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About mffirelog

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    The ones requiring flexibility
  1. I'm hoping some of you can shed some light on what the hell is going on with me (and maybe you?) in a couple of poses. Specifically, child's pose and reclined cobbler's pose. We all know in child's pose your butt is supposed to reach your heels, or at least get as close as possible. I've read many times people complaining that because they have tight hips, they can't reach their heels, and thus the pose is not relaxing at all, but hard work and maybe even painful. Namaslay tackles this exact issue by advising a rolled up blanket for support. I get that. The thing is, I also have (extremely) tight hips, and my butt doesn't reach my heels... but in my child's pose there's no work, and there's no pain. It's still totally relaxing. My butt goes back until it hits its limit, and it rests there. It feels as stretch-free and pain-free as if it really was on my butt. It feels like there's a blanket there. It feels like sitting down. This isn't a complaint at all, but I'm wondering why something that causes pain or intense stretching to other people doesn't bother me in the least. The same thing happens in reclined cobbler's pose. The knees open wide, they reach their limit, and then they're fine. Yeah I could make them stretch by pushing down, but I didn't think that's what the stretch was going for. I've done it in Yin class and the instructor has us there for several minutes. She wants it to be as relaxing as possible. Every time, she offers the same advice I see online - put blocks under your knees for support if the stretch is too intense. Too intense? I don't feel a thing. And that's not because I'm so flexible. Plus, what tiny amount of pull gravity alone provides would be erased with a block. Wouldn't that defeat the purpose? What's going on? I feel like my body has a few internal shelves it can rest things on that other people don't have. Thanks for any insight.
  2. Thanks for the advice! I should have mentioned this before, but I have tried yin. About 10-12 yin classes, and a couple of hatha classes too. I enjoy them more than flow, which I attend someplace else once a week. My groupon for the place that has yin expired, but I'm working on finding another place. I "understand" everything you're saying about focusing on the less tangible things, like Am I enjoying it more, and Does it feel better. I guess the problem is that even though I understand it, I don't feel it. That's probably partly because I'm the kind of guy that likes things to be clear-cut instead of hazy, and partly because I'm not good at... well it's hard to describe, but I'm talking about not being able to feel/know my own body. I can give some examples: if I can't see a body part (like I've got a leg up in the air behind me or something), I don't know where it is or what it's doing, so I have to look to make sure it's not way off. In table top, I can never tell if my shoulders are over my hands, and my hips over my knees, because I don't have the angle to see, and I can't feel it. And that's just the outside - once we start talking about diaphragms, I'm really lost. If my body is making subtle, invisible improvements, like my back is a little less tight in a certain position, there's a good chance I won't know about it. So the binary stuff is what I can use - Am I able to reach farther, Is this leg getting closer to the ground, etc. The kind of stuff you could see in photographs. I've been using firelog pose as a measuring stick, to track the openness of my hips. In Namaslay it says, "if your hips are extremely tight, you might find your knee doesn't seem to want to touch your ankle." My knee isn't just hovering an inch above my ankle, it's like a foot away. Through all the hip openers I've done over the last 6+ months, it's in the same spot it's always been. The advice is, "Don't force it, just take a few deep breaths, and it will come down in time." But what's the advice when it doesn't? Or is it just that some people can do it in 30 days, and for others it's many years?
  3. Hey everyone. I'm looking for some opinions about how long I can expect before I see progress. I've scoured the internet for this answer and come up empty, so I'm hoping you can help. My question is about yoga, but more specifically my lack of flexibility, which is holding me back in yoga. There are very few yoga poses I can do without significant modifications. The ones I can do (plank is the only one that comes to mind) require no flexibility. I guess I'll take it from the top. Before I started yoga, I tried to do some research to figure out roughly how long it might take before I noticed improvement. Improvement in flexibility, or ability to fit into poses, become whatever is after "beginner," whatever. I found nothing, except a bunch of predictable answers along the lines of, "Every new person wants to know that, but it's impossible to answer because everyone's different, and it's about the journey and the present anyway, and a watched pot never boils, so don't even ask, and live in the now!" To be clear, I'm sure that's true. But it just doesn't help me. For whatever reason, because of my disposition, and probably because I'm not very receptive to the mentally enlightening side of yoga, I can't just accept, "Well, I'll just do this indefinitely and not worry about if it's doing anything." Frankly, I don't know how everyone else does accept that. So I took my first class about 9 months ago thanks to a free pass to a gym, then took weekly free classes at a community center. After going once a week for a couple months, I realized I wasn't going anywhere at that rate, and needed to put in work at home if I ever wanted to see any changes. I also learned that studio classes are temporarily affordable after all if you can find a good enough groupon, so for the last 6-7 months I've been doing 1-2 classes per week, plus stretching and doing yoga-like stuff at home (just a few poses, without any thought to sequencing) 3-4 additional times per week. The problem is I don't think I'm getting any better. I admit I haven't been 100% consistent, partly due to a couple of minor injuries that popped up, but still -- I haven't had any major lapses, and I went from never ever doing this stuff to doing it multiple times per week, so it seems like I should have something to show for it. And what numbers I have been able to track down online suggest I should be experiencing significant progress by now. A little about me: I'm in my early 30s, male, decent shape and somewhat athletic/active. I played sports growing up so always did lots of stretching. I thought I was good at at least the basic stretches I did as a kid and teenager, but I'm learning that's not the case. I didn't even know it was possible to stretch "hips" before, but now I know I've got beyond "extremely tight" hips that keep me from doing most poses, including very basic ones. I have improved in some aspects. I'm more willing to be in the front of the class than I was when I first started. I know more of the poses by their (English) names now, so I don't spend as much time craning my neck to copy someone else. And I do experience short-term improvements; I'm more flexible at the end of a stretching session than I was at the beginning. It just seems like my body isn't making any long-term progress. I guess it's possible that I'm doing them wrong, but I don't think that's it. I know how to stretch. And I've been to enough classes with many different teachers, I'm sure someone would have said something by now if I was doing everything wrong. I have a lot of pose-specific, muscle-specific questions, but the ones bothering me most are the bigger ones: do some people just not get flexible? Am I just in such bad shape to start with that it's taking me extra long to gain flexibility? My goals aren't lofty. They're stuff like sitting in easy pose without props, or being able to lie with "catcus arms" that actually touch the ground. But at some point, maybe at the 1 year mark, I may have to give up, because I can't just do this forever if it's not making any difference. Thanks for reading that essay. I appreciate any thoughts!