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How long do you hold your positions?

keepitlow2010-07-04 10:28:46 +0000 #1
How long do you hold your positions?

(Generally speaking)
wendy2010-07-04 10:32:36 +0000 #2
Great question! I've been going between 20 seconds and a minute or longer, depending on what my goal is with that particular pose.

Good summary on stretching here:

and this is what it says under "duration":

"One thing many people seem to disagree about is how long to hold a passive stretch in its position. Various sources seem to suggest that they should be held for as little as 10 seconds to as long as a full minute (or even several minutes). The truth is that no one really seems to know for sure. According to HFLTA there exists some controversy over how long a stretch should be held. Many researchers recommend 30-60 seconds. For the hamstrings, research suggests that 15 seconds may be sufficient, but it is not yet known whether 15 seconds is sufficient for any other muscle group.

A good common ground seems to be about 20 seconds. Children, and people whose bones are still growing, do not need to hold a passive stretch this long (and, in fact, Kurz strongly discourages it). Holding the stretch for about 7-10 seconds should be sufficient for this younger group of people.

A number of people like to count (either out loud or to themselves) while they stretch. While counting during a stretch is not, by itself, particularly important ... what is important is the setting of a definite goal for each stretching exercise performed. Counting during a stretch helps many people achieve this goal.

Many sources also suggest that passive stretches should be performed in sets of 2-5 repetitions with a 15-30 second rest in between each stretch."

I started wondering about it after reading Mukunda's "Structural Yoga Therapy", where he states "Scientific research has also discovered that this type of stretching, characterized by low force yet long duration, produces a plastic or permanent deformation in the muscle tissue. The opposite type of stretching, with high force and short duration, was shown by the same researchers to produce elastic or recoverable deformation in muscle tissue."

I'm not sure I like the sound of "permanent deformation in the muscle tissue".

Hopefully the experienced ones here will post their thoughts on this subject.
Hubert2010-07-04 11:07:31 +0000 #3
Mukunda classified disciples into beginner, intermediate and advanced, baced on for how many breaths they can keep a posture before they start to tremble or lose their balance.

The stages are: 3 breaths, 6 breaths, 12 breaths, as I remember, check his site.

Surley, breathing (or not breathing) in a posture is part of the posture itself.
xela2010-07-04 11:35:21 +0000 #4
Well, when I practice ashtanga, it's five deep breaths per posture. When I practice vinyasa I usually bump it up a bit and I also have taken a few forrest classes where they hold postures for what seems like a very long time, but I've never actually timed it.
tommyd2010-07-04 11:37:22 +0000 #5
great ? ~ something i have wanted to ask for quite some time.

looks like theres no 1 answer.

thats y i love me some yoga : )
siva2010-07-04 11:10:37 +0000 #6
Hello Everyone,

When practicing asanas, count your breaths. Learn how many you can do comfortably for each asana and try to do at least the same number each time, adding breaths, two or three at a time, as you progress.

Happy Holidays,

victw2010-07-04 11:41:11 +0000 #7
Why do you hold the postures?

Do you hold all postures?

Willem2010-07-04 11:01:03 +0000 #8
The question on how long to hold a pose is a very good one. In the past I have looked for answers in the literature on stretching and have found answers like 20 seconds and do 3 repetitions. This may be valid.

However, from the viewpoint of classical yoga, it is more appropriate to hold poses for as long as you can be both steady and comfortable (II-46) . Your body and breath should not suffer from restlessness and it should be possible to remain aware (II-47).

In the words of Mukunda Stiles: <<Hold the pose as long as your body is still opening. Once the limit of openness has been attained, several changes take place. Your spine will begin to shorten, your breath will lose its fullness and your mind will no longer be held on one point of awareness.>>

In other words, the answer to the question depends on your inner experience of the pose - body, breath and mind. Not so much on criteria like seconds, repetitions and any objective that one's ego-I may have.
Hubert2010-07-04 14:03:46 +0000 #9
If the aim is the mobility gain, than it is called stretching, if the aim is increasing stability, and tonus, correcting posture, gaining strenght, than it is Pilates, if if all is done togheter with breathing and increased awarness towards prana flow, than it might be called hatha-yoga.

Holding a pose is done so the higher ascpects can be experienced. Try vajrasana or garudasana and compare your focus with any task needing some, before and after.

Higher stages of meditation require superhuman qualities from the mind. But this is just an example ... all aspects of human soul life must and will be enhanced by a well guided asana practice.
Techne2010-07-04 11:29:41 +0000 #10
Wendy -- I'd be willing to bet a 5 minute backrub that in the phrases 'plastic deformation' and 'elastic deformation', the 'deformation' is the change in muscle tissue that you want to obtain. My runner father-in-law (if he stretches at all) will bounce against his stretch to jerk his muscles into a bit of length. He doesn't mind that this length will go away after a short period of time -- in fact, he's said that running competitively requires short tight muscles, and anything that lengthens them will diminish performance on the track. (mind you, he's injured himself with sufficient frequency to demonstrate the riskiness of this conviction.)

(PS - if anyone takes me up on the bet, the loser gives the person of his/her choice a 5-minute backrub, putting the goodness of the backrub into the universe at large.)
siva2010-07-04 15:09:58 +0000 #11

Originally Posted by victw

Why do you hold the postures? Do you hold all postures? Vic

Though the benefits gained from holding postures is quite lengthy, it's the holding steady that makes it a "posture" or asana: static pose.

Because we are alternating, breathing beings, we swing like pendulums from one "static" state to the next in a constant rhythm, or "dynamic." This is life. Breathing and movement are only transitions from one static state to the next, the position and timing of each determining both the strength and direction of each next movement or breath. Without strength in the static state, the dynamic will likewise be weak and misdirected. We hold postures to unify both the static and dynamic in a state of "balance," which makes for a harmonious life.


sacral2010-07-04 14:06:49 +0000 #12
it depends... how much than my mind can take...

2..until 5 minutes in the same positions its enough i guess...

you have to decide how many time you feel better in that position.



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