Oct 05, 2016
In physical release exercises, when stretching and lengthening of muscles is involved, please do not push the muscles into length. That will not achieve release, which is our first goal. I don't even like to use the word "stretch" because so often it encourages people to push on tight muscles instead of releasing the misplaced tension. The effect we are looking for is much more likely to be achieved by thinking of an icicle or a candle melting away.
I compare the release of the muscles to doing a yoga stretch. If you release and lengthen into a yoga pose without straining, you will be able to hold any pose for at least a minute. If holding it is very uncomfortable, then you are pushing instead of releasing, and you need to modify that pose until you can stay in it for a minute without discomfort. If you are willing to do what you can--instead of what you can't--and wait patiently for a minute or so, you will find that you are able to move further into the stretch without discomfort. But, if you push your way into the pose, as if you were pushing up into a bench press, you are pushing on the muscles in a way that precludes their further release. When you learn to release in this "yoga stretch" way, you discover that the potential for release in your muscles feels almost limitless. You understand that, if you can continue to release, be patient, and resist the impulse to push, your muscles can let go even more deeply.