Robert Chuckrow’s Stretching Routine
Note: Do not force anything, and do not do anything that causes pain. The initial movements should be first done by cautiously extending muscles rather than pitting one set of muscles against another.
1. Lie on your back, giving in to gravity for a while. Release everything. Extend your heels, toes, heels, toes. Rotate the feet, reverse, reverse again, and again. Cautiously make a fist with the toes of one foot. Release the fist and do the other foot. Alternate at your own rate. Spread the toes, release, spread, release. Pound heels gently. Clap the insides of the feet. Rest and feel the effect throughout the whole body.
2. Bend the knees. Extend one heel to the ceiling, then the toes, heel, and toes. Circle the foot, reverse, reverse again, and again. Rest. Then repeat with other leg.
3. Lift one knee, letting that leg rest on the pelvis and balance. Slowly extend the heel to the ceiling, releasing the knee, pelvis, and toes. With heel extended, turn the whole leg in, out, in, out. Keeping the heel extended, circle the foot, reverse, reverse again, and again.
4. Rest. Then repeat 3. for the other leg.
5. Grab a couple of fingers of one hand with the other. Hands behind head. Let chest and shoulders open up. Slowly extend the hands away from the head along the mat. When the arms are totally extended, keeping them that way, alternately extend one heel and then the other. Then, keeping arms and both heels fully extended, arch to one side. Bow out the side you are turning away from. Come back to center and rest. Then repeat the other side. Repeat again and then again. Bring the arms to a natural position, and rest.
6. Bend the knees, lift the pelvis, and make the back of the neck as close to the floor as possible. Lower the spine one vertebra at a time. When the whole spine is down, alternately extend the heels toward the ceiling. Rest. Then, bend the knees and bring the hips from side to side.
7. With knees bent, press the lower back downward and bring the collar bone and knees toward each other. Don’t forget to breathe. Then lower the spine one vertebra at a time. Rest, and then repeat.
8. Now do any movement your body wants you to do. Don’t tell it what to do; let it tell you.
9. Bring one leg across the body, arm on the other side, eyes looking at outstretched hand. Move the arm into different positions under gravity. Then continue with the knee touching the ground. Then cross the leg to the other side and extend the arm oppositely. Move the arm into different positions. Rest. Then do other side.
10. Slowly roll onto one side and, without using the muscles around the spine, come up to sitting on heels for a short time.
11. Come up to hanging, allowing the weight to shift forward without clenching the toes. Release the neck, shoulders, and torso. After a while, walk the hands out, keeping the heels on the floor as long as possible. When the heels come off the floor, alternately extend each heel to touch the floor. Bring the chest down toward the floor. Walk the hands back, and hang. Bend slightly, touch the palms to the floor, and then straighten the legs without clenching the knees. Walk the hands back, and come up to standing by bending the knees and rising with the axis of the body as vertical as possible.
To hear an mp3 file of a similar stretching routine (©Copyright 2009 by Robert Chuckrow), click this link.
View clip of Stretching Routine in MP4 format
©Copyright 2018 by Robert Chuckrow
©1995 by Robert Chuckrow rev. 7/19/12
More Articles on and Information About T’ai Chi
About the Classes