ISAI The Martial Art of Formless Flow: Why we have to relax and how we do it

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Why we have to relax and how we do it

The mental and physical relaxations are of utmost importance in every kind of activity. Actually we can't really separate between them. The lack of physical relaxation will immediately cause mental tension. The opposite is also true – mental tension, anxiety will cause muscular tension. Of course there are additional ingredients in this quotation – tension, any tension, causes elevation in blood pressure, hormonal changes, changes in blood vessels, nerve system functioning and so on. The relaxation, therefore, is a complex problem and different approaches can stress more different ways to achieve it.

One of the methods is a usage of memory, recalling relaxing memories. This takes us to meditation, autogenic training and other similar methods. They are comparatively simple and can be very effective after reaching some degree of proficiency.

Other method comes from physical training in isometric exercises. It uses post isometric relaxation or PIR. After strong isometric contraction working muscles relax deeply for about 15 seconds. With a time the relaxation will last longer and becomes our usual state.

In ISAI-NMTS we use natural, inborn method for relaxation. This is self-stretching or pandiculation.  It's a natural motion based on inborn reflexes, it switches on and reinforce the nerve system and natural motor mechanisms, harmonizes and naturally integrates our regular motion (locomotion) and improves it. It's one of the most efficient exercises to develop muscular power and to reduce chronic stress, to improve health, body shape, stance and motion. All these are in one single exercise. 

The muscle contraction during pandiculation is almost isometric. Some small degree of motion still remains as well as intention of motion. We call this kind of muscle contraction a "quasimetric" and exercises based on it we name quasimetric exercises.

After the series of quasimetric muscle contractions we automatically experience PIR or post-isometric relaxation. The same exercise can differ in the degree of muscle contraction. The very light, minimal degree of contraction uses us for stance perfection and called Natural Stance Stretching Exercises or NSSE. 

Demonstration of  NSSE

Stronger performances used for body building, for power development and for relaxation. We call them Natural Power Stretching Exercises or NPSE. We use these Natural Stretching Exercise also for treatment of chronic stress, high blood pressure, high "bad" cholesterol, diabetics, back problems, knees problems, flat feet and some other diseases and health disorders. 

The natural order in which different parts of the body get be participated in quasimetric muscle contractions plays very important role. If this order is not observed the contraction will not reach his maximum and will be felt unnatural, not welcomed by body. The natural order of quasimetric contractions during pandiculation is the same as during natural motion and follows evolutionary or phylogenetic order of motor control development. First starts trunk of the body, then legs, trunk again and stronger, arms. The relaxation happens in the same order according to the principle of FIFO – first in first out. The maximum contractions are done after inhalation and after exhalation during retention. After acquiring some proficiency it is possible to perform divided inhalations and exhalations followed by retentions. This will result in stronger contractions and deeper PIR. 

Some of the most important details of NPSE and NSSE are specific natural motions of the shoulders and pelvis as well as the motions and contractions of the tongue and soft palate with uvula. These motions provide to the exercise unique flavor of pandiculation and make the exercise not only very useful but also extremely enjoyable.

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