Tag Archives: Slow exercise

Slow Exercises: Leg Raises and Extensions

17 May

We finished with Leg Raises, that is rasing the legs from a flat-out, laying down position to over your head as far as you can go.

Sasha emphasized:

– Keeping your body, shoulders, and neck relaxed through the whole movement

– Using the breath to pump your legs up and not engaging the stomach muscles as much as possible.

– Stretching your legs at the end of the movement over your head

– Go as slow as possible

Repeat for 10-15 mins

Then the stretch for the stomach muscles;

This was laying on your left side, with your arm stretched under your head, knees curled up to a 90 degree angle, and right arm laying over your back, relaxing the shoulder muscle. In this position relaxing you body as much as possible with your breathing. Do for 5-10 minutes then switch sides and reverse directions.

Then we laid down on our stomachs, and then using our breath, pumped/breathed ourself up so our head and legs were raised off the floor, and our stomach was the only part touching, then slowly burst breathed ourselves down.

This is a full contraction of the spine followed by a slow relaxation of the spinal muscles.

Repeat 5-10 minutes

That was all the slow exercises, sometimes this included systema situps (with a straight back). This series of slow exercises and stretches was followed by the Systema body walking massage.

Sasha told stories about how these slow exercises make you very strong, without muscle, and how they heal past injuries in a short time. I experienced this first hand, with an old injury, a severely torn MCL ligament – after the classes i was able to do things that i havn’t done for a long time, with increased freedom, mobility and strength. These exercises are extremely powerful.

Slow Exercises: Pushups

9 May

After we had finished the squats, we went on to push ups. In these push ups Sasha pointed out that the focus was on relaxation and not to keep the back straight, but to relax it, and let it dip.

We began in push up position back, body and neck completely relaxed, the arms shoulder width apart in a comfortable position. Let the whole body weight rest on the arms. (note the arms should be on the level you punch)

Then to understand how to relax your shoulders, rotate your shoulders both backwards, forwards, and just get a feeling for the relaxation in your shoulders, you are still in upright push up position. do this for about 5 minutes, feel the blood going to your hands, and remember to continually relax your body, neck etc.

When you have the relaxed feeling in your shoulders and body, begin to puff/burst breath, and as you exhale allow the breath to pump you down, incrementally. When you get to the floor, relax your arms to the sides, and burst breath to recover. Then put your arms either side of you, push up way, keeping you back and spine relaxed, and then puff/pump breath yourself up incrementally. Repeat this for 10-15 minutes. Focus on relaxing yourself, your neck, spine, upper and lower arm muscles and try to keep the feeling of relaxation in your shoulders, as in the first part.

After repeating this for a while, you may feel some soreness. Sasha said “in this exercise we have accumulated tension in the bicep muscle and the joint connection, so now we do a stretch for it”

You lay face down on the floor, touch your hands to the front part of your collar-bone and put your body weight on them, so your forearms are under your body, your elbows are bent, and also mainly under your body. Relax your shoulders, back and arms in this position, try the burst breathing, then a long exhale for relaxation. Turn your head and repeat. Do this for 5-10 minutes, then slowly get up and stretch your arms out. Feel the relaxation and strength.

I found this slow exercise, then stretch combination awesome.

Next: The Stomach: Sit ups, Leg raises, Back Raise



Moscow HQ training – Slow Exercises: Squats

5 May

Slow exercises: Squats

Every evening class with sasha included this progression of slow exercises, followed by the massage in the previous post.

Squats – Feet shoulder width, weight on whole of foot, not only on heel or toe, wide enough minimal tension in hips, not too wide. Using burst/pump/puff breathing going down. Exhale through mouth, keep mouth closed and just push the air out let your lips open and as the exhale escapes so does the tension in your body let that pump you down, slowly. A tip : focus on the exhale, the inhale through the nose takes care of itself, very interesting..
Keep head and back straight trying to relax all of the muscles of your spine, hips and shoulders.
Repeat for 10-15 mins pumping yourself up and down with the breathing.

Alexander then said ” after these exercises tension gathers in the muscles, so after this particular exercise we stretch the thigh muscles”
1 – We all got a mat, and sat on our knees, heels under backside, relaxing our legs in that position.
2 – Then bend backwards slowly keeping you backside on your heels, until your head touches the ground or a far as you can go, puff breathing as you go down. in that position relax yourself, try a few seconds of burst breathing then one long exhale. repeat. Relax all your muscles, your thighs, back, shoulders. Stay like that for 3-5 minutes. Then pump yourself up with the breath, help yourself with your hands.
3 – Then bend foward in kneeling position so your head touches the floor, turn it one way, relax your shoulders, back and everything in that position with your breath. Stay for 2-4 mins turn your head and repeat. Then slowly come to a sitting postion stretch and shake out your legs.

– Something interesting Sasha said “The same word for life in Russian is the same word for belly, your stomach and your life are connected. Healthy stomach is important. Belly = Life. The Russian word is живот (zhivot).
i felt this – the russians made a point of eating together everyday, and ate and ate until they were full, this has interesting effects on your stomach, as when you are full your stomach relaxes, your psche relaxes, you become more cheerful and happier.

In many ways there was much more training, when i wasn’t training.

Next Pushups…

Systema Breathing and Keeping Calm Inside

11 Nov

After just coming back from mikhails seminar in berlin, i was feeling very relaxed, aware and more like my old/new systema self. (notes to follow from berlin)

This class was excellent and the only annoyance  for me is not being able to train with arend and the guys every day of the week, unfortunatley i have the 4 letter illness – at the moment (W.O.R.K) so i can only train wednesdays but it looks like i may be having fridays free from now on.

Anyways, the class started with a 5 count pushup down and up, then a 10 count down and up then a 20 count down and up, in between each you were to recover your breathing, your natural relaxed state and psche, only then move on to the next. The highest level being able to recover yourself from exertion with one breath inhale, exhale – normal. Incredible, i have a long way to go 🙂

The same then for situps and sqats, with a final leg raise exercise of holding the legs raised to the furthest point of the head for counts.

The focus was very much on breathing, which is awesome, as i find when anything is not going the way i would like, then my breathing has stopped or is blocked. Breathing is the key.

Then moving on to falling different ways and getting up with smooth, uninterupted breathing.

The drills were then about walking towards your partner along a line, and relaxing and letting your body move when you contact the person, not moving before but letting your body and breathing do the work, this was done in different ways eyes closed, backwards walking towards each other and with arm/fist out. i felt the fear building up before sometimes and continous breathing was again the key.

A nice rolling exercise was you both had to roll into each other, feel the flow and let your bodys contact and relaxing not resisting, very nice feeling, almost like roll- dancing.

Then your partner was walking in and punching you and you had to move away – breathing and continuous moving not stopping was emphasized, then faster and partner starts closer to you, until you were moving into a good position – a space where the fist was not. Moving towards the space.. Then transitioning when the feeling/positioning/timing was right into a takedown and striking.

Same drill but on the floor with the partner walking towards you.

Some personal thoughts for me: positioning, keeping calm inside,  systema distnance – close, breathing, relaxing my stomach which is the area for me where the fear/tension first comes.

Excellent class – i would recommend arends class 100% to anyone, he is a extremly skilled Systemaist and teacher.

(the drills we did in the class may be in the wrong order, slightly different and we almost certainly did do more, but i write it as i feel, what i thought and what i remember)