Lately, I’ve discovered a lot of people I know are afraid of falling—and it’s not always who you might think.  Young and old, male and female, athletic and delicate; this fear of falling seems to be prevalent.

I bring it up both because I’ve been hearing about this fear of falling more frequently and because Qigong is a GREAT way to improve balance

The first thing we do in any Qigong practice is properly align our posture so our bones support our body.  

Whether you’re standing or sitting, it’s important to stack your structure so your skeleton supports your weight.  Not only does this help with balance, it helps reduce injuries to muscles, tendons and ligaments. It’s also a great way to strengthen your bones.  Proper posture also improves breathing, and therefore overall physical health. There’s even research that shows proper skeletal alignment can increase mood and confidence levels.  (I’ve tested this theory personally and can tell you IT WORKS!)

Once posture is aligned, most people notice how much energy exists in their feet.  

This can sometimes feel like tension or heat or pulsing, pressure or “humming”—all of which are forms of energy.  At first, this energy can be distracting or even painful and needs to be “discharged” by simply pointing and flexing the feet while touching toes and heels alternately to the ground.  (Nothing in Qigong should ever be painful.)  When the energy in your feet can be experienced with relaxed curiosity, many people find their balance after a Qigong session is strong, they have a sensation of “walking on air”, and/or their entire body feels energized.  

Practicing Qigong barefoot can also provide an important and invigorating boost to your balance.  

One researcher found barefoot activities not only improve balance and posture, it may prevent common injuries.  Another research learned that wearing shoes may actually INCREASE the amount of force we exert on our leg joints, potentially leading to both chronic and acute injuries.  And one physically curious writer wrote a nice overview of research for going barefoot*.  (*I’m not affiliated with this writer, nor do I endorse any of his sales pitches or practices—I simply appreciate his due diligence on this topic.)

And that’s just what’s going on in our feet and bones at the start of a Qigong practice!

Serendipitously, now is a great time to focus on balance as we transition to Earth element Qigong practices, which highlight balancing, nourishing, and centering flows.  Here’s a 5-minute video for improving balance from one of my primary teachers that you can practice this week until we meet.