kenneth fish wrote:To get started - sit against a wall. Your feet should be as far apart as the outside dimension of your shoulders, and as far away from the wall as the length of one of your own feet. Lower yourself down until the bottom of your thigh is parallel to the ground. Your heels should seek the midline - as if you are pressing them against the flank of a horse. Your toes should point straight ahead, lightly grasping the ground. Your shins should lightly rotate laterally. The centerline of your kneecaps should line up with the center line of your feet, so that your knees point straight ahead. You should tense the medial portion of the thighs, as if grabbing a horse. You should relax the area where your thigh meets your hip - the inguinal region (relax the hip flexor - the iliopsoas). Do not tuck your hip under - flatten your back slightly by trying to lengthen your spine - as if you were being pulled down by your tailbone. Contract and pull inwards the area below your navel. Push up with the crown of your head.
When you can hold this posture against the wall with all of the above criteria in place for 60 seconds or more, progress to standing and counterbalancing by lightly holding on to something with one or two fingers. A door knob or door frame is good. Go a bit lower than above - now the top of your thighs should be
almost parallel to the ground - a staff placed across your thighs should not roll of. Your weight should be slightly forward of your ankles, and your knees extend beyond your toes.
Finally, progress to standing, in the low stance, back vertical, shoulders back (tense the muscles between the shoulder blades, at the same time pulling them down and back) while holding two bricks or dumbells in front of you. After this is comfortable, you can progress to the leg extended stance (pu bu).
Hi Dr. Fish,
I've been playing with this-- should the upper hamstrings and lower glutes contract, or do you want to keep those relaxed as well? Engaging the hammys more seems to make it easier to balance when off the wall and take some stress off the muscles around the knee, but maybe that's just compensating for a deficiency in quad strength or hip flexibility.