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  1. I personally use each of the Master series as end goals (eg achieving a full pancake) but usually end up switching between different series every couple of months. I find this keeps me somewhat balanced and motivates me. Currently I am working on pancake, getting real close to my pelvis tilting sufficiently enough to let gravity take over (cant wait). But really its all about paying attention to what needs work and putting your focus towards that whatever it might be (easier said than done). Although I agree with starting at the spine, hip flexors as well are a good starting point.
  2. This has been a very helpful thread for me and clarified a lot of things. The main issues for me during meditation seem to be the excessive need to swallow coupled with lots of tension in the forehead. This forehead tension seems to be quite random as some days it will be quite tense other days almost fully relaxed. Iv'e been experimenting with eyes closed and eyes open and found that eyes open seems to reduce the tension somewhat. Its almost like if I try to close my eyes during meditation it feels forced and creating unnecessary tension. What are peoples thoughts on eyes closed vs eyes open?
  3. I currently don't feel any ankle stretch in the squat position for whatever reason, I may need to get my heels down first by working on the hips before I can start feeling the stretch. Elevating my heels with a towel or something when squating lets me feel somewhat of a stretch in the ankle. Ive noticed that I get a lot of muscle fatigue when I hold this for prolonged periods (tibialis anterior?), perhaps I should work to hold this elevated heel squat position for longer. This could be viewed as a more active form of ankle stretch. It does make sense, I guess it would be safer for the body to opt for a more rigid ankle as opposed to a hypermobile one which would likely result in injury. For me I think the stiffness definitely relates to how I walked and used them during my childhood, I also remember getting a very bad sprain on my right foot as a kid (my right ankle is a lot stiffer). Walking on the balls of feet like you mentioned in your original post could have potentially caused problems for me as well. Regarding your blockage, have you tried banded distraction stuff (search Kelly Starrett on youtube)? In short, it basically involves putting a band around the ankle joint then mobilising from that position. This helped me primarily at the start to get over that blocked feeling.
  4. Im pretty close to getting a wide squat, hips just need to be a bit looser and I should have it. I do constant limbers for my ankles throughout the day, whenever I have a spare moment like waiting for the kettle to boil etc. I usually also do a more focused session everyday or every second day. The focused session will also include calve stretches and attempting to mobilise the ankle in this calve stretch position as well (quite a different sensation compared to when the working leg is closer to the body). Experiment with different angles, try driving the knee out as if you were going into a squat. It interests me what makes gaining ankle mobility so dam SLOW, everyone I talk to who has major ankle issues often takes many months to see progress and even years in bad cases. Before I started working on my ankles I literally couldn't dorsiflex at all, completely locked. My progress has ramped up recently though which is a good sign, it seems to become easier the more mobile they get.
  5. I believe what @Craig is talking about when he says lifting without the traps is described in his lifting with the armpits tutorial: https://awarerelaxedconnected.uscreen.io/programs/lifting-with-the-armpits I personally have been working on this for awhile now and was amazed how difficult it was at the start but definitely a very useful skill to incorporate into daily life. Its crazy just how much we rely on our traps and how they are almost chronically contracted in modern society. Also Craig a question for you, is there an solo equivalent for the shoulder push down partner stretch?
  6. I have noticed exactly what you are talking about regarding ankles, it took me a couple years to finally realise this. No matter what I did I could not feel a stretch in the ankle, a blocked feeling. It was only through gentle rebounding movements while trying to maintain a sense of safeness that I was able to feel any sort of stretch (or even movement it was that bad), any forcing of the movement resulted in this protective sort of reflex. Like you said being warm is important, the protective reflex is much stronger in the mornings I find. I try to do gentle micro bouncing movements in the most relaxed way possible trying to get deeper as I progressively bounce. I will also contrast this with stronger contractions but only after I am sufficiently warm. Its been a long 3 year journey so far with my ankles but I am finally starting to see progress, desperate to able to get that squat!
  7. Very true... the neck seems to be one of those areas where distant problems seem to manifest in the neck itself. The same rings true for the hips I find, for example problems with my ankle leading to a problem in my hip, of course you could look it at the other way round as well. Who knows where the problem first began the important thing is we notice and effectively fix them!
  8. The best areas to massage are not really on the neck itself but more in the Trapezius area. Try laterally flexing your neck and you might feel some tightness, while its under stretch gently push down on these stretched areas and see how that feels. Pushing on the stretched muscle further increases the stretch, this is a really strong sensation for me and radiates all the way up the head. Another area that I massage often (great for fixing headaches) is behind the head. If you get both your thumbs and place them behind the head feel for bony bits on both sides then under that you will find there is a sort of ditch. There are some real juicy spots in this area that feel really good. The massage tool in my previous post is particularly good for this area. Hope that was an OK explanation but just keep gently exploring different parts at first and play close attention to what is helping. Interesting, what is the goal here? Something to do with blood flow?
  9. Cant comment regarding your specific question, but ill just say that massage really was the key for opening the neck area for me personally. I find massage of particularly importance in this area relative to other parts of the body, for some things no amount of stretching would help but pressure in the right spot gave me instant long lasting relief. I would keep exploring massaging different parts see how that feels, even try stretching and massaging parts at the same time. Fingers work fine but I have also had great success using a tool such as this:
  10. Breaking it up into the SLDP really is the key, I see many yogis (myself included) mindlessly doing down-dog for years with little to no progress.
  11. Slightly, haven't tried it in awhile. The burn sensation seemed to diminish relatively quickly as long as I did the stretch pretty often.
  12. I have the same thing, during the brisbane workshop awhile back I asked Olivia the same question. She said the burning sensation means its more of a fascia type restriction and that spending long times in the position is best for this type of restriction. I normally do long holds for this stretch and eventually the burn starts to dissipate then ill push a bit deeper. Also try the floor version as Nathan has mentioned.
  13. I tend to get the occasional pain in my left toe as well. Not sure if this will help you but with my toe it seems like it has lots of ROM but in an off to the side angle if that makes sense, its doesn't flex up and down in a straight line but more to the side. When the toe is just relaxed it also seems to be sitting at a slight angle as well. Like you explain if i put weight onto this toe and put it in max flexion at this off angle I do get a bit of pain. In my attempt to fix this I do very careful stretching making sure to get the toe in a good position so I can stretch it in a more vertical plane. Its quite hard to get in the right position but if I do it right I no longer get this pain feeling but more of a very intense stretching sensation (also my toe has way less ROM in this position). Took me a bit of practice to get the right set up for this stretch but I found using my hand to position the toe correctly then begin your contract/relax helped a lot.
  14. By sensitive you mean less pleasurable to stretch? In areas that im experienced with stretching and are much more flexible are generally a lot more pleasurable to stretch vs the tight areas. This is sort of counter productive because you want to keep stretching the side that is more flexible and feels better but you should actually be stretching the other side so it can catch up and become less sensitive and feel more pleasurable to stretch if that makes sense. I remember when I first started taking stretching seriously they were some parts of my body that I didn't even know could move in certain ways and were VERY tight. Stretching these muscles was very uncomfortable and very 'sensitive'. Even the sensation of stretching those muscles felt like they hadn't been used in that way for most of my life. They just felt old, stale, rusty and I guess sensitive. These days ive almost forgotten that feeling as ive manged to release a lot of the major tension in my body. But of course there is always more tension to be released
  15. Like Kit says hanging has done wonders for my shoulders, also shoulder dislocations with a broomstick. Just these two exercises will do so much for your shoulders, if I had to pick two shoulder exercises to do for the rest of my life these would be it. With the hanging do both passive and active hangs and try experimenting with one arm hangs after you get pretty good at two hands.
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