THE MONEY SHOT --- THE "BEFORE" PHOTOS
John got me sparked, so what the hell --- these were shot on Thursday.
I went from road-kill, levered myself up until my back was against the wall, and then used my bodyweight to bear down until, if you and I may speak frankly, my muladhara chakra was on the ground.
On reflection, I wonder why I ought to go through all this trouble, as it felt good, I could hold it for a long while, and it's since been repeatable. It will still be an interesting experiment, so I'm gonna do it.
I've used the following tips during the last few months. They're from a book called Relax Into Stretch by Pavel Tsatsouline.
"From road-kill, slowly transfer your weight to your legs and assume as upright a position as you can muster. Keep your lower back arched. It is a must.
The pelvis usually gets in the way of your femurs when you try to spread them apart. Tilt your pelvis forward by making your lower spine go concave — and it gets out of the way!
Pinch the floor with your feet with one to two thirds of your maximal strength. Build up the tension gradually, over a couple of seconds.
Push the walls apart and—it is very important! — push your hips forward. Keep your lower back arched and chest open.
Hold steady, unwavering tension for twenty seconds, perhaps even longer, and do not forget to breathe. Although holding the contraction for such a long time is not always necessary to relax the muscle effectively, it helps to build strength.
Suddenly release the tension with a sigh of relief and allow yourself to sink a little deeper into the split.
You must understand that you will never, ever do a side split without positioning your pelvis in one line with your feet! Drive your hips forward at every opportunity, try to get them in line with your feet. Push your hips forward with the help of your arms.
There are three hand positions to choose from. You can push-pull with one hand in the front and one behind you; you can grip the floor in front of you with your hands and pull yourself forward; or, once you are flexible enough, you may push from behind your back.
[Italics mine] Leaving the glutes a few inches behind the heels is a fatal mistake, which keeps many very flexible people from going down all the way in a split. They either end up falling on their butts, or sitting down on the floor with their legs spread wide, but never wide enough.
[From road-kill:] [Y]ou will feel that the muscles in the front of your thighs resist the stretch more than your inner thighs. It is normal. It is time to shift your concentration from your groin to these front muscles: sartorius, psoas, etc.
Consciously contract all of the above, the muscles underneath and in the front of your hip joints, once you have driven your hips forward. Hold that tension! If your muscles start quivering and give out by themselves at some point during the stretch (a la the Clasp Knife), do not freak --- take it as a favor.
Keep at it, until you can no longer increase your stretch or you have reached your pain threshold. Carefully get out of the stretched position. Do not twist your knees and do not panic! Try to use the strength of your groin muscles to get up."