Here there be dragons...

"I'm telling you stories. Trust me." - Winterson

I see a long hot bath with a ton of epsom salts in my future ;)

So the free week of Ninja Warrior / Yogi Flight School classes has come to an end.   Although apparently they'll continue to provide feedback for another week, so if I manage to Stack my Shit anywhere in that week I will take advantage of that.

Day 2 was Wed and the focus was headstands.  I watched the video to see if there was any good learning (spoiler alert - there was!  But far too much of a visual aid required to translate to text - had to do with a cue for how to engage your core upside-down), but I actively don't want to stand on my head so I just did a normal workout to replace that day in my week.

Day 3 was on Friday, which I tried today, and was the one I'd been waiting for - handstands.  It was super useful because it helped me solidify some concepts which I've heard before in my adventure but hadn't yet fully grasped.  Some reason I used to both go to riding clinics (even when I had awesome coaches at home) AND encouraged my students to do the same thing.   Sometimes it's a different phrase, expression, approach - whatever - that makes the light go on.   And then you go home and do the hard work :)

So nothing really new here - less focus on strength and flexibility, although I am *completely* toasted rn, so obviously still required.   But they just acknowledge that if you don't have it, it will be harder for you (and you prob won't be straight, but conceptually can balance upside down), and move on.   

Their philosophy is the warmup should get the body ready for the movement you're trying to do.  While this is not stated in Karin's course (that I've been taking), certainly all of her w/u exercises are relevant in exactly the same way so not life changing.   Except for two things - one, when I'm NOT following the program and just do my own warmup, I'd never even considered that.   And two, this one called out which w/u exercises were *also* relevant to the modifications.   THIS was key for me.   

In particular - we were doing hollow body hold (those who know...) and w/ one knee bent I can do it solidly (aka back firmly attached to the floor and straight leg hovering just above the ground), with both legs straight I'm not even close.  And never have been able to.  Last summer, through Karin's program, is the closest I've ever come to having the lower-back strength to have both legs straight and low with back connected (Squirrel note: to be fair, I'm 90% sure that program fixed it NOT through repetition of this exercise but through the flip-side which she calls body-line hold but when I google that I get a million things so not sure what it really is.  It worked though ;).

Now... to execute what I've learned ;)

Back to our story -- the in-person clinician before xmas of course also had hollow body hold in his warmup, as has every other pilates class ever, and he came around and checked that everyone could get their back connected which is pretty standard.   But with both him and the online program, I took it as a strength building exercise.  Super useful, super brutal, but somehow my little brain didn't make the connection to mirroring the handstand (because - well - NOTHING is straight lol).   But in today's workout, it introduced the modification (again standard) of bringing one knee to the chest.   Which I can do.  Cool.   And then the line that turned on the light - "you're now in the position you'll need to be in for X modification when you're upside down".

Because it showed me how easily, lying on the floor, I could correctly perform the movement for one of the modifications (one knee bent) that I CANNOT do with both legs straight. But since I mentally filed it under "building core strength", I never clued it that the fact that I can do it w one knee bent means I'll be potentially able to engage that same part if one knee is bent when I'm upside down.    

Not that you can't do a handstand w/o - just that it will likely have a fairly dramatic banana bend to it ;) 

So yeah, that was key.   There was also "the wall is lava" lol - point being, once you can kick up, the wall is only for strength building.   Move a bit further off the wall and kick up, but if you touch the wall, you fail ;).   Honestly, I'd figured this out ages ago, but I just loved the idea of turning it into a kids game - made it way more entertaining.  They also suggested trying this one with a split stance, which was new to me so I gave it a go.

The wall is lava!

And then lastly was the feedback from when I sent them my video for coaching from my free-standing handstand (with said bent knee), in the middle of the room.   "...squeeze the glutes to stabilize the hips.  Your hips opened to the left side and that's why you needed to bail out."  I, wait, what???  lol. If it had ever occurred to me to consider it, I would've figured my hips opened *because* I was bailing.  But she's absolutely right, at that point I wasn't focused on squeezing my glutes (which 100% requires attention, but so does pushing away from the floor, and engaging the core, so since you start bottom up, I have to just keep cycling through them.  Lol in some videos you can actively see when my mental focus shifts).   And when I looked at the video *many* times after it's obvious once a pro has clearly identified it for me ;-P

Alas I was exhausted by then so will have to wait a day or three before I try that again.   That pinpoint accuracy though is super useful.   If I'd shown up to the live instead of watching the replay, that's what they do in the breakout rooms.  And what the clinic I went to before xmas in-person did as well.

So the adventure continues.  I'm hoping to get at least one more coaching feedback set in, so we'll see.   Right now though my body is on strike.  lol, happy, but on strike.  If I get off the couch there might be consequences that I can't risk.   


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