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Old 12-18-2008, 06:54 PM   #1
keepitlow
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How long do you hold your positions?

How long do you hold your positions?

(Generally speaking)
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Old 12-18-2008, 07:40 PM   #2
wendy
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Great question! I've been going between 20 seconds and a minute or longer, depending on what my goal is with that particular pose.
Good summary on stretching here:

http://www.cmcrossroads.com/bradapp/...etching_4.html

and this is what it says under "duration":

"One thing many people seem to disagree about is how long to hold a passive stretch in its position. Various sources seem to suggest that they should be held for as little as 10 seconds to as long as a full minute (or even several minutes). The truth is that no one really seems to know for sure. According to HFLTA there exists some controversy over how long a stretch should be held. Many researchers recommend 30-60 seconds. For the hamstrings, research suggests that 15 seconds may be sufficient, but it is not yet known whether 15 seconds is sufficient for any other muscle group.

A good common ground seems to be about 20 seconds. Children, and people whose bones are still growing, do not need to hold a passive stretch this long (and, in fact, Kurz strongly discourages it). Holding the stretch for about 7-10 seconds should be sufficient for this younger group of people.

A number of people like to count (either out loud or to themselves) while they stretch. While counting during a stretch is not, by itself, particularly important ... what is important is the setting of a definite goal for each stretching exercise performed. Counting during a stretch helps many people achieve this goal.

Many sources also suggest that passive stretches should be performed in sets of 2-5 repetitions with a 15-30 second rest in between each stretch."

I started wondering about it after reading Mukunda's "Structural Yoga Therapy", where he states "Scientific research has also discovered that this type of stretching, characterized by low force yet long duration, produces a plastic or permanent deformation in the muscle tissue. The opposite type of stretching, with high force and short duration, was shown by the same researchers to produce elastic or recoverable deformation in muscle tissue."

I'm not sure I like the sound of "permanent deformation in the muscle tissue".

Hopefully the experienced ones here will post their thoughts on this subject.
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Old 12-19-2008, 07:26 AM   #3
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Mukunda classified disciples into beginner, intermediate and advanced, baced on for how many breaths they can keep a posture before they start to tremble or lose their balance.

The stages are: 3 breaths, 6 breaths, 12 breaths, as I remember, check his site.

Surley, breathing (or not breathing) in a posture is part of the posture itself.
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Old 12-19-2008, 08:17 AM   #4
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Well, when I practice ashtanga, it's five deep breaths per posture. When I practice vinyasa I usually bump it up a bit and I also have taken a few forrest classes where they hold postures for what seems like a very long time, but I've never actually timed it.
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Old 12-19-2008, 09:49 AM   #5
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great ? ~ something i have wanted to ask for quite some time.
looks like theres no 1 answer.
thats y i love me some yoga : )
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Old 12-19-2008, 10:47 AM   #6
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Hello Everyone,

When practicing asanas, count your breaths. Learn how many you can do comfortably for each asana and try to do at least the same number each time, adding breaths, two or three at a time, as you progress.

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Old 12-19-2008, 10:44 PM   #7
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Why do you hold the postures?

Do you hold all postures?

Vic
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Old 12-20-2008, 04:19 AM   #8
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The question on how long to hold a pose is a very good one. In the past I have looked for answers in the literature on stretching and have found answers like 20 seconds and do 3 repetitions. This may be valid.

However, from the viewpoint of classical yoga, it is more appropriate to hold poses for as long as you can be both steady and comfortable (II-46) . Your body and breath should not suffer from restlessness and it should be possible to remain aware (II-47).

In the words of Mukunda Stiles: <<Hold the pose as long as your body is still opening. Once the limit of openness has been attained, several changes take place. Your spine will begin to shorten, your breath will lose its fullness and your mind will no longer be held on one point of awareness.>>

In other words, the answer to the question depends on your inner experience of the pose - body, breath and mind. Not so much on criteria like seconds, repetitions and any objective that one's ego-I may have.
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Old 12-20-2008, 10:49 AM   #9
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If the aim is the mobility gain, than it is called stretching, if the aim is increasing stability, and tonus, correcting posture, gaining strenght, than it is Pilates, if if all is done togheter with breathing and increased awarness towards prana flow, than it might be called hatha-yoga.

Holding a pose is done so the higher ascpects can be experienced. Try vajrasana or garudasana and compare your focus with any task needing some, before and after.
Higher stages of meditation require superhuman qualities from the mind. But this is just an example ... all aspects of human soul life must and will be enhanced by a well guided asana practice.
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Old 12-20-2008, 11:35 AM   #10
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Wendy -- I'd be willing to bet a 5 minute backrub that in the phrases 'plastic deformation' and 'elastic deformation', the 'deformation' is the change in muscle tissue that you want to obtain. My runner father-in-law (if he stretches at all) will bounce against his stretch to jerk his muscles into a bit of length. He doesn't mind that this length will go away after a short period of time -- in fact, he's said that running competitively requires short tight muscles, and anything that lengthens them will diminish performance on the track. (mind you, he's injured himself with sufficient frequency to demonstrate the riskiness of this conviction.)
(PS - if anyone takes me up on the bet, the loser gives the person of his/her choice a 5-minute backrub, putting the goodness of the backrub into the universe at large.)
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Last edited by Techne; 12-20-2008 at 11:37 AM. Reason: included caveat RE: dad's athletic technique
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Old 12-20-2008, 11:47 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by victw View Post
Why do you hold the postures? Do you hold all postures? Vic
Though the benefits gained from holding postures is quite lengthy, it's the holding steady that makes it a "posture" or asana: static pose.

Because we are alternating, breathing beings, we swing like pendulums from one "static" state to the next in a constant rhythm, or "dynamic." This is life. Breathing and movement are only transitions from one static state to the next, the position and timing of each determining both the strength and direction of each next movement or breath. Without strength in the static state, the dynamic will likewise be weak and misdirected. We hold postures to unify both the static and dynamic in a state of "balance," which makes for a harmonious life.

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Old 12-20-2008, 12:28 PM   #12
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it depends... how much than my mind can take...

2..until 5 minutes in the same positions its enough i guess...

you have to decide how many time you feel better in that position.
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Old 12-20-2008, 05:25 PM   #13
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hmm...... wouldn't a deformation of a muscle result in sacrificing something? Stability or strength, maybe?

I'm off to research!
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Old 12-21-2008, 12:41 AM   #14
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I use breath count

What I do is based on the previous experience of that pose I aim to stay in that pose for specified number of breaths. For example, for standing asanas I practice for 10-20 breaths and for forward bending asanas I stay for around 30-40 breaths. I have found that, atleast in forward bends staying more, help is advancing faster.

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Old 12-21-2008, 12:12 PM   #15
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I've been asked to respond to this by another board member. Normally I'd steer clear of such a topic for my general feeling is that it breeds a focus on minutia. However when a student asks then an answer should be forthcoming (unless of course no answer is THE answer <grin>).

The short answer is "it depends".
On what?? On your definition of yoga and the student intention, the intention for the practice, and the intention for the asana in question.

Most people do not have the slightest idea what the purpose of asana is. They've never really thought about it in the context of Yoga and no teacher has ever prompted their introspection in that regard. I cannot tell you what yoga is for you. If it is stretching for you then read a book on stretching and decide whether it is empowering for you to follow the letter of that text. It is not stretching for me. So I'll provide a bit more from the perspective where I sit.

While asana often has by-products we are so familiar with from pop culture (flexibility, serenity, calm, an reduction in stress, strength, muscle tone, etcetera) it is not about those things.

Asana is a process by which we occupy or entertain our mind in the interest of reducing mental fluctuations for meditation. Please consider the Eight Limbs are eight for a reasons and they are in the order they are in for a reason, though that order may not be a chronological one. If you are mentally engaged by holding poses for 10 seconds, then rock on with your bad self. If your mind wraps snugly around 90 seconds, then hold for a minute and a half.

It simply is an issue that pales when contrasted to other issues. A student who can deeply connect with their heart center in poses held for ten seconds brews a much stronger batch then a student who holds the poses for five minutes with no connection whatsoever. Therefore it is much more fruitful, from a yogic perspective, to consider what you are experiencing in the duration of the pose without becoming preoccupied with the time you are spending in the pose. After all, sipping a latte at starbucks and telling your pals you held sirsasana for ten minutes isn't yogic at all. Its egoistic and therefore counter to yoga.

This having been said, there can be purpose to duration in poses. This can be the case for therapeutics, restoratives, or in certain series' like surya namaskar, the tibetan rites and so on. I often work in my own practice using duration for very specific purposes. Likewise when I work with students I will use duration very specifically. But I will not use duration for no reason al all.
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Old 12-21-2008, 05:16 PM   #16
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Thanks for all the great feedback!
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Old 12-22-2008, 02:58 AM   #17
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When in India in 2005, I did yoga for a few days with a very old and wise gentleman. One morning he asked if I know why we hold asanas. When finished giving my explanation, he simply said: "all true, but holding is about disipline and you need disipline to make progress through the 8 limbs." (I adapted his reply as his english was very bad and just a few words always.)

Since then holding an asana has a completely new meaning for me.
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Old 12-27-2008, 12:38 AM   #18
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Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga - five breaths.

I suppose other than that the trick is to hold the asana comfortably to an upper time limit depending on how much time you have, or to the point where you reach 50% of your maximum capacity as it advises in the vedas somewhere.

The theory being that if you follow this method everyday you will advance more steadily and more quickly than if you totally exhausted yourself say, three times a week.

Mathematically is works out thus:

3 times a week to 80% of capacity (fully exhausted but unable to fulfill daily practice as need to recover) = 100% 'maximum effort'

7x week to 50% of capacity = 164% (!) when compared with the former.

So it is really much better for one to avoid exhaustion which requires more than one day of recovery. For building muscle strength via weight training the opposite of probably true, but with yoga the 50% capacity rule clearly works.

You want to be ready to practise tomorrow and every day.
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Old 12-27-2008, 04:40 AM   #19
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as much as we can do comfortably.
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Old 12-29-2008, 01:03 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by InnerAthlete View Post
It simply is an issue that pales when contrasted to other issues. A student who can deeply connect with their heart center in poses held for ten seconds brews a much stronger batch then a student who holds the poses for five minutes with no connection whatsoever. Therefore it is much more fruitful, from a yogic perspective, to consider what you are experiencing in the duration of the pose without becoming preoccupied with the time you are spending in the pose. .
Thank you IA for that part there, I really enjoyed and connected with what you said
my best to you brother
with love
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Old 01-04-2009, 04:35 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wendy View Post
hmm...... wouldn't a deformation of a muscle result in sacrificing something? Stability or strength, maybe?

I'm off to research!

Dear Wendy,

In this context, you should read the word "deformation" as "change in shape". Please do not read the word "deformation" as "a change in shape for the worse". In some cases a permanent (plastic) deformation of muscle tissue can be beneficial! For example, if you have tight muscles and you are able to relax them with yoga poses. If the effect were not permanent and plastic, your muscles would be tight again after you finished your yoga session.

The scientific research that Mukunda quotes shows that low-effort, long-duration stretching is more effective than high-effort, short-duration stretching for this purpose. It makes a strong case for yoga ("relax the effort") compared to more strenuous exercise.
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Old 01-08-2009, 12:20 PM   #22
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I don't have a set duration for postures. Some days I do a more yin yoga style where I hold postures for two minutes plus. Other days I do a real fluid routine. Then other days I hold for a moderate 5 to 10 breaths. Often I mix it up within the same practice. I like the variety and in my limited experience I benefit and enjoy all yoga styles.
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Old 04-24-2011, 04:04 AM   #23
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5 good strong Ujayi breaths.
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Old 04-27-2011, 12:31 AM   #24
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hi,i am a beginner for yoga, i started doing it from just past 3 months.In these 3 months i gained an excellent flexibility in my body. It makes me more energized every morning.So, now i am continuing it to gain more benefits from it and each day i try to follow some new yoga tips.When i came to know about this forum i immediately rushed to join it.
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Old 02-01-2014, 07:32 PM   #25
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I've been practicing a lot of Yin Yoga lately, so I've been holding up my poses for two to five minutes. When I do Ashtanga Yoga I don't really take note of how long I execute them. I've read some things that 5 breaths is not enough since it's only equivalent to about 30 seconds average, but it really all comes down to what InnerAthlete said. Make sure you are comfortable and having a great time.
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Old 02-04-2014, 08:34 PM   #26
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depends
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Old 02-06-2014, 05:26 AM   #27
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As InnerAthlete mentioned in his post, asana is one of the many tools that a human can use to develop his ability to concentrate his mind with a further aim to stop its modifications and finally to connect to the Self. All physical advantages are just a mere by-product. Therefore its is difficult to state any specific time to hold them in general.
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Old 02-17-2014, 01:29 AM   #28
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Totally depends

That is true dening. Just do what is most comfortable
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