For those who have been through my first beginner 8 week series of Stretch Therapy you’ll be aware of the continual subtle improvements in your mind body connection and awareness. I plan to share my own experiences as i go deeper in my own in the hopes that it may help some of you in your own journey! If you haven’t yet taken a class, the next series will begin November 13th!
In the terminal waiting for my flight back to Perth I decided to do some hip limbering movements including some good hip flexor stretching.
Having spent a few minutes feeling what some different lines felt like in a lunge with my left foot up against a wall (targets rectus femoris more intensly as it crosses the hip and knee joints), i decided to try some contract/relax sequences from the Stretch Therapy method.
I should first share that quadriceps are perhaps the number one muscle group i find challenging to relax and sink deeper with.
Before i started, i chose to priortise the importance of staying as deep as possible before, during and after any C-R efforts. I had this visual come to me of being hooked up to two instruments.
The first was a tension meter that is able to determine how much muscular tension you are holding throughout the body. The second was a force plate able to measure the weight/pressure being applied at any one point.
I pictured the tension meter switched on and visuallized the number reducing as I relaxed deeply theoughout my entire body and “sunk” as far into position as i could following a few breaths. I then mentally placed the force plate under (and slightly in front off) my left bent knee.
I took a breath in and, while watching both meters, tried to gradually increase the number on the force plate WITHOUT increasing the tension meter reading by visualizing the knee dragging down and through to floor in front of me. I continued with this intent for 10 seconds before choosing to reduce the effort gradually and slowly watched both meters readings fall until the force plate was 0.0 and the tension was as low as (optimistically lower) it was before the effort started.
I found this whole experience produced a much deeper stretch sensation in the hip flexor without as much force as i would otherwise produce and with a whole new level of stillness and calm in the rest of my body.
I was shocked at how much i sunk down on my next relaxed exhale, frankly, to the point that i felt fear raise its eyebrows and halt the movement.
1. You are, and always will be, gaining new levels of depth in your connection to your own body with this practise.
2. Even when you think you are fully relaxed, you’re probabaly not.
3. Slowing down everything is so helpful to connecting to the sea of sensations just below the surface.
4. Contraction strength is less important if a true end range is not found and held. Even a millimeter.
5. Tensing other areas may in fact cause you to lose your maximum depth and reduce effectiveness overall.
6. My body is amazing and i love learning more and more about it!