with Charts for Positions & Breathing
What's Different & Special About "Tensing Yoga"?
Origins of Tensing Yoga & Related Refs from more *traditional yoga*
Exercise for Illustrating Tension Range
Preparatory Positioning The Tensing Yoga Exercises
Long Terms Results "Muscle Madness"
FOCUS, ATTITUDE, & RAPPORT
"Core Principles of Yoga & the Body-Mind Interface -
A Class Outline" (charted) Hints on Focus
"Body-Parenting" Approach for Body-Mind Awareness
Optimizing Results via Rapport with Muscles/OtherCells
Attitudinal & Sensory Focus vrs. Mental Imagery
Related Resources at This & Others' Sites
HomePage Info & Site Search Engine
"Core Body-Mind Integration Concepts in Context Chart" [Oct'11]
Summary of Connecting Points & Implications in body-mind preventative maintenance
"Body Mind Integration" intro Q & A and core topic essays
And, there *are* sections here about approach - Focus, Attitude, and Rapport - much of which are about the same basics taught by spiritual yoga masters; ie: breathing and focus. TY makes it easy to take optimal advantage of our capacities for neuroplasticity, especially when we include these other parts of the approach, so we can directly, naturally, and positively engage that capacity for re-organization of the brain and other neural networks (including proprioceptors in muscles) as a result of that experience, as we interface with our cells and self-healing mechanisms for preventative maintenance or self-healing.
Let's consider working with both the acute symptoms and the chronic situation or cause. This system is designed to maintain the muscles in a more relaxed and flexible state when in the acute stages of injury, and to maintain the muscles in a more capable and flexible state in general for long-term preventative maintenance. [ The acute stage is right after injury, when there is abnormal pain with normal use. Ideally at this time the injured limb is kept from being "weight-bearing", and if muscle contraction to any degree is called for, it is done so very carefully in the presence of an experienced practitioner, physical therapist, osteopath, or chiropractor. ]
This exercise can be employed with the use of the usual yoga positions, or "asanas," or it can transform most any other exercise movement or position into a yoga movement or position. Depending on which muscle groups one is working with, a different postural position is more suitable.
You might try Tensing Yoga for at least a few months, depending on how long you may have been dealing with your symptoms. After that, you may feel that you no longer need to do the exercises. However, I strongly suggest you continue - at a gradually reduced frequency. After that, a few minutes of application before you get out of bed can make all the difference for that day. Eventually, you will benefit with the capacity to FEEL, long in advance, when to take increased preventative measures. If it takes you even a year to get to the point of being able to feel this, you'll have the rest of your life to enjoy the benefits. But you will likely notice benefits long before that. And this is what I call true health insurance, and it is certainly cost-effective.
Bodyworkers can teach this system most readily with their base of knowledge, both general and specific to the client at hand. Put in a context that bodyworkers may relate to easily: With this approach we are more likely to empower the client in moving much further "off the battlefield" -- of constant internal armoring reaction to the past, as well as to any current reminders thereof -- as opposed to simply treating the same wounds on a regular basis yet assist the client back into that same battlefield.
Yoga and Writing Workshops with Sue Anne Parsons, a master yoga teacher with more than 25 years of experience (LetItGoYoga.Com), and Marcia Meier, author of "Navigating the Rough Waters of Publishing", regular writer with Miller-McCune Magazine focusing on the latest research in the social sciences.
The Yoga Alliance is a board of health care and business professionals who have set standards for yoga teachers and yoga training schools. Their mission is to support yoga teachers and the diversity and integrity of yoga. Completing all six of the courses ensures you a well rounded education in Technique and Training, Teaching Methodology, Anatomy, Physiology, Yoga Philosophy, Lifestyles, Ethics and Practice.
"Yoga Remedies for Everyday Ailments"
Yoga Journal .Com:
Not All Yoga Is Created Equal "You say Ashtanga, I say Kundalini. What's the difference? Use this guide to find the right yoga for you." An overview of yoga styles. By Jennifer Cook (7 short-page Summary)
"Yoga Style Quiz" for helping you select the style most suited to you.
Note: Web Page Menus
at Yoga Journal .Com:
"The Science of Yoga - The Risks and the Rewards" - author William Broad about the dangers, as well as the wonders of yoga, making a call or plea for balance and awareness due to accelerating numbers of injuries due to the fast growing abundance of "green" instructors, due to the "Yoga Instructor Mill" (paraphrased). Related Discussion at Yoga Blaze .Com
"Yoga for Everyday Ailments" article from *KL Yoga*, March 2010: Yoga, Health & Wellness in Malaysia (Common Cold, Menstrual Cramps, Migraine & Headache, Constipation & Indigestion)
PDF version Yoga articles From www.sandyblaine.com:
Carpal Tunnel Cure,
by Angela Pirisi Yoga Remedies For Everyday Ailments, From the Editors of Yoga Journal, August 2000; Article Excerpt: Sandy Blaine, an Iyengar-influenced yoga instructor who runs Carpal Tunnel Prevention workshops in the San Francisco Bay Area, says that combating mild to moderate CTS symtoms is primarily a matter of "counteracting the repetitive movements that created them."
Yoga for Your Knees,
by Matthew Solan Article Excerpt from *Fit Yoga* Magazine, November 2006: We often don't think about our knees unless there's a problem," says yoga teacher Sandy Blaine, author of Yoga For Healthy Knees... The reason is, most people don't know what do to. How do you condition a joint? The strategy is not to focus on the knee itself, but rather the various muscles and ligaments that support it.
The Best Yoga for You,
by Abbie Barrett Article Excerpt (from *Body + Soul Magazine*, October 2007): From relieving carpal tunnel syndrome to helping cancer survivors with recovery, yoga's benefits have made news in various medical publications, including the Journal of the American Medical Association... As rosy at the yoga scene looks, the future holds even more promise. "As younger people see the difference between people who have practiced yoga and those who haven't, yoga will continue to grow in popularity," predicts veteran yoga teacher Sandy Blaine.
At Weight Watchers Magazine:
Get Into the Yoga Zone: "Yoga is good for your mind, body and spirit, and is a great way to meet people and be active. Check out our glossary of yoga styles to find the kind that's right for you." [This is not exactly the same article that I was shown by my friend in the Nov'11 printed issue (pgs 80 & 146), but maybe it will be there by time you check. -Chris]
Yoga for Weight Loss: "Now that yoga class is as commonplace at the gym as a barbell, should you hit the mat if weight loss is your goal? You bet: certain types of yoga can burn up to 9 calories per minute."
Footnote 1: Scar tissue
Scar tissue is the connective tissue that forms around the injury (to the muscle, in this case) to protect it. Ideally this the body maintains this tissue ONLY as much as needed for as long as needed, as then proteolytic enzymes digest what the body determines as *excess* for the condition. However, the scar tissue is usually maintained for much much longer - if not virtually permanently - due to the unmet requirements of full and permanent healing, that degree of which healing is a multidimensional process.
Which implies that to the degree there is/are emotional component(s) to the injury -- including in events as perceived consciously or unconsciously as leading up to, contributing, and/or otherwise associated with the injury-- then to that/those degree(s), emotional healing processes are required. Which has to do with the proprioceptors, the adrenal glands, and the inner-child reparenting process.
Most people take many years before dealing with injuries to this degree, if ever, unless they are raised in those indigenous communities, now rare in this "modern" world, that naturally include those multi-dimensional self-healing elements in the child-rearing process.
Such elements are covered via a variety of essays at ChaliceBridge.com, possibly best at "An Optimal Injury Experience" as well as further below at "Body-Parenting" Approach for Body-Mind Awareness", , and almost summarized from more than one perspective at "Self-Healing and 'Healing Facilitation'" (at the professional brochure, extended version), which may lead you to the longer more complete version (albeit also including some more eclectic viewpoints) at the "Compassion, Healing, ..." page. SHORT OF ALL THAT, a great deal of relief as well as prevention of re-injury can be achieved by doing the tensing yoga on a regular basis. Hence this page.
If you are interested in the more technical psycho-physiological aspects, relating the proprioceptors, adrenal glands, and the inner-child reparenting process, as well as a few other elements related to "Body Memory," then you may enjoy the essays that describe these dynamics and features the chart that diagrams them. Below is a thumbnail that links to the full-size chart (by yours truly, 2'12, 12'13") at the Body-Mind Integration page "Proprio-Neuro Fascia-Muscular Adrenal/ I.C. & 'GPS' & Motor Mgt Centers Feedback System Interfaces in Psycho-Physiology of Fascia Memory"
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Yoga as an umbrella - for perspectives, training backgrounds, skill sets, etc - seems pretty productive! And I admit to complaining last year (2011) that too many yoga instructors in my area apparently do not teach the importance of focus & breathing, but seem to emphasize getting into & holding positions - what I call "athletic yoga". And so I've come to remember the adage that, "you start where you are" applies, and that we shouldn't limit the expansion in application. And I admit, I know about 3 asanas(!) Essentially because they are related to low back pain, & look most like the exercises that therapists teach for back pain. I know, I'm the neophyte on campus.
The experiences of my mother and siblings would seem to indicate we have a congenital (genetically inherited) form of degenerative bone disease. My case, however, would indicate that is actually, or at least likely, not true. That is, that case might be better explained (for all of us) by a certain excessive amount of stubborness of momentum. As would be illustrated by a high school kid, as a running back in football, carrying the ball downfield and locked out of any side-escape options, would duck his head and barrell into a guy twice his size coming from the opposite direction. Or by a (baseball) catcher, who as trying out for the local Marine Air Station all-star team (positions mainly taken up by officers, with the upcoming big game in Hawaii), guards home plate with a freshly landed ball for the tag, as a 235 pound lieutenant comes barrelling in full speed at this E-3 BLOCKING the base with his 160 pound pride-commandeered body... The fact that I don't have TBI (traumatic brain injury) along with the lumbar-localized compacted spine is something I can be thankful for. But I digress...
The case might be better explained BECAUSE...
In 1987 An injury to my L4 to S1 areas (the base of the lumbar curve) got my attention, to say the least; X-rays showed disk extrusion into the spinal area. From here I pulled together the best of what I knew and learned over about 10 years (it took 3 years to walk up/down stairs without thinking about it). This initiated with an injury in Spring 1986, albeit a re-injury of a condition that began after weight-lifting in junior high school1, but more recently and severely re-injured in Spring of '87. The '86 downtime was a few weeks; the '87 downtime far longer. Including the need to use stairs with great care - after a few stair-related reinjury episodes, being used to running up stairs just because I could -- and so forth. Athlete's turned to Eastern philosophy and meditation STILL want to feel like Athletes.
Along with receiving chiropractic and massage treatments, I started self-work with VERY slow application of 'low-back' exercises (per the old chiropractic/PT charts, etc) along with various, but mainly deep and slow, breathing approaches. Over the next few years (still enduring periodic re-injury episodes with downtimes of two weeks or so), I added Vipassana meditation. And from there somehow fell into a state of visual and verbal dialog, which I now call "Body-Parenting". Before long, that brought about some rather surprising, somewhat transcendental experiences. I'm pretty sure the body-parenting part was created out of my training/study in *Re-Parenting*, based on Humanistic Psychology approach, Transactional Analysis, and related therapeutic dialog, as I had been trained in a gestalt realm of bodywork, as well as in body-centered psychology.
After a time I realized that essentially passive positioning (especially when I was hurting, but otherwise) mixed with very subtle, very slow, tensing and relaxing of muscles (here's where it varied and got interesting) seemed to make all the difference, achieved adjustments of vertebra, and relief of pain. In the earlier years when re-stimulated the injury, it resulted in 1-3 weeks of relative inactivity, not to mention the pain.
Breathing, rythym, and creek rock: I actually first learned about this (a few years after out of the USMC) when shoveling creek rock at a construction site. We're talking eight to ten hours a day for a week and with a mind that is generally happiest with something to consciously focus on). By the 3rd day I had developed a rhythm, and a method of breathing with the movements, as well as altering my stance so as to vary the load distribution for my muscles. That also allowed or facilitated continuous and accurate shovelings of rock up to 20 feet away- and practically non-stop (eg: for hours at a stretch with occasional 10-20 second body checks, stretches, water drinks, etc). As I noticed the power of this, I would test it for longevity, so to speak..
And this was probably my first introduction to understanding the power of focused breathing and the science of yoga. Granted, I had previously practiced some Rosicrucian breathing principles when walking to/from classes at OU, but the short distance didn't really provide a test. I used to be amazed, however, at how few breaths I take on average -while actively doing massage therapy- compared to many of my clients - as they are receiving that same massage therapy.).
In the last five years [before 2011], the re-stim is rare, is relatively minor, lasts 1 week at most, and mainly only have had "warning signals," and usually with many months in between.
A few days of anti-inflammatories settles the muscles (that is, the mild over-the-counter sort [Aleve], but mostly herbal, such as willow bark, DC Labs' formula 303, taken with water, lemon juice, apple cidar vingar, and Vitamin C [also an anti-inflammatory]. The re-injury is the only time I use the Aleve, by the way.) From here I can utilize the re-injury for further re-organizing the connective tissue system and mind-body tension habits, so I continue to improve my back's long-term health and strength. Which attitude sets a powerful momentum, and relates to neuroplasticity (that capacity for re-organization of the brain and other neural networks, including proprioceptors in muscles; more on that and on natural anti-inflammatories below right).
Nov 2014 REPORT: Since early 2011, when I began every morning -- with discipline - a 5-20+ minute routine - BEFORE getting out of bed -- there have been no episodes that exceeding the "warning level", and to which I respond accordingly. (More on that in "The Exercise" section further below). And there may be something in all that about "stubborness" and pride, even for someone who wants to be an Athlete. Is repairing a shoulder injury and returning to fifty-pushup capacity at (61 yo) about illustrating "aging well" or about something else? Ah well...). [PS: Got there in 2014 (at 62), but then I wasn't actually hurrying.]
At some point in 1994, I began calling this "Tensing Yoga" and wrote "...first get the mind to muscle awareness going then sit with the muscle/ tissue and run consciousness along its length, through its depth, scanning/ exploring with the kinesthetic senses (not so much the mental if can help it) allow "insights" or pictures to arise, and note them, as well as summarizing any meaning(s) you may quickly glean from them...". I now encourage people to exercise more of their kinesthic awareness so to be less mentally dominate in approach to their body-awareness, but then I was just learning about the different learning styles toward the different realms of awareness. I've had some successes with clients telling me how they caught their warning's early and worked through them, or were simply surprised with awareness of releasing spasms in some muscles that we had been working with Tensing Yoga. I had told them what those were like, so not to interfere with them, just observe the cells (which I now call "celldren") learning to let go of the protection, feel how the muscles were actually tensing and releasing in order for "the kids to be convinced it was safe" to do so, etc.
The "Tensing Yoga" web page has come to focus in ways that I currently hope will attract those that are most willing to learn body-awareness, and need to find something they can learn to employ on their own. And not to just relieve pain, but to learn the heart and application of preventative health maintenance. I've come to believe there is much value in learning about focus & breathing, appropriate tension-range, work/rest ratio in the muscles, thence connective tissue resiliency under dynamic loads and pressures, thence long-term health. And my siblings are "regular" folks, have what may be considered the standard (albeit somewhat Southern influenced) all-American lifestyle, and can be reluctant to listen to their "health-nut" "baby-brother" -- even if he has probably dis-proven the "degenerative bone disease" diagnosis for his siblings. And then there are psychologists researching whether attitudes may be "genetic". How about "degeneration" as related to stubbornness? (Related links at lower right.)
1 "Kids": Do not try this (the following) at home - in fact, NO one should try this (one-armed stupidity) anywhere :: About 7th or 8th grade I began pressing 55 lb+ over my head - with one hand, due to my not being able to load enough on the bar for two hands (instead of finding another way to supplement the 110-lb set [counting the small bars]). I would reach down and pull the bar up from the floor - from the opposite side of the body of my reaching hand (!)- up over my head, and onto my shoulder, then press it. Then put it back to the floor the same way it came up. Which, of course, puts a VERY unbalanced load on the spine. After a while of this came the near total immobilization at my friends house (bewilderment, embarrassment, and excruciating pain), and the chiropractor visit. But kids will be kids, and a few years later, would do the downfield runs with a football, ducking my little sprinter's body to crash my head into the tacklers bodies when I couldn't maneuver around them. Then do it again, and again... Then more weight lifting... Hence the eventual near debilitating lumbar compression injury at 34-35 yo (as restorative aid at a nursing home hospital). So now I do not jog (even though I can still sprint fairly spryly - the body's angle during sprinting reduces direct pressure on the spine). However, the morning exercises (noted further below) provide a means for helping others to prevent injury, as well as tune up safely, even aerobically work the legs, no matter their age.
from more *traditional yoga* teachers,
Dr. P.M. Sharma and Mary E. (Betsy) Rabyor
[ I say "traditional", meaning more based in ancient teachings, but they are both much more esoteric than the usual yoga teachings in the West, and yet ALSO very accepting of the use of other styles and approaches. ]
from Dr. P.M. Sharma of
Ayurvedic Healings .Com
"...I am an ayurvedic physician and working since 1992 with state government of Rajasthan (a province of india) as senior ayurvedic consultant. This is my small introduction.
I treat physical and psychological (psychiatric even) with the help of ayurvedic medicines and panchkarma. I have started to learn yoga in 1985 because this was the part of curriculum of my five and half years long ayurvedic degree course BAMS. Now I am learning the ancient traditional yoga for a decade. My 85 years master lives in the jungle and seldom comes out.
...We run a free yoga learning series through our website. This was my idea, actually people really want to meet with real yoga, but in the materialistic world, this is a way of earning. Those who are not Indian - they are naturally unknown to the reality of yoga - like, what, why, when, and who can teach this properly. They get their updates from websites or books. Some books are really very true because these books are collection of experiences and knowledge of their writers, Like the autobiography of a yogi by Paramhansa Yogananda, Rajyoga by Swami Vivekananda, Living with Himalayan masters by swami Rama, the shrimad bhagwat gita as it is, by Bhaktivedanta Swami prabhupada (ISKCON). Though by this, I can not make someone a yogi due to reasons, but we can serve him at least the reality of yoga. Yoga is complete system and one of six important philosophies (SHAD-DARSHAN) of vedas. However I started this to create an awareness among the real yoga enthusiasts.
...Actually to understand the vedic philosophy, we have to clean our mind and to put all prejudices and logic away from our consciousness, because an already filled pot can not be filled again without being empty. These are the words of my master. My master says that [ALL] religions are different ways to reach at one point and God. ...
...About my writing: In fact I want to touch only mandatory points of the concerning subject, because I am not writer, I am a physician and SAADHAK of yoga. So as I have studied these diseases, I tried to serve my knowledge and experience as it is available in the texts of medicines. I think that we must not hype the serious topic, otherwise this can be panic. The real information to my patients will save their time and will give them the real and authentic information (though all websites give) but this is my thought.
Chris, I have read many books of western writers or Indian origin writers who are now residing in USA or in west, Like Dr Deepak Chopra, David frowley, my teachers of ayurveda and My master, according to both, their knowledge is not up to marks (may be because I am not so knowledgeable as they are, So I decided to write like this. You can definitely find grammatical errors and some misuses of the word, because my english is not so well. I accept this."
Offered on ocassions by Dr. Sharma and his team: A 10-day program on ‘Divine Yoga for Inner Wellness’ at a spiritual hermitage (ashram) where saints have performed their sadhana (spiritual practices) through generations. "It offers just that tranquil atmosphere which is essential for learning, assimilating, and practicing divine yoga. In the name Divine Yoga we have had purpose when we conceptualized this program; our primary goal was to set it apart from numerous yoga programs that are offered at almost every second place. It is yoga in its most original form; derived directly from Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, and not just one of those cosmetic makeovers that yoga has gone through in the last few decades. The lectures have been prepared such that physical, mental, and spiritual aspects of yoga are felt by participants immediately."
[The above has been reworded and punctuated for clarity in a few places, although in some cases, I left it up to your interpretation. But I suggest doing so considering this teacher is coming from a most humble place, and he shares from his heart. Some of Dr. P.M. Sharma's teachings are available on line, some possibly through email (via his site).]
Our Light Body: A Kundalini Awakening Testimonial
By Mary E. (Betsy) Rabyor, who was born in Wisconsin and lived in Nevada, Florida and Spain. She went to college and was a computer programmer for 17 years, with family and suburban life. Since 1990, she has meditated and learned self-healing techniques. In August of 1999, she spiritually awakened, quit her job and devoted her life to self-realization and helping others. Shortly after starting Reiki self-healing in 2005, her kundalini unexpectedly awakened. She continues to work with her kundalini transformation today. She lives in Wisconsin and is a skilled distance healer, author, poet, intuitive, and spiritual mentor. [Very very impressed with her story, I found one good place to begin (relative to *consciousness* and YOGA), especially if you're not familiar with an eastern or esoteric point of view, is "What is the personality".
"Dear Chris, I did ashtanga yoga and hatha yoga in the past, nothing recent. I agree with you that yoga is not about getting into the position or trying to stretch further, it is more about learning to be aware in body movement and meditative... when the kundalini transformation started, I had strong spontaneous yoga (kriya's) movements, and from this I eventually learned how to do spontaneous yoga as an exercise. at first I was taught how to do this, when my body had changed enough in the nervous system then it happened by itself, simply by letting go of mind and body control. This is described in this article: http://phoenixtools.org/tools/moving_as_awareness.htm"
Related to the "Origins" essay
"Dietary Nutrition, Neuro-Endocrine Infrastructure & Neuroplasticity, and Aging" (Jan'13 at the "Body-Mind Nutrition" page)...
Is about the relationship of nutrition and psycho-emotional environment during infancy and childhood upon key aspects of development of 'A Stable Platform for Perception', the 'Psycho-emotional Infrastructure', it's maturation through adulthood, facilitating cellular re-organization, and functional/ systemic
re-organization of the neuro-endocrine system (neuroplasticity as a result of experience, but not just in the brain. Proprioceptors relate to muscles, but much more actually), and thereby upon the preventative maintenance capability and the "natural aging process" about possibly/ likely new potentials in aging without near so much disability and pain in the later stages.
This is at the "Body-Mind Nutrition" page, with considerations in relating a transition in diet & nutrition to personal and spiritual growth, and the benefits of such transition.
The neuroplasticity aspect relates well to the proprioceptors, as covered at The "Body-Mind Integration" Page, including relationships with "Adrenaline ...Brain Activity, Muscles and Tendons ...Aging" about adrenal response related to all the above (incl. trauma, long-term conditioning), as well as "EQ, IQ, Emotional Integration, and a Synergetic Relationship".
A Summary for Natural Anti-Inflammatories is at the page, "Naturopathic principles, The Science of Healthful Living"
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Core Principles of Yoga & the Body-Mind Interface
Relative to a Car or Vehicle:
«» Vehicle Core: (Driver of the car)
«» Vehicle Frame: (car frame)
«» Vehicle Direction (path/route & destination)
NOT related to yoga per say, but IF you like, there are some correlations drawn between various aspects of vehicle travel, particularly in the management of fuel, polution, cargo & baggage, in a comparison of the car and combustion engine to the human - as driven or fueled by various emotions (in "Emotion, Fuel, & 'the Vehicle'..." on another web page at this site.)
Relative to Physical Health:
«» V. Core: *Intrinsic muscles (Fine-motor movement, in both *core & *extremities)
«» V. Frame: *Extrinsic muscles (Large movement, in both *core & *extremities)
«» V. Direction: Physical health, short & long-term plan
* Intrinsic Muscles: facilitate fine-motor movements
* Extrinsic Muscles: facilitate coarse, larger movements
* Core Muscles: those of Torso, Inner & Outer
* Extremities Muscles: those of Legs-feet, Arms-hand, Neck-head
* Asanas do direct or focus the attention on specific body parts, for specific and general enhancements, but with varying degrees of benefit, especially long term, depending on aspects as covered in column 4, as well as those covered in "Notes on Basic Focus" [a section further below], which are still quite rudimentary relative to traditional yoga instruction.
Relative to Body-Mind Health
«» V. Core: Wholistic understanding of yoga relative to body-mind health
«» V. Frame: Internal organs, psycho-neuro-endocrine & subtle energy systems
«» V. Direction: In/for Life, short & long-term goals, purpose, how to individualize that relative to one's body-mind health, considering current age, chronic conditions, prognosis, beliefs about health & aging, etc.
IE: As regards the muscles: awareness building for a kinesthetic-to-cognitive understanding of *Tension Range,* *Work/Rest Ratio,* releasing of muscle-holding & movement patterns (ie: neuro-muscular re-setting proprioceptors, or instruction for achieving the equivalent), Etc (Elaboration). Instructors who can tell by muscle texture if this is occuring.
How & why yoga works wholistically, the implications of that; equivalent mind- body understanding of (or at least about) nutritional health, emotional health, etc.
Elements Relative to Principles, Body-Mind & Health
«» CORE ELEMENTS: Those Noted in Columns 1-3
«» CORE PRINCIPLES: Those relative to both essential physiology & the "Body-Mind" (mental, emotional, physical, subtle bodies, including the spiritual if/as one may), that is, the "infrastructure" underlying the regard for and maintenance of the *Elements, being relative to the core aspects of yoga - *multi-level* as noted and holistically considered. Many of these principles may be introduced via the "V. Core" of column 3.
The point being, most current yoga classes in the US (in "the West") may be great for starters, for learning to steer and manage the acceleration and braking, signs on the road, etc, good for practice in a parking lot - if there are not too many other cars in the lot. But for many individuals (ostensibly beyond the allegorical 'Driver's Education course'), such yoga classes may lead [the average individual, ignorant of these principles and/or unwilling to exercise the necessary study or discipline, yet kept in class] to exacerbate & quicken problems in the extremities as well as in the core - in the physical core, that is, and possibly in the energetic core.
Which troubles could be prevented with an increased, even if not thorough, understanding of the CORE ELEMENTS as a whole, and even better when the CORE PRINCIPLES (as the infrastructure of the Elements) are also understood, putting all the above in the most practical context.
Chris Pringer, Oct 2015
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An Exercise for Illustrating Tension Range and Muscle Texture
To illustrate what I'm talking about above, I would like you to try two very simple, non-strenuous physical activities, by which you will be able to compare certain sensations. You can be in almost any physical position to do either of the two activities. The first activity involves the index fingers of your handed side (#1) and your non-handed side (#2), and noticing how aware you are of the muscle tension in your hands, or at least how aware you can be, once you focus your attention as follows:
Notice that mound just below (the handed) #1 index finger. Now place the tip of (your non-handed) #2 index finger just below the foot of that mound, and then flex the index finger #1 as much as you can. If your #2 index finger is in the right place for this, you will feel the muscles of the #1 index finger flexing and relaxing. Once you can feel that, vary the amount of strength with which you flex the #1 index finger, as you notice, with your #2, the texture of the muscle fibers flexing your #1.
If you practice this for a minute or two you may notice how much your awareness increases about the texture, the tension, and the dexterity involved, how much you can vary the amount of range, strength, and speed of movement of #1, as well as the amount of texture and tension that shows up, as well as how much pressure you can vary with #2.
This noticing of such subtleties about your hands, and even your ability to increase your awareness of them with practice, may not be that new or surprising to you. But now for the 2nd activity:
Place the tip of your handed thumb on the same side of the muscle(s) of your low back, just above where it connects to your hip (the lower lumbar region). This should be 1-2" to the side of the spine and slightly lower than your navel. Now do your best to both flex and release this muscle (by raising and lowering that side of your hip). Try to feel the changes in texture and tension with the tip of your thumb, practicing this toward achieving as much subtlety in that as you were able to with your index finger.
If you are able to achieve that, you are capable of an extremely rare state of awareness, of course, might even be referred to with a title of some sort . And if you're normal in "modern society", you notice a very great deal of awareness in your hands relative to most any other muscle systems. (I won't go into the psychology of that physiology -here- but I may elsewhere at some point).
By now, you're probably getting a suitable understanding of what I mean by tension range and muscle texture, as well as an appreciation for the yogi's who can focus their awareness to the degree that allows them to "isolate" most any given muscle and achieve a very broad range of tension as well as motion, strength, rigidity, texture, etc.
Of course, that degree of proficiency is not necessary to achieve a level of body or muscle awareness that would provide a "cost-effective" amount of preventative maintenance capability. On the other hand, the latter capability will not generally be produced by simply learning how to put and hold one's body in a given asana or yoga position.
And that's not saying that yoga instructors goals for their students are so simple. My point here, or one of my points, is to enhance appreciation for focused awareness, breath awareness, and muscle awareness, as geared to the purpose of preventative health maintenance. Which awareness Tensing Yoga is all about for one muscle or set of muscles at a time, generally those that have been chronically locked in a very limited tension range (and thereby in what I may refer to as a 'holding pattern').
Also, if you do not plan to live past the age of 40, then these things need not matter (said tongue in cheek, of course). However, if after that time, you do care about how much you want to be able to focus on most anything, and enjoy whatever you're doing, then these things may matter very much to you. (Yes, even during your 20's). Especially if you have been highly athletic and enjoyed challenging yourself a great deal in that.
Note: if you have "back problems" or muscle injury or significant challenge in other area(s), you would do very well to do the exercises, and/or receive the therapy as appropriate/ necessary for you to achieve a relatively good degree of muscle tension and texture variability there. And you probably should NOT try to use regular yoga to relax highly tensed (heavily "protected" or armored), muscles or muscle systems, let alone injured ones, unless you are well advanced into the practice or unless you have an experienced and knowledgeable guide beside you, and depending on which muscle systems you are attempting to work with. Because that will work well only in the opposite direction of what you are trying to accomplish, possibly causing injury or further injury.
Note 2: Some muscles will be relatively easy to get in touch with for the purposes noted above. For some muscles you will need to get creative, have patience, and maybe even seek the assistance of a yoga or massage practitioner who also understands the Tensing Yoga principles and approach.
For example, for various calf muscles, you can start out (sitting with the calf crossed over the other leg) by placing your fingers on the calf muscles in such a way, that you can feel which ones move the foot in which directions.
Notice which ones are the hardest (least textured), are more painful with pressure, least flexible, get tired first, etc. Chances are, the ones that are the hardest, and remain so after therapy even when the muscles are not actively working, are the ones that are more likely to cramp and/or interfer with some of your movements. (And they are the ones that will be most likely to be injured under "surprise" stress conditions, especially after age 35 or 40, depending on many factors, of course.) The hamstrings will require a little more creativity to locate, isolate, and work with TY, but they are very doable.
A few low-back focusing movements for use with "Tensing Yoga" (in brief: VERY slow tensing and relaxing with focused breathing). See further below for chart and instruction for "Exercises Before Rising". The larger graphic (with more sets) is at the "Low-Intensity Low-Back Exercises" page
By Chris Pringer
Like kids, cells do best if we keep them fed, clean, and feeling loved. And as we learn to give them healthy messages and especially to just listen to them, like kids, they will tell us what changes need attending to. And *body-awareness* is how we listen.
Put simply in metaphor, imagine how you approach someone you feel/think might be "in a mood": you probably take care to feel out "where that person is", and go from there.
You might say that habitually tense muscles are in a mood, hence one approaches with consideration, even a respectful blend of curiosity and humility. The cells respond to the mind as workers do to the management.
IMO, this is the *heart* of neuroplasticity (directly, naturally, and positively engaging that capacity as we interface with our cells and self-healing mechanisms for personal growth and self-healing, and re-organization of the brain and other neural networks (including proprioceptors in muscles) as a result of that experience).
"Body-Parenting" is based on the "Re-Parenting" approach of emotional awareness based personal growth & self-healing. In layman's terms: Re-Parenting is a therapeutic methodology that uses a kind of dialog between core components of one's psyche.
[More in shoptalk: This approach is more influenced by John Bradshaw, and Humanist Gestalt perspectives than Transactional Analysis. The "body-parenting" adaptation of the Re-Parenting approach is additionally influenced by Hakomi body-centered psychotherapy.]
Injuries occur primarily due to overly tensed muscle cells, to unable to flex with events and circumstances in our environment.
Cells are not bad, or wrong in any way for being overly tense, due to having their circulation crimped by compressed cell structures -- thereby deprived of good connection to the sources of nurishment, and unable to sufficiently rid themselves of waste products from all their hard work. Certainly not for becoming deseased or disfunctioning as a result of this, let alone for trying to maintain systemic equilibrium by whatever means are left to them.
Because, Like kids, they are habitually responding to our own unconscious inner messages. Those that we've been giving them since our formative years - about how to respond to the conditions. Under harsh conditions in early life, they adapt and find a way to cope -- if at all possible, if you tell them they have to -via thoughts, and feelings. If they don't get "the all clear" (especially if they've never "heard" it before), then they maintain the "armoring."
Held long enough, thoughts and feelings become decisions and attitudes about life. Cells can actually maintain those -via adaptive roles in posture and movement- and for a whole lifetime, if they don't get a corrective message.
I.E.: IF we, as infants, often needed to tense up -or "armor up"- various muscles for emotional or physical protection (ie: when adults around us acted insensitively or worse), THEN we most likely continued through adulthood to hold various muscles in an overly tense state - "ready" to respond to more of same, perhaps expecting life to be that way.
The nervous system is designed to get our attention when we are doing something unhealthy. It's not the cells' fault if that system has been muffled by our own choice.
I believe that aging not only has effects upon the nature of tension, but that the chronic storage of tension in the musculature increases aging in many bodily systems.
But would you really like getting used to living underfed, unclean, and insensitive to the warning signals? Assuming your answer is no, the next question may be about how to remedy such a situation where we have basically adapted to less than optimal conditions?
I suggest that first, we fix the supply system and take care of those basics. Secondly, we remedy the attitude that got them that way, or else the cells will never feel they can drop the coping mechanisms, let alone learn what a happy, communicative, and cooperatively sharing environment is about.
It's genrally the more complex sets of coping mechanisms that are referred to as "Inner Children." Which term refers to the persona(s) of the emotional body, that have been created by the body-mind, not only in order to protect the psyche from painful memories, but in order to finish, at a later time, certain interupted processes.
Those processes are related to the basic emotional and/or physical needs that were only partially and/or temporarily fulfilled, by the coping mechanisms. Our capacities for neuroplasticity provide for the memory storage coping mechanism process to be initiated (a form of "negative neuroplasticity"), but also provide for our memory retrieval and/or integration as needed for healing.
Muscle cells need to know/experience what relaxation is, as well as what intense work is, in order to have an appropriately full range of tonicity/contractedness, and to find the right tone for a given condition. Cell systems adjust, based on our messages to them. Perhaps especially those messages that are aligned with long-term health, since our bodily systems seem designed for adaptation and endurance.
NOTE: It is said that Our own voices and thoughts carry the most weight with our own cell systems. And that *verbalizing* a belief or decision, especially doing so *with feeling,* is much more powerful that just thinking it. Sometimes we will receive insight about a corrective action we must take; i.e.: by newly feeling the need to adjust our posture or some kind of bodily movement, or even due to reviving memories (that were previously suppressed).
Details of these processes are explained in the essay, "Body-Mind Integration in the Personal Growth Process"- The How's And Why's Of Psycho-Emotional Storage of the Body-Mind (in layman's physiology & psychology): When, how and why tension is stored and released; communication between body and mind, benefits; proprioreceptors, personal growth, massage/bodywork, therapist's approach, etc. Originally published by this author in Massage Magazine, July-Aug 1992. May-Oct 2011:
Addendum essays were added with the goal of clarifying these topics as more easily understandable for *common sense* preventative maintenance application, as well as further completing the context and clarifying the dynamics and processes involved, including self-help level emotional processing. Page includes "Muscle Q & A" - a Kind of overview of the core topics, "Body Awareness and Communications, as Related to Body-Memory and Integration," " Adrenaline vs Endorphins and What's That Got To Do With Sports, Brain Activity, Muscles and Tendons, and Healthfully Extended Aging - Naturally," and "History, Science, and Recognizing Neuroplasticity, by Dr. David Kitz Krämer with "Notes & Refs on Neuroplasticity."
Others on the page include "Insight Please," "EQ, IQ, Emotional Integration, and a Synergetic Relationship," and "Sticky Muscles" (adhesions due to..), Reviews for two articles "on Massage, Alternative Therapies, & Pain, with "Study: Massages really can make pain go away," & Sept 2011 Consumer Report; quotes, commentary & charts. (As you may guess from these and other writings at the site, I have focused a great deal on the nature of storage and therapeutic release of tension over the last 25+ years.)
With body awareness, learning to listen and respond to our cell systems, we enhance our senses naturally. We give the cells the corrective messages about tonicity, circulation, function, etc. And thereby we provide opportunity for our self-healing mechanisms to be maintained, and turned back on as necessary. "Body-Parenting" approach teaches and encourages awareness of these connections and developing methods of interfacing with them for personal growth and self-healing.
"My Cells -My Children" and other selections of metaphorical prose & metaphor conveys, in a less analytical way, the nature of the dynamic relationships and 'Inner Communications' among mind, body, emotions, and Spirit, that underlies the 'Body-Parenting' approach for Mind-Body-Spirit Integration, as well as the INNER-child-parent-family relationships. This utilizes an approach integrating a "Recovery from Co-dependence" style with that of Gestalt Psychology and "New Thought" perspective. [See "My Cells..." at right] Also, A primary integrative bodywork approach (that I have some study and training in) is described at the page here on Hakomi, Body-Centered Psychotherapy. A set of short summary personal quotes on body-mind awareness are in the Author/Editor Section. A link to the Body-Mind Integration home page is also there, where additional aspects of preventative maintenance are discussed and/or linked to.
Attitudinal & Sensory Focus vrs. Mental Imagery with Tensing Yoga:
Using specifically applicable affirmations or attitudinal approaches in concert with Tensing Yoga can be particularly effective. However, for optimal benefit, the mental focus (on affirmations and/or visual imagery) should not be used at the expense of effective attitudinal preparation and on sensory focus on the muscles and fibers, on the physical/sensory awareness.
To keep from doing that, try alternating the focus in this way: initiate the session with the more mental/imagery focus, then do the body awareness focus (essential to this whole approach), then end the session with another application of the mental imagery. First do one whole-heartedly, then switch fully and completely to the other. After a few sessions of this, the attitudinal application will naturally influence your approach with the exercise. Note: There is a link to bodily correlated affirmations in the Related Resources section further below.
Violet Rainbow Lightning Bright Chalice CellRing-OutoT'Myst' LessBlack2, Chris Pringer May'12
Multi-ChaliceCells Wild, CrossedVortex9-2 AtomicChaliceSphere FlowerOfLife onBlk [Rough]A1-c" © Chris Pringer Apr'13
"3D DblStar Atomic PiChalice1 &Flower &Tree Of Life SphericConnection 1cb &DblHeart Over 2beadwork &StrTapestry MBKs2cr", Chris Pringer May'10
"My Cells - My Children" prose by Chris Pringer 8'88, over ChaliCellular Vortex 12'09
Multi-ChaliceCells Wild, CrossedVortex9-2 AtomicChaliceSphere FlowerOfLife onBlk [Rough]A1" © Chris Pringer Apr'13
"*Most Appropriate Questions* over 'Chalice Garden Tapestry'"
by Chris Pringer 7'16 (Background of Sept'12)
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"Muscle Madness" Game Show (Fundraiser)
These dynamics, now fully measured in every property, digitized, charted, and videographed, include the *tension range*, or the maximum
optimal range of tension between fully relaxed and fully contracted, and the switch rate between the two, thence *work/rest ratio*.
As well as texture, strength (resilience/ fatigue), and degree of muscle isolation/ efficiency, the later relating to whether or not either contestant is using the "Correct" muscles for the job. The video and read-outs might also show circulation system volume(s) and related stats.
How could this ever be more than just a dream of ...someone who sees the relationship between body awareness and ultimate in long-term preventative health maintenance?
How? This would be brought about by research into devices that read the bio-energetic and other signatures in the connective tissue around muscle fibers (created by tension retained in the muscles) to such a fine degree that a person's health history can be read - from birth to the present moment.
...And because there is a significant relationship between this tension and injuries that are most likely to occur in the future for any given person. From this reading, a long-range health regime can be developed for maintaining an optimal state.
It's true, the "Muscle Madness" game is not really the end goal here, but with the basic prototypes of the devices, developed relatively early on by the Fascia Memory Project (as proposed), the game could go on - and help fund the project- as described at The Fascia-Memory Project pages which includes a table of contents for the 9 pages, research references, links to accompanying documents at this site, and charts including Fascia-Memory Project Overview Chart..
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