dust

Stretching for mobility, flexibility, wellbeing

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So...I'm very interested in the Daobum take on this. As there are a lot of traditional martial arts practitioners here -- as well as the qigong / internal stuff and a few who lift weights, run, etc -- I'm curious to know how flexible we are and what our current preferred methods of increasing flexibility and mobility are. I know of various methods, and have tried all I've learnt of, but I'd be interested to know if there are others, or better ways of performing them, and what has worked for you.
 

As for me:

 

I've been working on my flexibility for a while now. I was incredibly inflexible to begin with, unable to touch my toes with straight legs by about 30cm; unable to think about getting into the splits; unable to do a back bridge; terrible scapular mobility, etc. Now, I can not only touch my toes but grab my foot; getting closer to the splits; decent back bridge (spinal mobility needs a lot of work); vastly improved scapular mobility; etc.

 

In the last 12-18 months I've tried various stretching methods -- static, dynamic, ballistic, loaded, sinew -- and have decided that, though different people and different muscles require different approaches, ballistic stretching has an undeservedly bad reputation. It has gotten me as far in the last 2-3 months as all the other methods did in almost a year. One has to be careful, to be sure, and I'm sure it's not for everyone, nor for every muscle, but for my hamstring and hip adductor muscles it has helped enormously.

 

I'll share more if anyone's interested but really I'd like to hear your experience, so... please...

Edited by dustybeijing
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I've always been pretty inflexible.  Lately I'm doing some simple gravity assisted stretching.  Maybe its a little dynamic too.  I'll do an easy stretch, hold my breath for 4 or 5 seconds (sometimes tensing), then breath out slowly and relax into the stretch.  I'll gain an inch or two, then repeat 2 or 3 times more. 

 

Using a saunas and strangely breath holds, seem to help my flexibility.  These days I'm not interested in yogic style flexbility, just enough to be comfortable on the floor and picking things up. 

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I've always been pretty inflexible.  Lately I'm doing some simple gravity assisted stretching.  Maybe its a little dynamic too.  I'll do an easy stretch, hold my breath for 4 or 5 seconds (sometimes tensing), then breath out slowly and relax into the stretch.  I'll gain an inch or two, then repeat 2 or 3 times more.

 

Breathing out and relaxing into a stretch feels pretty great, though I think there's a limit to how far it gets me. Haven't tried it with breath hold first though.

 

I assume the breath-holding is influenced or based on Wim Hof's methods? I will probably try it. Is there some reasoning behind it?

 

Using a saunas and strangely breath holds, seem to help my flexibility.  These days I'm not interested in yogic style flexbility, just enough to be comfortable on the floor and picking things up.

 

Oh, I forgot to mention non-stretching methods for flexibility. I have been taking one hot bath per week recently, and it certainly relaxes me though I've yet to decide if it's helping with long-term flexibility.

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Our teacher does some stretching practice during workshops and remarks (as sort of a sideline) that it is healthy to do that on a daily base.

 

I've done so, every morning about 15 minutes and it has worked wonders for my body.

 

About ballistic stretching, I once saw his senior student/ assistant doing this and asked about it. I've a back problem for which I've been to a fysiotherapist and he had warned me away from ballistic stretching.

 

In the talk about it we found that it probably has to do with how well you are aware of your body. When that awareness is sufficient you will be able to do ballistic stretching because you'd stop before the damaging point. But many people have a very low bodyawareness ( and a big ego that wants to reached those toes...and quickly  ;) ) so for those people ballistic stretching would indeed not be advisable.

 

For myself I know that some things I do i would not do with that bouncing movement, and others no problem.

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I mainly do the claw. I'm working on my hips through half lotus. It took me some time to be able to stay in the correct position for a while. By the way, I have build a stool XL size to be able to sit in half lotus or cross legged in front of the screen. That's a great improvement. Being on the computer become partly healthy AND I tend to spend less time.

 

The brocade set of course. 

 

With my tai chi training I'm at the moment I need to stretch my waist and the whole lower back. So I practice lower focusing on the waist moves. One leg full (with all the weight on) the other empty but the heel nailed in the floor practicing slowly enough to feel the waist stretch and having the time to relax in that position  ;)

Edited by CloudHands
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About ballistic stretching, I once saw his senior student/ assistant doing this and asked about it. I've a back problem for which I've been to a fysiotherapist and he had warned me away from ballistic stretching.

 

In the talk about it we found that it probably has to do with how well you are aware of your body. When that awareness is sufficient you will be able to do ballistic stretching because you'd stop before the damaging point. But many people have a very low bodyawareness ( and a big ego that wants to reached those toes...and quickly  ;) ) so for those people ballistic stretching would indeed not be advisable.

 

Yes, I think this is exactly it. Perhaps if I had started with ballistic stretching at the beginning it would have gone badly, but because I had been stretching for so many months I had certainly developed a sense of my limits.

 

I can kinda see why a physio would warn people away from ballistic in general -- there's probably a liability issue, when people have no body-awareness and go too far as you say, and hurt themselves. And it's certainly not to be recommended for stretching the back!

 

For spinal mobility I've been trying a few things, though it's going pretty slowly. What kind of things did your physio recommend?

Edited by dustybeijing
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I mainly do the claw. I'm working on my hips through half lotus. It took me some time to be able to stay in the correct position for a while. By the way, I have build a stool XL size to be able to sit in half lotus or cross legged in front of the screen. That's a great improvement. Being on the computer become partly healthy AND I tend to spend less time.

 

Wow. It will be a while before I can do the claw!! (one day...)

 

As most people, I still spend too much time sitting here in a chair..maybe I should invest in a stool. Or build one... :wacko:

 

 

The brocade set of course. 

 

With my tai chi training I'm at the moment I need to stretch my waist and the whole lower back. So I practice lower focusing on the waist moves. One leg full (with all the weight on) the other empty but the heel nailed in the floor practicing slowly enough to feel the waist stretch and having the time to relax in that position  ;)

 

It's been a long time since I did tai chi. These waist moves involve a lot of bending, twisting, etc..?

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Wow. It will be a while before I can do the claw!! (one day...)

 

As most people, I still spend too much time sitting here in a chair..maybe I should invest in a stool. Or build one... :wacko:

 

 

It's been a long time since I did tai chi. These waist moves involve a lot of bending, twisting, etc..?

 

Ahah I'm not that flexible either. If you can touch your toes you do the claw, whatever you do it horizontally or vertically it doesn't change much if your legs are fully extended. The good idea is to do it without torturing yourself !

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Can anyone offer insight into what I've been told is called 'sinew stretching'?

 

The way I've been showed it, it seems a little like PNF. A partner gently pushes the limb into the stretched position, while the person being stretched simultaneously pushes against the stretch -- but only enough so that the limb/muscle in question moves very slowly into the stretch.

 

For example if I want to stretch hamstrings, I lie down on floor/table and a partner lifts my leg up, pushing it gently but firmly towards my torso, as I push back as if trying to return my leg to the floor/table. But I never push back so hard as to prevent the leg being stretched.

 

Is this along the lines that anyone else has practiced?

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Can anyone offer insight into what I've been told is called 'sinew stretching'?

 

The way I've been showed it, it seems a little like PNF. A partner gently pushes the limb into the stretched position, while the person being stretched simultaneously pushes against the stretch -- but only enough so that the limb/muscle in question moves very slowly into the stretch.

 

For example if I want to stretch hamstrings, I lie down on floor/table and a partner lifts my leg up, pushing it gently but firmly towards my torso, as I push back as if trying to return my leg to the floor/table. But I never push back so hard as to prevent the leg being stretched.

 

Is this along the lines that anyone else has practiced?

 

 

I have never heard of sinew stretching, but what you describe sounds like a variation of Thai yoga massage. I love it!

Thai%20massage.jpg

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Stretching is of paramount importance in my life, but not the militarized, hard style kung fu/sports type stretching that is often supported in the 'no pain, no gain' school of thought.  I'm of the very gentle, breath based release of tension over time, throughout the day in all activities.

 

I practice around a dozen 'formal' poses of breath stretching before and after every qi gong form and every sitting to aid in the opening of meridians and flow.

 

I don't stretch before or after walking meditation.  But I stretch as a rule all through the day, whenever the thought occurs to me.  I have also built into my repetitive work movement habits, extensions of my normal motions along with conscious breath use, to release tension in the process of the day's regular activities.  This was first to help get me back to work after serious trauma resulted in my loss of the ability to walk for 2 years.  Now, as I'm fully healed, it is my best form of preventative practice.

 

I'm near 50 now and when I work, it is usually very physical in the construction of large scale scenic elements and props for film and tv.  We are constantly shifting large and cumbersome objects when our bodies are cold throughout the days and our days are minimum of 10 hours long so, cold lifting and fatigue are two of the main reasons I see my brothers and sisters go down on the job.

 

At my age I can now sit in half lotus for as many hours as my mind will tolerate it.  Of late, working more and more with my lower body, which has always been stiffer for me, I can now sit in full lotus on some days, but not all.  When I can't do it comfortably, I never, never push it.  Pushing is punishing, is harming, in my experience... but that's just me.

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Stretching the muscles & sinews (tendons & ligaments) is extremely important in Chinese culture for health (易筋经/Yi Jin Jing) and as the foundation for alchemy (洗髓经/Xi Sui Jing)

Chinese medicine has it that “extending the Jin (tendons) by one inch will prolong life by 10 years” and “where bones are in place and tendons are flexible, there will naturally be smooth Qi and blood flow.”

There may be relatively faster, but I don't know of an absolutely fast way to do this, though.  If there was, yoga would simply be a weekend workshop, and not a regular lifestyle routine...

 

I've been stretching for probably at least 5 years now, and still can't do the full splits or get into full lotus without using my hands.   I've made enormous progress, but stretching is not like weightlifting where you can make gains fast and basically hit your max ceiling within a year or so...

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Something else I want to share related to joint stretching and therapy... about three years ago, I had a family member come to stay with us.  They were being treated for leukemia at the time and they brought along a Far Infrared Portable Sauna + Negative Ion Generator , it was part of their personal treatment system and urged me to jump in and try it out.  I had never seen one and assumed at first it was little more than clever idea, a one person space heater sauna in a reflective chamber but soon realized it is much more and so effective.

 

I used it and was blown away by the effect on my joints and the kua.  Particularly useful before Qi Gong.  By my third use, I had made my purchase and my unit arrived shortly before they departed.  I have used it regularly since, daily in the cold months and more sparingly in the Summer.  But the effect of the far infrared on the deep joint tissue and the kua completely amazed me.  It's like bathing your body in warm light from the inside out. 

 

There are three ceramic panels, two on the sides and one along the back that emit the far infrared that penetrate deeply into the soft tissue and generate negative ions.  There is, as I originally suspected, a small space heater which works on a series of presets of desired heat level to get a good sweat on, but is operated independently of the ceramic panels.

 

Using it prior to and after Qi Gong is amazingly effective.  The unit I purchased was $280 on sale and worth every penny.  I've been using it for three years and highly recommend them.

 

 

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Yes, I think this is exactly it. Perhaps if I had started with ballistic stretching at the beginning it would have gone badly, but because I had been stretching for so many months I had certainly developed a sense of my limits.

 

I can kinda see why a physio would warn people away from ballistic in general -- there's probably a liability issue, when people have no body-awareness and go too far as you say, and hurt themselves. And it's certainly not to be recommended for stretching the back!

 

For spinal mobility I've been trying a few things, though it's going pretty slowly. What kind of things did your physio recommend?

 

i had several thing advised by him, but by now there replaced by stuff i learned from chinese teacher, works better.

 

there's one for spinal mobility, but it's to complicated to teach in words, or even by a little film. Took me much looking and nudging before I got it.  These things are generally best learned from someone who can directly show you and correct where you're not getting it

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Stretching is of paramount importance in my life, but not the militarized, hard style kung fu/sports type stretching that is often supported in the 'no pain, no gain' school of thought.  I'm of the very gentle, breath based release of tension over time, throughout the day in all activities.

 

 

...

 

At my age I can now sit in half lotus for as many hours as my mind will tolerate it.  Of late, working more and more with my lower body, which has always been stiffer for me, I can now sit in full lotus on some days, but not all.  When I can't do it comfortably, I never, never push it.  Pushing is punishing, is harming, in my experience... but that's just me.

 

I've been trying to implement a more regular, throughout-the-day approach to stretching, with the idea that a small but frequent dose will be easier on the body and more likely to initiate a more permanent change. But I'm not very good at remembering....

 

 

 

 

Stretching the muscles & sinews (tendons & ligaments) is extremely important in Chinese culture for health (易筋经/Yi Jin Jing) and as the foundation for alchemy (洗髓经/Xi Sui Jing)

There may be relatively faster, but I don't know of an absolutely fast way to do this, though.  If there was, yoga would simply be a weekend workshop, and not a regular lifestyle routine...

 

I've been stretching for probably at least 5 years now, and still can't do the full splits or get into full lotus without using my hands.   I've made enormous progress, but stretching is not like weightlifting where you can make gains fast and basically hit your max ceiling within a year or so...

 

Yes, it is slow. And impatience isn't helpful. But I've had to push away from being too patient, I think.

 

I'm reading the PDF now..

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Stretching goes so much deeper than the mere soft tissues.

Hence my love affair with the far infrared sauna and deep, soft, breath based stretching all through the day, in every movement.

 

 

"here we are watching what happens when the spine returns to it's fluid origins...

we have to remember that bone is connective tissue and that it is filled with fluid."

 

vibrancy and potency of fluid dynamics in bone

bone began in the oceans

bone health is maintained through flexibility and dexterity

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Stretching goes so much deeper than the mere soft tissues.

Hence my love affair with the far infrared sauna and deep, soft, breath based stretching all through the day, in every movement.

 

 

"here we are watching what happens when the spine returns to it's fluid origins...

we have to remember that bone is connective tissue and that it is filled with fluid."

 

Cool video. I have seen it once before. Not sure what she's actually saying half the time, though.

"The inclusivity of a species' abundance becomes apparent as we enter into this vast and mysterious world of fluid." ...?

 

Either way, these kind of movements are something to work on for sure.

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Cool video. I have seen it once before. Not sure what she's actually saying half the time, though.

"The inclusivity of a species' abundance becomes apparent as we enter into this vast and mysterious world of fluid." ...?

 

Either way, these kind of movements are something to work on for sure.

I think that statement is an allusion to the concept of morphic fields and shared/stored energy of a species.

 

That's incredible. Can it be learned from dvd?

I've not looked into it, but the name associated would be Susan Harper I believe.

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The rigid person is a disciple of death; the soft, supple, and delicate are lovers of life.

An army that is inflexible will not conquer; a tree that is inflexible will snap.
The unyielding and mighty shall be brought low; the soft, supple, and delicate will be set above.

(76)

 

Nothing under heaven is softer or weaker than water, and yet nothing is better for attacking what is hard and strong.

(78)

 

 

 

On another note,

 

What are your most / least flexible portions?

 

Do you find that different muscles / muscle groups require different treatment / stretching routines?

 

Do you find that basic qigong and/or Taiji alone are sufficient for maintaining your suppleness?

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I did not like the video. I cried.not that that matters.

 

not sure if it is fear or angst about WTF is going on or WTF is going to happen in my life. let me not forget to add that I wonder about OTHER LIVES AS WELL........

 

people go their whole life without intrinsic movements.....

 

do you think john butler has a supple spine and fluid pulsing through....I doubt it.

 

I rate it as an extremist video...

 

maybe on simple suppleness of ones spine and the fluid it is not big deal...

 

stretching and movement are healthy_ I would not refute that....

 

I pray that my day is simple. Simple in the manner of my emotions.....

allowing the day to unfold as it does...

 

 

wondering what you are quoting about the tree not snapping...etc etc.is this from susan harpers book?

 

watching my own pitfalls.....I will begin to sand two wrought iron rails....and pay attention to my whatever I pay attention to

 

I will be on steps at on exterior entry way..

 

running errands and wondering WTF.....

 

extremist

 

very rigid in all categories...except willows blowing in the wind....

I can dig on the nature part of flexibility.....

and adding movement besides career moving ladders(24 ft) aluminum and whatever is labor in my work.

 

can I just be me or do I need to modify?

Edited by sagebrush

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