Tai chi (Qigong)

Since coming out of hospital, I have been keeping the regular practice everyday of Qigong Tai chi, and I would like to recommend it for people who enjoy mild exercise that involves a meditative side. It is also good because it can be modified. At first I could only do ten minutes, now I do half an hour including Louhan patting. It's excellent for balance, and because much of my impairment is proprioceptive, it has helped improve my movement and confidence significantly. There are lots of free sessions on YouTube and Amazon, and so I started doing mine in front of the telly mirroring this chap from California, but now I have collected a range of moves I like, and can just put on music and do my half hour without watching anyone. 

Ironically, before my stroke, I used to think Tai chi was something elderly folk did in parks, not for me. Well, how things change, I now embrace it, and have further researched it as a martial art, but this is a lot more complex movement wise than Qigong. I am now going to attend my first karate class with my youngest son. I won't be doing the combative side, but I will participate in the warm-up exercises. I think I am ready for this now. At first, I was worried that because I have had a stroke, the instructor might find me a hindrace to the class until I found out she is blind! 

Other exercises I have been doing specific to cerebellar stroke have been gaze stabilsation exercies, cerebellar neuro exercises like walking sideways et cetera, and a novel one I have made up which involves crawling and walking on my knees on a soft carpet surface. I have found that initially these exercises would knock me out a bit, and I would have to rest, but now they make me feel much more capable in my day-to-day activities. 

Very interesting to read your post. Thai chi Is very beneficial to stroke survivors. Before the Pandemic I attended a weekly class of seated yoga, aimed at recovering patients. Brilliant, so helpful.

not heard of the term Qigong.

I certainly support your suggestion that it could be something to help us.

my course included meditative parts and was a two hour session. Which I coped with easily. The instructor was brilliant.

I discovered that my core was far off centre. The sessions finished before I could persue  the corrective measures. 

I understand that SVD affects balance, but I haven't looked in to that. my diagnosis listed SVD.

throughout the seated yoga courses, the type of stroke was not mentioned. 

carry on tai chi.


Thanks Colin, they couldn't rule out SVD with my stroke, but also SVD affects us all when we age, I am to believe. That's why as we get older, even if we haven't had a stroke, our balance and gait changes. They did a study of a large number of deceased people and discovered silent SVDs over time. That's about the length of my knoweldge of it. But back to Tai chi, and Qigong, I am to understand that Qigong is a branch of Tai chi, but it incorporates breathing and meditation as part of its movement. 

For me, my proprioceptive impairment means I can't calibrate body movement with my eyes, and what my brain perceives without feeling giddy - so the gentle, repetitive movement helps my brain calibrate in a safe space before I have to tackle the real environment. Because the cerebellum is reponsible for survival movements, it means that my brain responds to a simple physical environment as full of potential danger, so my body grapples with moving around it, and that's when my balance gets disrupted. So, as an example, if I come across a step, my brain warns my body that there is an obstacle, and it reacts as if the small step is a cliff face. It's awfully annoying but at least I know what is happening. Tai chi helps teaches my brain to react more slowly, and makes the alert response less pronounced. If that makes sense. 

I haven't looked into yoga, but I am to understand it has similiar benefits. I chose Tai chi  over yoga, purely because it's martial art framework interested me, and appeals to my juvenile side of feeling "hale and hearty" doing something so gentle and deceptively benign because the unhurried, orchestrated movements are actually a means of deflecting an opponent in combat. The meditative side is brilliant, because each movement has a sort of spiritual (for lack of a better word) context, relating to ying and yang, and all that stuff. While I am doing my half an hour, I am not thinking of anything else but what I am doing, so in a sense practising half an hour of mindfullness too.

I hope Sooty is enjoying a dry day today. My cat, Daisy, came and slept next to my head this morning. I suspect as a means of getting me up to feed her. As she is such a good mouser, I try not to give in to her requests, as she is quite capable of getting her own wild food, and then I'll give her a handful of biscuits afterwards, which she seems to like as a routine, mouse and then biscuits to follow. 

I think Sooty has cleared the area of mice. He much prefers felix double delicious. They are such clever manipulators of their human slaves. I love him to snuggle up on my bed, but he doesn't do that any more, perhaps he will in mid winter.

he is a huge assistance of stroke recovery. And needs very little in return. I adore my cat. 

the course I took included yoga and relaxation. Which leads round to similar to tai chi. 

my diagnosis after stroke includes SVD. It's only now that I am looking into just what this means. I don't like what I am finding, in essence I am just plain old.

best wishes


As each stroke is unique, so is the best exercise regime, depending on what your limitations are. For me, the way to raise heart rate at home is to do sit-to-stand, as many and as fast as I can. Otherwise, I do exercises recommended by physios, so lots of stretching and balancing. But I'm always open to suggestions!

Before I had a stroke I had not long qualified as a yoga teacher. I've used yoga to help me not only get strength back but also to help me mentally! Everyone is different though so what works for me might not work for someone else.

Getting out of bed and lifting a cup of tea is enough exercise for me!

1 Like

I started Tai Chi classes about 8 months after having a stroke. It has really helped me with my balance and confidence getting out and about walking and plenty of other activities. As it has quite slow and flowing movements it makes it ideal as a way to improve strength and muscle tone without overdoing it. I was quite tearful the first time I did it as it as I think I realised that it was the first time that I had experienced mind and body working consciously working in unity for a while. So much of my recovery has been about either, just the physical effort, or just trying to remember processes, that it was a feeling of calmness and relief to feel both working together again. The class is the best way to learn but it's ideal practicing at home as you don't really need any special clothing, equipment or space! I've also made some lovely friends, so meeting up for tea and biscuits with a bit of practice of course is just another thing to look forward to.

I agree, the controlled movements are ideal for preparing ourselves for the general movements we do everyday, I really enjoy louhan patting too, it seems to stimulate nerve cells across my body which wakes them up and decentralises everything from my brain. 

Hello Anne (@ZX1 ), you never know, I might pen something stroke-wise. I’ve been putting my feelings about it all into poetry at the moment, I’m not really much of a poet, preferring the long-form of the novel, but finding the activity interesting. Particular to cats, my cat Daisy was with me for the whole three hours while I waited for an ambulance, she was curled up behind my knees as I lay on the floor. She was kind of in the wrong spot :grin: but she’s a rescue cat, and was taken away from her mother early, so she hasn’t quite got the hang of regular cat things. However, since then she does come and lie on my pillow next to my head when I am having a bad day. My father believes cats can see souls. Tai chi has become my guided mindfulness, combining both meditation and tactility. I hope you have been okay this week, I’ve had a pretty rough start to the week but symptoms are calming down a bit now. Ebbs and flows.