How's your needle and cotton?

Tai Chi and running could save your running life

I continue to be surprised at the number of runners who haven't heard of Chi Running and of those who have, how few of them do it.

Chi Running is a system of running developed by Danny Dreyer. The system applies elements of Tai Chi to running. It's brilliant and simple and easy and enjoyable. It is also a ticket to providing context for runners to explore the, shall I say, spiritual side of running?

One of the fundamental aspects of Tai Chi is the image of a needle wrapped in cotton. The movement is soft and easy like a ball of cotton but with hard steel on the inside. In the west we would call the needle “core strength.”

Danny Dreyer recently posted this reminder on the Chi Running Facebook feed,

Where are you at with balancing your "needle in cotton?" Most runners can be categorized into two general groups: those who are sensitive to how their feet feel when they are touching the ground and those who are sensitive to what it feels like to move through space (a forest, the outdoors, a path, a trail, a room, etc.). Those who notice their feet tend to be more "Yin" (Needle) and those who feel space tend to be more "Yang" (Cotton). With ChiRunning we're all working toward feeling ourselves moving from our center (Dantien) and feeling equal amounts of input from both our feet and from the space we're moving through.

Because of my knee injury I have been forced to develop a biomechanically efficient gait. For the record, my recent bout of swelling wasn't a result of running.

Without Chi Running I would still be walking up and down stairs sideways or I wouldn't be running at all.

Share / Tools

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google+
  • AddThis
  • Email

More from SDReader


Log in to comment

Skip Ad

Let’s Be Friends

Subscribe for local event alerts, concerts tickets, promotions and more from the San Diego Reader