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Flexibility / stretching question

darkstar2010-07-05 04:44:52 +0000 #1
Hi.

Ive started to do a few yoga sessions @ home with my girlfriend using well-known & reputable DVD's. my question is that we seem to launch straight into some fairly serious stretching without any kind of warm-up first?

i know from the western exercise approach any hard stretching without appropraite warm up is a big no-no, so i was wondering how / why this approach is acceptable in yoga?

any thoughts?

thanks for your time.
Chandra2010-07-05 04:48:39 +0000 #2
In the classes I teach I begin with less intensity, warming the focal muscle groups and encouraging increased sensitivity in students so that when the deeper work begins, the mind and body are both present. I cannot speak for the unnamed dvds' approach or tell you if the dvd you selected is appropriate for your level of practice. Generally speaking, however, a yoga stretch has a different approach from the standard athletic stretch in that it is static, sustained by conscious awareness and relaxation breath so that the stretch is not painful or harmful to the body. Athletes tend to stretch "dynamically", that is, with shorter, less sustained periods of time, with goal oriented intensity and occaisionally impatience or bouncing. These qualities are opposite of the surrender and relaxation, tuning in and observing which are a hallmark of a yoga stretch.

Hope this response is helpful.

Namaste,

Chandra
InnerAthlete2010-07-05 05:10:01 +0000 #3
The direct answer to your question is "it's not!".

The question you pose however begs opinion. And there's nothing wrong with opinion. But discernment means that we look more deeply than the surface of information for something more substantial. It's the difference between discernment and judgment.

But I digress.

It is appropriate, as it relates anatomically to the human being (yoga classes for reptiles might be completely different. I am not trained in it so I do not know) to warm the body first. Heat in the body should come from the inside out. Room temperature, initially, does little to provide this sort of thing unless the temperature is outrageously intense.

Again, from an anatomical perspective warming the body first. Building to more muscular (and mental) effort (assuming you are not doing restoratives), creating a peak in the curriculum, then bringing the rhythm back down toward Savasana (parasympathetic) is what is appropriate for the musculoskeletal and nervous systems.

I suspect that DVD's cater to the wants, needs, and whims of a demographic market. therefore it is not too suprising that they get right into it as their throng (not thong) would be pissy if the DVD started with some centering and warming.

Surya Namaskar, classically, is a warming sequence (not exclusively) but there are other ways to prepaare the body for asana.

Hope this helps you.

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