Tag Archives: Relaxation

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.

Russia classes 2013 with Vladimir Zaikovsky

12 Jul

This time with Vladimir in Russia was (as always) extremely interesting, he gave us some new and challenging drills, involving relaxation, body control and balance:

The first drill was to relax our shoulders and connect our body. It began in a push-up position at the lowest point, almost but not quite touching the floor.
Now you stretch out one arm in front of you and slightly to the side, put it down on the floor and drag your body forward, while doing this the opposite leg curls up and climbs forward.

Now with the other hand stretching forward and out to the side slightly, now drag yourself forward and the opposite leg curls up and you push off the feet to move forward. If you’re doing it right it should feel and look like you’re swimming, using a minimum of muscle, try to just shift your weight and relax your body.

Then do the same exercise but now going backwards in this low push-up position. I’ll make a video on this as it is not easy to explain or understand in writing.

– Now go in a normal push-up position, but instead of on fists, rest yourself on your forearms and elbows, in a position which feels comfortable – where you’re not tensing yourself unnecessary – now hold.
Try to shift your weight to your legs then back to your arms and if your arms feel tired, shift the weight more to your feet. Shift your weight around your body and feel what changes inside.
Keep holding for 4-5 minutes and relax!

– Then do the same as the above drill but change position so you are laying sideways off the floor, balanced on your forearm and elbow, back straight. Now hold. While you are doing this learn how to shift your weight
to your legs, arms, and then try to make the weight 50/50, experiment while in this position, relax your psyche and body. Then switch and do the same on the opposite side.

– In a push-up position again, this time in the upward position. Stretch one arm out in front, then the other, then one leg, other leg, then opposite legs and arms, then others.
Now go down the full way in a pushup position. Now balancing on on arm, stretch your other arm directly out in front of you, hold for 10 breaths then change. In this exercise Vladimir asked us to try to do it without shifting the weight of our bodies.

The drills emphasized relaxation, balance and economy of movement. The first drill we did for 30 mins + – which was very tiring, but afterwards my body felt connected on a completely new level.

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

How to Connect the Body and Move as a Whole

17 Feb

These are some of my thoughts from this morning:

When you see Michael and the Russian instructors move, they seem to be one whole piece. Connected, together and free.

What does this mean? They have no restrictions in their body, the blood flows freely around, there are no tensions/ blockages, the “power” from the whole body is in every part of the body.

If the tension is in one part of the body, the power cannot be transferred, for example if the hip muscles are tense, then the leg cannot kick and exert power, that is one of the reasons the Russians use the whip on the lower back and buttock muscles, then the blood flows freely from the upper body to the legs and vice versa.

How do we become whole:

– Breathing Exercise; First it is not only a matter of relaxation – Push-ups  walking, rolling and exercises with breathing, will teach you to group your body together. For example you are jumping with two feet together, exhaling on the landing, when you first do this your body, arms and legs will not be joined and will flail around unconnected. When you do this for a while, you will get tired and will begin to group yourself together more.

– Massage; the normal walking massage as described here will help to remove tensions and blockages

– Sensitivity: Lay down and begin to feel your pulse in your heart region, neck, temples, then at the armpits, wrists, hands,  solar plexus, etc going down to the feet, feel where your blockages are – where there is no pulse point, then you know the areas you need to work on.

– Hard massage/Being Hit ; Let one of the Russian trainers work with you, hit and push you, Let one of the massage guys give you a stick massage. This will remove the deeper tensions which stop blood flow and block your psyche.

Enjoy 🙂

Daniil Ryabko Seminar – Veendam – Part 2

22 Nov

With the Stick
– Put stick on the floor, facing straight upwards and put both hands on top of stick, and let your legs and back relax in a wave motion and let the stick curl under you as you fall softly to a laying position, the same facing with your back to the stick
– Now one arm on the top of the stick supporting yourself, and let your body relax, then your shoulder, keep hold of the stick and fall softly onto your stomach
– Put the stick straight upwards on the floor and walk both hands down it and back up, supporting all your weight and balancing.

– Lay on the floor, place the stick near your head, (facing upwards) and walk your hands up keeping your body straight, you can curl your legs for balance and support or try it with straight legs.

– Again laying flat on your back, the stick upright, above one of your shoulders. Hold the stick with one hand, your thumb pointed down, and pull youself up in one smooth motion to a standing position

–  Holding the stick straight up on the floor, lay down in front and hold the stick in the middle with your hands and in one smooth motion pull yourself up, keeping your body straight.
– Do just enough. Equal to the amount of effort you need for these exercises, exert yourself not more and not less.

On Wall with Stick
– Put the end of the stick on the wall -straight – hold it with two hands supporting your weight with it, then you go underneath the stick , till at one point your head is looking up to the ceiling with the stick between you, keep climbing around until you come to a standing position again,
now put the stick lower, go both ways, then lower, until as low as you can. You can get really low.
Try this again with only one hand supporting yourself the full way around and then with the other hand. This is is a really fun exercise, breath and you can do it for longer 🙂
– Their were loads of other variations, experiement and create new ones

Group Stuff:

– Pushups with one arm on the floor, one arm on persons shoulder next to you, 4 people in row.

– Pushups with one arm, and with the other hand you hold the stick in the air, hands should be kept same level as go down in pushup, so stick is in the hands of all 4  people in a  row. Now change positions of people – two people facing the other two people, all holding the stick up in the air as you go down in the pushup.