Friday, July 19, 2013

'Long Cycle' Bolster External Hip Rotators stretching sequence

HERE it is!  The 'Long Cycle' Bolster External Hip Rotators stretching sequence, perfect for those interested in physical cultivation, movement exploration and soft tissue health.  As mentioned in the video, I have been exploring a medium intensity, long duration protocol for my stretching and physical cultivation practice of late - to great effect.  It's not better than, say, strong partner based stretching or even slower and softer yin yoga style practice - it's just different, and I like it!

It this type of an approach I make liberal use of micro-movements (especially circles; figure 8's and spirals - as well as spine alignment and pelvic movements); Contract-Relax and Hold-Relax PNF variants (at all type of intensities and durations - it's about feeling what is needed/necessary; not some arbitrary duration and intensity protocol for contractions); sequential Contract-relax methods and breathing enhancers (using different breathing methods to affect/effect the stretch and re-patterning). 

In this method, I will often hold the contractions (especially when building up a series of contractions in sequence, such as: 'turn the little toe into the ground' --> sweep the foot through the ground --> press the knee into the bolster --> you can then add some cool stuff with the rotation of the pelvis and spine using the obliques and brace with a counter-spiral from the arms but it is too hard to write down) for significantly longer than in the standard Stretch Therapy approach (but keep intensity medium) and not fully relax the muscle

This is what I call a modulation or oscillation of the tension of the contractions - or contracting a muscle, then over-contracting it; then returning to the first state of contraction.  This method works well (in my body at least) when winding up long chains of fascia and connective tissue and trying to get them to un-wind/melt.   

I have at least a couple of other versions of this particular stretch (which can be done off the bolster, too) and a fair few other positions I utilize this approach in. 

Playing around with the breathing to get the nervous system in a relaxed state, whilst simultaneously keeping the intensity of the stretch 'simmering' has useful emotional and mental training benefits to it, IMHO.

Smooth, graceful and aware movement is used through-out the sequence (when possible) and as much as you may want to have the mind elsewhere, the stretch will work best if you focus on the sensations of stretching and/or the breath. 

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