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Mick

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Mick last won the day on June 24

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About Mick

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  • Birthday 06/06/1981

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    https://www.bigbreathathome.com

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  1. My mother-in-law is moving house tomorrow. We have been helping her pack up everything all week from morning to night. So I've been able to do only minimal stretching. Actually I think the light load may have been beneficial. Doesn't really matter, I didn't have a choice! Since last Thursday... Friday was a complete rest day. Saturday too, except a set of SL RDL on the left standing leg. Sunday: - Daily 5 - Hip flexor into lunge hamstring (starting) position - Frog Pose - Diamond Pose - SL RDL set of 10 - Floor folded leg calf stretch, left side - Hip flexor again - Child's pose Later in the afternoon: - 2nd set of 10 SL RDL - Right hip flexor - Floor folded leg calf stretch, left side Later in the evening: - Balcony calf stretch - Thoracic spine stretch with hands against wall - Assisted squat (holding balcony fence) - Tfl stretch... this is one I have to find out the name for... especially now that my left hip flexor is not obstructing the stretch like before - Seated hip Just before bed: - 3rd set of SL RDL - Half cobra Monday: - Hip flexor - Daily 5 - Diamond pose - Front neck - Set of 10 SL RDL - Left seated hip Tuesday: - Set of 10 SL RDL - Left seated hip - Hip flexor Wednesday. This was a very satisfying morning stretch/limber. On my way to the park while walking the dog I could feel very specifically my right trapezius, neck & hip flexor together with my left hip/glutes. Two areas of tension from my squash days. I could feel my body wanted these areas to be stretched. So I indulged! - Hanging side bend; left, right, left - Right hip flexor, with extended arm upward - Left hip flexor, shifting weight from side to side - Left floating piriformis - Set of 10 SL RDL - Left seated hip Thursday: - Set of 10 SL RDL - Right hip flexor - Left floating piriformis My mother-in-law's moving day is tomorrow. I hope to do my next C-R session on Saturday or (most likely) Sunday.
  2. Thanks for the thoughts, Kit. The sudden change seems fascinating! What you described reminds me of something I read/heard a few years back regarding dissipative structures and the continual cycle of order coming out of a state of chaos... if the right pressure is sustained for long enough. Then a higher level of chaos emerging with the cycle starting over until it re-organizes itself again.. And that reminds me of what you mentioned in the range of strength podcast you recently uploaded - how a practitioner will find themselves deeper into a stretch but it feels the same. I guess I'm in the midst of figuring out, via trial error, the balance of pressing the right buttons for my body. For example, yesterday during the C-R session I exaggerated taking the lunge hamstring stretch right back to zero by resting my chest on my thigh with front knee at a right angle. I stayed there with no real intention of going into a deeper stretch. I felt my lower abdomen sink onto the thigh a little bit more than usual. So then I did extend my knee ever so slightly over a few minutes because my body felt like it. From the outside it probably looked like nothing, or very little. What was encouraging, though, was the activation of the upper hamstring more than usual, or at all. Also, I'm still experimenting with the amount & frequency of SL RDL. Anyway, thanks again. ---------- Yesterday: - A moderate C-R session. The tenderness in the hamstrings had passed and I felt ready for another stronger session. As well as what I just mentioned above, I discovered that during the wall quad stretch, if I apply pressure to the outside of the front knee inward with my same side hand it seems to help the hip sink back (which slightly squares the hips more). And this increases the stretch in the quad & HF quite noticeably. Again, I didn't really notice/realize that I stayed in that particular stretch for 9-10 minutes on each side. Uploading the video tonight. Hopefully I can post a link tomorrow. - 1.5-hour lying meditation Light limbering today: - Daily 5, with cat-camel after half-cobra - Hip flexor to lunge hamstring - 1 set of 10 SL RDL - Right hip flexor - Impromptu 5 squats (last one held for a bit longer) with my 9-year old step-daughter hanging on my back amidst both of us dancing - Hanging side bend stretch, left & right
  3. Last night, 1.5 hour lying meditation. Today: - Hip flexor - Daily 5 - Hip flexor to straight leg hamstring - Child's pose - Cat-camel, standard then side-to-side - Tailor Pose This evening: - 3 x 10 SL RDL; in between each set, right HF stretch - Left floor folded leg calf stretch - Advanced piriformis - 10 minutes cross-legged meditation I spent about half the day just lying down. Not meditating as such. Just listening to some podcasts and letting my body soften. It is learning to appeciate the cycle of genuine rest after intense C-R sessions. Hamstrings are feeling much clearer today which is encouraging. Generally, I'm noticing a little more freedom in my range of movement. Hip flexors, piriformis, adductors, thoracic spine. Even 'simple' stretches like child's pose and cat-camel. Nothing major, just a tiny bit more space to explore with. Everything except hamstrings. However, something is happening there. If nothing else, they are moving closer to feeling more balanced relative to one another, like they are preparing themselves to increase their range of motion. All I can do is persist.
  4. Yesterday I did very light limbering movements: - Hip flexor - Seated piriformis - Frog pose - Straight leg hamstring, very lightly just feeling by flexing/pointing toes - Hanging side bend - 1-hour lying meditation Today just limbering again but a little deeper/longer: - Hip flexor with resitance bands - Daily 5 with frog pose after half cobra - Advanced piriformis position, just exploring - Hip flexor with resistance bands - Child's pose - Tailor pose with light contractions - Cat-camel ---- at which time the cat wandered over to sleep next to me - Child's pose - Wrist stretch from all-fours - Fist pushup position; my fingers felt like they wanted to scrunch up after the wrist stretch - Side neck, left/right - Back of neck - Hip flexor into straight leg hamstring My hamstrings were feeling less tender today. I'll keep monitoring tomorrow.
  5. Below is the video (3x speed) of last Friday's C-R session (time-marks underneath). In addition to the wall quad stretch, the EW was unplanned but while doing it, during the un-extending phase I had more conscious control to activate the upper hamstring to drive the movement. Having said that, over the last 3 days my hamstrings have been tender like they used to whenever I tried any C-R stretching. I was debating whether to do any C-R stretching for them in the past session - I could have just done nothing for them with the idea to build up some momentum with the SL RDL. But then I'm doing nothing for them. I didn't push the hamstring stretches at all. I moved slowly. Still not sure about this... After the hanging side bend & left scalene I went into a child's pose of sorts and the right trap (or the big muscle between the shoulder blade & spine) which has a lot of chronic tension from overuse playing squash was stretching in a very targeted way. It felt promising. Anyway, here's the video: Daily 5 0:00 Upper back 0:28 Half cobra 1:03 Lying rotation, left 2:06 Lying rotation, right 3:12 Side bend 3:59 Seated hip, left 4:47 Seated hip, right 5:25 Modified child's pose Frog Pose 5:55 Elephant Walk 7:37 Hip flexor with resistance band 8:33 Right 9:50 Left 11:09 Wall Quad Stretch 11:18 Right #1 14:31 Left 18:01 Right #2 Advanced Piriformis 21:26 Left 23:57 Rest 24:44 Right 27:04 Rest 28:04 Left 30:08 Loosening Tailor Pose 30:37 Hip flexor limbering 32:43 Left 32:52 Right 33:10 Left SL RDL 33:22 Set #1 34:33 Set #2 Straight-Leg Hamstring on wall 35:01 Left 36:25 Right 37:46 Rest Lunge Hamstring 38:20 Left 40:05 Right SL RDL Set #3 41:23 Lunge Hamstring 42:07 Left 2 Hanging Side Bend 43:36 Right 45:25 Left Scalene 47:12 Left Limbering in child's pose 48:18 Wrist stretch 49:37
  6. Yes, I will go a little gentler next session. I did get excited and my personality generally skews toward extremes. Hopefully, it won't be too nerve-wracking!
  7. Last night I did a 2-hour lying meditation. Still uploading the video from yesterday's C-R session. @Kit_L, two thumbs up for the wall quad stretch. It let my body stay in the position without feeling a build-up of so much pressure on the upper hamstring on the front leg. I didn't realise it but I was in the stretch on both sides for 10 minutes each. It also allowed me to play around with the various contractions with relative freedom, particularly on the right quad during the last contraction phase while pressing down on the chair. Then I let my weight sink slightly to the stretching leg side and felt a connection with the quad, psoas & groin. After the session while sitting down and during lying meditation the right rectus femoris, right in the middle, was lightly twitching. It continued today. This is where I would commonly cramp if performing a left front kick in tae kwon do. Feels like deep changes. Either way, I will continue with the wall quad stretch. Today my body was quite sore/tired from yesterday's session in a satisfying way. I was resting for most of the day. Then in the evening: - Daily 5 - Frog Pose - Hip Flexor - Straight leg hamstring, left/right/left - Floating piriformis - Diamond pose
  8. Yesterday: - Daily 5 - Hip flexor limbering, both sides - Downward dog - Standing calf stretch In the afternoon I got a splitting headache. I reckon it was because it was the 3rd day since I stopped chugging down Coke Zero. So I just rested in the afternoon & evening. Today: I did a 3-hour contract-relax session. I wasn't planning to but pretty much as soon as I woke up I could feel my body wanted it. Same as last Friday except last Friday I just did a handful of limbering stretches and chose to wait till the next day. Then I missed it cause we went out for the day and I ended up doing the longer session on the Sunday. This week I made time - had a good breakfast, some fruit in the early arvo then a couple of cups of coffee. The fact that it's the first day of my 7-week summer holiday helped too! I'm looking forward to structuring the break around stretching & whatnot. I'll upload the C-R session video when it's ready. Tonight I'm gonna watch a movie then lie down for meditation.
  9. Last night, 1 hour lying meditation. Today (spread out throughout the day): - Daily five - Diamond pose - Sitting cross-legged meditation, 10 minutes - Downward dog; legs together, then one at a time - Hip flexor with resistance band - Calf stretch on balcony - SL RDL; 2 sets of 10 - Suitcase carries; left, right, left - Front neck stretch - Static hindu pushup end positions My body woke up feeling great today. I think I had a good balanced sequence of stretches yesterday and pretty sure the hanging side bend stretch was the primary reason for feeling so open today. It seems like a valuable one for my body at the moment.
  10. @Kit_L, thanks for having a look over my blog! I hope I didn't rattle on too much in my post above. I figured if anyone asks me about it in the future I can just refer them to here rather than having to repeat myself. When did you spend time in New Mexico on retreat? I'm curious at what stage it was in your stretching adventure. I assume quite a time after your first revelation in Japan, right? *Edit: Immediately after posting, I realised you may have talked about this already! If so, could you refer me to the thread/post please? I will try the lunge stretches with padding for the back knee and report back.
  11. Yesterday: - Straight leg hamstring strap stretch from lying position, both sides - Hip flexor stretch then bending back leg, both sides - Diamond pose - Floating piriformis, both sides - Downward dog - Backward wrist bend from dog pose - 1-hour lying meditation Today: - Daily 5 - Hip flexor - Floating piriformis - Downward dog, legs together then single leg on both sides - Frog pose - Diamond pose - 20 minutes of cross-legged meditation... *this is the first time I felt so much comfort in this position where I could relax the stomach and had conscious control over the relaxation of hips on both sides, which meant I was feeling no pressure in my spine Later in the day: - Calf stretch on balcony fence - Hanging side bend - Left scalene... *this is one my body wants to avoid! About to lie down for meditation.
  12. Here is the video (3x speed) from Sunday morning's C-R session (time-marks below): Daily 5 0:00 Upper Back 0:27 Backward bend from floor 1:00 Child's pose exploration 1:46 Lying rotation, left 2:48 Lying rotation, right 3:34 Kneeling side bend, left 3:51 Kneeling side bend, right 4:07 Seated hip, left 4:55 Seated hip, right Hip Flexor with resistance band 5:23 Left 7:52 Right SL RDL Set #1 10:24 Floor Folded Leg Calf stretch (left) 11:23 SL RDL Set #2 12:23 Long Held Advanced Piriformis 13:07 Left #1 15:37 Rest 16:35 Right 19:26 Rest (20:38 Lunge hamstring mini-exploration) 20:51 Left #2 TFL Release 23:00 Left 23:30 Right Child's Pose 23:50 Frog Pose 24:13 Baby's Pose (?) 25:58 SL RDL Set #3 26:30 Seated Hip 27:20 Left 28:17 Rest 29:01 Right 30:04 Rest Downward Dog 30:26 Both legs 30:37 Left 30:49 Right 31:10 Left Straight Leg Hamstring 31:35 Left #1 32:26 Right (33:27 Egoscue rest position) 33:55 Left #2 Hip Flexor with bent leg 35:07 Right 36:50 Left Assisted Squat (next time I will place my feet closer to the fence) 38:52 Lying legs behind (this was completely impromptu and I didn't even know it was show in Stretching & Flexibility, pg. 166 until afterwards where I found it by chance while looking at something else) 39:39 40:44 Rest Neck (Back, left, right) 40:56 Back ---------- The next day (yesterday) I felt pretty evenly distributed DOMS in my legs & hips. Still feeling a bit today. My left hamstring and hips didn't pull up tender like previous weeks. I think it's due to the SL RDL and also focusing on straight-leg hamstring stretch, not forcing it too much. I'll keep treading lightly for next week's C-R session.
  13. I will definitely give that a try, thanks. I posted on my blog about a month ago giving a brief overview of how I meditate - https://www.bigbreathathome.com/how-i-meditate/ From that post, I will expand further on one aspect I touched upon – that is, thinking through the spine. What I’m doing while meditating, more often than not, is what I would be focusing on during my Wing Chun training; specifically, the first empty-hand form, Siu Nim Tao. The name Siu Nim Tao roughly translates to small thought or tiny idea or sense from the brain. It’s a kind of standing meditation that encourages correct spinal alignment via increased body awareness and the release of Nim Tao, or thought-force. Amongst others, the primary directives include: To relax all the muscles in the body; and To infuse the spine with spirit These two work off each other. I have found that thinking through the spine is a better description for my mind to play with. Most Wing Chun practitioners would usually suggest thinking up the spine. For me, thinking through the spine encourages awareness everywhere up & down the spine all at once, instantaneously, as opposed to a gradual flow like a hose filling up with water from one end to the other. Whichever way a person prefers to frame it though, it’s important to maintain that thread of spinal awareness as thinly/finely as possible. This increases the willingness/ability of the muscle tension around it to release. To spark this awareness of the spine, we are encouraged to ever-so-lightly contract the anus, like you’re gently trying to stop yourself from going to the toilet. At the same time, feeling the deep hip joints and imagining them spinning like a tiny, tiny ball-bearing encourages awareness from the tailbone all the way to the top of the head, just behind the crown. Actually, we are encouraged to think of every joint in the body as a tiny, spinning ball-bearing (regardless of whether there is any actual physical movement or not), especially the vertebrae. The ‘spinning’ is in all directions, all at once. While standing and performing the Siu Nim Tau form, thinking soft knees helps to support what I just described. However, during my lying meditation this soft knees directive isn’t as important because gravity is out of the equation. Setting up these parameters to create ‘space’ to let the spine subtly decompress helps us to perform the arm movements of the Siu Nim Tao form in the most economical way, allowing us to absorb, redirect and/or generate force. The more a practitioner can relax the muscles of the whole body and infuse their spine with spirit, the more they can initiate movements from their center, a point just below the navel called the dan tien. Most people who have practiced tai chi or most other eastern martial arts would have heard of this, I think, however they might know it by another term. Increasing awareness of the dan tien like this has aided my ability to relax the belly. I feel that during stretching I have fairly good control of this. The specific kind of Wing Chun I train has no kicks above the waist (apart from one). And all kicks are done with a slightly bent knee, so flexibility is talked about very little. And in fact, a few times we asked our teacher, a man named Chu Shong Tin, whether increasing our flexibility would help us to relax & generate force. He always said no, they are two separate kinds of training. I have been pleased to read occasional posts on these forums essentially mirroring this perspective. That is, the range of motion muscles have is separate from their particular quality of texture. So someone can be very flexible, even to the point of being able to do the splits easily, but their muscles might still have a lot of tension in them. Having said that, stretching does seem to help increase awareness to certain areas for me, and with that increased awareness I can then spend time actively relaxing. Additionally, Sigung Chu always recommended to us that if we did any kind of stretching or strengthening/physical exercises that we should then spend an equal amount of time training Siu Nim Tao – or at least focus on the muscles we had just used to actively relax them - immediately afterward to ensure our muscles don’t start to develop unwanted tension. This is partly how I see the purpose of my lying meditation practice. At a deeper level, it also helps with the release of existing chronic tension and, hence, structural integrity of the skeletal system, which usually becomes more apparent during longer sessions, 90-120 minutes. This awareness of chronic tension arising and releasing, independent of my conscious efforts, reminds me of my experiences during the two Vipassana meditation retreats I have attended, where Goenka talks about sankaras. However, I wouldn’t say that I am strictly practicing the Vipassana technique, as such, apart from often bringing my awareness back to my breath and noticing sensations in the body. Further, I try not to focus on the Wing Chun style approach of focusing on the spine I have described too obsessively. Sometimes I’m just lying there watching my thoughts pass by, staying detached as possible and, again, watching my breath. Anyway, that’s probably enough for now.
  14. Friday night: - 2-hour lying meditation. This time was a little different because right from the start my body felt settled. It was one of those sessions where I didn't move at all, not even to scratch an itch here or there. No wriggles or mini-adjustments. I'm not usually stubborn with this kind of thing but, occasionally, when my body feels completely settled from the start part of me is compelled to not react to anything for the entire session. Yesterday: - Calf stretches on balcony fence - Started with a hip flexor stretch using a resistance band to encourage the hips to stay square - Tried using a resistance band for a lunge hamstring stretch. Didn't push it at all, just micro movements back & forth - Daily 5 - 1 set of 10 SL RDL, followed by Floor Folded Leg Calf stretch - Downward dog; both legs straight, then one foot resting on straight leg's ankle, both sides - Frog pose - In the evening 1-hour lying meditation I was going to do a C-R session in the late arvo/early evening but we had been out for the day and when we returned I had low energy. So I decided to leave it until this morning. Today: - C-R session in the morning. I'll post a video of the session when it gets uploaded. I used the resistance band for the hip flexor stretches. And next week (and probably next few weeks) I'm going to focus more on the holding of the back foot more so the back leg is bent while in the hip flexor stretch. As I understand this targets the quad a little more. Anyway, that's where I'm feeling the stretch more - I mean, that's what my body seems to want to avoid! In the evening: - Suitcase carries; left, right, left - Side neck stretch, twice on both sides I'm looking forward to the lying meditation tonight. ----------- A habit I have noticed and am changing: Since I was a teenager I have often stood on one leg, the right leg (see picture below). Never the left leg. Even if I'm leaning on a table or rail, whatever. I've started consciously leaning/supporting on the left leg. The same restriction from the hip flexor is not there (as much) anymore so when I lean on the left leg it attacks the tension in my left hip, TFL, piriformis. It's amazing how if I stop thinking about it, after a handful of moments I automatically come out of the position and go back to the right leg.
  15. Last night: - 1.5 hours of lying meditation followed by lying rotation. Today: - Calf stretch on balcony fence; left, right, left - Assisted squat (holding the balcony fence), 3-4 minutes - Side split position, but not deep, just moving hips back & forth - Hip flexor into floating piriformis then hip flexor again (in general, I'm getting a tiny bit deeper in the lunge position) - Assisted squat (holding the balcony fence), 2-3 minutes - Daily 5 (I'm getting more extension in the Backward Bend from Floor stretch) - Downward Dog (I rested one foot on the ankle of the other supporting leg, for both sides; I will continue with this) - 10 slow Hindu pushups with my unfinished sheena board prototype - 2 x 10 SL RDL (left leg); then went into Floor Folded Leg Calf stretch again. I was happy that I felt a deep stretch here again and it wasn't just a random incident yesterday. This combo of exercises is very promising. *I forgot to mention that yesterday I did some suitcase carries with my kettlebell. Approximately 50m each side; left, right, then left again. Here is the unfinished sheena board prototype
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