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Mick's Big Breath At Home


Mick

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Yesterday I did a C-R session. Just about to start uploading the video now. Who knows how long it will take! :)

The feeling through the session was similar to last week.

During the long-held hip flexor stretch I was feeling all the discomfort or that feeling of wanting to be out of the stretch in my front leg, top of the hamstring right under the butt. On both sides. Having said that, I was able to sink my hips deeper into the stretch and today (as well as the following day after last session) I can feel my hip flexors have been stretched. In the stretch though, all my attention is drawn to the front leg.

I felt a little more freedom of feeling in the outer hamstring stretch. Apart from the follow-along video of Liv's I also did a lunge hamstring stretch on both sides. I didn't do as much on the left hamstring this time which seems like it was a good decision. Not as tender today. All part of finding the balance, I guess.

During the long-held piriformis stretch I felt a tiny bit nauseus again.

Hopefully I can post the video soon.

-----

This morning upon waking I did:
- Daily 5
- Lunge hip flexor stretch into straight-leg hamstring
- Frog pose
- 1 set of SL RDL
- Side neck stretch, L & R

In between lessons I did a back of the neck stretch following the cues from Kit.

After lessons & meetings I spent a few minutes on the hanging side bend. That is feeling great, particularly on the right side which is targeting a lot of tension around the shoulder blades and lats from so much squash. Overall, my thoracic spine is feeling more freedom. Probably from the Daily 5 which I've been doing... daily! Still a lot of work to do.

I've been doing lying meditation each night for an hour.

The next two days no work (one bonus of Turkey having so many public holidays/celebrations!) so I'll have time to stretch, meditate & other things.

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5 hours ago, Mick said:

During the long-held hip flexor stretch I was feeling all the discomfort or that feeling of wanting to be out of the stretch in my front leg, top of the hamstring right under the butt. On both sides.
...
In the stretch though, all my attention is drawn to the front leg.

I find this with most hip-flexor stretching.  Which is why I stick to either the solo wall hip-flexor, or when we find the time, the partner hip-flexor.

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On 5/19/2020 at 5:06 AM, pogo69 said:

I find this with most hip-flexor stretching.  Which is why I stick to either the solo wall hip-flexor, or when we find the time, the partner hip-flexor.

My thinking on this (for now, at least) is that I definitely feel like the hip-flexor has been stretched after I am done, particularly the following day. And I am getting a really deep stretch on the front leg under the butt, right where I'm tight(est?). So I figure my body is getting the stretch it needs the most. I've been trying to get my significant other to come and sit on me for the partner-assisted version. I reckon she's warming to the idea! :)

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I've been a little less motivated this week. Might just be the ebb & flow of the process. Or my body recharging somewhat. Or impatience. Either way here is what I've done...

Tuesday
A limbering session in the morning:
- Daily 5
- Standard hip-flexor stretch
- Set of SL RDL (7-10 reps)
- Side neck stretch (right)
- Set of SL RDL (7-10 reps)
- Side neck stretch (left)
- Set of SL RDL (7-10 reps)
- Forward neck bend stretch
- Frog Pose
- Tailor Pose
- Diamond Pose

Wednesday
- Daily 5
- Downward dog
- Hanging side bend stretch

Thursday
Nothing. Just lessons & meetings.

Today
-Downward dog before lessons. I'm feeling the stretch in my legs quite evenly, rather than localized in one spot. I don't feel restrictions in the lumbar spine as much as before.
- Standard hip-flexor limbering in between lessons, including slowly moving into a lunge hamstring stretch.
- A couple sets of SL RDL.

Apart from last night when I didn't do lying mediation, each night I've been falling asleep before the hour is up, like 15 minutes to go. I mean deep sleep, not just nodding off!

-----

Tomorrow I will probably do my weekly C-R session (which is 6 days since the last one), depending on how I'm feeling energy-wise. Either tomorrow or Sunday.

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This is the C-R session video (3x speed) from last Sunday:

Downward dog
0:00

Upper back from Daily 5
0:38

Backward bend from floor
1:08

Lying Rotation
1:32 Left
3:15 Right

Seated Hip
4:37 Left
5:18 Right
5:42 Left

Upper back from elevated child's pose
6:19

Lunge Hamstring
6:43 Left
7:53 Right

SL RDL (Left)
9:05

Assisted squat
9:48

Long Held Hip Flexor (https://vimeo.com/400484071)
10:15 Right
14:39 Left

Outer hamstring  (https://vimeo.com/400485235)
18:42 Left
20:54 Right

Child's Pose
23:04

Long Held Advanced Piriformis (https://vimeo.com/400486070)
23:20 Left
26:03 Right

Lying down
29:02

Light limbering
29:33
(30:00 with dog)

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Yesterday

I did a 1-hour lying meditation session in the middle of the day on the balcony on a carpet. Normally I lie on my bed which has a firm mattress, but still a mattress. Lying on the relatively firm surface helped to release tension, particularly in left hip and right upper back. I will look to increase the frequency of this.

After the meditation session:

- Hip flexor stretch moving into lunge hamstring… with left leg forward played around with floating piriformis stretch which helped to let go of the cramping/tight feeling of the hip flexor.
- 1 set of SL RDL

I decided against doing the C-R session yesterday. I was feeling low energy and relatively tight. The meditation and floating piriformis stretch were enough to set me up for today’s session.

Today

In the morning…
- Wall middle and upper back backward bend (from Stretching & Flexibility, 14. p.54)
- Downward Dog
- Frog Pose
- Hip Flexor moving into tentative lunge hamstring and floating piriformis on left side… same as yesterday but with more release
- Daily 5
- Child’s Pose

In the late afternoon / early evening I did a C-R session; uploading video now and will post tomorrow. Now I'm gonna have a shower then lying meditation before sleep.

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On 5/23/2020 at 7:38 AM, Mick said:

I've been trying to get my significant other to come and sit on me for the partner-assisted version. I reckon she's warming to the idea!

Likewise, I am looking forward to Claire's upcoming Uni break, so that we can re-engage with the partner stretching (missed yesterday's again).

But I have very mixed feelings about the partner hip-flexor stretch.  I love it (for what it can, without parallel, do for my hip mobility), but I fear it (because it is so intense).  Something about intensely deep hip-flexor (and anterior torso, generally) stretching, really triggers some odd systemic feelings.

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16 hours ago, pogo69 said:

But I have very mixed feelings about the partner hip-flexor stretch.  I love it (for what it can, without parallel, do for my hip mobility), but I fear it (because it is so intense).  Something about intensely deep hip-flexor (and anterior torso, generally) stretching, really triggers some odd systemic feelings.

I've only tried it properly once at a workshop when Kit was teaching how to be the partner. I will try to insist a bit more with Ece because as you (and others have) said, it has no parallel. I don't have that same fear with the hip flexor though. It's the hamstrings that feel vulnerable for me.

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Here is the video (3x speed) from yesterday's C-R session with time-marks and notes underneath.

There was definitely cat-like movement in this one, just not from me... yet!

 

Cat Stroking
0:00 

Downward Dog
0:02

Frog Pose
0:32

Diamond Pose
1:10

Seated Hip
1:56 Left
2:35 Right

Child's Pose
3:09

Long Held Hip Flexor  (https://vimeo.com/400484071)
3:37 Right
8:01 Left

- Front leg (upper hamstring under-butt area) on both sides felt less intense/domineering than past weeks. I seemed to have more freedom to put weight on the opposite supporting hand to ease that pressure.
- After 2nd hip flexor (left) stretch i stood up and the hip flexor area of the front (right) leg got an influx of heat.
- When I grab the back foot I feel a good stretch; I should do this more often during the week for limbering.
- Today I could feel both hip flexors had been stretched well, DOMS, so I will continue with it despite the front leg, under-butt area being so noticeable.

Long Held Adv. Piriformis  (https://vimeo.com/400486070)
12:06 Left
15:13 Right

- It was good to do this before the outer hamstring stretch. I had more focused energy, wasn't as tired, and it set my body up well for the outer hamstring stretch.
- On both sides, I sank my weight into the pad/cushion for the final 5-7 breaths more comprehensively that past weeks.
- I think I seem to have a mental barrier to staying in that last fully relaxed position for longer, which seems to be encouraged by the Stretch Therapy approach. Part of me doesn't want to do too much too soon. Part of me wonders the value of it at this stage. But I think mostly my body just wants to get out of the stretch! :)

17:24 2nd cat makes a pass

18:15 Resting
18:49 Limbering
19:18 Cross-Legged with forward bend


Outer Hamstring  (https://vimeo.com/400485235)
19:25 Left #1
21:37 Right (with cat-love)
23:48 Left #2 (with cat-love)

- As I said, quite productive to have done the advanced piriformis stretch before this one.
- I felt a little more freedom of space to actually explore the stretch.
- I felt the outer hamstring being stretched very specifically this time. And today have DOMS on the outer hamstrings.

Dinner Break

Neck
26:02 Right side
26:45 Left side
27:31 Forward

=================================================

Limbering this morning:
- Daily 5
- Hip flexor on both sides
- Left floating piriformis
- Light lunge hamstring on both sides, left then right
- Downward dog
- Seated hip both sides, one more time

A 1-hour lying meditation on hard surface in the early afternoon.

About to go to bed for another 1-hour lying meditation before sleep.

Generally, I'm feeling a satisfactory level of DOMS around the body. Left outer hamstring & piriformis more so than anywhere else. But not as extreme as past few weeks.

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20 hours ago, pogo69 said:

Something about intensely deep hip-flexor (and anterior torso, generally) stretching, really triggers some odd systemic feelings.

With respect to deep somatic change, stretching the hip flexors has no parallel. But if it feels too intense, it might just be—too intense! The test is simple: can you let your tummy relax completely in the face of that intensity, or not? If not, back it off; only a few millimetres is needed to have this effect.

And something else can really help: as soon as your partner puts her weight on your back leg and settles there in a relaxed fashion, use your arms to gently push yourself back out of the stretch part-way so the brain knows how easily the stretch can be unweighted if necessary (this also signals to the system that the perception of danger is not real). We do that on every workshop where we teach this exercise.

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4 hours ago, Mick said:

I don't have that same fear with the hip flexor though. It's the hamstrings that feel vulnerable for me.

Whenever you feel this, follow the advice in the post immediately above. You cannot force the body to relax—it needs to be invited, gently. And with respect to your two-leg downward dog (the first exercise you demonstrate with your cat's help) try Olivia's single-leg version: you will get a much stronger stretch, and it is completely scalable:

 

 

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18 hours ago, Kit_L said:

Whenever you feel this, follow the advice in the post immediately above. You cannot force the body to relax—it needs to be invited, gently.

I've been finding I can relax the tummy. I'm actually encouraged with my experience in the stretch, in terms of following Liv's cues in the video - I'm feeling a tiny bit more freedom of space. I think it's more anxiety about how the hamstrings will be in the days following. However it's good to be reminded again, thanks.

 

18 hours ago, Kit_L said:

And with respect to your two-leg downward dog (the first exercise you demonstrate with your cat's help) try Olivia's single-leg version: you will get a much stronger stretch, and it is completely scalable:

I did try that one a couple of weeks ago. You're right - it's a stronger stretch. However, without my chest on my thigh, it seemed to trigger the same hamstring issue I used to have where I wasn't feeling too much stretch in the moment, but the next day or two I could feel it had been too much. That's the anxiety I mentioned. I will give it another go.

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This morning I woke up and instantly went outside to my stretching carpet and did 1 hour of lying meditation. Afterward I did the alternate version of Exercise 1 (4:25 of the Stretching & Flexibility companion video). It was a much deeper stretch and I had more conscious control than normal to relax the hip flexors, particularly the left.

After our glorious Turkish breakfast, I did:
- Daily 5
- Hip flexor stretch
- Floating piriformis on left side
- 3 x 10 SL RDL
- Seated hip

After the RDL's the seated hip stretch is much deeper than usual. The obsessive part of me wants to pump this. However, as with everything I've been doing, I'm searching for a balance for my body and present condition. Most prevalent is finding the balance during the week in between C-R sessions with limbering to keep the previous days flexibility but not doing too much.

In the evening, I played guitar for about an hour while sitting cross-legged. Having the legs the opposite way around (so right foot is closer to my body) was fantastic. By the end of the hour, I could feel my hips strongly but not so much that it was compromising the integrity of my spine. And my feet weren't numb! :)

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Tuesday through Friday, I just did the Daily 5. A couple of the days I did some light hip-flexor stretches. And on th left side floating piriformis.

Today I did the Daily 5. Then did 3 sets of 7-10 SL RDL.Well, SL RDL that morphs into a quasi shrimp squat. I'm feeling more stability on the left leg with these. Still shaking a tiny bit but I don't feel like I'm constantly on edge like before. Afterward, I did the seated hip stretch again and floating piriformis. Went much deeper than beforehand. I finished up with a hanging side bend on both sides. This whole sequence is great for my body at the moment. I'll continue with this next week too.

Tomorrow I will do a C-R session. I'm planning on getting up early and doing it in the morning. Something different. See how my body responds. And won't follow along with the videos like I have the last few weeks. See how I go gving myself the cues.

Ah, after the stretching today I did 2 hours of lying meditation. Need more of these longer sessions. It really lets the body first settle then re-align itself, by itself, slowly.

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I woke up early and did the Daily 5, hip flexor on both sides and floating piriformis on left side.

Straight after our Turkish breakfast I did a bit more limbering - hip flexor, floating pirformis, downward dog, frog pose and a couple others I can't remember - then completed a C-R session. Uploading video of the C-R session now. This week, I held the advanced piriformis for longer at the end. I'm wondering whether after resting weight completely down for a few minutes we can go back into a couple more contractions... I guess it all depends on how it feels, right? It reminded me of listening to Dave Wardman talk about simmering. As far as I understand he is referring to holding a stretch for longer without doing a full contraction, finding a threshold of sorts where it's not too much but enough to let the muscles 'simmer'. I can't find the video I watched a few years ago. It might have been deleted.

Anyway, after the C-R session I straight away did 1 hour of lying meditation. I wish I could have stayed for another hour because my body was very settled but there were some family things going on.

Later in the afternoon I did a block of 15 minutes cross-legged meditation with no support then later again did about 45 minutes cross-legged on the small step on our balcony. Just a little elevation helped to release tension in the left hip more which helped to re-align the spine slightly.

I was just chilling in the garden waiting for rain to start and casually did the wall middle and upper back backward bend and a light calf stretch.

Finished up with about 30 minutes of Siu Nim Tao form. I'm gonna do another hour of lying meditation before bed soon.

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Yesterday:
- Daily 5
- Hip flexor, both sides
- Left floating piriformis
- 1 hour lying meditation

Today:
- 1 hour lying meditation
- 2 x 10 SL RDL
- Seated hip, left side

The left hip/outer-hamstring didn't pull up as tight as previous weeks. But there is still an issue there that is resolving itself. In the past I had always felt tightness/tenderness in the inner hamstring. I don't feel that at all anymore - it's more on the outer hamstring & hip. And what I'm noticing more & more in the last week is the general tension in the left hip, particularly TFL, is releasing. I'm pretty sure after more of this, and as the hips re-align, I will gain more control/feeling of the left hamstring in the midst of a deep stretch. And this will help my body feel how much is enough/too much, which will take care of tightness in the proceeding days.

Bottom line is I'm enjoying feeling the release of tension in the left hip. But it's happening in its own time.

Here is a video (3x speed) of the C-R session I did on Sunday (I didn't start recording until after the preliminary/limbering stretches):

 

Lots of support from our cat, Ginger, and dog, Viva, this week!

Long Held Advanced Piriformis
0:00 Left #1
3:13 Rest
4:02 Left Underbutt
4:17 Right
7:12 Rest
7:55 Right Underbutt
8:16 Left #2
10:44 Limbering

Outer Hamstring
11:18 Left
13:07 Right


Rearranging animals
14:46

Long Held Hip Flexor
15:00 Right
18:02 Left

Neck
20:56 Back
21:40 Right
22:14 Left 

23:05 Frog Pose
24:40 Tailor Pose
 

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13 hours ago, Mick said:

But it's happening in its own time.

It always will, @Mick; this is probably the only secret to stretching! Our task is to find that timing.

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Wednesday
- Daily 5,
- Hip flexor on both sides
- Floating piriformis on left side
- 3 x 10 SL RDL
- Seated hip stretch
- 1 hour lying meditation

Thursday
- Daily 5
- Hip flexor on both sides
- Floating piriformis on left side
- 3 x 10 SL RDL
- Seated hip stretch
- 2 hours lying meditation
After meditating I went downstairs to the kitchen for a snack before sleep. Then after I ate I tried a light hip flexor stretch on both sides, shifting from side to side. I ended up leaning toward the side of the back leg and went into a deep TFL stretch. I stayed in that deep position and the muscles relaxed quite willingly. It felt great!
 
Today
I had planned to do a C-R session today. But I woke up and felt my body in a relaxation phase after the previous night's meditation & complimentary stretching. So I spent more time training the Siu Nim Tao form to encourage that relaxation. I also did the Daily 5 and some other light limbering.
 
Tomorrow is my birthday so I'm giving myself the present of an extended C-R session!
 
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19 hours ago, Nathan said:

It seems I missed out by one day - my birthday is the 6th! I'm disappointed - I was looking forward to the 70 trillion % increase in flexibility :D

Nonetheless, I still did a C-R session (I'll upload the video in the next few days). If my estimations are correct (and they usually aren't), I sensed a 0.01% increase today - I'll take it.

And I truly realized how much my wife loves me - she bought me a kettlebell! So I did a handful of sets throughout the day of swings, goblet squats and farmer's walks.

Kettlebell.jpg.6d34ffced4cd655c87516334717ba774.jpg

Last night I did another 2-hour lying meditation session. I feel these are good for me and will look to do more.

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Last night I did a 1-hour lying meditation.

Today:
- Daily 5
- Hip flexor followed by straight leg hamstring stretch, both sides
I planned to do the straight leg hamstring after I woke up. While in bed I was moving my left leg around. After yesterday's C-R session, I'm feeling a specific line of tension on the outer hamstring. It is connecting up with tension in my left TFL & glute. I'm gaining a bit more control in the stretch. The cue to push the left hip back & down (to square it with the right side) is ideal.
(I didn't mention that in yesterday's C-R session, I only did a deep static straight leg stretch with the hamstrings, no contractions. I planned to do this. I think it was a good decision to not push it. I did do 2 lots of the long held advanced piriformis on the left side which I think helped to increase the awareness I just mentioned. I'll see how my body pulls up over the rest of the week.)

- Side neck stretch, both sides

And I couldn't help to play with my new toy/kettlebell (only did a handful of reps of each):
- Farmer's walk... I'm not sure if there is a specific name for when you only carry on one side. Anyway, that's what I'm doing.
- Swing
- Goblet squat

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7 hours ago, Mick said:

Farmer's walk... I'm not sure if there is a specific name for when you only carry on one side

Sometimes called a "suitcase carry/walk".  But as often as not, "one armed farmer's carry/walk".

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6 hours ago, pogo69 said:

Sometimes called a "suitcase carry/walk".  But as often as not, "one armed farmer's carry/walk".

Yes, I prefer the name suitcase carry because it implies carrying on one side. However, I googled farmer's walk and the most prominent results all show carrying on both sides. So wasn't sure if there was a special name. One armed farmer's walk makes sense! Although it's not so special! :D

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I did the Daily 5 - I'm feeling more freedom of movement with the lying rotation with left leg bent.
Then I moved around in the hip flexor stretch. In that standard lunge position, I'm finding moving & exploring from side to side to be great, particularly playing with weight distribution on the front foot. I kept the front leg at 90 degrees but was able to target the outer hamstring, TFL and up into the hip.
Finished that mini-session with frog pose and downward dog.

Early evening I did some suitcase carries.

And now I've just done 3 x 10 SL RDL. It's late but I'm gonna try not to fall asleep during a 1-hour lying meditation.

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