These free at home exercises will help you get fit and closer to being pain free.
Experience pain relief as you work bone, muscle, and chi synergistically.
Learn to use your skeleton effectively to reduce the load on your muscles and liberate postural blockages that are responsible for many of your aches and pains.

At Home Exercises

 

Moving like the machine that it is, the body is subject to the laws of mechanics: agonist-antagonist, levers, pulleys, pistons, and fulcrums. The skeletal structure is involved as much as the muscles are, but is largely ignored; we place exaggerated emphasis on muscle development. In yoga and the martial arts, muscle and bone are pushed, pulled, or held against each other, by each other. Using the mechanical structure of the body to move reduces the demand placed on the muscles.

Fluid movement results, and in areas where blocked chi has caused pain, the blockage releases; the chi energy begins to flow, and the pain dissipates. The basic movements of yoga, martial arts, and weight-resistance training take advantage of the science of mechanical movement to coax the body slowly, over time, to repair, build, and shape itself.

Preparatory Steps

Movements are complicated universes, with as many components as a symphony (the preparatory steps being the overture to the main movements). Have you ever noticed how many preparatory movements a baseball pitcher makes before actually throwing the ball? Preparing to throw the ball is the form element, while throwing the ball is the performance element.

Preparatory steps are movements themselves that, when done with deliberation, protect you from injury by positioning you correctly to execute a movement efficiently (even the most commonplace daily movement). In Iyengar yoga, active feet are preparatory to many postures. For an example of an exercise that is preparatory to tilting your neck backwards, see the second of “Four Ways of Working the Neck”.

By analyzing my own movements, I realized that for most of them, I use between eight and twelve preparatory steps, to position my body for what I am about to do, and that these steps are an important part of even the most mundane movements (getting out of a chair, picking up laundry, bending over to pet the dog). Getting into Gliding alignment is preparatory to most movements.

Get onto the Floor and Explore

After spending a few days of playing on the floor with her new granddaughter, my neighbor’s aches and pains disappeared, which I attribute to the pulling and stretching of muscles into positions that are unique to being on the floor. Spend some time with your body, moving it in ways that feel good for you, in a spontaneous and instinctive self-massage workout on the floor.

Warning!
If you suffer from a chronic condition or are recovering from a nasty injury, then returning to standing after intense work on the floor can be painful. If so, then get up slowly, allowing yourself to carefully ‘pile yourself back onto yourself’. See “Compensation”.

A protective mechanism causes the muscles that touch the hard surface of the floor to contract and so, to develop. Just think—by simply getting on the floor and playing around, you stretch and build muscle and get rid of everyday aches and pains. While on the floor, try the “Floor Exercises”. If you cannot get on the floor, get on a bed instead.

Side Work

Exercises - Side WorkSide work on the floor benefits from the same relationship between the moving upper side and a stationary but active lower side that I recommend during a swimming side stroke.

Simply holding the upper leg in place, with active underside and parallel feet, is an exercise (see photo; the toes of the upper foot could be turned inward a little more).

Active Feet, Active Underside
To make upper-side work easier and more enjoyable, engage the underside leg (straight, with active foot, side of foot in contact with the floor). The underside then becomes active and stable, gets worked, shares the load synergistically with the upper side, and guides your alignment.

Martial-Arts Kicks

Floor Exerecises - Martial-Arts KicksFloor Exerecises - Martial-Arts Kicks 2Floor work with martial-arts kicks allows you to improve your technique without the interference from gravity that comes with holding yourself up (standing). While on your side, you are already perfectly positioned for “Triangles (and Fours)”.

Abs

One powerful yet barely perceptible way of working the abdominals is to lie on your back with your knees bent, heels contacting the floor, and feet parallel. Stretch your arms away from you, reaching far in front while pushing all parts of your back (the lower back, middle back, sides of the middle back, upper back and sides of the upper back) into the floor. Search all over your back for areas that have not yet been pushed into the floor. You can give yourself this same abdominal workout while driving by pushing all the parts of your back into the car seat.

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At Home Exercises
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At Home Exercises
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These free at home exercises will help you get fit and closer to being pain free. Experience pain relief as you work bone, muscle, and chi synergistically. Learn to use your skeleton effectively to reduce the load on your muscles and liberate postural blockages that are responsible for many of your aches and pains.
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