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Hi guys, 

I have a persistent niggle in my left hip area around the back the past 3-4 weeks here. (I’m guessing it’s a classic desk-job issue) here are some postures that trigger it:

Slump sitting
Slouch sitting
Any forward bending, once the tail-tuck/back bend occurs

In order to try helping this I have tried: seated QL stretch; wall stretch (quad); Hip flexor; hamstring; and cossack squat (stepped down versions, see below). None of these are seeming to help. I completely backed off all stretching/yoga/exercise the past 4-5 days except for the most gentle yoga and 20-25 push-ups after meditation. The niggle remains. Any advice? 

Re: Cossack squats - these are my stepped down versions:

Kneeling version
Counterweight
Elevated on one side 

I would very much appreciate any feedback on their utility (or not) and any other suggestions about how to develop towards a proper cossack squat. 

Cheers, 

Ken
 

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Ken,

Regarding the hip niggle—is it too silly to advise you to not to sit in the first two positions, and avoid the movements that aggravate that point? That is my first suggestion. My second is to wait it out; very likely it will get better with all the other movements you are doing.

Regarding the Cossack squat: it is a brilliant exercise, but its full execution requires quite a bit of hip flexibility and leg flexibility. All three of your second versions look useful, but have you tried the one where you hang onto something in front of you? Doing that is what got my Cossack squats going in the early days: the holding on to something means that you can be extremely precise about how much stress you apply to the straight leg (and because you are still and supported, you can carefully let yourself relax), and you can hold yourself just out of a strong position for quite some time using your arms. As well, go onto our YouTube channel and search for bent-leg Cossack squat: Follow all the instructions and you'll see that it is a cheating version which will get you much closer to the full version then the modified ones that you are doing now, I think. Bending the knee of the straight leg, and once lower, trying to straighten it (a little, then more, then completely) is the secret.

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Hi Kit, 

Yes, I know - but it's harder than you'd imagine to avoid the slump at your desk! Particularly when hand-writing. My desk is a bit low too. With respect to any sort of bending, having this niggle lets you know just how much of this broad movement type you do in a given 15 min period!

Will look up the bent-leg cossack, and try holding a support in front too, thanks for the  steer. 

Ken 

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@Ken Rogan: And you might consider a standing desk to add another workspace—if you hand write, it's a very simple matter to take what you are writing to a new place every half hour or so. I work from my laptop mostly, and I go between sitting standing in a number of other semi-squat positions as I work, and this alternation of position really helps.

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Thanks Kit, I have a stand that can accommodate that. Having been away for a couple of days, I suspect the bed I'm sleeping in might be contributing too. 

A complete aside, but have you ever encountered Wim Hof's method of breathing? He's known for the cold water/ice feats obviously, but at the end of each breathing session (which I would describe as deliberate hyperventilation to lower CO2 in blood, followed by exhaled breath-holds x3 or x4) he does a series of yoga stretches. 

During these stretches he guides you to breathe in, hold the breath a few seconds, and then exhale as a 'let go' (i.e. a little more forceful) than a smooth out-breath. He describes how this constricts the blood flow through vessels (in-breath & hold) and then suddenly releases it as a 'torrent' if you will on the out-breath. This was proved in a lab, he says. Anyway, while doing this in a stretch you are bringing focus to the muscle being stretched, thereby bringing this 'tension/torrent' to bear. I bring it up because it's very similar in experience to the principle of contract-relax, albeit at a different cadence. 

Just found it to be an interesting parallel, I did a little search of the forum and didn't see any posts about Wim, so thought it might be worth sharing. 

Or not! 

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@Ken Rogan: sorry, only saw this now. I am familiar with Wim's methods in broad terms, but have not done his work myself. A number of my friends have, but as far as I know, only one has continued with it. How have you found it? And have you continued with it?

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Hi Kit, no, I lasted about 4.5 weeks - I was enjoying it, and I still do the breathing exercises about once a fortnight, but as I have limited daily time for exercise (about 45-60 mins) the Wim Hof course threatened to become the only activity I did, so it lost out to more traditional exercise in the end. I still do daily cold showers since, going on three months now, they are very invigorating, and healthy, I understand. (And the mirrors don't fog up)

Wim's whole hyperventilation/CO2 reduction/breath-hold exercise is really enjoyable. It feels like your whole nervous system is getting a full systems check, the sensations are lovely.  

The hip niggle I posted about originally was a chair that was too hard. When I changed to a cushioned chair the pain was gone in a few days. 

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@Ken Rogan: thanks for that; yes, a new practice can completely takes one's life over if you're not careful! And excellent news about the hip, too.

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