Unlock Your Hip Flexors
Sit with the legs a shoulder width apart and put the hands on the thighs. Bring the ankle joint, knee joint and hip joint to 90 degree angles. Relax the shoulders, elbows, pull in the chest and contract the abdomen, close the eyes slightly and bring yourself into a quiet and relaxed state. The serious patients may sit on bed with the legs crossed. Adjust the breath consciously, adopt the natural abdominal respiration method and make the breathing deep, long, thin, smooth, stable and continuous. While exhaling, use strength to contract the abdominal muscle to make the abdominal wall sink, and move the diaphragm upward to massage the organs in the thoracic cavity. Do not hold the breath after exhaling, inhale at once, make
To experience Holding Out pattern of tension, take a Natural Stance and then shift more weight on your left foot. Your weight bearing leg will have to work harder than the other leg, developing tension in the left hip flexors, thighs and calves. With your left hip hiking up, you will have more tension in the muscles on your left side (obliques and quadratus lumborum muscle, commonly referred to as QL). Tilting of your upper body to the left will raise your right shoulder and, most likely, make your head tilt to the right. That will produce tension in the muscles on the left side of your neck (trapezius and scalenes). Some of my students wondered why tension appears on the left side of the neck while the shortened muscles are the ones on the right. My answer is very simple although there may be a sort of competition between the muscles on both sides of the neck, once the muscles on the left side have won and the head is tilted to the left, the muscles on the right side have to support...
This exploration may remind you of a popular butterfly exercise although with lengthening rather than stretching in mind. Sitting on the floor with legs bent and the soles of both touching each other, hold the feet with both hands as close to your crotch as possible. Gently apply some pressure on your inner thighs with your elbows while leaning forward and exhaling. Lower your head towards the feet keeping your back as straight as possible. Inhale when you come back up contracting the pectineus (groin muscles). You can rock back and forth like this, in synch with your breathing, until you experience letting go of any excessive tension and lengthening of the groin muscles. The main challenge is to move slowly instead of rapid and jerky motions of the legs up and down, hence the name butterfly. You will notice a significant increase in flexibility if you practice these movements mindfully on a regular basis without overdoing them.
Stretching tendon activity is a high level form of mental activity during contraction relaxation exercise. It involves more than two limbs while combining resting muscles in a single stretching, tendons are like elastics which two extremities are using force in the same time or one extremity fixed and the other using force, then suddenly exert a pulling tightly contraction relaxation movement. All limbs and resting muscles are unified to create an homogeneous entity, while maintaining angle in knee joint, hip joint, shoulder joint and elbow joint, your whole body may stretch upward, downward, leftward and rightward, always inducing in a general direction of stretching and in the same time in the opposite direction, one contraction one relaxation or one stretching one contraction in a jiggling activity, in Huangdi Nei Jing - the fundamental TCM treatise, this was called One muscles unified as one physical exercise.
More than any other posture, squatting opens the lower lumbars and thereby prevents hernia. Also it activates the latent motor force of the pelvis, opens the kua, flexes the hip joints, induces downward pressure and release of waste, gases and toxins for recycling in the ground and reactivates the colon. By the gravity pull it provokes, it stirs the earth Chi current to move and bounce upward to the perineum, to awaken the spinal fluids in the sacrum, open and elongate the spine, rebalance vertebrae and ease the Chi current upward to the crown and the crystal room.
At this point, it is necessary to understand some basic concepts such as line of gravity and center of gravity as they relate to our bodies' structures. The line of gravity, viewed laterally (Fig.5.1), anteriorly and posteriorly, falls from above downward through the earlobe, slightly behind the mastoral process (or the attachment of muscles behind the ear of the temporal bone, the bone located at the side of the head which contains the organ of hearing), through the odontoral process (a toothlike projection from the body of the axis or second vertebra of the neck upon which the first cervical vertebra rotates), through the middle of the shoulder joint, touches the midpoint of the frontal borders of T-2 and T-12, then falls just slightly outside to the sacrum, slightly behind the axis, or support, of the hip joint, slightly behind to the patella (or kneecap), crosses in front to the middle malleolus (the hammer-shaped bone on each side of the ankle) and through the outer bone of the...
This meridian is somewhat more elaborate, starting at the third toe and sometimes the second and fourth, too. The meridian runs up the lower surface of the foot to about the level of the ankle. From there it splits into two branches. One goes up the middle of the lower leg to the outerside of the knee. The other, running laterally to the first, continues to the hip joint and then up over the ilial crest (upper part of the pelvis) to continue on around to the back where it crosses the lower ribs and joins with an extension of the meridian that runs along the backbone from the sacrum to about the level of the collar bone. Returning to the more medially located branch, we see that it continues up to the top of the thigh and veers in towards the pubic bone. There it enters the abdomen and emerges again above the cavity of the collar bone. Next, it travels up the side of the neck and jaw, where it splits in two. One branch veers forward towards the corner of the mouth, ascending up along...
It is very important that you synchronize these three movements. When you do this you will feel the Chi pressure increasing and generated in the lower abdomen, in this part of the Tan Tien and in the palms of your hands. The kua and the hip joints will open more due to this Chi pressure. Fig. 5.19 Rabbit Posture opens the kua and hip joints. Fig. 5.19 Rabbit Posture opens the kua and hip joints.
The surrounding internal layer unites with the deepest portion of the thoraco-lumbar fasciae, the pelvic fasciae and the fasciae of the diaphragm and are commonly referred to as the transversalis fasciae. These cover the external surface of the abdominal cavity wall, the lumbar vertebra bodies and the psoas major muscle.
Experiment with standing on the left foot and rotating the right leg bent at the knee clockwise (outwards) in a circular manner in front of you. Allow your leg to hang loose and free of any muscular tension to experience the full range of movement in your hip joint. If you choose to speed up, you may find that centrifugal force of the leg rotation will cause the foot to rise up to the level of the knee. After a few revolutions, alternate the legs and explore the same type of movement on the other side.
As with the previous exercise, you may opt to conduct this exploration on the floor. Sitting on the floor, bend your right leg in front of your body with the left leg fully extended behind you. Position the right foot so that it extends slightly to the left of your left hip. Begin by contracting your gluteus and periformis (the hip extensor beneath the gluteus) as you inhale and relaxing as you exhale. Then explore the flexibility of your hips by bending forward in the hip socket and rocking from side to side imagining your breath flowing through the right hip joint. You may also experiment with the left hip flexors by angling your upper body as straight upwards as you can and moving it up and down a few times. Before you alternate the legs, notice if there is any difference in flexibility between the two sides. If so, give some extra attention to the side that holds more tension.
Lie on the back and lift the legs high into the air, bend and stretch the hipjoint and knees in turn as if riding a bicycle (Fig. 93-1) dozens of times. Rest for a while. Then stretch the legs straight. Raise one leg at an angle of about 45 degrees with an abduction of about 20 degrees. Taking the hip joint as the axis, move the leg in a circle from small to large (Fig. 93-2). Repeat 10 to 50 times.
If you feel adventurous enough, you may experiment with another, more challenging exploration of the flexibility of your thighs and hip flexors, which include rectus femoris, ilio-psoas and sartorius. Kneel on the floor keeping about one foot distance both between your knees and feet, so that you can fit your hips between the feet. Reach for the floor behind you and start walking your hands backward, tilting your torso as far back as you can. Initially, go only as far as you feel appropriate. As your flexibility increases, you may find you are able to lay your back flat on the floor behind you. Continue to breathe naturally throughout your explorations.
Squatting will also help to open the kua especially the sacrum and the hip joints. Squatting is a powerful and effective way to open the kua and the sacrum. For many people in the world it is still common to sit, talk, eat, empty their bowels, giving birth, meditate relax and restore the energy flow in this squatting position.
Line up the shoulders, joining the scapulae with the spine by rounding the scapulae and sinking the chest. Connect through the hip joints down to the knee and ankle joints. To connect the shoulder joints with the spine, you need to round the scapulae and sink the chest so that the force can be transferred from the shoulders to the scapulae. Then, push the neck straight and the T-11 out. Keep the sacrum straight without moving the hips, until you feel the spine as a flexed bow full of strength. All becomes one line. When the groin area is open, the hip joints will join with the knees, the feet, and all will join down with the ground. Feel the Chi Belt, belting the waist and joining the entire structure together.
Explore how far you can put your feet apart as if you are going to perform a side split. Discover whether you can bend forward and allow your elbows to reach the floor by walking your right hand to the left and your left hand to the right past each other. You can tense up and relax the adductors and gracilis, the muscles of your inner thighs, while imagining that you can breathe through those muscles. In order to explore the flexibility of these muscles, rock back and forth shifting the weight from the heels to the elbows and back to the heels in synch with your breath. This part of your body may be particularly resistant to stretching, so please exercise caution while experimenting with the splits. You will enjoy most improvement if you maintain keen awareness of the limitations of your comfort zone and take time to allow the muscles to let go of habitual tension.
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