Angela's Blog

Point Grey Living: The Athletic Life of Angela James

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Angela James running on the beach near Vancouver, BC
In its recent issue, Point Grey Magazine, an exclusive magazine for the residents of Point Grey and West Point Grey, published an article by Richard Forzley about Angela James, named "The Athletic Life of Angela James". Here is an excerpt from the story:

"Master ChiRunning and ChiWalking instructor Angela James says that learning the technique is like riding a bike – it takes focus and practice... once you incorporate it into your body, muscle memory kicks in and it becomes intuitive. "By using principles of tai chi – alignment and relaxation – it enables people to run and walk using sound body mechanics that help prevent injury. Ultimately, you'll suffer less hip, back, knee and lower limb pain and be able to run for years to come," she says.

The basics of this relatively new approach to running are spelled out in the movement's bible, ChiRunning: A revolutionary Approach to Effortless, Injury-Free Running, by Danny and Katherine Dreyer. Inspired by tai chi, the Chinese martial art claims to generate the life energy (chi) flowing throughout your body. Because of the mindful nature of this practice, ChiRunning aims to train the body to stay centered and calm, leading to efficient yet powerful movement.

The technique to ChiRunning stresses several core principles: focus your mind, sense your body, breathe to tap into Chi, relax your muscles, get aligned, create balance, and start slow. Runners are encouraged to focus on keeping the spine straight with a slight forward lean and bent knees. Propulsion is gained by co-operating with the force of gravity, attained through the lean and landing midfoot directly under the body. Theoretically directing your attention to the form and technique of running, you'll reduce stress on the body, resulting in fewer injuries, improved speed and more relaxing and enjoyable runs. "Finding an easier way to run takes continual practice but over time you learn to relax and think about form. Ultimately your runs become more efficient and you end up having fewer injuries."

Unfortunately, the article is not available online but here is a PDF copy you can read in full. Photo credit Sarah Virag Photography.