Yoga instruction designed to help you
understand your body,
feel it and
control it so that you and it both benefit.
This ebook teaches you muscle control and active stretching exercises for the shoulders.
You can use the muscles within the shoulders to stretch the shoulders or you can use the muscle power of the opposite arm (by grabbing the arm you are stretching.) This book shows you how to do both.
It also include gravity assisted stretches where you can let gravity do the work of stretching your shoulders. There are variations of these exercises where you can resist the stretch or assist it using muscle power.
It also teaches you some basic scapular awareness exercises.
The book is organized according to arm position. Various stretches with the arms overhead are grouped together. Likewise shoulder stretches with arms behind the back.
Active Stretching builds on and complements the exercises included in "Muscle Control". However it is an ebook only. No videos are included.
It includes an introduction to muscle control for improving flexibility in hip flexion, hip extension externally rotated hip flexion. And it includes a slightly longer routine than that included in Muscle Control.
It also includes some supplementary actions that can be used to gain further awareness and control of the body.
While I would suggest that the main routine be practice three days a week, the alternate routine can be practiced on the in-between days.
The main focus of this book is learning how to use your muscles so that you can improve your flexibility. While results aren't guaranteed, this book, and all other books sold on leanpub, are covered by the Leanpub 100% Satisfaction guarantee so that if you aren't satisfied you have 45 days to ask for your money back. As an added bonus, when buying the ebook via Leanpub you get three different formats for one price (pdf, epub and mobi.)
This book can also be ordered from Amazon.Active Stretching: More Muscle Control for Better Flexibility
A large portion of this book is actually geared towards learning to feel and control your foundation. In tai ji the terminology often used is "substantial" vs "insubstantial". You could also use the terms engaged or "strong" vs relaxed. In either case this book helps you to learn to feel the difference so that you can better feel and control your body. The focus is then on using this new found awareness so that you can feel when you are supporting your body with your arms vs your legs. That can make it easier to relax your hamstrings so that you can stretch them while they are relaxed.
This is one of my earlier efforts to teach body awareness and body control, in particular how to better control the muscles of the hip. It's not a be all and end all to hip control but it offers some good tips on learning how to activate the muscles of the hips and legs and how to develop better awareness of your lower body.
The exercises in this book are sequenced to help you learn how use the floor to help make lifting your body easier into wheel pose easier.
Rather than relying on brute strength the focus is on simple techniques that can make lifting your own body weight easier..
It may take a few sessions (maybe even a few weeks) of practice before you actually do lift up. But if you pay attention while doing the exercises you'll begin to notice slight changes that indicate you are improving.
Personally I used to hate wheel pose. The exercises in this book are some of the ones that I use to make it easier and even make it interesting. They are also the ones that tend to make students come up to me after class and say things like "I never used to be able to get up in wheel pose, but today I could."
How do you feel when you are balanced? What do you focus on to make balancing easier? What you can do so that you stay balanced with less effort.
This book includes both basic and intermediate balancing exercises to help make balance understandable and learnable so that no matter what you are working towards, learning balance is easier.
One of the biggest challenges in motorcycling, and conversely one of the most fun things about riding is cornering. I had a love hate relationship with corners whether riding a bicycle, speed skating or motorcycling. There was never any information that I found that fully explained how to corner, especially to someone who was lacking in body awareness as I was. And so over the course of 15 years of combined Tai Ji, yoga and continuing to ride a motorbike I eventually figured out for myself the basics of cornering. I did attend some track days, where I picked up a few tips, and an article on one school in particular helped, but over all the lessons in this book are based on what I learned from my own experiences of riding.
Where a motorcycle riding course teaches you how to control a bike the lessons in this book are designed to help you feel and control your body, particularly how to shift your center and also stabilize your body and just as importantly how to feel what you are doing. This latter point is especially important if you need to analyze what you did wrong so that you don't repeat mistakes.
Note that the exercises in this book aren't designed to relieve sore neck or shoulders after a long trip. Instead they are designed to help you become a better motorcyclist by focusing on being a better driver of your body.
Rather than focusing on specific situations (or specific types of corners) the intent is to give you the ABC's of cornering so that you have the tools necessary to handle most corners encountered in everyday riding.
Dance of Shiva is one of the most important exercises I've ever learned.
For anyone interested in minimizing their reliance on teachers, on increasing potential, creativity, then dance of shiva is an excellent practice for understanding how to create potential and for understanding how to learn.
The practice itself is about gradually learning all possible arm movements in order to connect 64 arm positions to each other. This in itself can take a long time to learn but end goal objective (learning all of the movements) isn't as important as actually starting and learning the movements gradually. There is no sudden enlightenment when you have learned all of the movements. Instead, as you learn the movements bit by bit there is an increase in understanding in how these movements are arbitrary in nature and what you are learning is a series of options. The more movements you learn the more "options" you have at your disposal.
A side benefit of the movements is that they can improve shoulder and arm flexibility and control. But an even bigger benefit is that the practice in sensing limits and working within those limits can be extended to anything that you are trying to learn, or understand.
It's actually the same basic methodology that I learned when studying Andrey Lappa's Universal Yoga and it's the same methodology that I apply to learning (and teaching) most things.
If you are worried about robots getting too smart or developing the ability to learn so that they can take jobs away from humans, then one possible answer is to become better at learning and understanding. Dance of Shiva is a practice that can help you become a better learner.
To increase flexibility the one thing that is common to all stretching techniques is muscle control. The exercises in the Muscle Control for Better Flexibility book (and optional video) are designed to help you feel and control your muscles for better flexibility.
The exercises and poses in this book and video are arranged in a set of four sequences that can be done individually or one after the other to form one hour long yoga practice. (Practice time may be longer or shorter.)
The videos are designed so that you watch an exercise, then pause the video while you do the exercise yourself. This is fairly similiar to how I teach, demonstrating and exercise then having my students do it.
To make it easier to remember what you are trying to do, the instruction sets are simple. So that you can learn to feel, and recognize, the target muscle, the instructions also include where to focus your awareness.
Most muscle actions in this sequence include larger muscles so that with repeated activation and relaxation it should be fairly easy to feel these muscles activate and relax.
The instruction in the videos differs slightly than that in the book. So it is worthwhile to read the book and use the videos.
Videos for this series are in MP4 format and are 1280x720. There are four videos which can be practiced individually or one after the after. Videos are from 17 to 25 minutes long.
If you are using a Mac computer, MP4 videos can be used using VLC Player.
The Muscle Control for Better Flexibility Video Set and ebook provides a simple introduction to muscle control exercises and how to use that muscle control to make stretching more effective. The goal isn't just learning to control muscles, but to feel them activating and also to feel the results of their activation, for example learning how to use the hip flexors to tilt the pelvis forwards or how to use the buttocks to open the front of the hip joint.The Active Stretching Ebook builds on the exercises taught in Muscle Control and also includes a secondary routine with different actions. This routine can be used in off days when taking a rest from the main routine. It also offers an opportunity to develop further awareness and control of the parts of the body.In both cases, the routines and exercises are used to help you better learn to feel your body and understand it so that you can use the same techniques even in poses and exercises not included in the program.
Note that Active Stretching is an ebook only. However, if you've watched the videos from Muscle Control, you should have enough of an understanding to easily do the extra exercises in Active Stretching even without the videos.
Both ebooks come with plenty of pictures that illustrate the main steps of each exercise. (With a few exceptions.)
This is the same as option 1 but also includes the The Shoulder Exercises and Stretches ebook which focuses on shoulder awareness for both strength and flexibility.
It includes basic scapular awareness exercises both unweighted and weighted, as well as "muscle control" exercises for the shoulders for improving flexibility. It also includes an extensive range of "relaxed/gravity assisted" stretches for the shoulders and a variety of "externally assisted" shoulder stretches.
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