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Jim Pickles

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Jim Pickles last won the day on September 23 2018

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About Jim Pickles

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  1. Jim Pickles

    vertebrae stuck together

    Its been a time since this was posted, and no senior teacher has responded, so I'll put my two cents worth in. What do you mean "vertebrae stuck together"? Do you mean she loses mobility in a certain part of her spinal column? This could be for many reasons. Somehow your wording suggests that the bones are locking together in some way (which would really have to be diagnosed with an x-ray or MRI), but the first thing that occurs to me is that the muscles have gone into some sort of spasm or tightening in response to the activity, stopping the vertebrae from moving. If this case I'd suggest relaxation, stretching, and loosening exercises for the back. You could try spinal twists, and lying back over a firm rubber roller, moving it along the back, and then many standard yoga back exercises, but doing only the gentle ones, and only doing them gently. Then you would need to follow it up with strengthening for the back. There are some of these exercises in the series that can be downloaded from the Stretch Therapy website. Jim.
  2. Thank you Kit for posting such a detailed commentary. I started teaching before there were many scripts available through ST: I found some basics on the web and have adapted them over time. The final relaxation of the class has 5 phases: 1. Body position, alignment, feel the floor, focus on breath etc (same wording each time, for ritual reasons). 2. Progressive relaxation (I use 4 different scripts, and cycle between them). 3. Deepening the relaxation by guided visualisation (not sure how these work for non-visual people though). I have 12 basic scripts* which I cycle between (originally found on the web and in books, plus a few I have devised myself), and adjust each one on the fly depending on how I am feeling. 4. Affirmations, in some classes. 5. Final phase of continued relaxation, followed by gradual bringing out of deep relaxation (same each time, again for ritual reasons), and a clear signal that the session is over. (* which are gradually replaced over time.) to some extent these are the techniques used in hypnosis, though I do not use the progressive levels of deepening that hypnotists use. This also avoids the problem that people might drive home still under hypnosis. I am not sure from earlier comments about how much guidance is given in breathing. One thing my yoga teacher (Ailsa Gartenstein) was very emphatic on, was not to give too much guidance of the exact timings - people prefer establish their own rhythm to your general instructions. Jim.
  3. Jim Pickles

    To touch, or not to touch?

    I give classes as a stretch teacher in Australia (regular once a week group classes, plus occasional individual classes). Generally, my goal is minimal touching, to protect myself from potential accusations, no matter how misguided. Yes, we do partner stretches in class. I will demonstrate on one member and then assist the pairs in partner stretching - because this is all public and my class members are all older, around my age, everyone is very relaxed about that degree of personal contact. On the other hand, when I give individual classes at home, generally to much younger women when I am solo with them, I am very careful to not open myself to any potential accusations, no matter how misguided. I am also influenced by contortion teachers who I respect, who teach the most extreme poses with minimal touching - often just a light touch to elbow or ankle to guide alignment. There is one partner stretch that I routinely use that involves closer contact, which is the assisted lunge. I explain my policy ahead of the class, and ask permission explicilty before doing this stretch, and it is usually the only one like this. I have never detected any unhappiness with this degree of contact, but the last thing I want anyone to say is "the old man couldn't wait to get his hands all over me". By staying very well clear of any potential danger situations, I have found all my students very relaxed and confident. I am also influenced by my own experience, which is that where it is possible to arrange it mechanically, I have found it more effective to use solo stretches. This way the amount of force applied can be exactly titrated to requirements, and one is able to relax into the stretch (or maybe bracing in certain places where that is needed too, while relaxing elsewhere) more effectively - there is a closer feedback loop between the effort to apply the force and the resulting stretch sensations which I have found allows you to go into the stretch more effectively. I am in a different position from people like massage therapists and physiotherapists who have standard manipulations and a large number of professionals to back them up, so obviously my comments dont relate to those, just to someone in my situation. I just thought I'd add my views, because it is important to me, and also a matter of current discussion among contortion teachers that I know (I am not a contortion teacher by the way). Jim.
  4. I'm just wondering if the stretches that work best as partner stretches are stretches that primarily work on the fascia. In some cases it seems to me that muscle (and its reflexes) are the limitation, in other cases more the fascia. Working out which of course is difficult, and it may well vary from individual to individual. However where the critical tightness crosses multiple muscles, or does not correspond to the lines of muscles, and/or where long held stretches seem most effective, I wonder whether fascia is the primary limitation (group 1). Where the tightness corresponds to the line of a muscle, and where the CR method works well, I wonder if muscle is the primary limitation (group 2). There is of course no proof that these conjectures are true. In my experience, stretches in the first group can be more effectively helped by partner stretches. I find that partner stretches do not particularly help those in the second group. Does anyone else have views on this? I could post some examples of stretches in the two groups, and will later if requested, but have to go and stretch now!
  5. Anyone got the full-text version of the article mentioned, that they can send us?
  6. Just seen Kit's comment on dancers with or without square hips, and looked at those pictures, where there's a lot of variation. I'd point out that different schools of ballet treat the issue differently. In Russian technique, the hips are as square as possible, and lifted as little as possible on the side of the working leg. RAD (English) and Cechetti allow a small amount of lift. Balanchine technique uses a large amount of lift with the hips rotated towards the side of the working leg. It can look ugly to people trained in the other techniques - here, opening the body to the side, and the degree of extension of the leg (in the sense of lift), are primary.
  7. Put your hands on your hip bones. They will show you if the hips are level sideways and square to the front.
  8. My latest from Las Vegas, showing a bit of flexibility. Found the right forum at last! Jim.
  9. My latest performance from Las Vegas - a bit of flexibility, which is why I can link it here. There used to be a forum with lots of videos like this, but I cant find it now. Cheers, Jim. I tried to delete this post, because I later found the correct forum, but dont know how to get rid of this preview (I know posts cant be deleted, but they can be re-edited to show just a blank). I didnt mean to double-post!
  10. Yes Epsom salt seems amazing stuff (as is magnesium) but pharmacies dont always stock it because it is so cheap, so they dont make much money out of it (they prefer to sell you expensive modern drugs). However I am a member of a group where many people suffer chronic pain, and many find it very effective indeed. Jim.
  11. Yes, I'm refering to the size of the tablet, with elemental magnesium being what you said. Many thanks for the informative factsheet too. However, taking too much magnesium (within limits) doesnt matter, because the excess causes diarrhoea as you said. The major thing to be aware of (as far as I can tell) is that it might cause malabsorption of some other medications. Magnesium is however one of the most powerful dietary anti-inflammatories you can take, so I suggest is a good idea generally - see the attached table. Positive is anti-inflammatory, negative is pro-inflammatory. Items with largest effects are outlined in green or red. Note differences in measures for the different items when comparing, and consider the amounts that it is practical to consume when comparing too. I think I have uploaded this table before, under another discussion. DII foods.pdf
  12. Magnesium is great for stopping night cramps. Take 1-2 x 1000 mg tablets before bedtime. Also keep well hydrated as the others have said.
  13. Nathan - thanks for your comment. The amount of squaring is certainly a variable to be considered. However, the feeling in the lunge is so strong that I think something else is going on - I suspect that it is because the rectus femoris is being stretched from the origin rather than the insertion end and that the tissues at the origin end are more sensitive. However, the fact that stretching the rectus femoris further when in a forward split - even though it is not actually limiting the movement - suggests that something is going on, which is not in accordance with simple muscle anatomy alone. On further reflection, I would have worded my initial post differently - I suspect that the origin end of the rectus femoris has complex fascial attachments around the hip joint, which make their own contribution to limiting flexibility.
  14. I wonder if anyone else has information this - I'm trying to work out the main restrictions on backbending at my hip. E.g. in a total backbend, such as a bridge (gymnastic) I have very little backbend at the hip, and if I could improve this, my total backbend would improve a lot. 1. If my knee is bent strongly, then I have very little backbend at the hip joint. This suggests a rectus femoris limitation. This is shown for instance if I do a lunge (one foot in front, the back knee on the ground, with the back lower leg upright against a wall), and then try to drop the hips forward - I have very little movement (and the front of the hip joint hurts like hell - sorry, I mean there is a strong sensation). 2. In a forward split (where there is a backbend at the hip joint of the leg going back) I can lift my back foot using the hamstring, and then pull it closer to my torso with my hand. The fact that I can use the hamstring to lift the back foot (and can then pull it quite a bit further), suggests the rectus femoris is not the limitation when my foot is on the floor. However, after lifting the back foor to its limit and then putting it down, the hip joint definitely feels looser. So stretching the rectus femoris (which is not limiting the movement) frees up the hip joint. The only thing I can think, is that either (1) there is a connective tissue tightness across the front of the hip joint, or (2) if muscles are involved, there is a fascial adhesion somehow from the rectus femoris onto the iliopsoas (maybe the same sheet of fascia crosses both muscles). If it is the first possibility, then I just have to stretch the front of the hip joint with a fascial-directed regime (long held stretches), if the latter, working on iliopsoas and rectus femoris with muscle-directed stretches would help too. I wonder, has anyone else faced this issue, do you find the same thing (limitiations not fitting with the anatomy of the muscles), and what exercises have you tried? Thanks a lot, Jim.
  15. If you are in Australia, a cheap alternative are some cargo-style pants that K-Mart or Target sell, for probably around $30. Loose enough for all stretches.
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