I am certain that everyone who does the ten lessons of Chi Running finds that some of them come easily, others with a little more difficulty, and still others that require continuous practice in the hope of someday getting it right.
Cadence (lesson 9) came easily to me. It seems I've always run with a pretty consistent cadence. Leaning (lesson 2) also came pretty easily, although I strongly suspect I’m still using leg muscles to sustain the lean. The upper body position and swinging the arms to the rear (lesson 7) are pretty easy to sustain, as long as I remind myself to do so.
Pelvic rotation (lesson 5) and swinging the legs to the rear (lesson 6) were both exercises of discovery, as both exercises built on previous exercises and asked you only to focus on it happening, not forcing it to happen. When I focus on the pelvic rotation I can feel it happening. Does that mean if I’m not focusing on it, it’s not happening? (If a tree falls in the forest…) I know my legs are flying out the back, both from viewing my footprints in the sand and because I no longer see them prancing out in front.
The “aha” exercises, for me, were lesson 3 (passive lower leg), lesson 4 (sand pit exercise), lesson 8 (knee bending), although I’m still not good at the y’chi part of lesson 8, and lesson 10 (cadence and gears.) The “aha” notwithstanding, I still have to remind myself, minute by minute, to release the tension in my lower legs and let the “wheel in the back keep on turning.”
I am still struggling with engaging my lower abs and not tightening my glutes (lesson 1). The authors recommend learning to release the glutes while keeping the lower abs tight. Seems I always get it backwards – the lower abs release but the glutes stay tight. The authors also say that people who hold tension in their glutes have control issues. Hmmmmm.
The authors also recommend continuing to practice the Chi Running focuses. After all, Chi Running is a practice, to be approached with the mindset of continually improving yourself and/or your skill.
The lessons are done, but the learning is just beginning.