This week we will talk about an emerging phenomena in the Digital World – it’s a Marie Kondo style of Digital Tidying up! The digital space is carefully managed by gurus of the marketing world who understand, just like those whose knowledge and talent has us buying more than planned in the supermarket, how to keep us online for longer. After hearing Cal Newport’s podcast about his 1,600 participant strong research study threw up some awareness of how this undercurrent manipulation of our screen time has some serious negative side effects on our psychological wellbeing, our physical and emotional wellbeing and of course, I would add our ability to stay present in the moment and focus what once was a brain we were able to harness before our concentration became less than that of a goldfish! Professor Newport is saying that “Focus is the new IQ” and his young life is testement to how he has harnessed his own brain power and kept away from all unnecessary things digital. Here is an good interview with him explaining the subject:
I bought and really enjoyed reading his new book on Digital Minimalism and as you know left Facebook, Instagram and Twitter as well as putting some of his other advices into practice and gained a whole lot more hours per week to video Yoga notes for you all so it has really paid off for me! I will continue to collect interesting videos in.my playlist on the subject as I believe taking on these principles first and foremost in life is the foundation of Spiritual Growth. You can follow the playlist here.
If you feel tight in the hips, it is likely that the muscles that fascilitate the rotation of the hips are most at fault and this will also affect your gait, your experience of tightness in the back and potentially affect the alignment of your knees, causing pain and as we age, a wearing away of the bone and stress on the ligaments. Please avoid excessive strain during a Somatic Class. Trying too hard will negate the good effects of the flows.
In class this week, we start with a Somatic flow enjoying some mat work which helps us to retrain our spinal twisting muscles. The first is a very relaxing warm up called a Body Yawn. Here you cross the Left leg over the right and twist to the right. The yawn part is a reach up with the left arm which helps to release tension in the low back and gives a lovely length down the side body. In particular, the Latissimus Dori is lengthen in this Somatic Flow as we are reaching up with our arms and pushing the hip away.
It also helps you to breath into your diaphragm more and stops you over breathing into the belly because you are twisted. This can be a lovely preparation for meditation or even for sleep at night as you can perform it in bed.
LINK TO BODY YAWN: 9 mins
In our IT BAND PANDICULATION we will release several muscles at play in hip tension, especially those that muscles and ligaments that show up as tight when we are internally rotating the hip. These are often a part of knee pain as well as they are putting torque on the hip!
As you can see this fibrous tract (shown in yellow in the picture) runs all the way down the outside edge of our leg and ends at the knee where it helps the knee cap stay in it’s rightful position. You’ll also notice the Gluteus Maximus (biggest of the butt muscles) attaches to the tract and this flow also helps to release tension in your Glute which is said to be the “seat” of anger!
Start lying flat and wiggle your legs in and out, taking a measure of how far inward they naturally turn. Then bend the knees up to prepare for the twist. As we twist in this movement, we have the opposite leg on the top, so we put left leg over right and twist to the left this time. Only go as far as you naturally rest. As you send your legs left, the head turns right and you can gently bring your right shoulder blade in toward your spine at this point. The Pandiculation starts when we draw the bottom knee down toward the ground with our top leg. The bottom knee resists for a couple of breaths before allowing the top leg to “win” the race. This releases the outer thigh on the right and allows the leg to internally rotate further. You will naturally move over to the inside of the right foot as your leg bone rotates inwards more deeply. Rest in this position and repeat the action twice more. You will end up much more internally rotated than you normally do in the right leg
LINK TO IT BAND PANDICULATION: 10 mins
Because we have just done such strong release to encourage our maximum internal rotation of the leg bone in the hip, we are now going to counterbalance that with a Pandiculation to externally rotate the hips further. If kneeling poses a problem, this can be done in a chair, using your elbows, instead of the floor to press against. Wait for a future video for the full explanation of this.
Start on your back to note the turn out of the hips as you lay there naturally with legs wider than hip width. This is our starting point.
Then come on to your side, then use your arms to press up on to all fours.
Widen the knees to further than hip width apart.
If you have shoulder issues, you may wish to do this on your hands, otherwise, come down on to elbows. The top half of your body can remain completely relaxed.
Now we are going to pandiculate the inner thigh muscles to release the femur to externally rotate further in the hip socket. Listen to your body, this can be an extremely strong move!
Have your ankles in line with your knees, flexed at the ankle
Squeeze the inner thighs in, pressing your knees into the floor and toward each other. Hold for 2 breaths.
Now slowly release the knees further apart. Check your feet are still flexed.
Repeat x 4. In between Pandiculation, you can rock the hips forwards and back. Avoid the feet coming toward each other.
When you have finished, lie on your back with legs a little wider than hip width and allow the feet to turn out. Notice how much further they are turned out after this hip release flow to encourage external rotation.
LINK TO KNEELING FROG: 5 MINS
The Gluteus Medius tends to be weak and under developed, which also disturbs the balance of internal and external rotation in the hips. It also affects any single leg activity because our hips are unstable and and therefore our ability to perform a squat without the knee wandering in (and putting a lot of torque on our knee! The Gluteus Medius is normally trained lying on the ground on our side with the leg we are working being lifted up toward the ceiling (to hip level). This is effective to a degree but far more effective is in standing where we move our body weight away from the working leg to create that abduction with our weight going through it.
Stand Left side on to the wall. Place your hand on the wall for support but try not to lean on it during the exercise. You will be working the Right leg. Lift your left knee to hip height and drop the hip down, like you are being lazy. Now here is the work for the outside leg Glute…
- Inhale, exhale and lift your left hip up toward the wall, hiking it up as high as you can. Can you feel the work in the standing leg which has to engage to push your other hip toward the wall?
- Now inhale, exhale and drop the left hip back down and release.
Repeat this 20 times in a slow and controlled manner
LINK TO HIPPY SHAKES
Now that you have your new found strength in the Gluteus Medius we are going to put it to the test with a few standing poses but before we do that, let’s release off the Psoas which will have got very tight during that last sequence.
We don’t want to stretch the front of the hip because we will encourage the stretch reflex. If you sit a lot, you become shortened in the front of the body and this will help with your general posture. We are sometimes told that we have to strengthen our bottom in order to release our back pain but often it is the front of the body that needs this release in order for the bottom to be realigned. Remember, this is what the Psoas looks like:
Fetch your Yoga Strap. Stand near to the wall with your hand on the wall. Strap the outside foot into the Yoga Strap. Hold the strap in the same hand as foot. This time you are allowed to use your hand on the wall for balance.
- Inhale, exhale, Lift your foot up, putting some resistance into the strap. Bring the knee to hip height and keep pressing the foot into the strap. Can you feel the front of the hip tighten up where the leg meets the body (where your big knickers go)
- Inhale, exhale and bring your awareness to the front of the hip lengthening as you release the strap slowly, bringing your leg in front of you, landing on the heel.
- Step forward on to the foot, feeling the front of the hip opening up and feeling the Glute firing up naturally a little.
LINK TO STANDING SLOW KICK
To further release the internal rotation, we need to shift some of the tension which is commonly held in the Piriformis Muscle.
This is the one that’s responsible for squashing the Sciatic Nerve so it will treat or help to prevent Sciatica. You can also see that if Glueus Medius and Minimus are tight, they are inserting into the lateral surface of the Greater Trochanter of the Femur which will pull the leg into external rotation. We are normally more externally rotated in one leg than the other and it will be these three muscles that attach to the top of the leg bone and radiate out from there that are tight over that hip. We will also release this so that you are more easily able to internally rotate.
We will be working at different angles to catch each one of them as we move. See if you can focus on which one now that you’ve seen a diagram of where they are, though you won’t be able to separate out the medius from the minimus as one is tucked under the other. Here is minimus|:
You can see however that they are all ending up at the same point on the femur.
Start by lying on your back. If you prefer, you can have a pillow under you head. Now, inspect your internal rotation on both legs by lying on your back and turning your feet in. Notice which of them is more turned in that the other and try to measure the angle in some way. Let the legs go and notice how your bottom feels…any pain or tension? Any low back pain?
Now bring the feet flat, knees bent.
- Draw right knee in toward you, but not too far in, the knee should align with the hip.
- We are going to draw the knee in toward the midline as far as possible.
- Inhale place the left hand on the outside of the right knee. Press the hand into the knee and press the outside of the knee into the hand. Feel the battle and feel your outer buttock muscles tensing with your right hand.
- Exhale and let the hand “win” but avoid pushing the leg over (it’s not a stretch)
- Repeat 3 more times, trying not to bring this into a spinal twist – keep the movement in the outside of the leg, hip and buttock.
- Lengthen only that leg away and rest for a moment.
- Now, with the same leg, bring the knee in and turn the lower leg in further so that the outside of the ankle is above the Left knee. Inhale and with the opposite hand on the outside of the knee, exhale and push against the hand.
- Inhale, Exhale and let the hand “win” without dragging with your hand, bring the leg over to the midline.
- Repeat 3 more times then lengthen only that leg away and rest for a moment.
- Now we are going to perform half a windshield wiper to finish. Widen your feet, take and inhale and drop your knee into the midline just as far as it naturally goes.
- Inhale and bring it back up by tightening your glutes.
- Repeat 3 more times.
- Rest with legs long and compare both sides. Particularly notice how flat the buttocks are to the ground.
- Now repeat all three on the other side.
LINK TO WINDSCREEN WASHER EXTRA
We will counterbalance a long practice using internal rotation with some lovely Happy Baby for Happy Hips! Enjoy the nice roll around!