configured in the appropriate way, this will affect and aid in conforming the upper back and chest and low back into a correct alignment.