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May 2012 Issue
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Become one with the floor

When I suffered a hamstring injury a few years ago, my osteopath Phillip Beach suggested I become one with the floor to help it recover and increase my range of motion.

When he said this, I had real doubts about his credibility until he explained exactly what he wanted me to do.

Beach started off with a history and geography lesson that went all the way back to the cavemen, moved to the hunters in Africa, the Chinese in the paddy fields and Japanese tea ceremonies.

What these people all had in common was that they usually all walked around in bare feet and had little or no furniture. They sat, crouched, kneeled or squatted for hours on end, yet still had the stamina to face the elements and another long, hard day’s work the next day. Beach’s message was to “get back to basics and spend as much time as you can each day walking around in bare feet and sitting on the floor.”

Try to fit these five positions into your day and hold them for as long as you can. There is really no excuse about not finding time, as you can use them to replace sitting whether at work or in front of the TV.

How long you hold each of these positions is up to you, but you are looking for minutes rather than seconds, trying to extend the time you hold them each day.

  1. Start by sitting on the floor cross legged and see how close you can get your knees to the floor, without forcing them. The tighter your hips and quads are the harder this position will be to hold and the further away your knees will be from the floor.
  1. From there, stay sitting on the floor but stretch your legs out in front of you. This one will help stretch out your hamstrings. Pointing your toes back towards you will also give your calves a good stretch.
  1. Now move into a kneeling position, with the tops of your feet flat on the floor. Your goal is to sit back on your heels. The tighter your quads, the further away your bottom will be from your heels.
  1. Still in a kneeling position, move your weight off your feet, tuck your toes under and sit back on your heels so your weight is going down through your toes. This will help lengthen your quads, achilles and arches of your feet.
  1. Finally, move into a position where your feet are flat on the floor, slightly wider than hip width and slightly turned out. Try and position yourself so your weight is going down through your heels. This will work your butt, quads and front of your shins.

-Deb Hurdle