Sunday, May 27, 2007

Rifga= Corrective Yoga.

I just realized what my 'rifga' stretching/yoga practice is, at it's heart. It's corrective yoga. My approach is to do the poses/stretches that open me up in the best way to get to anatomical neutral . That is my goal and that is why I stretch early and before exertion.I want to be as plumb and square as possible before I load my body. If I dont 're-open' my structure as exertion and activities tighten it back up, pain increases. A sure sign I am doing something wrong. especially when I can get the pain to diminish by getting closer to square all the time.
That was the major mistake I have made all those years of heavy training and competing. I didnt fully address my serious myofascial imbalances enough and loaded the frame way to hard for how 'bent' it was.
I have never seen any "magic" in basic yoga other than a series of poses held for varying lengths of time and focused on integrating breathing and open primal positions at the same time. Great stuff for sure but I never saw any supra physical mojo to being flexible enough to wrap both ankles around your neck. And I think that learning how to breathe, and hence relax, while working the body is the key component.
When clients ask me about taking yoga my only reluctance is to say that it is not individualized enough for most of them and would overstretch some areas and understretch others. Not good for unstable spines or joint capsules.And certainly not the best and straightest path to "neutral body".
The key is really being able to hold the poses and breathe deeply into them.Gradually increasing one's ROM and comfort zone in those positions.
I found a great calf/ankle stretch in the basic position of kneeling horse stance( a chek position) just by dorsiflexing the left ankle. to Such an incrediblly basic and simple posture but so replete with possibilities to connect to the entire body.Opening up that sides soleus while working knee flexion AND holding neutral spine connects all the dots. SO it's not just opening up the ankle but opening the ankle while manipulating the knee/hip and back angles for optimal balance as well.

This may not make sense to all but remember my left knee only bends 90 degrees and that side ankle is almost as locked as well. These are extreme restrictions but I see minor variations every day in my 'normal' clients that can very well add up to future injuries if they are not addressed early. Especially if they are going to load themselves seriously,either with weight or volume.accumulated micro trauma gets almost all,regardless whether one is weak and can't hold themselves up against gravity anymore or one is strong and pushes the limits their frame can handle in the quest for super health, fitness or performance.

So it's corrective/selective stretching/yoga for me. Just as I am 'corrective' in my approach to exercise selection that is the basis of my stretching yoga practice as well. Neutral is the goal.Not only neutral spine but neutral knee, shoulder, neck, elbow,etc.
Chek was right.


Tom Furman said...

Do the DVD. There is always room for this type of DATA.

Mark Reifkind said...

you know tom that might actually end up being what I finally DO make a dvd for. It be pretty slow watching and I aint that pretty, :))

Royce said...

No but the stuff you post is the stuff I have absolutely the least knowledge in. and in the long run probably need the most.
video video video...............

Mark Reifkind said...

I get some vid up royce. but it is slow stuff; watching my left hamstring and calf SLOWLY open up while sitting in downward dog pose for two minutes,lol.

Tom Furman said...

You could enhance the video's excitement with quick close ups of you reading the back of a cereal box.

Mark Reifkind said...

yeah that'll sell millions,lol.