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  1. 10 likes
    Hey there. Some may have seen, that there are six R's now. One more for 'right livelihood'. Kit says he will move other relevant threads there, too (the Great Escape, for example). The background is a correspondence between Kit and me. I asked him for advice, because I felt, that he may have similar feelings concerning livelihood or money and ethics, to be specific. I think, in the course of our correspondence, we reached some meaningful depth, at least for me. And he proposed, to open a thread about our theme and to compile some extractions. It may be helpful and inspirational for others too. Concerning myself, it was in impulse, which i definitely need. The following excerpts are not to be seen as a coherent conversation, but more as questions and answers. So my questions or thoughts, which are following an answer of Kit weren't necessarily a reaction to his answer before, but may come from another place in our conversation, because he formulated his answers on specific parts of my texts and i did so too. Please condone any grammar mistakes i make. Florian: "I was always foughting against moneymaking. [...] I don't want to sell myself on this market of the world and be what they want me to be, to get better positions etc. [...]" Kit: "The difficult thing is that because you live in a capitalist culture which is embedded in a much larger globalised capitalist world it is not possible to escape it. The Buddha's position is described in the concept of "right livelihood" and what that means is doing work that in itself is good and doesn't rip other people off. This is why I do the work that I do: it is as close to right livelihood as it's possible to be in the modern world." Florian: "The problem is, any work as an employee leads to dependencies, even if my work for itself may be in accordance with right livelihood, i support people or organizations (from which i depend) which are against this livelihood and do not follow the philosophy. So the first requirement to find work which is truly right livelihood would be, to become self-employed or to become part of a organization which follows that philosophy of right livelihood as a whole." Kit: "And that's why I created my business, and the philosophies behind it." [some other unimportant and personal thoughts of mine..] Kit: "[...] The question to ask yourself is what do you really want? If it is not to be disturbed internally (which is what most people mean when they say they want to be happy) then you must learn to meditate. Meditation, when practiced sufficiently, will give you an internal equilibrium which is not able to be disturbed by any external events (or internal ones, for that matter). Unless you can see the shape of your own internal filtering mechanisms you'll be like most people are today—largely blind. Meditation and self-reflection are designed to show you the shape of your own mind. Once you see the filters and the biases that you come into this world with, it is possible to move beyond them. Florian: "Currently, i'm doing a vocational training, becoming an elementary pedagogue. But still I cannot overcome my moral aversions against money, and still I'm dreaming about another, more free form of social and economical intercourse." Kit: "What is it precisely about money that you dislike so strongly? In my way of thinking about these things money is simply condensed energy. I use it in the furtherance of my own interests and to help other people. In this way money becomes a benefic force rather than a toxic substance. Of itself, money is neither good nor bad; only the purposes to which it is put and the means by which it it is earned can be labelled like this." Florian: "There are economic aspects, which are hindering me to see money as "neutral". Neutral money would be a pure medium of exchange (like a time-based currency). But our money isn't that [...]. Additionally, money's involvement in inheritance, the private property system and because of its fetish character. But you are right, its not, primarily, money itself, my aversion is against. It is the dependence on money, forcing people to sell theirselves on the market, thereby helping the rich to become richer, giving them more and more power and so FORCING the actual system to remain." Kit: "These are concepts, my friend, and belong in the world of words. They have no connection to Reality, unless you imbue them with this character. Is anyone forcing you personally? You can only look after yourself and those closest to you in this life." Florian: "I believe, only if all people are able to work in accordance with "right livelihood" without to be 'employees', the exploitation could end. Organizations need to be in shared, common property of all workers therein." Kit: "I see the error (and this is very, very common): you are saying that you cannot act according to your principles unless others do too [...] These are ideas; they do not need to be your Reality. You can only ever look after yourself personally and those whom you influence closely in this life. No one exploits me, and no one need exploit you, unless you make choices where that is a possibility. Only you can see and choose the right way. You cannot have any effect on people you do not know or do not interact with, so why expend even a micro-joule of energy worrying about this? Each person in this life rows their own canoe. For this reason, you need to find that stillness inside yourself. All through history, sensitive humans have suffered immensely over these kind of concerns. Only be concerned about what you can personally influence, and what personally involves you. Any more is hubris." Florian: "I think, you misunderstand me here. Slightly. I understand, that i need to begin to act according to my principles, i cannot wait for others. No one will do it for me, i need to do it myself and others may follow (my example), but this should be not my concern.. [...] I wanted to explain or to talk about why, at the whole, the injustice remains, it should'nt be an excuse for not doing what i need to do. But what i understand from your answer: that all this lamenting talk about the system etc. is nothing but a waste of time, holding me back to just DO what i need to do, to begin.." Kit: "To act (or not act; itself an act) is more important, in the beginning, than talking (you know I talk a lot too)." Florian: "Most of all, I don't like the thought to become an employee... If i could freely choose, what i want to do, my vision would be a mixture of pedagogics, theatre, poetry, circus, therapy, movement, acrobatics. [...] But i have no idea how to start it, especially alone." Kit: "So, if this is the case, then make sure you find work in these areas - but please be aware of that in some part of the process money will be involved. I think it would be very worthwhile for you to dig down underneath this aversion (which is the mind's first movement away from something; desire being the mind's first movement towards something) to find out what is underneath the movement. There is always something deeper underneath. Uncovering this will be immensely helpful to you in the future I suspect. And you are not alone; that is an illusion." Florian: "Yes, today i know, money will be involved. I'll learn to accept that. I only will need to find a way. And to trust…" Kit: "Look inside, not outside, for this trust." Florian: "There may be also some fears hindering me." Kit: "If your own internal state is congruent, none of these things can move you. This is why they say everything begins with yourself." Florian: "So, as a 'spiritual' man yourself, who is 'independent' with his own business now, which is something great, something creative, and a great help for others, can you give me any advice?" Kit: "Yes: start a meditation or relaxation practice today. Commit yourself to devoting 10 to 20 minutes to this practice every day before you do anything else. The paradox here is that by the cultivation of internal stillness all sorts of things that are not clear to you now will become clear through a process which is impossible to understand rationally. That is my best advice today! I think it would be worth starting a thread on the forums about this because there are many many people in your position currently." That's it. Now you may share your thoughts, helping another to find our ways. Some of you may have similar problems as myself, others may have find their way into 'right livelihood' already. Maybe they could give advice to those who haven't. It should be clear, that any "right livelihood" is never "right" in full. Its only an approach to more righteousness and we should always strive to increase it in the future, helping others to increase it too.
  2. 10 likes
    I received a query from an ST Teacher about working with a 10 y.o. female gymnast who is training 18–26 hours per week. My reply is below. I can't speak for the methods used in this girl's gymnastics facility, however to my knowledge the techniques used to improve flexibility in young gymnasts is still pretty barbaric. The focus is on results – mastering the extreme positions via whatever means – rather than on the overall health of the young body. IMO, the very best thing for this girl, and her parents, would be to be exposed to the ST method where, while it is possible to achieve advanced end poses, the focus is on making sure this is done safely. As well, as with any sport, gymnasts will tend to develop a particular pattern of flexibility, along with deficits in ROM. For females, it typically is: - very loose hamstrings generally, but a tightness in the outer hamstring (biceps femoris), coupled with - tight hip flexors, in particular rectus femoris This is because front splits are achieved via external rotation of the back leg – hips not square – which means avoiding the stretch in the above two mentioned muscles. So, working on strict HF exercises, plus internal rotation movements of the hip (not the usual gymnastics focus on legs-apart positions) and strict forward bending – if not those that emphasise the outer hamstring. - uneven flexibility of the shoulder joint. Female gymnasts all have phenomenal shoulder flexion and arms out to sides (think partner stick stretch) and extension, but often have poor internal rotation. If you see this in this particular gymnast, then make sure she learns the exercises for the tight ranges of shoulder movement, and show her strengthening exercises to support the ROM in the ranges she is already very loose in. - very mobile lumbar spine, and probably thoracic too, particularly in extension. But, no real hip extension – meaning, tight hip flexors! This is not a good combination for spinal health as one ages – many of my cohort of female gymnasts developed stress fractures of the spine post-gymnastics: I feel that the work I did in ST from age 20 which specifically focussed on redressing the ROM deficits as described here, combined with working on whole-body strength, is the reason that I have no such problems. - tight ankles. Because of the tumbling aspects of gymnastics, where spring is achieved via the Achilles' tendon recoil, it is not desirable to have too much ankle flexibility: strength is super important. However, in my body, because for aesthetics all positions are done with pointed feet in gymnasts, the calf muscles are really tight and hard. Incorporating some calf stretches plus the stick rolling techniques will be ideal for this girl.
  3. 9 likes
    In preparation for the two ST4P workshops coming up in Sydney in a week, Olivia and I were noodling around in the studio yesterday. I have a new technique that I intend to share with the world soon (relating to side splits, or middle/Chinese splits) but I am not there yet, so will hold off on that for now. What I want to talk about today is "dancer's splits". Many of you have heard me talk about what we call the full front splits (square hips, and the front of the back leg on the floor, and not the inside) and I have spoken on workshops about one of our senior students who was an international women's gymnastics judge, and who (after an intense Hip Flexor, HF, session in the old Monkey Gym), confided to the Advanced class that in 20 years of judging, she had never given full marks to any front split (FS) she had seen. FS used to be a compulsory pose, I believe, and her point was that all the splits that she had seen in that time did not show perfectly square hips—the back leg was turned out and the hips rotated to the back leg to some extent (or, in many people a great extent). And because I consider loosening tight HFs to be the #1 goal for most people (for many reasons which I can go into here, if people are interested) I have emphasised the square hip version of the FS in the past. But as I am regaining my old flexibility (in pursuit of my Holy Grail, Side Splits) I thought I would re-try a dancer's split to see if there were any benefits, and this is what I want to talk about today. Front leg in the above image is the leg that used to have the intense hamstring problem; not any more! And the other leg. Props to Nate Wells for one of my favourite T-shirts, too. So: are there any benefits to this version of the splits? Yes, very much so. The two main ones should be obvious from the pics: the front leg experiences a strong HS stretch (mainly semi-membranosus and semi-tendinosus on the front leg, and the back leg a strong adductor (and inner HS) stretch; as the leg is straight, we are talking gracilis and semi-membranosus. All important elements for pancake, pike, and side splits, in time. I am not strong enough to hold myself up via only these muscles, but that is what I am working on at present. It should be possible to balance on the inside of the back leg's foot, I feel—but I need to be much stronger; I know this will come. I am also pulling the kneecap of the back leg up strongly; this feels like it is protecting the inside of the back leg's knee well. Once I get down to the floor, I will be concentrating on leaning back to vertical and also tucking the tail (as much as I can, anyway); I am getting a very strong HF stretch, even though the hips are in line with the line of the legs. It feels to me that psoas is being strongly stretched (to stretch rectus femoris the hips have to be square, or even over-square if you are loose enough) in the back leg, even when it's fully turned out, as mine is. Added to this is a strong sense of multiple lines of fascial stretch being experienced; when I get looser I will be trying to twist the pelvis forward and back to add to/change this. A final note is that the famous Jujimufu's front splits are dancer's splits, with the back leg externally rotated, and the hips rotated away from the stretch: Looking at his position again, I see that the back hip has been rotated away and the back leg internally rotated slightly, to give the impression of the front of this leg is on the floor. Nice work! True (square hips) front splits are way, way harder, as anyone who has tried to do them will know. I do feel that the dancer's split is useful, though, and will be interested to hear your comments.
  4. 8 likes
    Thanks Emmet. And to the casual readers here: this forum is unique in a number of ways. Sometimes perspectives will be clear and simple—if so, the thread will be short. Sometimes you will need a good hour to read, think about, and digest the content, because many people have contributed with slightly different angles on the main point. The key take-home message here about this process is that often this interaction produces something completely new and only this back and forth can create this. We do not push a 'company line' here: we are committed to trying to understand what's actually happening, and how this can be tweaked to suit each individual. Many people spend a huge amount of time here most days, and we write to help others and to create a permanent record of our emerging joint work. Your side of the equation is that you will need to put your own energy in and spend some time here before understanding what's going on. In time we hope that you will contribute, too. Happy to discuss this, too.
  5. 7 likes
    Sorry I saw this thread so late. Olga, what you have described is THE problem that has faced Olivia and I since we began: how to explain a complex system simply. Mostly, it can't be done. It is also why most professional users of our system, until recently, have chosen to call themselves yoga or pilates teachers, or personal trainers, and simply use our work under that umbrella—because when you say "I teach Pilates" people think they know what that means! No one asks which main school (six at my last count), usually. (I do note your comments above re. Pilates; I am speaking world-wide, here.) This is why I created the YouTube channel and why Olivia worked so hard on the new website. As just one example, all the previous information that appeared as a single block of text on the old site has been 'chunked' into three, discrete levels: a single sentence description at the top level, a paragraph at the next level in, and the full text when deepest in. Pointing people to these two sites gets the main ideas across relatively quickly. Or, some teachers ask what their student's goal is (this could range from rehab. to performance enhancement) and point the student to the relevant place on either YT or the site. Two, related, side notes from Olivia here: more and more, people get their 'information' from social media—Facebook etc—and they don't want to engage with any detail. Facebook provides a spectacle, not information IMO, and its interface for commenting is completely unsuited to engaging in a real discussion, both at a single point in time and as a reference to return to later. A further dimension is that over 70% of all website information is consumed by the smartphone's tiny interface these days; this compounds the capacity to assess the scale and scope of the information being consumed. The problem of the modern era is that most people's appetites for information have been conditioned by the various social media platforms—many people's capacity to understand complex information has markedly diminished in the last 15 years and this has been commented on both academically and in the popular press many times. It is the zeitgeist though, so we must respond accordingly. A personal story to illustrate: a guy rang me up to talk about his back problem. I asked him how he heard about me; he mentioned a carpenter friend who had returned to full-time work in his field after having been off physical work for years with chronic low back pain. We then talked about his own problem, and just before we got to the 'my next appointment is...' stage, he asked me "what are your qualifications?" I said, "None". I waited about 30", then said, "I have a Master's degree in science, and did fully funded PhD research for five years in an area I created, but which is not directly related to back problems." I then reminded him of his friend, which began our conversation, and he made the appointment. The key point is that no amount of qualifications really connects with a fear-driven client—only direct experience, either their own or someone they know. So, considering all this, when someone asks you what you do, ask them what they want to "fix" or change, of if they have any physical problems. For another example, a man we met yesterday clearly has back pain; he is also considering a multiple segment fusion operation (four lumbar vertebrae). I asked him if he had good days; he looked a bit surprised and said, "yes". I explained that if the pathology that his surgeon described was the deep and sole cause of his problems, there would be no good days—in other words, his adaptation mechanisms are effective from time to time. I suggested to him that certain exercises might help improve this capacity to adapt. Let's see what happens with him. One final adage that I use on workshops from time to time: "It might be true to say that you can lead a horse to water, but you can't make it drink". I let that sit for a moment, then say, "but you can contrive to make it feel thirsty." The old saying is binary, like most fables and parables—but there are always infinite options that never get an airing! Be creative along these lines when talking to people and see what happens. And this only scratches the surface—hahahaha!
  6. 6 likes
    On May 2011 I opened a new Word file and wrote: "This is the first time I use the Calendar function on my iPod. But I feel that the decision is so important that it must be documented right at this moment. I find September 15 and I enter “Resign”. Done." I gave my resignation notice in September 2011 and left my company and the corporate job on 31 December. I was not sure what I would do, but I was sure that I could no longer play the role I was assigned to play in my office and my company - or any company. During the transition time I made a list of things that I might possibly do when on my own; a list of new identities that I wanted to try. From January 2012 I went down that list one thing at a time. The list was very diverse; it is enough to say that included things from teaching finance courses to becoming a Buddhist nun. Some of those items represented firm opportunities (joining a friend's travel venture that was alreay up and going) and some of them were just ideas for which I was not qualified and that required taking professional courses before I was able to do anything. In 2012 I did them all - except becoming a nun ))) but I did spend a lot of time around monasteries. I ended up where I am now in 2017, teaching Pilates and other disciplines that help people to feel better in their bodies and improve quality of life. My further studies in Yoga, stretching, body rolling, personal training, and finally MSc studies in Exercise Science are all rolling out of that direction. Money: I had some savings so I was able to support myself while looking for the new direction; I did however monitor every single dollar spent (that's Hong Kong dollar so every 8 US cents in fact!) for a few months - until I realised that instead of trying to live on very little money and have a lot of free time but no fun I must find fun ways to earn as much money as need for a decent life without counting every cent. And I did not spend nearly as much as I used to spend while in a highly paid corporate job. In fact, after quitting that corporate job I realised that I spent so much money sometimes just because I had extra money to spend. One other valuable lesson that I learnt while trying to spread my wings wide and do a couple of things simultaneously (teaching Yoga and finance). If you want to be good enough in something to make a living out of it, you must focus on it as if your life depends on it; you must burn the bridges. For example, if you teach ST classes in the evenings after your day job but you really, really want to become a full time ST/movement/acrobatics teacher, you must quit your day job - your energy and creativity soar when you have no security net, no back up, nowhere to go back to. You become an excellend, passionate, dedicated teacher, that clients love because he also learns how to do the marketing and to get the right clients! And as MarcusO said above, you do not need to have one career in life; I changed my direction a few times (professionally, geographically) although only in 2011 I changed it entirely, 100% into a new direction. But if/when I get bored with what I do now, I won't hesitate to switch to - writing cook books, giving financial advice, ... if that is what I see as fun and valuable activity - ie 'right livelihood'. This is just a short insight from an experience of one person. I hope it helps. Caveats. I have no family, no kids (all by choice) and never followed conventional paths/choices in life, so that is why I might have been in a position to make choices, to take risks without being committed to kids, mortgages, penstions etc. I do not have advice for radically changing their lives and finding the true calling for someone with those commitments. But, quoting from another forum, if you follow conventional choices you end up in conventional traps. Lastly, all the quotes from Kit in the very first post - I can sign under every single one of them. In fact, as far as I can see, the answers are there already for everyone in this thread with questions.
  7. 6 likes
    Just to note here so we're on the same page I use the term hip flexion more than APT as APT in my mind is a standing only case. If we disconnect our view of the torso for a second and just look at the pelvis and femur relationship in every case there will be hip flexion in the range 70-110 degrees with the cluster at about 85-90 degrees. I've personally done these measurements on over 200 people over the last 5-6 years If you look at those two pictures above and and closed the legs with out changing the hip extension Juji would be in a standing pike with a big lower back arch, with the hips in the range I say and the girl would be in a seated pike. In all my research and observation I've never come across some one who can obtain a full side split with pure abbuction of the legs. Note I've done my testing on everyone from normal people all the way to High level contortionists. What it has lead me to find out as an aside is I now have a modified variation of the hip scour test that can give you what your boney limit is for side split and where level of flexion, external rotation and if you have a hip capsule possible of achieving a full flat or an over side split. The feet forward neutral pelvis middle split doesn't not exist or is an illusion of the feet. It can be explain by looking at the shape peoples ankles make while in the required form Pubu or drop stance Some examples of high level wushu pro's look at the foot then look at the where the knee is pointing. Side note: Its hard to find good shots of wushu people doing side splits. Also you have to think of the side split like a resting squat everyone is capable of a decent resting squat given the correct training but everyone's resting squat will be different because of hip geometry. In the case of side splits there's a bigger range of what is a correct side split for that person versus other poses where we can be more prescriptive.
  8. 6 likes
    I played around with this for a bit during my stretching routine last night, really a great position for getting a heavy stretch on the adductors. While I'm far from achieving front splits with my hips squared, I was able to go all the way down in this position. It was nice because the extra depth enabled me to get an intense stretch in the hamstring unlike anything I've experienced before (minus maybe some ballistic work I've done in the past!) Excellent write-up, I look forward to a dissection of the middle split in the future! I'd be curious to hear about external rotation and anterior pelvic tilt in relation to middle splits...
  9. 5 likes
    Thanks for the unanimous advice guys. I just liked this topic Oprah-style ("YOU get a like! YOU get a like! Everybody getss a liiiiike!"). It's clear I have adopted "no days off" with an element of blind ideology. Very happy to go downstream and take time off. Currently having all kinds of nerve funkiness exploring hip external rotation, so am going to replace the H2T with some piriformis lovin' for now. Even the TFLs are joining the party. Great to hear your experiences that rest is part of the process. It's really changed my attitude about it. I'll ask my wife (current massage student) to delicately kiss my butt and legs with pointy parts of her limbs. The Instagram likes tho!
  10. 5 likes
    Just saw this thread and have not yet had a chance to read it propery, so will join the discussion later as have some personal experiences to share. On the topic of fear, however, I have found my answer: "Feel the fear... and do it anyway". There was an American book by this title, famous in the 1980s or thereabouts, and I have never bothered to look it up, exactly because of that. Then one day it came into my hands by chance, and in it I found my answer. Everyone who is doing their first steps into Dangerous and Uknown experiences fear, but some people stop there, and some do it anyway, and go beyond fear. A shortcut that does not require analysing, finding methods, consultations and so on. Works for me. Just do it. And a longer and more elaborate road to 'no fear' for me was creating awareness and presence in the moment, through barefoot walking for example. (Referencing back to my post 'I am not afraid'). Because unless someone is attacking you with the knife right this moment, there are no reasons to have fear right now, and what's past is gone, and what future brings noone knows, so what's the point in fearing it.
  11. 5 likes
    I have found an interesting exercise is pacing or matching breath with people. Talking about meeting people at their level, I find this a good way to both see and feel them a little more clearly. There is a lot written on this, I discovered it more in Thai massage (eg straight observation, matching pressure to breath or assisted breathing with abdomen or back work) but find it entertaining waiting in line or just hanging out with people to see where they are at. Try pacing someone who is shallow upper chest breathing, it feels very different to a slow belly breather. Not sure if this will help "business aspects" more looking at "awareness". In a class level, this can easily be done in a simple guided relaxation eg lie down, breath in, out. I found my deep workshop experiences were enhanced by being anchored to Kit via the recorded guided meditations here. It is the guru experience really, but aspects of this are available to everyone. Cueing exercises usually has this breath component eg Pilates or ST. Writing books and, being on tv and charismatic etc are good but when it comes to it and you are with someone, there are a thousand ways we be influential, I believe. Observation/awareness/connection... all good!
  12. 5 likes
    Alexander, for your pancake practise opposite the ladder bars, here are a few suggestions. Sit further away from the bars so that when you reach out to the rail you really have to work to reach it – this is training your active flexibility, in this case using the hip flexors (principally) to pull your torso towards the bar, against the resisting muscles that are under stretch. Reach for the rail that means your shoulders are in full flexion (think handstand line), with a straight line between your wrists and waist: this alignment means you cannot be flexing the lumbar spine – looking at your image above, this means the 5th or 6th rail above the floor. In this position, while holding the rail with both hands but not pulling with the arms/lats, practise pelvic tilting forwards and backwards (anterior and posterior movements): how much movement do you have? Likely, you'll find no restriction to the posterior tilt (rolling back towards the tail bone), but plenty of restriction in the anterior direction (rolling towards the pubic bone). If there is no pelvic movement possible, try either/or/or some combination of: sit a tiny bit closer to the ladder bars, which will reduce the total stretch being experienced by the muscles under stretch; bend your knees to reduce the hamstring stretch; lift your bum up on a small support, which will assist the anterior tilt movement. Try to make all the pelvic movements via muscular effort of the muscles that attach to the pelvis, not by pulling with your arms/lats on the rail. Your goal here is to feel how to tilt the pelvis – with the emphasis on the anterior movement, which is what the pancake requires – from a position where you can produce some movement: that is, where the stretch sensation is not overwhelming the nervous system and/or just preventing any pelvic movement. As you progress, simply make the exercise more difficult by, variously: straightening the knees; reducing the bum lift; holding a lower rail so your torso is closer to the floor ... but do not allow any lumbar flexion. In my experience, unless you are already very flexible in the pancake exercise, practising it getting the chest (and only the chest/shoulders, not the abdomen) close to the floor by letting your lumbar spine flex strongly and then trying to straighten the lower back by pulling with the arms is not effective. You might get lower in the pancake, sure, but you are not feeling how to do the key component which is the anterior pelvic tilt – plus, you're doing a huge amount of work that just fatigues you! Another approach is to simply sit in free space (away from the ladder bars), work on sitting up as tall out of your waist as you can, and then practise moving the pelvis in as many ways as you can think of – anterior/posterior, circles, figure eights, etc. – and make the movements as big as you can, even letting the waist and lower ribs get involved. There are so many tissues – muscles, tendons, ligaments, fascia – around the joints involved in the pancake that these movements, practised in a position where there's no big stretch happening, pay huge dividends when you do then practise the strict pancake. Good luck.
  13. 5 likes
    Kit, to add to your description of the limitations: Another major one, according to Kurz, is the greater Trochanter jamming into the pelvis. To avoid this one needs APT in the feet forward sidesplit. It worked for me like charme. With regards to the Iliopsoas limiting the sidesplit, in my experience it helps a lot to stretch it before doing the sidesplit to get a better line (meaning hips are in line with the legs and not behind (if viewed from above or the side). Here is an older one of me, I mainly used the horsestance and cossack variations to get down, I always tried to focus on builiding strength first before going further and I always try to find a floor with the most friction as this helps to feel more stable and safe. This way it is easier to build the strength (at least for me ) All the best, Oliver
  14. 5 likes
    OK, so an addition (we can use this thread for everything to do with splits, until it gets too big, if that works for everyone). Today I want to show my setup for side splits (SS). I have found that this works really well. Two heavy benches that support the back of the hips as you slide. As usual, the arrangement came as an image while I was meditating: I saw how gravity and a vertical surface opposite two vertical surfaces would achieve two stretches simultaneously: legs wider apart in the horizontal plane as well as wider apart in the vertical plane. Two stretches at the same time, in other words. And this combination has effects in the hips that I cannot duplicate with either pushing myself towards a wall (so widening the legs in the horizontal plane) or widening the legs by lowering myself while standing. The arrangement can be used for 1) vertical body flat-feet SS (so thighs internally rotated, true "Chinese" splits, and exactly the ROM one needs for a perfect Pu Bu, and to open the elusive "Kua" that all Taiji practitioners are looking for) and for 2) vertical body with externally rotated thighs (so the body's weight is borne on the heels, and the balls of the feet are up the wall on the two columns on either side of the stall bars). As you lower yourself, two different contractions are possible: squeezing legs together in the plane of the floor (mostly adductors) and squeezing the legs together vertically (mostly hamstrings, in the beginning). But the lower you get, the stronger the effects in adductors, especially the shorter ones, and (surprising for me) in psoas and iliacus, too. These muscles are really trying to anteriorly tilt the pelvis (don't forget that pesky pubo-femoral ligament is plays a role there too), but the vertical support also helps maintain a tail tuck which is what stretches the tissues I cannot get into with the two standard exercises. I think these combined effects is why most people who can do SS show a strongly anteriorly tilted pelvis: Now, Mary Lou Retton has perfect flexibility, and some of her backbend in the image above will be to balance her COG over the centre of the beam, to be sure. But like the counter-rotated hips in front splits, most people with excellent SS show this anterior pelvic tilt (let's call this APT). The design of the bench setup above is to reduce the APT while trying to split (because you can lever a tail tuck off the vertical surface, and the hips just can't move backwards, the other accommodation the body tries to make). Doing SS with with either leg position using this setup stretches something new, for me. It is a somewhat diffuse sensation in both the hip flexors and in fascia in an area anterior to the hip joints and the lumbar spine (psoas, I feel). @Robby_Simcox: like yourself, the major stretch for me in the dancer's split is in the hamstrings of the front leg, and all along their length (not at one end or the other). Part of this is because the back leg is causing an APT (see the first image in the OP: my lumbar spine is slightly extended); this is what makes the HS stretch so strong, I feel.
  15. 5 likes
    A new practice I have begun is 'conscious walking.' Very recently I discovered that this skill (for lack of a better word) was already in me although I had not actively trained for it. Now that I am aware of it I plan to continue it as a daily practice before reporting on my log - or possibly a new topic on the forums! - about my thoughts and results. I walk to school (35 min one way) so at the very least I am doing an hour of conscious walking where I am making sure my chong mai is correctly aligned, I am properly transferring my weight, stepping forward horizontally rather than completing a series of forward falls, etc. I am feeling new muscles engaging, like that part of the glute the PW SL DL exercise is meant to target that @Dave filmed for his daily YT vlog project, and i think it may have foot awakening and strengthening benefits too. I owe this new skill to a combination of ZZ (y'all saw that one coming), taiji quan (am really enjoying this daily practice finally, feeling my body linking and the cudi frequencies coming), plus reading about it a ton in serge's to be released books Being properly centered - which I believe to be a foundational aspect of conscious walking - when I stand has actually really helped center myself emotionally (it's not just a metaphor, after all). It's also a fantastic type of 'alarm' for self-remembering. I catch myself very frequently projecting into the past or future while standing with my weight primarily on my heels, which is quite unbalanced. I think this habit is also responsible for how TIGHT my calves have always been; the posture affects my entire posterior chain and I am looking forward to seeing how my mobility and @oliviaa style 'suppleness' changes there.
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    I think there is a community of teachers here already, some of whom have already encountered problems relating to ‘selling’ what you deeply believe in and teach to people who may have never heard of it and therefore not sure if they need what you are teaching: - Explaining what Stretch Therapy is, in an area where no one heard of it - Explaining how the potential clients with low body awareness and limited exercise experience (eg NOT athletes or dancers who know exactly what their body needs) would benefit from it - Explaining why they need to pay money to someone to get them do things that are painful to them - Moving them from awareness and interest (‘good idea, I’ll stop by’) to action – ie actually joining a class - Making sure they come back again, and again Although I am currently teaching not Stretch Therapy but Group Pilates Classes on Equipment, these are equally unknown and unfamiliar in the place where I decided to open a studio. So in the first couple of months I have tried a few things and I wanted to see if such a conversation would be beneficial for the ST Community (teachers mostly). I started it here because I like the friendly folk here. And may be Kit or Olivia could bring their own extensive experience in. If there is interest, I would share my own limited experience. If it is not an appropriate topic for this forum, then feel free to remove the thread, or reposition it elsewhere. Hugs to everyone from Vienna xxxxx Olga
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    22/03/2017 Warm Up- skipping, scap and shoulders, wrists (forgot), bodyline drills Ring Support Hold x 30s CTW Handstand x 30s, 30s, 10s Pull Ups- bw x 5, 5, 5 Ring Dips- bw x 5, 5, 5 Deadlift- 60 x 5, 80 x 5, 100 x 5, 125 x 5 Foot supported L-sit- x 20s x 3 Tuck FL- x 10s x 2 Push ups- bw x 8, 8 Really good session. CTW handstand was funny. First two sets no problems. 3rd set turns into a freestanding handstand after about 5 seconds as I'm adjusting my line (tight glutes, hollow body pos, etc) and the next 5 seconds off the wall felt like an eternity. Pull ups are becoming easier and even did the third set with my daughter hugging my waist between reps. Dips are getting there. Deadlifts were great after some early quad/hip discomfort. 125 was quick and tight. I was super focused on that set even though my daughter was swinging on the rings behind me kicking me in the ass. Tuck front lever was solid and I had a really good sense of my scap positioning which was great to be aware of. Have pretty much nailed down a program to follow for the next 6-8 weeks and some goals to go along with it. Will get it up over the next few days for some feedback.
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    My whole life feels like this (wide cup, filled to the top), now. I was once washing dishes at the sink in my kitchen, making a racket, 'just getting it done'. When my teacher (who was living with me) asked me what I was doing, I brushed him off with something like, "I'm getting through this to do something I want to do." He replied, flatly, "you just kissed off part of your life." A three-second interaction, which changed my life permanently. I try to move quietly and softly, and to make as little noise as possible in every activity. I fail often. I have found that this sharpens awareness significantly.
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    It's now been a year since I first started exploring the bridge, so thought I'd share an update. I've been box-bridging twice a week most weeks, and it's been fantastic! Working through tight lines all around the front, and working in tandem with shoulder flexion and HF extension exercises as well. As always, thanks for your help with my questions!
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    This is not your body. This is you. Instead of just allowing your body to dictate the pace, you force it through all kinds of stress. First with the trampoline jumping, now with the sternum. The only thing you can do is learn from your mistakes, and in the process start making less.
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    Oh yeah; that's why I named the file bridge made of LUMBAR.jpg I probably would have hurt myself taking that photo if I hadn't learn the cue to contract glutes before pushing up from the backbend series! I did my first training session yesterday after meeting with my coach on Sunday to go over the programming and learn form and cues for all exercises. There is daily work on mobilizing and 'connecting with' my thoracic vertebrae, as well as thoracic-targeted isometric and loaded work during the bridge part of the gym sessions which is excellent for my body. I was trying to channel my inner ARC into all these exercises; body was shaking as my brain was trying to figure out exactly where each T vert is and how to articulate them individually, as well as in coordinated waves/circles. The DOMS is quite real this morning!! @Kit_L Thank you - I am quite familiar with those two exercises! Funny enough I have never committed to dedicated training of my calves and hamstrings even though I was always aware of how tight they were/are. Whenever I actually got around to stretching them, my ego would become uncomfortable with how restricted and tight they were and convince me working on them was a waste of time and beneath me That is why i hired someone I trust to coach me. I need someone to give my ego a beatdown and tell it like it is, hone in on my weaknesses and get me improving!
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    Today was tough! Getting back on schedule, so I only got one day of rest (instead of the usual two) after heavy LB. Perhaps that's why. 3/6 Mon. Light UB. Bouncing, burpees, Yuri sequences, dislocates, and handstands, followed by: RTO Support: (Paired with MSH) 3x35s. Middle Split Holds: (Bent Leg) (Paired with RTO Support) 3x15s. Was good about not putting too much stress on the wrists, but these were tough today. Barely any elevation on the last set. Good depression, though. Straddle Press Eccentrics: (Against Wall) 3x2. Played with different hand positions, but overall ugly today Bar Pull Ups: (Paired with HeSPU) Planned for +22.5kg 3x5 initially, but started with 25kg and only did 3 reps. Dropped to 22.5kg and only did 3 again. Dropped to 20kg and did 5. Should have stuck with the plan from the start! Will go back to 3x5@22.5kg next week. HeSPU: (Paired with PU) Planned for 3x7, but ended up with 7-6-6. Failed the 7th rep on the 2nd set, which confirmed my suspicions that failing while inverted is not pretty Will go for 3x7 again next time assuming I'm feeling good. FL Rows: (Paired with RTO PPPU) (Bar-Pike) (12X0) 3x4. Planned 3x5, but decided to just maintain numbers after my performance on the previous movements of the session. Was a good decision. RTO PPPU: (Paired with FL Rows) (10X2) 3x3. Same here. Prehab/Misc.: German Hang 3x60s, Feet-Elevated Bridge 25s-10s-X, Cuban Rotations +10kg 3x10, Pike Compression (+0.5kg) 5x10s, Straddle Compression(+0.5kg) 5x10s Wasn't feeling the bridges. Think I may switch to weighted back bending over a prop for a while. Grip was feeling fatigued on the third GH hold, which is a first. Another sign that I still likely have residual fatigue from the DL session. Not a great session, but I got it done!
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    Today I did about 40 min of light limbering to take initial pictures for requested positions of: Full Squat, Front Splits, Straddle, Bridge. Limbered with: HF floor lunge w quad, SLDP, elephant, adv P, bent leg ham, passive bend over baby whale, floor pec, floor cat, wide elephant, skandasana+cossack transitions, door lat, sumo squat Haven't done that much stretching at once in a very long time. My body feels quite grateful right now. Here is where I'm at...
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    New studio at Underground Stretch had its grand opening today: the next phase has begun. Super exciting. I think the next phase in my studies is broadly 'other humans'. Continuing on with previous stuff as well. cats->self->others -3x3m open floor space, with great views. Perfect for thai massage and basically anything/everything. I will install a couple of pulleys either side of the stall bars for side splits pulley action. I now have a strong externally facing wall to anchor to, which is better. -stall bars now floating so the robotic vacuum cleaner can get under them & they look really magical.
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    Regarding closed vs. open eyes, it's a case of six of one and half-a-dozen of the other. Each modality has its pluses and minuses. Closed eyes eliminates external distraction, but the inner world of thought and fantasy can become more vivid and real. Open eyes grounds you more in the reality of the physical world and lessens the power of internal thought and fantasy, but opens you up to visual distraction. In my early years of meditation practice I found open eyes very useful because I had a particular tendency to stiffness-&-dullness (thīna-middha), the hindrance of mental dullness and physical tiredness. When tiredness begins to take over, you notice your eyelids closing, or your eyes rolling upward. This gives you an early warning, and you can reestablish your alertness. I also found that meditating with open eyes helped ground me, because I was in the habit of thinking endlessly. If you want to experiment with open eyes, it is best to sit facing a blank wall or open floor - in any event, a surface that is as plain as possible. Have the eyes looking naturally down, but be careful to keep the spine and head erect. Then bring your awareness to your eyes, and relax your eyes. When you do so, you bring your awareness inwards towards your eyes rather than outwards towards what you are looking at. This is important. The eyes naturally scan their environment, looking for something of interest. When you meditate with open eyes, you are not interested in what you are seeing; you are only interested in the seeing itself. Every time you find yourself sending awareness out, to look at something, relax, return your awareness to your eyes, and relax them. Then return to your normal meditation object. Over time, you will either forget the world of sight, or you will simply receive the sights, without getting entangled in them.
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    Ok the big reveal from the ballistic stretching. A small bit of History in the first few months of circus school I had both my adductors torn by a coach dumping her weight into me in a middle split. Both grade two. This was about ten years ago now but it has stopped me doing doing middle splits, pancake and limited other leg stretches immensely. I've tried every treatment going from sports massage to direct injection of peptides to the site. Some improvement but nothing immense from each treatment. So onto present times. About a month a go I had been doing pancake ballistics and mentioned to MH that my scar tissue had kicked off and was really at me so was going to stop the pancake ballistics which I did. Last week I was on a working holiday with my GF and I was getting her to do the gracillis release and she mentioned it was much looser. I went in my self and the scar tissue on both sides had literally unzippered. I could sink my fingers into the second knuckle pretty much all the way to the knee on the left side and the right which was the worse scarring had also improved immensely.
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    Day 23 of 45–day ballistic challenge Brief comment on my last post; no DOMS in piriformis much at all; probably because these are among my loosest muscles; the only soreness I felt has been submerged in a much larger package! Overall reactions to the challenge THE major effect (which I believe DW asked about in another post) has been fatigue, and most likely neural fatigue. I am tired anyway (the sort of tiredness that does not respond to a single good night's sleep). Last night, for example, I was in bed, variously sleeping, lying meditating, and resting for 11 hours—unprecedented, for me. There is a strong sense that (in the back-bending exercise I will describe below) that the effect is on the fascial system and the internal organs, especially the organs responsible for apprehension and anxiety (stomach and 'spleen', spleen includes the pancreas in the oriental system). The second, unrelated (except through the neural system, so related in reality, if not in experience) is that I have realised that my hamstrings and lower back are the tightest parts of my body. I used to do Bulgarian deadlifts with 140Kg x 5 when I was at the ANU, perhaps ten years ago, and that, coupled with way too much time spent sitting on the same muscles has lead, I believe, to this result. I have put some weight on on my legs during the ballistic challenge, too, and my sense is that it is on the hamstrings and glutes. Now that we have an Olympic bar, I am going to get into the hamstrings with weighted stretching off our heavy benches. This has worked superbly in the past. Exercises I have added a number of preparation exercises that make the actual ones easier. In addition to the two-leg standing forward bend that Craig showed us, I have added a standing ballistic straight-leg calf stretch (done on the ladder bars, one leg at a time, 1 x 50), a floor ballistic version of the advanced piriformis stretch, and more reps in the two-leg standing forward bend than standard (today, 1 x 109), full squat weight on balls of feet trying to get head to floor. This I feel in ankles and lumbar spine. I sometimes use a weight on the back of the neck. There are four core movements: I do Emmett's HTT (1 x 72, up to 109, depending on what's happening, improvement-wise, around the 60-rep mark); Pu Bu (1 x 72, never more at this point, because leg strength runs out around this time). I sometimes use a weight to get me down further; 6Kg feels about right; if I am too sore or too tight to get down, I come onto ball of support leg's foot (like the bent-leg Cossack) and this moves my body weight forward enough to get excellent stretch on straight leg. Standing legs apart (1 x 50 over L leg; 1 x 50 over R leg; 1 x 50 in between legs; notes on variations below) Then either standing HF, 1 x 72 each side, or in the last week, the new standing ballistic back bend, 1 x 50 (following description copied from SD's post today): Start standing, tighten the glutes and tuck the tail maximally, push the hips forward and bend the knees as much as you need, arms up and out (horizontally, to start with) then lift the chest maximally, and start leaning backwards. No wall, no support. After the three sets of the core exercises are done, then the supplementary ones start. The last exercises vary. Sometimes I do another set of the adv. piriformis or the standing single-leg version described above. I do ballistic side splits (hand support on bench; trying to touch glutes to bolster, using a foot point–and–relax ankle movement to provoke the movement. This has been working very well; bouncing off bolster on some days. Floor pancake, using column to get movement. Will use weights in time. I try to get chest onto each leg, then go middle line. 1 or 2 x 72 each position. Dumbbell standing ballistic side bends. Using 10Kg presently. Variations This depends on soreness; if sore, start with easier variation to get movement in minimum number of muscles and max. movement in all joints, then the whole movement with straight legs. In standing legs apart I use a bent-leg version first (bend one leg; elbow to inside of support leg's ankle, 1 x 50; change legs; then 1 x 50 middle line, legs still bent. This feels like short head of biceps femoris, glutes, and some lumbar spine. In the full squat, a dumbbell really helps depth. Conclusions I have asked Fred and Olivia to comment separately on their internal reactions. Apart from the fatigue (which resulted in me doing a sitting, then lying meditation before lunch yesterday in addition to the long rest last night) there have been periods of significant DOMS, which movement quells immediately. The ballistics the next day stretch through this speedily, but it's not pleasant. Pain (from lactic acid in the support leg) as well as in the actual parts being exercised is usually what stops the movements (Pu Bu, in particular). Both of us (Fred and I) spend some time lying down in between sets, sometimes. The F-bomb is the most commonly used word. Real progress has been made in the pancake; when I looked yesterday in the column version described above, I got down to about 35 degrees from the floor, with a straight back. Still very significant resistance to completing the movement, but a massive improvement in only three weeks. Much slower improvement in HTT; my elbows are about a fist–and–thumb away from the top of the foot. Decent improvement in the standing back bend, but this is only a week old. Standing hip flexor is already decent, so this is not as effective for me as floor ballistic front splits, which I have not done this week with all the new movements. I have had no alcohol for 10 days; because the pancake stretching line is the liver meridian, I have decided to spare nothing! More to come.
  28. 4 likes
    "The target is to know the muscles and understand my lenght and strenght of my muscles. " No book on the planet has this information. To understand your own body you need to practice with it in many ways, paying detailed attention to how it responds. People build entire systems around this kind of practice. You could read every bio mechanics book ever made and you would be precisely 0 steps closer to understanding your own body. Testing capacity is relative to what capacity you want. Are your muscles strong enough to leap and dance like a ballet performer? Go train with one and find out. Are they strong enough to lift heavy weights? Find a strongman, train with them, find out. Strong enough to bound and labs precisely like a traceur? Even the ballet people probably can't do this. Strength is relative to the task at hand, and requires appropriate coordination to work. Burn the books, use all the time you would reading to sign up at a local class of some variety. You will learn more
  29. 3 likes
    The first thing that I notice is that multiple languages are jumbled together. Personally, this makes it a bit confusing for me and I'd probably give up looking for interesting content pretty quickly. It seems like you've built the site on WordPress, and there just happens to be a plugin for WordPress called Polylang that will allow you to implement multiple languages more elegantly. I am sure there are much better examples, but you can look at my website: www.linguasmith.com. The website is available in English and Japanese, and it will detect which to display based on your browser settings. If you prefer a different language, you can still change the display language using the icons at the top right. Just a possibility to consider!
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    On explaining complex topics in simple language One thing I did was to collect customer reviews from my own customers and from other Pilates studios with a similar profile to mine (bonus if they are from German-speaking customers) and used exactly these words for my advertising texts. From April, I will have a big UBahn poster near my studio that says, 'Pilates on Equipment. Discover the muscles you never knew existed' because this was how a couple of sharp thinking customers explained why they liked Pilates classes. Once a guy asked me if he could get 'more muscles' on my machines - I am thinking to use this as a tagline for marketing to men :-) So my current tactic is: Listen to what people say about your work, and talk to prospective customers in this language and in these terms. Let's see if this works, I am just starting.
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    Sun - Gym Pull. Managed not to forget the DL. 12x100,9x120,6x140 The 140 set was really 2+4 since a guy failed a bench press just behind me mid-set. It seemed rude to leave him writhing under his bar while I finished.
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    I am linking to an excellent page on Patrick's site separately here, though I have also linked the page in the Starting Mediation thread, and also in the Stretch Teacher thread, for different reasons. The 13th to 16th recordings on this page are the lying mediations I presented there. http://dharmasalon.net/Audio/bubs_dec2016/bubs_dec2016.html I am very grateful to PK for this resource.
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    I will be putting the lying meditations from the subsequent SBS retreat (I think there are eight) in the next few days, too; I am listening to them now and will name to reflect contents, if people have particular interests.
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    3/23 Thu. Heavy UB session. Bouncing, burpees, Yuri sequences, dislocates, piked skin the cats 2x2, and handstands, followed by: RTO Support: (Paired with MWS) 2x35s. Manna Wall Slides: (Paired with RTO Support) 3x7 with extension stretch between sets. OAC (pulley assist): 5x2@3.75kg assist, 2x(1x10s) negatives. Sets of 3 wasn't happening again today, so went with 2s and added the extra negative. Actually timed the negatives today. Will add another for 3x10s next time and then work on reducing rest between the 3 negatives over time. HSPU (elevated against wall): 3x4+1x3 again. Last rep was pretty grindy, but managed to add a rep to set three. Will keep shooting for 4x4. Front Lever Rows: (Paired with PPU) Adv. tuck. 4x3 (12X0). Extended the tuck a bit. Good intensity. Planche Push Ups (parallettes): (Paired with FL Rows) Tuck 4x3 (10X2). Last set wasn't pretty Prehab/Misc.: German Hang 1x60s, Elevated Bridge 3x20s, Cuban Rotations +10kg 3x10, Pike Compression (+1kg) 5x10s, Straddle Compression (+1kg) 5x10s Overall okay session. Looking forward to a low gravity day, but I'll trust that I'm making progress in the meantime.
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    Sat 18/3 Aiming to hit the park every Saturday to train on the bars there, as this is the only place I am able to train bar muscle-ups. Bar Muscle-ups: 5x4. Was planning to do 5x5 but my form on these is no where close to where they used to be. Gonna build them back up to strict clean form aiming to get back to 5x5, Pull-ups: 3x5. Chin-ups: 3x5 Dips: 3x10 Overall a pretty short session, but couldn't say it was easy. Lots of work to be done to regain the strength I lost. Sun 19/3 Bouncing, neck stretching, shoulder stretching, tailor pose, frog stretch, passive side splits, couch stretch pulses, outer hamstring, calves pulses and hip flexor stretching ballistic style. The hip flexor ballistics are very intense, even more than head to toe. Still struggling to finish 72 reps unbroken. Going to try to stick to this 3x72 method for at least 45 days to see if there will be any lasting changes to my hip flexors. Used to do the partner hip flexor at least 1-2 per week, but there is some sensation on my left knee so I'm taking a break from partner HF for a bit.
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    This is precisely what I did, too. But I said to myself, "I will focus on this because my life depends on it" (no analogy, "as if"); a small step closer to the reality of it. One's self talk is the most powerful medicine (or poison) one takes, every day. Clarity in language is not just important: it is your life. @jaja: One more note: "fear" is a physical sensation. Once, it had evolutionary importance; these days, except in rare moments where you are personally threatened (in which case a whole suite of hard-wired reactions will take over in a heartbeat) it is not real and is not useful. Actually, genuine fear is experienced by the body, and the body acts; the fear you have spoken about is anxiety and worry, and all a product of the mind, not the body, if you reflect on it. It is not real.
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    Thu - Gym Pull. I actually forgot to do the deadlifts... WTF as is said in modern parlance. Fri - Gym Legs. Actually remembered the back squats. Solid session although legs felt heavy going into session, pushed some weights up.
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    My thoughts are that the conventional deadlift is more stressful generally because: 1 - You can use higher loads than other variations. 2 - More motor units need to be recruited to lift the weight from a dead stop. RDLs are great, I generally do them with much less weight (like 50-60% of my conventional deadlift max) and between 6-8 reps. Too high of weight and reps and the lower back becomes the limiting factor. They start from the top (lockout) and are supposed to be performed by using the stretch reflex, I don't even touch the floor I sit back as far as possible get a massive stretch which is when the bar is not that far past my knees torso just parallel to the floor and explode into hip extension. I can go to the floor but that isn't the point of the movement. Even to the floor the position is different to a conventional deadlift because it's essentially purely sitting back with very little knee flexion. They are great for building horizontal power as well as a great glute/ham developer and are hard work, the time under tension just holding onto that bar the whole set fries my traps and makes my lungs burn haha. What I call a stiff leg deadlift is when you start from the floor, dead stop in between reps with a straightish legs position not sitting back far like an RDL. The torso will be parallel to the ground or in my case cause T-Rex arms even further declined. The bar will start more out from your shins at the start. Still hits the glutes and hams hard but will hit your back a lot harder just from the position. Deficits make it even more beastly https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9oNIIv2Holo I feel these transfer to the deadlift as a whole a bit more than the RDL which focuses more so on the lockout aspect. I'd say RDLs would be the least taxing and probably the best for glute/ham hypertrophy due to the stretch and time under tension. Then stiff leg deadlifts and even conventional deficit deadlifts are fantastic for posterior chain development but would be a lot more taxing.
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    Well, it's up to you, but I can tell you from ~35 year's worth of experience that bent-to-straight leg work (given the clear pattern your images above demonstrate) will get you there faster than any volume of straight leg work. Best would be to combine the two approaches (which is what we recommend, not only bent-leg work). Did you listen closed to the commentary of the bent-leg hamstring stretch above? The key is to activate all three reflexes that control active and passive flexibility. In straight leg work, the apprehension reflex's control over end ROM is the greatest barrier to loosening these muscles. Rob has mad flexibility and other skills, no doubt. But because he is very flexible, sometimes the benefits of an intermediate (bent-to-straight leg) approach might not be immediately appreciated. On the other hand, there is also the undeniable force of having paid for something to spur you on to greater efforts! Either way will get you there; I am only advocating b-s-l for you because of the particular pattern you have.
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    Well, I had a big rush job come in on top of a big job I was working on, so things got hectic over the past few days. Was originally going to do Tuesday's session as planned, but decided no need to force it and put it off until Wednesday. Good thing, because I didn't get to sleep until 4am I slept a decent amount, but not as much as I would have liked so in the end I just decided to skip that LB session. Who trains legs, anyway? I think it worked out for the better, because I had a few niggles here and there that seem to have improved. So back on schedule today with: 3/9 Thu. Heavy UB session. Bouncing, burpees, Yuri sequences, handstands, and dislocates, followed by: RTO Support: (Paired with MWS) 2x35s. Manna Wall Slides: (Paired with RTO Support) 3x7 with extension stretch between sets. This felt like a good number of reps, so going to stay here for a bit and work on height. OAC (pulley assist): 2x3+3x2+1x3@3.75kg assist. Goal was 5x3, but could tell that wasn't going to happen after the first set. Pushed to hit 2x3 and then dropped down to 2 reps. Threw an extra set on the end and pushed to hit 3 reps there. HSPU (elevated against wall): Planned 4x4 again, but ended up with 2x4+2x3. Final rep was a grinder - felt like I was suspended in air halfway through the rep for about 5 minutes Will go for 3x4+1x3 next time. Front Lever Rows: (Paired with PPU) Adv. tuck. 4x4 (12X0). These felt good. Managed to increase reps across the sets, but will make these a bit more solid before pushing reps again. Planche Push Ups (parallettes): (Paired with FL Rows) Tuck 4x3 (10X2). Prehab/Misc.: German Hang 3x60s, weighted thoracic work, Cuban Rotations +10kg 3x10, Pike Compression (+0.5kg) 5x10s, Straddle Compression (+0.5kg) 5x10s Played with a few different weights for the back bending. Single 5kg plate felt okay, but hands were too close. Two 5kg plates (one in each hand) felt like too much intensity. Two 2.5kg plates seems like it will work best for now. A bit light, but intensity is low enough that I can play with positioning, etc. and stay in the hold for a while. Will continue to experiment. Good session overall, especially after the recent "bad" day. Made progress on most movements, so happy. Also got in on @Emmet Louis's last side split group, so looking forward to seeing where that leads
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    Perhaps not; easy to confirm, in any case. Behind the knees pain/tightness can be distal ends of any of the hamstrings as well as gastrocnemius: both cross the knee joint. In any case, the two recommended exercises together will sort this out. The great virtue of the bent-leg hamstring position is that staying in the end position is easy. Consider holding each leg's best end position for a few minutes a side while making your best efforts to relax: this will change the ROM immediately. As well, looking at your pancake, the wide– bent–leg elephant walk is your friend. Position the pelvis first (using gravity instead of strength, as you are having to do, then apply gentle leg-straightening force via the quadriceps of each leg in turn without letting the spine–pelvis position change. This will be humbling, but like the bent-leg hamstring stretch, will be amazingly effective. Prepare for massive DOMS the first time you attempt it (assuming you do/can follow the instructions) and you will be sore for days. BUT the next time you try (and I'd allow a full week to recover) everything will feel different. Who is your coach, BTW? Is he/she interested in posting here?
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    Gym - Mon New Push 3x20 DB Flye Press 5-10kg. Yech see below. 3x12 Cable Pec Deck 4-6 pin 3x12 Machine Press 50/100 pin. 3x12 DB Lateral Raise 5kg. Tough with slight forward lean. 3x12 Seated Arnold Press 10-15kg. These are quite fun. 2x12 Vbar Triceps Press 25kg 2x12 Skull Crushers 25kg 2x12 Triceps Overhead Extensions 20kg. Interesting as done half sitting/leaning on bench. Pull program day tomorrow, but wanted to run through the whole push again before hand. Im not at all happy with the DB Flyes even very light, there's an angle not far normal path where my right shoulder is very unstable. Need to sub this one out I think, the pec deck on the other hand is totally fine.
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    As I said above, when you are working with some phenomenon that is strong, and that draws your awareness to it, you have to be careful about the quality of awareness and the energy behind it. If the energy behind the awareness is too strong, then you will feed the phenomenon and it will get stronger. This is commonly seen with tinnitus. Sometimes when you make tinnitus your meditation object, the tinnitus gets worse. Sometimes it stays the same. Sometimes it fades. Different people have different responses at different times. Or the same person has different responses at different times. It may be that if tinnitus has been a problem over a long time, the mind has developed a deeply ingrained aversion towards it, and you cannot help but bring some aversion to the awareing of it. (Notice I am using "aware" as a verb - "to aware.") You may not even be aware of the aversion, and only notice it after some time as you realise you are getting agitated. But in any event, if you make x a meditation object, and if this object then grows more intense and becomes problematic, then the best thing may be to not use it as an object at all. Maybe at some later date it will be OK. But for the time being, drop it. Just ignore it. So the advice to aware whatever is predominate in your experience is excellent general advice, but you have to balance this with your particular experience of actually putting it into practice. Does it work? And by "work" here, I mean: does it allow for the cultivation of a felt continuity of awareness, along with a growing sense of calm and collectedness? Sometimes you may find a felt continuity of awareness, but body and/or mind are becoming agitated rather than more calm. In this case, you are developing mindfulness (indicated by the presence of the felt continuity of awareness) but you are not developing concentration (indicated by the absence of calm and collectedness). So, drop that object and try another, one that will give you both mindfulness and concentration. Keep monitoring the state of mind that is doing the meditation practice, as well as the meditation object. Both sides of the equation play a vital role.
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    So here's the view from the side, I don't think I could decrease the APT anymore (at least at the moment)
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    On the retreats I co-present at the two monasteries in Malaysia annually, we present teachings based on the core suttas on "the four postures of meditation". These are sitting (this one everyone knows), but also standing, lying, and walking. Walking mindfully has been the other half of the Mahasi approach to teaching vipassana meditation since its revival a hundred years or so ago in Burma (sitting mindfully is the other). On the other hand, the Goenka approach uses only sitting; both are core teaching streams in the Theravada Buddhism system. The Mahasi method recommends either slow or fast walking, and anything in between; the only requirement is to be aware of what you are doing, and as Patrick mentioned in another thread, "What's happening now?" I will make a video some time on something I call 'cat walking' (and IIRC, MH said there was something similar in the Chinese systems he works with, but called 'rooster walking'). The starting premise is at all times be able to reverse the movement (like winding a film backwards); this means you are on one leg most of the time, and have to be present: as soon as you are not, you fall away from your balance point, and you can feel this immediately. I know no surer way of testing whether you are present, or simply think you are. The Talebian version of slow walking is strolling (flâneur; worth looking up: "a man who saunters around observing society", saunterer, etc.). In today's world, gold. Slow down enough so you can feel everything. Anyway, walking slowly: just thinking about it relaxes me!
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    Got some nice back bending going on. When my wrists are better I believe this will translate into a solid bridge. Sadly, the unwritten rules of the gym require you to wear a shirt. Rude.
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    No apology required cobber there was no misunderstanding. Sun - Gym Indoor 50' 138 Avg HR Only one more sleep until Craig's Chi Gong course kicks off...
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    Hi Olga, My two cents. Personally, the best way I have found to raise interest in what you do (be it stretch therapy or anything else) is to create the need (or make people aware of the need) and then show them the immediate benefits of what you are proposing. If you have seen the Wolf of wall street movie, this would be identical to the answer to the "sell me this pen" question. What is the best way to actually sell your pen to a person ? Ask him to write something for you. Create the need. Applying this to Stretch Therapy, my idea would be to go to places where you will most probably find people with mobility/flexibility limitations that are causing them troubles in their daily life. Try to get speeches during lunch times in some local companies (we have a few of these in our own company) and then make them aware of their limitations and issues e.g. ask the question "who suffered from back pain in the last ... months/years/..." (you shall probably get a significant number of yes) or ask them "ok now squat down" (significant number will probably struggle) and then explain them how what you are proposing can help them. Usually a PNF demonstration works quite well to get the interest given that the improvement in ROM is almost instantaneous. A bunch of other things can be done (actually show them the time they spent sitting on their butt vs the time spent doing activities even if they are sporty people and the harm this is doing to their body).
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    I've been thinking a lot in the past 12 months about muscle tension and flexibility, the idea that a person can be pretty flexible but at the same time very tense: good or bad or indifferent? I've found that stretching has helped me get more flexible --- even as an adult who now spends way too much time in front of a computer! --- and of course there's the 'learning how to relax/release tension during the stretching' that is necessary to move deeper into a pose. But, what about being less tense in daily life? I'm not sure there's been much carryover, however, the mobility work seems to be filling that gap in my body. Kit will possibly jump in and argue for lying relaxation as being what I need to do --- I seem to recall him saying that once or twice over the years --- but for whatever reason I don't do it/don't feel drawn to that practise, whereas I do mobility work many times during the day. Thoughts?
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    Yeah I broke up when I seen it on the show. Everything was nice then you asked "How's that ballistic stretching going?" Instant change.