This anatomy workshop teaches you to feel and control your leg muscles from your hip bones down to your toes. You'll learn to directly experience and control the anatomy of your own body.
Learn Muscle Control Principles
Muscle control isn't just a matter of turning muscles on or off. There are some basic principles that make muscle control easier and more effective. This workshop helps you to understand those principles and put them into practice.
In other workshops, the focus is on learning a muscle control technique and then practicing it in the context of various yoga poses. Here the focus is on the techniques themselves. Yoga poses aren't required. Instead, you learn to feel your body and control it while standing.
One of the main benefits of this, apart from learning a wide variety of techniques, is that you can practice these techniques nearly anywhere and at nearly anytime.
Muscle Control Benefits
Apart from giving you better awareness and control of your body, muscle control can be used to improve flexibility. It's been the root of most, if not all, of my improvements in flexibility.
It can also help with some kinds of knee, hip or foot pain..
As a for instance of dealing with conditions that cause pain, I've been using muscle control to help deal with knee and hip pain and foot pain. Bear in mind, even with muscle control, it can still take some time, and some investigation to fix problems. And it can be a frustrating journey. But that's true of anything that is worthwhile doing.
While this workshop will not show you how to deal with specific types of pain, it will give you the tools that can help you work towards fixing joint pain. (those tools being the ability to feel and control the muscles and joints of your legs).
With Muscle control, you can work towards being self-sufficient. Rather than relying on someone else to evaluate and decide what you need to do, you can learn to do all of this for yourself.
Again, this course doesn't teach you how to deal with pain or poor flexibility. It gives you the tools to work towards those goals. As well it teaches you some basic principles that may help you remedy joint or muscle pain.
(While I've had "loose knees" due to injury, I've had to wait for my knees to heal. After that, I've used muscle control to regain "pain-free" function.)
Stopping Your Thinking Mind
In some types of yoga class, the focus is on continually moving from pose to pose to help you get out of your "thinking" mind.
The focus in this workshop isn't on poses, but on feeling and controlling muscles. It's a lot like focusing on your breath. However, with breathing exercises, you focus in general on the sensations generated by your respiratory muscles. With these muscle control exercises, you can focus on any muscles to help take you out of your thinking mind.
Because you are focusing on specific muscles, you'll practice being mindful while at the same time learning to feel your body.
Some Challenges with Teaching Muscle Control
When I'm in a class I can see what works and and what doesn't for particular students and pick exercises based on what I sense. With a set of videos that's a bit difficult to do. That being said, the exercises in these videos have been organized and sequenced so that it is as easy as possible for you to learn the various muscle control exercises.
And modifications and "adjustments" are also included.
Perhaps one of the most important ideas you can learn in this workshop, apart from muscle control and proprioception, is the idea of "adjusting".
This is a lot like tuning a guitar. You don't just tighten the strings and get on with playing. You adjust each string till it sounds right and then you make further adjustments so that all strings sound right together.
Self-adjustment is can be used in muscle control to fine tune the feeling of muscle activation. It can also be used to enable muscles to activate. And like with muscle control in general, the way to get better at self-adjusting is to practice it.
Giving Yourself Room to Fail Safely
So that you can experiment with muscle control safely, the chief safety mechanism is moving slowly and smoothly.
This might seem tedious, but one of the advantages of moving slowly and smoothly, and of self-adjusting is that it forces you to become present in your body. You think less because you are focused on feeling and controlling your body.
Under these conditions, developing muscle control and proprioception can become an exercise that feels good, even meditative in nature.
Training your brain
A side-effect of these muscle control and proprioception exercises is that they train your brain. More precisely put, it improves the models or body maps that are built into your brain. By learning to feel and control "isolated" parts of the body your brain builds a better model of your body. Better yet, it creates a modular model, one whose pieces can be reused in different combinations in a variety of different activities.
Note that any new physical activity will change your brain. Learning in general trains your brain. However, these muscle control and proprioception exercises are designed to train your brain to better sense and better control the parts of your body.
This is then something that you can use in any physical activity. Learning to feel and control the parts of your body can leads to better awareness and control of your whole body.
Types of People Who Have Trouble with Muscle Control (and Proprioception)
Are there people who have difficulty learning muscle control?
The students who seem to have the most difficulty with learning muscle control are hyper-flexible or "floppy" people, students who can drop into the splits easily but can't lower into them slowly.
Ironically these are people who could benefit from it since muscle control not only makes you stronger and helps to protect joints, it also gives you the ability to feel your body. The exercises in this course are organized so that it is easy to learn to activate and muscles (and feel them) even if you are floppy.
At the other end of the spectrum are people who are really tight. Most of the exercises are done while standing upright so that most people can learn to feel and control their body even if they are "tight".
Is there any Anatomy Instruction?
This course could be thought of as teaching you to feel and control your leg anatomy. Muscles are mentioned by name but the main focus is on teaching you to feel and control your muscles. Muscle names are secondary to this. Where anatomy is talked about, layman-friendly terminology is used as much as possible. Names of muscles are mentioned, but the main focus is on actually feeling your muscles (and the bones that they attach to)
Note that the focus here is on feeling and controlling muscles of the lower body, from the hip bones down to the toes. Though because the sacrum and lumbar spine is important for some of the exercises, a brief video on spine muscle awareness and control is also included.
What is the course made up of?
The course is divided into 4 Parts. Each part is made up of a series of short videos a maximum of 5 minutes long. Each video focuses on 1 or more simple exercises.
Videos can be streamed (using the gumroad app) or downloaded. (Downloads are 1280x720 MP4 files.)
There is also a "quick guide" pdf. It includes bullet point instructions for each of the exercises.
How is the Course Taught
Exercises are taught using simple and easy to remember instructions. You can watch the video, do the exercises along with the video, then pause the video.
While the video is paused, try the exercise by yourself to make sure you understand it. If not, replay the exercise.
Once you have a grasp of the exercise, restart the video for the next exercise.
What's the Best Way to Do The Course?
It depends on your time constraints.
You could focus on watching one video a day. Watch it in the morning, then practice the exercises throughout the day whenever you have a moment to spare.
If you have a bit more time, you could possibly cover each part (there are 4 parts) in an hour. And so you could go through the whole set of videos in less than a week.
In either case, rather than rushing through the exercises, focus on feeling your body and controlling it while you do them. Move slowly and smoothly so that you improve your ability to feel your body and control it.
Note that some exercises may be a little bit challenging, so may require a bit more time. If you understand the basic instructions, then you can practice whenever you have free time.
If you are a yoga teacher or have your own yoga practice, you can play with any of the muscle activations in your yoga poses.
Note, when experimenting with muscle control in different activities, find a way to gently implement muscle control.
Muscle Control and Proprioception for the Legs is covered with a 30 day guarantee. Try it out and if you aren't satisfied, my email address is included at the back of the accompanying pdf (the Quick guide). You can also contact me using this contact form.