From Robert Chuckrow, Tai Chi Walking, YMAA Publication Center, Boston, MA, 2002.
©Copyright 2002 by Robert Chuckrow
How the Use of Eyes Affects Balance
How you use your eyes affects your balance. Try the following three experiments and compare how good your balance is in each case:
(1) Stand on one foot and look at the raised foot while moving it in different ways.
(2) Stand on one foot and look at a spot on the wall or fixed object while moving the raised foot in different ways.
(3) Stand on one foot and soften your vision while moving the raised foot in different ways. Look at nothing in particular but allow the whole panorama of your peripheral vision to permeate your awareness (soft vision) read more about soft vision and vision improvement.
The above experiments are listed in increasing order of improvement of your balance but should be repeated in varying order. The first experiment demonstrates that looking at your foot makes it almost impossible to visually sense your own movement relative to your surroundings. The second experiment demonstrates that looking at a fixed spot (hard vision) is better than looking at your foot but not the best way to sense your own movement relative to your surroundings. Using the central field of your vision gives the most detail (unnecessary here) but is not as sensitive to movement as your peripheral vision. The third experiment demonstrates that soft vision enables you to optimally sense your own movement relative to your surroundings.
Next, using soft vision, try doing the sections of the T’ai-Chi form requiring the most, balance. Then, become aware of the way you use your eyes in daily life.
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