I use the term frequently. Essentially it is about training movements not muscles. It mirrors how the body naturally moves and helps to improve that movement.
In our yoga classes we focus upon our walking pattern quite a lot. We flex and extend our toes then balance on our haunches. By strengthening the arches of the feet and the lower legs, our stability improves. We then add side bending and rotation as we rock from side to side. As balance increases, we release alternate knees forward – we mimic our gait pattern. For some, deep knee bends are not helpful and alternatives can help students notice how much movement they do have. Whilst still working upon the walking pattern, the nervous system begins to generate solutions to movement restrictions.
It is helpful to identify restrictions in rage of motion so that unique dysfunctions can be isolated and improved. So – what happens when we have practised Sprinters for a long period of time and knee valgus continues to cause problems in other activities? Sprinters helps us to notice and to begin to correct dysfunction in foot – ankle knee-hip alignment.; an integral part of our walking pattern. If the knee caves in when we practice, the body is compensating for a lack of support. By pausing, we can begin to connect the dots between safe stable movement in a yoga class and movements performed outside the class .
Is it best then to pause and to go back to the starting point, in Sprinters for example, or to complete the whole movement and to repeat with real attention on the point at which fluidity of movement broke down?
Let me know what you think.
If we understand how to organize the foot, ankle, knee and hip when practising Sprinters, we have a global model for rising from and returning to the ground; from a chair; for walking and running. But you know that if you have read:
I work on the premise that the shape of a pose or completion of the final pose is not always as useful as pausing and noticing. When I lose touch with my breathing, I know that I have lost touch with my yoga. This has grown out an 8 week Mindfulness Course and from my teachers but this approach is a bit too stripped down for many in a goal-driven approach to practice. It demands a high degree of patience and to some it probably is as exciting as the Raisin Meditation in Mark William’s Book Mindfulness. A practical guide to Finding Peace In A Frantic World (p73-75).
We have to have time to be in the mindset to pause, of course. It’s easy for me to pontificate I know, but we can make time in a class setting by not rushing to get to the final pose, by not competing. Whilst we share the commonality of functional human movement, we are all unique and moving outside out range of comfort usually results in compensation and injury. This does not mean that you can’t challenge yourself, it means that through intelligent awareness you move better and move more.
If you have time, there is always the chocolate meditation . A little more exciting perhaps?
As is this clip – 3 Knee exercises from the Russian Systema System which focuses upon breathing, movement, relaxation and posture. Go to 0.55 seconds in and look at the movement which could be an extension of our rolling from side to side and from head to tail!!! (Reactions please). Then go to about 1.35 mins and listen to the presenter’s words about proprioception and where the body is in time and space.
***Not a suggestion for your weekly practice, rather an interesting comparison with the way we find our feet when we practice tree pose. We do not lock the knee of the supporting leg (ever) and we often move the free leg around in the hip-joint. I sometimes ask students to imagine the movement of an oar in the water. The presenter echoes the principles that we adhere to:
Relax,. Relax more
Move better. Move more.