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PostPosted: Tue Jan 22, 2013 8:08 am 
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Can anyone knowledgeable about kinesiology make a list of the muscles worked by full prostrations (Tibetan style)? I can only think of arms and chest.

Thank you.

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 22, 2013 9:05 am 
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Thighs, calves

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 22, 2013 9:16 am 
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I'm not a kinesiologist, I'm a martial arts teacher. I can assure you that there is hardly a muscle group in the body that is not used during prostrations. Adding to the list: shoulder, back, abdomen, neck, gluteal (ass) muscles, etc...

It is probably one of the most effective forms of exercise I have ever seen. The outcomes on muscular structure achieved through prostrations is incomparable to other forms of exercise.

If executed properly there is little chance of injury too.
:namaste:

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 22, 2013 1:09 pm 
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gregkavarnos wrote:
If executed properly there is little chance of injury too.
:namaste:


Key is here is - if executed properly. People who try to do too many to begin with, or do them too quickly can injure themselves. Fingers, wrists and knees tend to be the most likely to injured in my experience. Pulling of abdominal muscles is also not uncommon. Like any form of vigorous exercise, a good warm up is essential.

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 22, 2013 3:40 pm 
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The best thing for prostrations in terms of form is not to approach them as exercise (or as exercise for the purpose of physical health only). You're using your body in spiritual practice. If you practice prostrations in this spirit, you don't speed through them, you keep it light and upright, and you don't smash your knees and hands around and cause injury. Stay present!

I've done plenty of Tibetan and Japanese style prostrations and I can say that both of them are brilliant practice. Aesthetically, I like the Tibetan style of body movement better, but there's something to be said for the Japanese approach of doing things in a group harmoniously as one.

Finally, on the physical aspect of it: the best exercise to prepare for prostrations is prostrations. If you can only do three properly, do three. Tomorrow try four. Take breaks. Keep presence, keep your motivation. I know someone who began prostrations in a brace, overweight, addicted to cigarettes, and positively miserable; she could do no more than twenty or thirty per day. She finished her second bum of prostrations in very good health, non-smoking, and doing sets of 250 or more, and multiples of these daily. She was no athlete but she had a pure heart and an eagerness to practice earnestly. So she practiced in earnest and blossomed like a sunflower. I think she's onto something!

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 22, 2013 6:04 pm 
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Rectus abdominis, iliopsoas, erector spinae group, quadratus lumborum would be big ones, basically any "core" muscle will be hugely involved, even moreso with the full ones. The quads would do alot too. Lots of muscles. Also different groups (postural vs. phasic) would come into play if you did them slower and paused or weighted on the heels or whole foot upon standing rather than if you went faster and were mostly on the toes...Chest and arm muscles seem more supportive than central to the movement, unless you are doing them like pushups somehow.

Really you could get super detailed, if you wanted to map out everything used for a full body movement like that it would be quite the chore, it would be alot of muscles, being utilized to different degrees. I've actually taken about a year of kinseiology and let me tell you..most movements involve ALOT of stuff.

Funnily enough, if you look around at some of the 'faddish' (not saying it's bad mind you) modern bodyweight exercise routines, they are all similar movements for core strength and resemble older forms of exercise, and stuff like prostrations.

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 22, 2013 6:23 pm 
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Everything then huh? Excellent.

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-Paraphrase of Khensur Rinpoche Lobsang Tsephel citing the Guhyasamaja Tantra

"All memories and thoughts are the union of emptiness and knowing, the Mind.
Without attachment, self-liberating, like a snake in a knot.
Through the qualities of meditating in that way,
Mental obscurations are purified and the dharmakaya is attained."

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 22, 2013 6:49 pm 
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If you're looking at it from a purely physical, basically western view of just kinesiology and muscle use, i'd venture a guess that some might say it's too heavy on flexion with out enough extension to balance it, basically using mainly "front stuff".. but this could be remedied somewhat I think by concentrating on the right posture especially during the part where you stand, and extending during the part where you lay down if full prostrations..

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 22, 2013 7:19 pm 
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So stand up straight, and then reach out when down all the way?

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Equanimity is the ground. Love is the moisture. Compassion is the seed. Bodhicitta is the result.

-Paraphrase of Khensur Rinpoche Lobsang Tsephel citing the Guhyasamaja Tantra

"All memories and thoughts are the union of emptiness and knowing, the Mind.
Without attachment, self-liberating, like a snake in a knot.
Through the qualities of meditating in that way,
Mental obscurations are purified and the dharmakaya is attained."

-Ra Lotsawa, All-pervading Melodious Drumbeats


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 22, 2013 7:29 pm 
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Yeah, I think that would at least get the opposing muscle groups to those that are used during the actual prostration. It will happen naturally if you go back up to a standing position rather than one where you are slightly leaning forward the whole time.

It's not really a huge thing, but if for instance you look even at many yoga movements, they tend to do some kind of extension to balance out anything that involves flexion and vice versa. Also with most of what I learned, which you might say is based on the closest thing the west has to a 'holistic' view of kinesiology, a big emphasis was placed on balancing muscle with an antagonistic relationship to maintain musculo skeletal health.

I'd actually be interested if anyone has more detailed physical instructions on tibetan style prostrations..I was taught how to do them, but very generally, also what i've found on the web is just general technique, i'm wondering if anyone has ever come across writings on them with emphasis on the details of the physical technique itself?

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 22, 2013 8:27 pm 
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Johnny Dangerous wrote:
Yeah, I think that would at least get the opposing muscle groups to those that are used during the actual prostration. It will happen naturally if you go back up to a standing position rather than one where you are slightly leaning forward the whole time.
Actually, one shouldn't be bent forward a bit.

Quote:
Phabongkha Dechen Nyingpo said, and it is also in sutra teachings, that prostrating without straightening the body creates the karma to be reborn as an animal with a bent body because it is disrespectful to the merit field.


http://www.lamayeshe.com/index.php?sect ... 3&chid=350

Johnny Dangerous wrote:
I'd actually be interested if anyone has more detailed physical instructions on tibetan style prostrations..I was taught how to do them, but very generally, also what i've found on the web is just general technique, i'm wondering if anyone has ever come across writings on them with emphasis on the details of the physical technique itself?
The above article and Liberation in the Palm of Your Hand has a lot of detail.

For example: one should get up quickly to symbolize getting out of Samsara quickly.

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Equanimity is the ground. Love is the moisture. Compassion is the seed. Bodhicitta is the result.

-Paraphrase of Khensur Rinpoche Lobsang Tsephel citing the Guhyasamaja Tantra

"All memories and thoughts are the union of emptiness and knowing, the Mind.
Without attachment, self-liberating, like a snake in a knot.
Through the qualities of meditating in that way,
Mental obscurations are purified and the dharmakaya is attained."

-Ra Lotsawa, All-pervading Melodious Drumbeats


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 22, 2013 8:33 pm 
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Thank you!

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 03, 2013 9:45 pm 
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Adding another question... How many calories would prostrations burn? Say, doing 50-100 In the span of an hour?


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 05, 2013 11:06 pm 
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Knotty Veneer wrote:
gregkavarnos wrote:
If executed properly there is little chance of injury too.
:namaste:


Key is here is - if executed properly. People who try to do too many to begin with, or do them too quickly can injure themselves. Fingers, wrists and knees tend to be the most likely to injured in my experience. Pulling of abdominal muscles is also not uncommon. Like any form of vigorous exercise, a good warm up is essential.


Very true coming from my own personal experience :tongue: When I started ngondro, I went in trying to set the tone for a good daily routine and did a little too many in the beginning, perhaps focusing on the numbers a little more than I should have. That was a mistake, no doubt. I'm sure many have done the same thing. but as I've found, this portion of practice is great when done in a slower, more easy going rhythm.


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PostPosted: Sat Feb 09, 2013 9:26 pm 
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One the most physically energetic people I have ever met was an 80 year old lama in Labrang Monastery (in Eastern Tibet). He would do 600 prostrations a day. Talking with him, he'd be sitting one minute then suddenly pop straight to his feet to get something. Then he'd sit back down, then pop, etc. He had the energy of a young teenager.

Not to mention that his outward appearance seemed a reflection of his inward attainments.


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PostPosted: Sat Feb 09, 2013 11:23 pm 
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Devotionary wrote:
Adding another question... How many calories would prostrations burn? Say, doing 50-100 In the span of an hour?
If you do one every 15 seconds, which is 240 an hour, then you burn about 500 Kcal.

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 10, 2013 12:04 pm 
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Johnny Dangerous wrote:
...i'd venture a guess that some might say it's too heavy on flexion with out enough extension to balance it, ...
Not necessarily. If, after lying out flat and stretching your hands, you then bring in your arms and push off the floor (in order to start getting up) your body will go into the cobra/snake asana:
Attachment:
snake-cobra asana.jpg
snake-cobra asana.jpg [ 3.25 KiB | Viewed 2548 times ]

That's your extension. You can then pull back into cat asana for even more extension:
Attachment:
cat asana.jpg
cat asana.jpg [ 12.05 KiB | Viewed 4042 times ]

Before moving on to stand up.

As for "smashing your knees", actually, properly executed, the knees do not take any weight (or impact on the floor) when you descend, all the weight is on your hands/arms.

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 21, 2013 4:09 pm 
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Johnny Dangerous wrote:
I'd actually be interested if anyone has more detailed physical instructions on tibetan style prostrations..I was taught how to do them, but very generally, also what i've found on the web is just general technique, i'm wondering if anyone has ever come across writings on them with emphasis on the details of the physical technique itself?


I found this to be a great instructional on prostration by Tsem Tulku Rinpoche. There are 2 short videos, quite detailed and entertaining too, here's the first..

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fbMFtzTGgkE

cheers


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 23, 2013 10:19 am 
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Add lungs and heart :)

All that moving up and down can be quite a strain if you're not used to it. I no longer get out of breath after 3, but that's a recent development... And while I am not that fit (obviously) I do bike regularly and am not overweight. For people who spend most of their time sitting or driving, prostrations can be quite a workout.

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 23, 2013 7:30 pm 
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Semi -regular practice of things like burpees makes prostrations not too hard for me..at least physically, on another level they are the hardest part of my practice though!

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