Documenting The Experience: A Session With Bob Cooley
Founder and creator of Resistance Flexibility, Bob Cooley, sharing and demonstrating what a session with him is like while bridging us into how physically making fascia healthier in the body also increases the health of a person physiologically, psychologically, emotionally and spiritually.
Physical, Thinking, Emotional, Spiritual
Longterm Cumulative Effects of Resistance Stretching, Stabilizing the Body/Using a Stabilization Board, Basic Movements and Kinematic Patterns of the Appendages, Physical/Psychological/Emotional/Spiritual Effects of Resistance Stretching, The Importance of Getting Outside Perspective to Learn About Yourself
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We thought it'd be really good if we showed people what it's like before a session and what we're going to work on and talk about that. Then we'll have some short clips during the session, so everybody can see what we actually did.
And then afterwards show the results and what's happening that way.
But before we do that, why don't we talk just a moment about... You've been stretched for quite a while now and been self-stretching and assisted stretches for a couple years now.
Yes. About two and a half years, I've been very consistent with-
And more consistently assisted stretched in the last, say six months?
Six months. Yeah.
Yeah. Just say something about what's happened for you or what's happening now because it keeps accelerating the changes. Just start anywhere and explain what's happened so far.
Well, at this present moment, I'm feeling amazing in my body. It's almost unbelievable of how good I feel. My joints feel very lubricated and loose and I have a lot of freedom of movement. Emotionally, I feel really stable right now, which not saying that it was like hugely unstable or crazy.
Not like she was a lunatic before that. Right.
But I had my stuff and just wanted to really work through that. It's through your work and through my body that I'm able to transmute all this.
We've been working a lot on your legs and we're going to work on your legs again today. You probably knew you wanted your legs to be better, but you keep expressing you didn't know how much needed to change in your legs in terms of removing dense fashion scar tissue in order to give you very light legs. You didn't even know your leg could be that light, right?
No. And I didn't realize how much my biomechanics could change too, and how that affects my brain and what I'm thinking and-
Your ability to think and analyze now.
Yeah. I didn't really know what thinking was.
And then we spent a lot of time in the last sessions, stretching out the muscle groups on the back center of your leg, going up your back, that's associated with the Brain meridian in Chinese medicine. And when we did that and removed that dense-fashioned scar tissue, it opens you up in the front for what's called
Sexual meridian or the conception in the front of the body. And then that really affected your endocrine system, which determines your shape and your weight. What happened with your shape and your weight?
Yeah. Well, most of my life I was very just straight. I didn't have much shape, people used to call me barrel. That's funny, but I wanted that to change. Now I actually have a curve, which I never thought I was always envious.
A little embarrassing, but I now have a shape in here where it used to be just straight. My hips actually filled out as well, which I never knew was possible to have that.
And then the movement you have in your legs?
Oh, yeah. I could just ... Any position. Here, here, here, here, here.
It affected you all the way up in your shape and then... What about your looks, Erika? What happened?
Well, I actually could look in the mirror and I see myself as being pretty, which is now more acceptable for me to say that. I never thought I was pretty and I was always again envious of other women. But I feel like each time we have a session my looks keep going up and up.
Have you had other things besides pretty in terms of your looks? Did you also have glamorous?
Yes. Which I never ... All these high traits are actually more difficult to handle, but the high side is just thrilling and exciting.
At one time we effected your looks where you were classier looking, remember that?
Yes. I do.
More sense of line like a model, right? That way, right?
Yes. Or like a queen.
Then the other day we're stretching, you became more glamorous in your looks, which was very ... You had no idea. I saw you look in the mirror. We're looking in a mirror right now we're seeing ourselves in a mirror. You looked at yourself and I caught yourself seeing that you looked at yourself and thought you were as good looking in the same league as the most attractive people you ever met, that you ever saw, is that true?
That is very true.
Glamorous. Lots of persona.
Yeah. My eyes were bigger, my cheeks were full, my lips were more full as well.
The way that other people were looking at me as well, I really had to stay out with my attention because it makes me very shy.
But I really like that feeling.
It's an intimacy.
Yeah. Intimate feeling.
What we're going to do today is we're going to work on Erika's legs. What we're going to do is, we're going to take more stuff out of the legs, so the legs actually will rotate internally more. The pelvis will actually extend more than it is now. The glutes will develop more of the upper part of the glutes. The legs will untwist going down the legs. You'll get even more shape. You'll become even more contained in your whole body. Then we'll go up into your upper body and your shoulder girdle and give you more extension of your shoulder girdle back that way, extension, more external rotation of your arms, more opening here, broader shoulders. Then in terms of your back, we're going to give you more length in this part of your back here. All this part of your back shoves forward more, that presents you more in the front of your body and brings people's attention up to your face. We're going to try some things like that.
I like that.
Do you have anything in particular you want to work on today?
To keep going.
To keep going.
To just keep going. Yeah.
Keep going with the upgrades and also, I think-
We're going to do more on your lateral quad because it affects your ability to be self-expressive.
I think that's number one.
That's number one.
That's what we need to ... We'll do a lot of that.
Because you told me that in the past you stopped self-expressing for various reasons based on your condition and what was happening as an adaptive measure. Now by stretching out your lateral quad which comes up into your vocal chords, and around your mouth allows you to tell people what you're actually thinking, is that true?
That's very true. Because I mean, I feel like I do have a lot of thoughts, but it's harder for me to be verbal and to find the right words to express-
To describe these?
Okay. Great. Then we're going to stretch Erika now. What we're going to do is, we're going to put a board down on the ground and strap down, stabilize her body some, so we can go individually after each leg, and then we'll actually go after the arms and the trunk and stuff. We'll make some clips of that session, so you can see some of the high points of some of the things we're doing when we're stretching. I'll introduce you to Richard when we put the board down and we start to stretch her. Okay?
Great. I'm ready.
Okay. Good. Okay. Let's do that. This is how we assist somebody to stabilize the legs, their arms. You can see Erika's waist is strapped in. Richard and I ... Everybody, this is Richard. Richard and I are going to help Erika stretch, assisted stretching. Then we've stabilized her leg and her lower leg, ankle and foot, and the pelvis up here, of course, so we can actually manipulate her right leg around in eight different directions. We're going to move her in a path going this way and that way, a path going this way and that way, this way and that way and this way and that way. With different rotations to make eight different patterns of stretches.
And we're looking for where in those angles, those 45 degree angles that we're moving her in, where there's dense-fashioned scar tissue. Where there is, her body will naturally tense as we move her leg in these different directions to remove the dense-fashioned scar tissue. We'll show you clips of the session. The session lasts about an hour and a half. We'll show you a couple of clips of this so you can see a sample of some of the things we actually do. Okay. Great. Okay. Let's see what we got here. You want to push out instead?
Yeah, I do feel all of that.
You have all that, right?
Cool. Let's try that again please. Cool. Let's go get this already. When you stretch somebody, every muscle either flexes or extends you, or abducts you, or inward or outward rotates you. Does one of each of those. So to get a stretch in a muscle, whatever which one of those they do, for example, we're going to stretch her leg where the muscles when they contract extend her leg, internally rotate her thigh and extend her thigh downward. So then because when the muscles contract, they make those movements, extension, abduction and internal rotation. We're going to do the opposite of those. We're going to flex her, we're going to abduct her and we're going to externally rotate her in order to change that particular muscle group. There's a 45-degree arc of where we play in to look for dense-fashioned scar tissue. Okay. We go. Help yourself here and push up and out towards me, Erika. I'm going to go external for gallbladder. You're stronger, Richard.
Give me more rotation. Yeah. Keep giving me that. Again please. Push out towards me, please. Give me the extension. Cool.
Come down to me. Kick out, please. Push out, please. Push out, please. Give me internal. Wow. Cool. Okay.
You guys are working so hard.
This is the part we needed, so people can see what it's actually like for somebody. [inaudible 00:10:45] bring her up so we can do the other side. Just lift her on up. Bring that to me. Okay.
Yeah. Just say a couple of things, move around Erika and express what you're feeling.
My leg feels so much lighter and my joint feels so lubricated. It just makes me feel like I just want to dance or move. My leg feels a little unknown right now of like, this is actually my leg. When I'm looking in the mirror, I'm like, "Oh my God, this is my leg." I'm really identifying that this is my leg. It's not just a part.
Right. It's yours. Yeah.
It's personalized now instead of depersonalized.
It changes the alignment of your leg all the way down to your foot on the ground and everything. You're more grounded and rooted with your foot, and you feel like your leg is stacked underneath of your pelvis, or that your pelvis is stacked on top of your leg. It's like you could just stand there all day long in a ticket line for five hours if you needed to.
Yes, I do feel that.
My attention goes to the lateral part of her Sexual meridian. In her hip flexors right here on the front. Longer in her lower abdomen.
Yes. I totally agree. This whole area up here is longer, right? Yeah. I see that. Yeah. Brings in the waist more and nicer shape to the hip, right?
Yes. Even more hip, even more hips.
We don't want my hips getting too wide. Just kidding.
Okay, cool. Let's try the other leg. Okay. We just stretched Erika's other leg. Richard had to leave so the camera man, Eric came in and stretched the leg. Let's find out what happens when she stands up. Gotcha.
Cool. Let's see what you notice.
First thing that I notice is my breath. Everything-
Much more air.
A lot more air which I love.
Oddly enough, my chest feels more open.
It is, your chest is more presented in, more open.
Yeah. My left leg definitely feels similar to the other leg of lighter. I feel more lightheaded right now. Yet I feel very grounded in my feet. Like we were saying before, just like I could stand here for hours, and it not hurt at all.
Right. Move around a little bit with your legs and check it out and see how they feel.
Yeah. I feel like I'll even be better in Tai Chi. Like I can actually hold positions.
The side view will really show you how much it affected the extension of your pelvis, and how much more glutes you got here, and then how it lifted up your chest and brought your shoulders back and your head back so you're in a better alignment, right?
Yeah. I see how really stacked up the proper way in my alignment.
Stacked up, your definitely up.
Yes. And I'm not like intentionally going like this.
No, but the belly is such, the abdomen has contracted more. I can see that they're more pulled in without you trying to do it. And you have less hyperextension in your knees.
Right. I used to be really back like that.
And now this is very natural. It definitely feels more comfortable in my knees as well. It doesn't feel like I'm collapsing at all.
Try a forward bend with your legs wide and see how it feels, Erika.
It feels like they could go way deep into the ground.
Yeah. Normally you don't flex that much, right?
No, not at all.
And can you try with your feet close together and also with one like in front of the other so you can compare your three hamstrings.
That feels really easy. And even pushing up feels really easy, I'm able to contract my muscles.
Yeah. Your hamstrings and glutes and calves and all the muscles in the back have to lift you up more. You have better range in that.
Yeah. More stability also, feel very supported by my legs where I think I was using a lot of my trunk before to try to get myself up.
Instead of using your glutes and stuff to bring your body up.
And can you sit in a butterfly or what we call a kidney position and tell us what you notice about your legs. Yeah.
Well, the first thing that I noticed is how upright I am.
Because usually it's very difficult for me to be upright-
You're usually using the back to hold you up instead of your pelvis being more rotated forward and your legs more outward so that your body gets to sit up.
Yeah. I feel my legs definitely. Like my femurs are more externally rotated.
It's definitely more comfortable.
I feel like I could breathe better
Yeah. More access. You got so much air changed from stretching your leg muscles and it changed how your pelvis was positioned, so your pelvis ends up being more... Your pelvis instead of being flexed and exaggerated, it gets more extended. And that means your lower back is now longer, and so your diaphragm can descend better, so then you get better breathing like a piston instead of a forward back motion. Right?
Yeah. I definitely sense that and feel it. I also feel the energy coming up.
Yeah. The yin energy coming off the front.
Usually I'm just feeling the yang and the force and I just feel softer within my being.
Yeah. You appear softer. Yeah. It's definitely true.
Yeah. The voice is more feminine too.
I really liked that.
Anything that has to do with the feminine is really good so thank you for telling me that.
Yeah. That's great.
I'll take that in. Yeah. I mean, even though my knees are up, I don't feel the need to like, Oh, my knees should be down on the floor. This just feels really comfortable, I feel more acceptance with myself. That's what's coming up for me as well.
Not the should's that I used to have.
Not the should of the expectations. Not that you don't have those, but that's not what's up.
That's not what's up right now.
Right. You've transcended those, you've gone into acceptance without denying that.
Right. Here your shoulders look more comfortable. Yeah. We haven't even worked on your arms yet.
So let's go stretch out the muscles on your back. Because we've stretched out the muscles in your lower body this way. Let's go up your back and you'll be leaning backwards, and as you're leaning back seated... Show the position sideways. You'll be leaning back a lot while she's leaning, we're going to use forces. People are going to push her forward while she pushes back, so we can stretch the back muscles more. So what ends up happening is that as you stretch all the muscles of the back, when Erika stands up, her pelvis will extend more, and then the lower back will be longer, and then the thoracic spine will be shorter and this will be less curved. That's what will happen to your back, we'll see it as an unstrained. Your legs will get even more untwisted.
Let's go do that.
Okay. Great. Okay. Yeah. You're going to really come back towards me. That's right. Okay. Here we go. You can use your hands to pull your trunk down too. You're going to strengthen our resistance as you come back. Good timing. I need help, yeah.
Oh, you need help.
Well that's much better for my body. Cool. Okay, let's go next door. Thanks Ethan.
Okay. Thanks Ethan.
We just stretched out Erika's back. She was sitting on the ground with her feet pushing against something, and as she pushed backwards by contracting the back of her legs, and by pushing backwards with her spine, the muscles on her back, we then bent her forward while she was resisting that, so we could stretch all the muscles of her back going up to her head, and then we'd resist her while she contracted her hamstrings and pulled her pelvis under and curled back. What happened Erika?
Well, it was intense at certain points for my legs, but again my legs feel super light, and so much is going on in my spine where I'm trying to integrate everything that just happened. I feel very light and very vertical.
Made your eyes really different. Your eyes are very sparkly right now.
They feel very big, large.
And sparkly actually, is what they look like. Yeah.
Okay. I like sparkly.
What happens for your side view Erika? What do you see when you look in the mirror and the side view?
Very extended in my pelvis.
Yes. And more extended here now. So this whole part of your back which would normally be curled back here and exaggerated actually all gets to shove forward. And as that shoves forward the shoulders just naturally rotate back to extend. Whereas other people are thinking of pulling these back, if you stretch out this part of the back, this part of the back goes... It's as if the back is too far back this way. And when you stretch those muscles they contract, and that whole part of your thoracic spine moves forward, and once it moves forward then the shoulders just naturally rotate and extend on top as opposed to trying to pull them back. Yeah.
Yeah. I feel very natural in my posture.
Erect posture. When you first came out of that stretch you said, "What just happened?" Explain that like, what is that?
Well, I feel like you just took me through different realms, different time periods through my life. I'm really noticing being in my body and it feels very different, but there's an unfamiliar feeling.
Unfamiliar to you.
Can you say how much more contained you were after stretching the back of the body, and how much it opens you up in the front, and how much more intimacy is easy, social. You're not as self-conscious, you get to process your self-consciousness better because your attention stays out more. Do you see that?
Yes. Because it's much easier to look at you, without looking away or feeling self-conscious.
Yes. Yeah. You'll start processing your chronic tenseness by your body having natural tension to remove the chronic tenseness. That's what's actually happening. I can tell you're more conscious of things outside also.
Yeah. I'm definitely noticing what's around me.
And the volume of the room and stuff like that right now. Not what you're usually doing, right?
Usually I'm trying to go in and like escape in a way to try to protect myself now I feel very secure
Yeah. The room has enormous volume. Right? Then you have that inside. You have a volume to you inside. You have more space inside, right?
Yeah. It's a wild phenomenon. I kind of feel like the whole universe is inside of me. Like I don't have limits, but I'm also contained.
Yes, that's correct. That's what it's like. You look much more contained as your shape and every... Instead of you being expanded out energetically, you come in more. Right?
Then the waste comes in more, the whole body looks like it pulls together. You really get pulled together.
Yes. Again I look at myself in the mirror and at first I'm like, "Who is that person?" I feel such joy because that is me.
All these changes that I've been having throughout the years of working with you, and especially the last couple sessions of the awareness of me, like who I am.
Right. This is really who you are. Huh?
Yeah. It's so incredibly satisfying-
It's connected you to that and now you get to be satisfied with yourself instead of being... Besides being critical or judgmental... Which a person needs to have those qualities, so they'll be realistic and everything. But you have more acceptance of yourself and pleasure just being yourself. Right?
And your looks in particular, you're not unsatisfied with the look. Huh?
No, I love it.
It just keeps getting upgraded. I feel very satisfied.
And even more so that I'm not trying to always get it from the outside to get filled by other people or things. I feel satisfied within. Of course there's the outside world.
But I feel like I'm more real.
Yeah. I totally agree.
Like where people could land in me.
Right. They can get to you fine.
They can get to me. Yeah. Before I was really putting blockages up. I kind of knew but didn't really know.
Right. Because you'd have to not do it to know what that was really like.
If you eat regular food until you eat really good food you don't have perspective. So this gives you perspective on what it's like for you to be really this way.
Not the other way.
Right. Because I was always trying to not be rigid.
Or look like I was ready for a fight.
And so I was trying not to be that way, but this, it's natural and when I need to be that way I can.
Can you move around again with your body and see how your movements feel too.
I actually want to do like this. Oh my God. That's embarrassing. I never want to do that. I mean, usually I don't, but I do now. I feel like I could do my belly dancing now.
Okay. Right. That's great.
Yeah. It gives me so much more room. Oh, thank you.
You're welcome. Uncharacteristic, right? Totally.
Totally. Especially my type, just being more controlled and-
This is not very stoic.
This is not stoic. No. People would not expect me to move like this. Like who is Erica right now?
Yes. So let's do a little bit free with your arms and see what we can get down with the arms. Okay?
I'm going to get the board out of the way because I don't need the board to stretch your arms.
Pull forward. Switching roles now. Do it. Hold her. Push back with your arm. And pull forward again. And push back again with your arms. Keep pushing back. Thanks. Last one. Push back towards me please, keep pushing back. Resist with your trunk and arm. Pull forward please, here comes the arm. Okay. Standing up and check it out.
Thank you. Oh. Interesting. I'm just being so present right now I'm not really sure what I'm doing.
You're very much on [joking] wax on wax off.
Little tennis swing and back swing.
Fold back in.
This is the grace that I had.
That I want always.
Right. Just try the other arm already?
You don't have to always have words for knowing how you've changed. That might come later.
Yeah. Okay. That's good.
I put pressure on myself.
Right. Push back please. Keep trying to externally rotate your arm. Keep doing that.
You really know how to do this, this way.
Now pull forward again, don't let him bring your trunk. Don't let him do that. Resist with your trunk, resist with your arm.
Cool. Okay, cool.
He's got you.
Okay. Thank you.
What'd you got, Erika?
I felt very powerful. Lots of breath. I just feel very open in my chest. I feel like boundaries. Like I want you there, you stay there, I'm here, I'm the boss.
It's very empowering, but not being forceful. It's like, I just know what I need right now. Yeah, there's a different feeling in my face.
Right. Let's bring that up more for you.
Help yourself, and just resist us we're going to give you a lift while you're resisting. How's it feel Erika?
Amazing. Oh, I love the breath.
Ethan and I are pushing against each other in order to give her a rise in her body. Hold her for a moment.
I got you. Okay, want to pike, Erika? Help yourself. Again please. Grab her. How is it Erika?
The best feeling in the world for me. My whole body is elongated and lots of oxygen relief.
Hold it further. Let your feet flex please. Let's go back in the middle. Yeah. Check that out. Now. This is powerful. Right?
I really enjoy this feeling. Walk around with this all day. I feel so in my body.
Right. So, feeling your body, not going down into it, the feelings of your body coming up to you, right?
Yes. I feel like things are pouring into me.
Yes. The world's just pouring in through your five senses, and then you get to feel your body's response to what's coming into you.
Is that true?
Yes. I'm just noticing everything around me.
A lot of delight in what's in the situation. Yeah.
Noticing the colors, I'm noticing the windows and noticing your great green shirt.
Coordinated with your top.
Exactly. We didn't even plan that.
Feeling very happy.
Okay. Let's just do the last stretch now. We're just going to put you in a stretch to stretch out the front center of your body.
Okay. Ethan, thanks very much for impromptu jumping in. Okay. We're with you. How's this Erika.
So much air, right?
So much air.
So we're pushing against each other to give her a lift in her body. Get ready. Resist Erika, bend your knees, bend your trunk, bend your head up. Bring your elbows into your body, come on. Cool, now lengthen back down. Give her length. Cool, thanks. Hold her. Okay, you can pike, I got you. Easier to fold, huh?
Yeah. Very natural.
How's the lift Erika? Let us give you a lift now.
And let your feet flex again. I gotcha. Check that out.
This is a lot of persona. Big hair. Huh?
Incredible intimacy in your eyes.
My eyes feel really big I feel like I'm just...
You feel this close to other people, even though you're at a distance, you feel this close to people, right? It's that intimate. Right?
Stretching out the front center of your body gives you increases in intimacy. Assuming you're tensing the muscles while you're stretching them. So you actually get a stretch.
This is wonderful.
Yeah. This is soft, huh?
The lung was like metal and tough, but yeah pliable, but this is very airy and soft and spongy, right? Like a bunny rabbit or like... Yeah.
I like that.
We're going to call her bunny rabbit from now on. Yeah.
Really noticing both of your faces.
Yeah. The attention really goes to the face when you stretch out the front center. Yeah.
I feel like I breathe even more when I'm looking at you.
Correct. [crosstalk 00:35:15] If you stay out with your attention to other people, you end up breathing better and dismantling your overly self-consciousness right?
You don't get rid of that it just transmutes into relaxation instead of feeling tense, right?
Yeah, see you're going into more and more being rather relaxed about that, right?
Yeah. I feel like I'm able to be with you guys now instead of like-
Right. It's much more about being than it is about having perspective. Right?
Right. Very safe feeling.
Very Interesting. Okay. Yeah. So you can tell that your looks are very much a response to your attachment to other people. It's not just your geography that you're born with. It's your attachment to other people that causes your facial expressions to form. Right.
I see that I never used to know that.
Never used to know how to do that. I would look at somebody, they would look at me and it feels so intimate. I didn't know what to do.
Right. Didn't know to keep looking at them and attaching and processing your desires when you were looking at them. Right?
Yeah. It was overwhelming for me now it's like, wow. Like I'm seeing everything that's so special about each of you, especially your faces, like your eyes Ethan. Wow, it's like diving in.
Yeah. They're inside other people. They really go right inside to the other person, to go inside to find out what's special. It's not just like the quality of their hair or it can be... It's some aspect of them internally like, you're so generous as a person or you're such a decent person. I mean, they really pick up these deep traits for people Right?
Yeah, more just came to me it's not objectifying...
No, it's not.
Just the parts over your eyes or your nose, but yeah. Like what's behind that?
Like yeah, the inside.
Yes. Great. Thanks Ethan.
Thank you Ethan for helping.
Great Eric. Thanks a million.
Eric, thank you.
Well, we filmed, if it doesn't work, we'll film it in another day. You know what I mean? That's how that works. Right. Okay.