Guest article from one of my friends and “trainee” as she calls herself. I wish I could be as articulate as Pam.
Watching a Taiso class you could be thinking that it’s just a group of people waving their arms about with the occasional punch and kick thrown in; but it’s much more than that. It is a discipline, based on Karate that combines gentle exercise with better posture, mobility and balance. The consensus of opinion is that learning something new, especially when we get older, helps to keep the brain active. This can be anything, from learning a language or playing the piano, but with Taiso you get a bit of exercise as well.
Each set of movements – or a form as it is called – is carried out in order with a little leeway for artistic interpretation. If the person who is learning has limited mobility, they can still take part; perhaps by sitting and just doing the arm movements. You just complete the sections that you are able to.
Once a form has been learnt, a breathing pattern is introduced to co-inside with the movements. Inhaling (expanding the abdomen instead of the chest) and then exhaling for longer than the inhale, helps to clear the stale air at the bottom of the lungs. This will increase the oxygen in your brain and other organs.
Once this has been mastered, another facet is added. Upon inhaling, introduce a slight stretch upwards and outwards and on exhaling, a gentle relax and slight bending of the knees. This may seem like trying to pat your head and rub your stomach at the same time but with practice it should come. After that, you can add tensing the muscles when you stretch. An arm movement, for example, that seems as if you are pushing out against something solid is enhanced and the muscles tightened. As the arm is withdrawn, the muscles are relaxed. A form can be executed slowly for relaxation or speeded up for a bit of a work out.
You will not get bored either as there are a total of eighteen forms to perfect.
If you like Pam’s writing, please click like and I will ask her to write more…