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  • Using Clearly Defined Problems to Reach
    Optimal Performance in Yoga

    I,ve recently applied to an advertising service called ezoic. It apparently senses user patterns and sets up adds in the best possible way to maximize income. Or at least that's the ideal. As I was in the process of setting it up, or actually, after I,d set it up, I got a message, "sit back and wait". It has to test a lot of combinations with a lot of different visitors to build up a database so that it can optimize.

    That could take up to six months.

    I was expecting, unrealistically, instant results.

    And that's a lot like working with the body.

    My Hips Click

    I,ve had clicking hips (still do a little bit) hips that felt week in particular positions, hips that have been affected both positively and negatively by foot, and knee actions (and vice versa).

    And the reason I started of talking about ezoic and the months of experimenting required to reach an optimized state is that it can be more or less the same when figuring out problems with the hips or any other part of the body.

    Optimal Performance Takes Time

    Optimal performance takes time to build up to.

    It's an apt comparison because ezoic is dealing with factors it can,t control, visitors to my/this website. And it's dealing with factors that it can control, placement/size of ads. And that's the same with the hips (and any other part of the body).

    And where with adverts the things you can vary are size and placement, with the hips the things that you can vary are positioning and muscular effort, in different combinations.

    (It can also help to move slowly, particularly in the range of movement where the problem occurs)

    The question I,ve been working on with respect to the hips is which muscular actions to use in various positions of the pelvis.

    It's often not just one possible action it can be many different ones. And some work on some days and not on others. But like ezoic gathering information, the more experience I have of my hips in different situtations, the better I,ll get at operating them optimally in any situation.

    There will be failures, but those are just further opportunities to learn, further opportunities to get to know my hip joints.

    What's the Goal

    (A Clearly Defined Solution)

    With ad testing the goal is pretty clear. Get the click. Avoid rejection (ad blockers), and don,t scare people away from the site with excessive or innappropriate ads.

    And the mechanism for testing this is the actual turning on and off and positioning of ads.

    For any part of the body the things that we can turn on and off are muscles. And the things that we can directly experience are muscle activity and tension (from muscle activity or from other forces).

    The goal can be greater ease in doing something, less discomfort, zero pain (zero pain that indicates injury is iminent), efficiency, ease.

    And actually, that's one nice thing about pain.

    Pain presents an obvious problem and the desired solution can be the disolution of pain or whatever is causing the pain. And a better solution might be the disolution of pain along with reclaiming the best (or optimal) functioning of the body.

    (One of the reasons I got ezoic was that ad revenue was down, the problem then is a lack of income. How do I boost it? Ezoic offers a means of testing (with the added bonus that apart from set up i don,t have to be involved allowing me to focus on writing content and helping people.))

    Solving Problems Requires Clear Definitions

    In the absence of pain the problem could be defined as poor performance.

    If you define a particular action or pose, then the problem is easier to define and easier to solve. Improve performance in a back bend like wheel pose. Look at the pose and refine the problem statement even more, being able to get the elbows straight in wheel pose (while keeping the body healthy, without fucking the body up in the process.)

    If you can do wheel pose easily but you have to warm up to it the problem could be defined as needing a warm up with the solution being able to get into wheel pose (even if slowly) but on the first try.

    With ezoic, part of the set up process is building place holders for ads. Google allows a maximum of three ads per page. Ezoic experiments with the placement of 1 to 3 ads to see what works best. But part of the set up is playing with potential ad locations and ad sizes for each of those locations.

    Rather than focusing on all locations at once, I have to focus on one placement at a time, trying different sizes to see which ones I,ll allow and which not to. This is a little like understanding how ezoic works so that I can use it effectively (or allow it to work effectively.)

    This also applies when fixing problems like straightening the elbows in wheel pose.

    If the problem is straightening the elbows then I have to look at all the things that affect the elbows:

    • How much weight they are bearing,
    • How I press into the hands,
    • hand position,
    • Scapular positioning ,
    • Arm rotation.

    And because wheel pose requires constant readjustment since all four limbs are on the floor and hips, shoulders and front of the spine are all potentially at their limits, the process of moving from the floor to wheel pose could actually be broken down into a number of different positions each of which requires slightly different alignment.

    And so I could focus on shoulder positioning at a particular elevation and only that elevation. Once I get a little bit comfortable, I rest then try it at the next slightly higher elevation or I focus on say arm rotation and that elevation.

    If the thought of all of this seems difficult, challenging, reapply the very first idea.

    Focus on the problem. At each level there is going to be something that stands out as a problem. Excessive tension, discomfort, a lack of sensation, a lack of space. Whichever of these is the most apparent is the problem that you focus on solving. It doesn,t matter that there are other problems. You focus on the problem that is most apparent now so that it can be stricken off the list of things to do. It becomes a part of your experience and as a result you have just improved your ability to do wheel pose and your ability to work towards straightening your arms.

    Measuring the Signal Outputs of Your Body

    Words that google, Tim Ferris, ezoic spread around alot are testing, or micro testing. To test something you have to measure it, then compare the results.

    With the body, with your own body, you measure by feeling it. By noticing muscle activation or relaxation, connective tissue tension, even pressure (at point of contact with the floor or yourself.)

    Sensation is Equal to Information

    It's kind of ironic that one of the problems scientists have one doing experiments with the body is the placement of sensors. It's a pity they haven't got a way of tieing into the body's built in sensors.

    And that's why this website is called sensational yoga poses. It helps you, even if you aren't a scientist, to measure your own body's responses using your bodies built in sensors.

    Sensation, feeling, noticing muscle activity and tension is how you test a pose or action. And then either while it is happening or afterwards (say during a brief rest) you corraborate.

    Look back at the data to see what works and doesn,t work. Then you repeat the pose, perhaps trying something different, or if the previous experiment did work then you repeat the circumstances to build those responses in so that you can use them when those same circumstances arise again.

    Fixing Your Own Problems

    If you,ve got problems I probably can,t fix them. (I get a lot of request via my youtube channel and the comments form for just that). Ezoic needs to see my website and actually play with it to get it working optimally. And a website is a lot less complex than the body. But to help you fix them yourself I,d suggest learning to feel your body. And why not start with the areas that are giving you the problem.

    If you have hip pain look at the hips, but also look at the knees, the hips, and even the lower back and ribcage.

    If you have shoulder pain look at your scapular stabilizers, then your rotator cuff, then your ribcage, elbows wrist.

    If you have lower back pain, look at your sacrum, the thoracolumbar junction, the hips, knees, heels and feet. and look at ribcage pelvis alignment.

    The Body Craves Stability

    One thing that the body apparently craves (and so creates when it is lacking in the required places) is stability. It's like us. What do we need? A home, good health, income. All of these give us a foundation from which we can do the things that we want to do. Stability allows us to do what we want to. And the same is true with the body.

    A first step towards optimal performance in yoga and in life is creating stability.

    Beginners 1 and beginners 2 helps you to learn two different methods for creating stability. These methods help you get awareness and control of your body at the same time.

    Frictional arm and leg strength teaches you different ways to create stability across the legs or across a leg and an arm using friction. And it shows you how to create joint stability in the hips, knees and foot using pressure.

    Extreme stability focuses on foot/lower leg, hand and forearm actions for stabilizing your extremities. This can help give better hip and shoulder control.

    There are different ways of creating stability and the better you are at creating it, the more likely you are to be able to work optimally.