Tag Archives: Massage

Systema Health Practices – Part 2

24 Aug

One of the most magical experiences for me, from Systema was in the Russian Banya. A whole Systema group of Russians in Moscow go twice a week, and Alexander (Sasha) had invited me to go along. A Russian guy was tasked with giving me a lift from the Systema school in Moscow to the banja. On the way he asked me “have you ever been to banya before?” i said “well i’ve been to a sauna” He laughed “No,no, this is not sauna, this is banya”

What is Banya?

Banya has three main parts:

1 – You go in to a very hot stone sauna and i mean very hot. You sweat it out there for a bit. 10-20 minutes typically

2 – You come out and straight away you go into a freezing cold pool (while breathing well). You dunk your head under and hold your breath on an in or out breath, while you listen to your pulse – heart beat, under water.

3 – You repeat step 1, and while you’re doing the first two rounds, Sasha has been preparing some branches of birch leaves, adding scents and soaking them in warm water. When you  go back in for the second time, you sit down, and he begins to whip you with the birch leaves; on your chest, shoulders, back and legs.

You then repeat this process 7-8 times, not always with the birch leaves, sometimes a massage and sometimes nothing, depending on how Sasha is feeling.

This is one of the best Systema classes i have ever done. If you don’t breath correctly, it is easy to get overheated, tense up and panic.

After a few rounds it gets easier and when you come out you feel extremely relaxed, both your body and mind. Usually they have some hot fruit juice or liquor which also helps!

I highly recommend anyone going to Moscow to do this.

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Systema Health Practices – Part 1

15 Aug

There are a couple of books that have been written on Systema health practices. Here i’m going to share what i consider the most important or core practices to keep your body healthy, mobile and free of tension.

Massage

Commonly called the “walking on the back” massage, the Russians have a whole series, that massages every muscle in your body in an intense way and that provides the best conditions to relax and remove large and small tensions from your body.

You can get a full description of this here: https://thomashogarth.com/2012/04/27/day-1-part-2-moscow-class-alexander-sasha/

Or if you prefer a seeing it yourself: https://thomashogarth.com/2013/05/28/ryabko-systema-massage-video-lesson-alexander-moscow-2013/

This massage is absolutely key and all of the Russian masters stress that this should be done after every class or as often as possible.

For your relaxation , health and body form, nothing beats this massage.

Breathing

Breathing is not only essential when training, but all throughout our lives, especially when we become stressed or scared. Breathing is something we can rely on, something we can go back to, when everything else is out of control. Breathing can be done by feeling, for example if you need energy you breath faster or if you want to calm your psyche you breath slower and deeper.

The main point is control. Understand and feel the power of your breath and you will have a never-ending hidden resource.

Walking

In this day and age we sit a lot more than is necessary or healthy. Sitting ruins the body’s natural form and increases tension levels in our spine and legs. Standing on the other hand is natural and walking is even better. Our bodies were made to walk, stretch and move. In this modern world we work at computers all day, sitting on a chair and when we get home, our first instinct is to sit down. If you look at places like India and China where they sit cross legged or kneel down, they have much less instance of back pain and physical body issues, even as they grow older.

Check out this interesting article on sitting: http://lifehacker.com/5879536/how-sitting-all-day-is-damaging-your-body-and-how-you-can-counteract-it

So what can you do? as the article suggests standing can often help combat the negative effects of sitting. The best thing you can do is to take a walk, Systema style, so combining breathing with your steps and consciously relaxing your body. This will work wonders for your body and your psyche. 

Read this for more tips on adding walking to your training: https://thomashogarth.com/2013/07/27/how-to-create-a-systema-workout/

Part 2 – Banja, Stomach massage, the stick and whip

Ryabko Systema Massage – Video Lesson – Alexander Moscow 2013

28 May

At each Moscow seminar each instructor shows his own interpretation and ideas of an aspect of Systema, with Michael being the main teacher.

At the end of the internal work seminar Alexander or Sasha, showed us the correct method for Systema massage. I was lucky enough to be chosen for the demonstration:

If you have any questions; comment or send me an email: thomas.hogarth@hotmail.co.uk

Systema in Moscow: Stick Massage – Video Session

20 Apr

I had an excellent time in Russia, many new things, training ideas and feelings.

Here is a taste of upcoming posts about the seminars and classes i had in Moscow with the Russian instructors:

Footage was recorded by Mitchi from Systema Japan.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uO9Mryur0WY&feature=youtu.be

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_oTeH3BGFgM

 

I recommend anyone to go to Russia and experience the stick massage, it will change your psyche and body in a big way- Guaranteed.

Go and get one or two!

 

How to Create the Warrior Feeling

24 Mar

Or Special Methods Of Russian Relaxation

When you work with the Russian masters, they give you a certain feeling, of ease, of relaxation, of softness and of confidence, which if you hold and remember that feeling, your work for some time after is changed, and you do things you couldn’t do before.

Many of us go to seminars and camps and Canada and Russia for Systema. When we get home that feeling of relaxation and power lasts for a while, but after that while has past – we usually lose some of it.

Part of the Systema knowledge is learning how to first create that feeling for yourself and secondly to pass it on to others. Of course when our skill improves- any exercise we do gives us that special combination of relaxation and power.

Here are some exercises which easily allow you to create that warrior feeling:

– Walking – starting with 1 step inhaling and 1 step exhaling and moving to to 20 plus then back down to 1, clears your mind, fills your body with power,awareness and heaviness.

– Wall Walking – you start with your legs on the wall your hands on the floor, holding yourself above the ground, then you rotate your body and climb over with your legs so your stomach is now facing upwards, continue turning like this along the wall, then go the other way, repeat for 15 mins. Afterwards, feel how your shoulder blades have dropped into place, and now you feel connected with your hands and feet.

– Rolling – 1 roll inhale, 1 roll exhale, throughout the whole movement, work up to 2, 3+ then back down to 1 roll inhale, 1 roll exhale, relaxing your whole body as much as possible, this will make your whole body full (give you awareness of your whole body as you move)

– Filling up your hands for punching – a simple exercise is walking up and down the wall with your fists, relax your body, and feel the blood go into your hands. Another simple but powerful exercise is standing facing the wall, putting your fists on the wall, the same way as you would do a pushup on the floor. In this position slightly bend your arms. Now lean off the wall, fall against it with your fists and bounce off just by tensing your hand, it should feel and look like you are bouncing back and forth away and against the wall, just by using the tension in your hand.

– Lastly of course is the famous Systema Massage . The importance of this is mentioned by Michael and the other Russian trainers. During my last visit to Russia, one of the old students of Michael said that in the old classes with Michael they would do the walking on the body massage after every class. For your continued health, relaxation and power I recommend finding a partner you can do this with.