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sleep position and muscle lengthening

craigfisher256
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08/04/2016 - 9:06am
sleep position and muscle lengthening

If you're not able to stretch-lie (either on the back or side), will your muscles still be able to lengthen during the night?

I'm under the impression that muscles only really recover during sleep.  So if you're not sleeping in the correct position, will the muscles still acquire the desired length as they rebuild?  

I'm mainly concerned with the neck muscles but also the abdominals.  After several months now of trying the Gokhale method, I can barely tell if my neck has changed at all.  And my abdominals still don't seem strong enough to support myself when stretch-sitting (my upper back-and-shoulders inevitably get worn out trying to keep me from hunching).

craigfisher256
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08/04/2016 - 9:06am

FYI

If you want to know *why* I can't stretch-lie: whenever I try it, I run the risk that my stretched-out neck will snap backwards during the night and restrict my airway.  I can't prove conclusively that this is what's happening, but I've had nightmares of suffocation on several occasions after trying to lengthen.  (and I think near it's impossible to lengthen the spine in bed without also lengthening the neck).  FWIW, could this be a related to a different muscle group, like tight psoas or tight hamstrings?

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09/05/2014 - 6:51am

Hello -

It would be best for you to have a consultation with a Gokhale Method teacher in your area, or even by Skype if no one is nearby, so we can see exactly how you are lying and sitting.  If you’ve taken the Foundations Course, you can contact your teacher for advice. 

Here are some ideas that may help.  It may be that you need a higher pillow when Stretchlying so that your head cannot “snap back.” You’d want to set the folded towel and/or pillow under your main pillow but slightly offset so that you have additional height under your head but just one pillow’s thickness under the first couple inches of your shoulders.  When we teach Stretchlying, we suggest that students do it for just the first five minutes of the night, and then stay or move into whatever position they want to sleep in comfort. 

Stretchsitting lets the person be supported by the back of the chair.  You might not be letting yourself lean back into the chairback enough to hold you up.  With shoulder rolls added, there usually is not a tendency to hunch forward.

These are positions that people are meant to relax into and which often relieve pain.  If there is something acute going on that makes the technique uncomfortable or painful for a student, we advise the person to not do it, and to perhaps try again after the acute condition is more resolved.

Regarding muscles lengthening, many of the Gokhale Method techniques align the person so that their chronically tight muscles can start to relax, and a relaxed muscle is longer than a tight one.  We advise students to do the various techniques as well as they can and then relax, even if they come out of the position a bit.  We ask them to aim for something in between what they have been used to doing and the ideal we are showing.  The neck, for instance, is generally very slow to visibly change, and we encourage students to use the techniques gently so as not to aggravate it.

If you still have questions, feel free to let us know. You can post pictures here, but it would be best to have an in-person consultation.

Thanks for writing -

Doreen Giles

Gokhale Method Teacher

 

 

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