Stretching Scientifically & Yoga

Post questions and tips on how flexibility training fits with training for other abilities.

Stretching Scientifically & Yoga

Postby YogaSpirit » Aug 03, 2005 06:40

Hello,

I'm new to the forum. I bought Stretching Scientifically a few months ago. I read it but I had no time yet to really go into it. I first need to reorganize the information I gather from it so that my ideas can be crystal clear. As some others said, the reading is sometime complex...

My questions can be summarized in the following: what about Stretching Scientifically & Yoga ?

More precisely:

1) People spend years practising Yoga, without never reaching the level of flexibility that Stretching Scientifically seems to promise. For example, a minority of Yoga practising people can do the splits. What does this mean? If getting such a quick flexibility gain with Stretching Scientifically, how can that it takes so much longer with Yoga, the flexibility art?

2) What stretching program or specific exercises based on Stretching Scientifically would you advise for a Yoga practitioner?

I'm especially interested in forward bends both in stand up and seated positions, the ability to have my trunk lie on my knees in a complete relaxed way and with my back as straight as possible (as promoted by Yoga theories).

Sorry for my ignorance. Thanks for your input, be they simple practical tips or big theorical words.
Last edited by YogaSpirit on Aug 03, 2005 09:34, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Stretching Scientifically & Yopa

Postby dragon » Aug 03, 2005 06:56

YogaSpirit wrote:1) People spend years practising Yoga, without never reaching the level of flexibility that Stretching Scientifically seems to promise. For example, a minority of Yoga practising people can do the splits. What does this mean? If getting such a quick flexibility gain with Stretching Scientifically, how can that it takes so much longer with Yoga, the flexibility art?


The stretching method promotes strength,particularly in extreme ranges of motion.The stronger you are,the more your body(and mind) will be able to cope with.
To learn how to fully relax(like in Yoga) is harder to master than improving your strength.Human beings often need visual/physical feedback to gain in confidence and progress.It's a lot harder to know if you are progressing phychologically through relaxation alone.

YogaSpirit wrote:2) What stretching program or specific exercises based on Stretching Scientifically would you advise for a Yoga practitioner?

I'm especially interested in forward bends both in stand up and seated positions, the ability to have my trunk lie on my knees in a complete relaxed way and with my back as straight as possible (as promoted by Yoga theories).


I'm not too clued up on yoga but i understand there are different forms(some are more physical/dynamic?).I would assume the best advice is to pick stretches/exercises that best mimick/represent the stretches you need to perform in your Yoga routine.

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Re: Stretching Scientifically & Yoga

Postby Thomas Kurz » Aug 03, 2005 07:04

YogaSpirit wrote:1) People spend years practising Yoga, without never reaching the level of flexibility that Stretching Scientifically seems to promise. For example, a minority of Yoga practising people can do the splits. What does this mean? If getting such a quick flexibility gain with Stretching Scientifically, how can that it takes so much longer with Yoga, the flexibility art?


Look up Yoga in the index, find the page and read it.
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Any Yoga practioner here?

Postby YogaSpirit » Aug 03, 2005 09:20

Thanks all for your helpful replies.

Thomas: looking in the index --> that's what I did, and that's why I posted my questions. The way it is explained in the book does not enable me to draw the right conclusions.

I understand that your stretching system and Yoga way of stretching just work the opposite way. Am I right? Yours promotes strength and contraction while Yoga promotes total relaxation.

2 things:
- can I use your book to enhance my Yoga practice? If yes, how to combine it with Yoga practive: what exercices and mode of training?
- In some styles of Yoga (Iyengar, Ashtanga...), it does seem that muscle contraction is not adequate. For example, Yoga teachers keep telling you to "lift your kneecaps" by "engaging your quadriceps muscles"....

Any Yoga practitioners here that can talk about their experience and the benefits they drew from Stretching Scientifically and the way they use this training method?
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Re: Any Yoga practioner here?

Postby dragon » Aug 04, 2005 09:04

YogaSpirit wrote:I understand that your stretching system and Yoga way of stretching just work the opposite way. Am I right? Yours promotes strength and contraction while Yoga promotes total relaxation.


The rapid gains in flexibility are due to strength gains.There is a section on relaxed stretching in the book.
Even though Yoga promotes a relaxed state of mind,aren't some of the positions/poses held in a way that requires some degree of muscular tension to hold them there?The warrior pose for example has the practitioner in a forward lunge position with arms held out(one to the front,one to the rear)?This requires quad and delt strength to hold this position for long periods.


YogaSpirit wrote:- In some styles of Yoga (Iyengar, Ashtanga...), it does seem that muscle contraction is not adequate. For example, Yoga teachers keep telling you to "lift your kneecaps" by "engaging your quadriceps muscles".....


This description sounds like contracting the agonists whilst relaxing/stretching the antagonists.
This is active flexibility described in Stretching Scientifically.

YogaSpirit wrote:Any Yoga practitioners here that can talk about their experience and the benefits they drew from Stretching Scientifically and the way they use this training method?


I've never practiced Yoga myself,so everything i've said may be completely wrong.
Most members of this forum are athletes in various different sports disciplines(i assume the majority are martial artists though).
Therefore,our flexibility training is a means to an end-we use flexibility to perform better in our chosen field.This is why most of us wanted/needed the flexibility gains in the fastest,most efficient way possible.
I assume Yoga is a personal endevour that is as much about training the mind as it is training the physical.

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Postby Tim... » Sep 07, 2006 05:42

Hi.

I'm a Yogi and a Karateka and they are by no means mutually exclusive.

Let's forget about the mental side of Yoga for the moment and concentrate on the physical.

Yoga promotes balance in flexibility. It is better be equally flexible throughout the body, than have great splits and tight shoulders etc. As a result, you will see many Yogis that have good alround flexibility, but no outstanding individual stretches. This is by design.

Many martial artists have great splits and not much else, since this is what they have focussed on. This is by design. :)

As a Yogi, I use the methods advocated by Thomas Kurz to balance out my flexibility. I believe this is consistent with the spirit of Thomas Kurz work, since he advocates gaining the correct level of flexibility for your sport/lifestyle and advocates balanced strength and flexibility throughout the body.

Regarding strength and Yoga, there are many forms of Yoga, each with their own emphasis, but most Asana-based (physical) Yoga forms build strength, co-ordination, endurance and flexibility. What you have to remember, is that each posture on it's own may not seem to conform to the methods advocated by Thomas Kurz, but in combination, they come close. For example, Ashtanga Yoga uses a set sequence on movements. One posture may concentrate on quad strength, while the next promotes quad flexibility. The sum is greater than the individual parts :)

So why does it take a long time to get flexible though Yoga? It's all about intensity of effort. When you use the methods advocated by Thomas Kurz you are focussing on one specific goal, increased flexibility, and you are putting in some serious work to get there. When you take the "traditional" approach to Yoga, you are focussing on many aspects, including flexibility, so the level of effort directed at flexibility alone is lower. You can achieve the same results using both methods, but Tom will get you their alot quicker.

Regarding specific training for Yoga, my advice would be:

- Identify the areas of your body that are the least flexible and use the methods advocated by Thomas Kurz to increase the flexibility of these areas until you have balanced flexibility.

- Once you flexibility is balanced, you can use these techniques for all muscle groups to increase your flexibility in a balanced way.

What you shouldn't do is pick you best stretch and focus on it to make it even more extreme. This will only knock out your balance and screw you up in the long run.

There's nothing wrong with using science to enhance an ancient art. People don't complain about using science to help martial arts. Why not use it to help with your Yoga practice.

Cheers

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