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  #1  
Old 02-14-2015
Tom Pamperin Tom Pamperin is offline
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Tom Pamperin
Default Yoga and Head/Spine Position

I noticed something interesting the past couple of days. I have been doing a 30-minute yoga session every day (very simple beginner stuff) for 3 months or so. That has made me much more aware of posture and spinal alignment. Two days ago I noticed that my head tends to fall forward (poor posture), putting my neck out of alignment. For the next couple of days I walked around very aware of that, and consciously adjusting my head position all day long, checking it frequently by backing against a wall. Turns out I can hold my head in the correct position now that I'm aware of it--the secret for me is to feel as if my face is being pushed directly backward, which also lifts my upper chest as well. Much better posture overall, and a feeling of lightness and mobility.

When I swam yesterday, I noticed that I was staring STRAIGHT DOWN at the bottom of the pool, which brought a new effortlessness to my body position. I guess a bit of "forward looking" had snuck into my head position. When I changed back to looking straight down, there was a noticeable improvement in balance, resulting in a noticeable easing of effort. I also found that it greatly reduced my tendency to lift my head slightly when breathing, even when swimming long (for me--400m) repeats, which is when head lift tends to sneak in for me.

Has anyone else noticed this kind of thing with keeping a strict, look straight down head position? If not, it might be worth experimenting with.

I didn't really make a conscious decision, but I suspect my yoga practice gave me the awareness necessary to adjust my swimming. It's very encouraging to see my capacity for awareness pay off so quickly--a reminder, maybe, that if we pay attention (to everything!), we will be awarded by having new avenues for improvement open.

And I completely recommend a simple yoga routine if you haven't tried it--seems like a perfect complement to TI.
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  #2  
Old 02-14-2015
Danny Danny is offline
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Tom, I think that spinal posture and head alignment are very important and most of us sit and slouch so much during the day that we need to work on correcting these things. I expect that yoga is one good way to do this, but there are others as well.

One of the things I started doing that brought about a fundamental change in my posture is crawling. There is a paperback book called "Original Strength" by Tim Anderson and Geoff Neupert that describes how to do this. Among the different types of crawling they describe is something called the "Spiderman crawl" This requires a lot of strength and you get tired pretty quickly, but it also has the advantage that, with all the effort, you get very strong sensory input about what is right and wrong, and strong sensory input helps me to master the feeling. What I like about these exercises is that they train you, not only in the correct spine and head alignment, but also in the correct timing of your shoulder and hip rotation to move efficiently. This also seems like a big help in swimming.

Good luck!
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  #3  
Old 02-15-2015
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CoachStuartMcDougal CoachStuartMcDougal is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom Pamperin View Post
When I swam yesterday, I noticed that I was staring STRAIGHT DOWN at the bottom of the pool, which brought a new effortlessness to my body position. I guess a bit of "forward looking" had snuck into my head position. When I changed back to looking straight down, there was a noticeable improvement in balance, resulting in a noticeable easing of effort. I also found that it greatly reduced my tendency to lift my head slightly when breathing, even when swimming long (for me--400m) repeats, which is when head lift tends to sneak in for me.
Hi Tom,

I've had a few students that came to me that were already deep into yoga. They referred to the superman position, relaxing into weightlessness, especially when I adjusted head position in line with spine (goggles down) as an aquatic version of Asana. When they made that connection, they no longer required readjustment. This demonstrates becoming aware of body position(s) on land can easily translate to a horizontal position in the water once that connection has been made. Any time I get a new student that has a yoga background I call Superman the "Aquatic Asana". Yoga is becoming more and more popular and proving to be beneficial, improving core awareness (and strength), and refining balance in all sports.

Here's a video demonstrating what you experienced with goggles down (hanging the head, the Aquatic Asana) that may be helpful too: SwimVICE with Coach Mandy - Head Position

Happy Laps and Aquatic Asana!

Stuart
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  #4  
Old 02-15-2015
Tom Pamperin Tom Pamperin is offline
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Thanks for the comments--it's really interesting how a relatively long preparation (i.e. 3 months of basic yoga) can suddenly pay off. I feel like overnight I've tapped into a new level of awareness, but I'm sure the "overnight" would not have happened without the 3 months of practice.

I've also found some of Coach David Shen's posts on posture and will be exploring these, too:

http://totalimmersion.net/blog/postu...ions-swimming/
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  #5  
Old 04-02-2015
s.sciame s.sciame is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Danny View Post

One of the things I started doing that brought about a fundamental change in my posture is crawling. There is a paperback book called "Original Strength" by Tim Anderson and Geoff Neupert that describes how to do this. Among the different types of crawling they describe is something called the "Spiderman crawl" This requires a lot of strength and you get tired pretty quickly, but it also has the advantage that, with all the effort, you get very strong sensory input about what is right and wrong, and strong sensory input helps me to master the feeling. What I like about these exercises is that they train you, not only in the correct spine and head alignment, but also in the correct timing of your shoulder and hip rotation to move efficiently. This also seems like a big help in swimming.

Good luck!
Hi Danny, I briefly googled this crawling thing and it seems interesting: how long are you practicing it? Is it really as effective as they claim (instant postural improvements)? What fascinates me is this child movements imitation, which is often seen in yoga as well. Moreover I read that this guy did a spiderman crawl for 1 mile: I don't know how tough it is, the first thing that comes to my mind is that it could be embarrassing to do it in a public place, since most of people don't know what you are actually doing and why :)

Regards,
Salvo
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  #6  
Old 04-02-2015
Danny Danny is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by s.sciame View Post
Hi Danny, I briefly googled this crawling thing and it seems interesting: how long are you practicing it? Is it really as effective as they claim (instant postural improvements)? What fascinates me is this child movements imitation, which is often seen in yoga as well. Moreover I read that this guy did a spiderman crawl for 1 mile: I don't know how tough it is, the first thing that comes to my mind is that it could be embarrassing to do it in a public place, since most of people don't know what you are actually doing and why :)

Regards,
Salvo
I have to say that none of this stuff is a silver bullet, but they are all pieces of a puzzle and I am still working on them. I have been crawling on the floor since last September (with brief breaks to eat, sleep, bathe, work and socialize with other people). I am lucky because I have a large living room to crawl in and it has a thick rug, which is easy on the knees. If you have only a thin rug, this will get tough. I have thought about knee pads in such situations but haven't tried them, because I don't need to.

The spiderman crawl is much more exertion. I am good for about 30 strokes of this before I get tired, but the advantage is that you are crawling on your feet, not your knees. By the way, there is a YouTube video of the 1 mile crawl, so you can watch it if you want.

When you stop doing either of these exercises and stand up, your immediate impression is that your posture is much straighter but without any effort and most people find this feeling exhilarating. But that feeling fades after a while. I think the drills are helpful in two different ways. First they may strengthen some of the core muscles you need for good posture and they may help train your nervous system to coordinate upper and lower body. Second, they help make you aware of body position so that you can start to sense some of these things better in other situations, for example, swimming.
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  #7  
Old 04-03-2015
tomoy tomoy is offline
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This sounded familiar. Absolutely an important piece of the puzzle... some previous discussings:

http://totalimmersion.net/forum/showthread.php?t=7567
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  #8  
Old 04-03-2015
s.sciame s.sciame is offline
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s.sciame
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Danny View Post
I have to say that none of this stuff is a silver bullet, but they are all pieces of a puzzle and I am still working on them. I have been crawling on the floor since last September (with brief breaks to eat, sleep, bathe, work and socialize with other people). I am lucky because I have a large living room to crawl in and it has a thick rug, which is easy on the knees. If you have only a thin rug, this will get tough. I have thought about knee pads in such situations but haven't tried them, because I don't need to.

The spiderman crawl is much more exertion. I am good for about 30 strokes of this before I get tired, but the advantage is that you are crawling on your feet, not your knees. By the way, there is a YouTube video of the 1 mile crawl, so you can watch it if you want.

When you stop doing either of these exercises and stand up, your immediate impression is that your posture is much straighter but without any effort and most people find this feeling exhilarating. But that feeling fades after a while. I think the drills are helpful in two different ways. First they may strengthen some of the core muscles you need for good posture and they may help train your nervous system to coordinate upper and lower body. Second, they help make you aware of body position so that you can start to sense some of these things better in other situations, for example, swimming.
Thanks Danny for the sharing.

Well, I don't know whether it's because of the soundtrack, or because it reminds me to childhood and playing Spiderman, or just because it seems crazy enough, but I like this video soo much and I want to do it one day!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x0DtQ-YBnK4

Thanks again,
Salvo
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  #9  
Old 10-13-2016
Begather Begather is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom Pamperin View Post
I noticed something interesting the past couple of days. I have been doing a 30-minute yoga session every day (very simple beginner stuff) for 3 months or so. That has made me much more aware of posture and spinal alignment. Two days ago I noticed that my head tends to fall forward (poor posture), putting my neck out of alignment. For the next couple of days I walked around very aware of that, and consciously adjusting my head position all day long, checking it frequently by backing against a wall. Turns out I can hold my head in the correct position now that I'm aware of it--the secret for me is to feel as if my face is being pushed directly backward, which also lifts my upper chest as well. Much better posture overall, and a feeling of lightness and mobility.

When I swam yesterday, I noticed that I was staring STRAIGHT DOWN at the bottom of the pool, which brought a new effortlessness to my body position. I guess a bit of "forward looking" had snuck into my head position. When I changed back to looking straight down, there was a noticeable improvement in balance, resulting in a noticeable easing of effort. I also found that it greatly reduced my tendency to lift my head slightly when breathing, even when swimming long (for me--400m) repeats, which is when head lift tends to sneak in for me.

Has anyone else noticed this kind of thing with keeping a strict, look straight down head position? If not, it might be worth experimenting with.

I didn't really make a conscious decision, but I suspect my yoga practice gave me the awareness necessary to adjust my swimming. It's very encouraging to see my capacity for awareness pay off so quickly--a reminder, maybe, that if we pay attention (to everything!), we will be awarded by having new avenues for improvement open.

And I completely recommend a simple yoga routine if you haven't tried it--seems like a perfect complement to TI.
Can you share a video of your yoga practice? I need to know that how you use yoga position and for how much time?
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