What will I learn with a stretch therapist?
We will begin with simple effective movements that you can do and feel good to do, these will prepare you for later poses. Exercises are linked in some logical or functional way and many of the later classes revolve around themes. In time I guarantee that your flexibility will be markedly improved and you will know your body better than ever before, your movements in daily life will have become more graceful and you will feel more agile.
You will learn to concentrate on the sensations coming from your body whilst practising. The latest research strongly suggests that it is the re-mapping of the brain’s image of its own physical capacities that is the main result of the correct stretching technique, and which directly produces the increases in the range of movements of the body that we recognise as ‘becoming more flexible’. To facilitate this process we need to ‘feel’ what is happening and be aware of the sensations in the body. We move slowly through the stretch positions with very detailed cues maximising the sensory information coming to you from your body. This is a theme that will be expanded during classes.
I know how to stretch, why is this any different?
Have you been stretching or have you been mimicking shapes that we recognise as Stretching? Adapting a stretch to the actual in-the-moment experience of the individual is simply the most important determinant of whether or not a stretch is going to be effective. And this is precisely the reason why a sets and reps approach to stretching is always going to be ineffective when compared to a system like ST. In this system, the quality of, and the depth of, the experience in the moment is the key focus.
What are the distinct elements
This stretch program uses three distinct elements
1) Contract-Relax (C-R)
2) Partial poses
3) Partner poses
- Muscles involved become stronger at the point in the range of movement where they are usually weak, by the use of the isometric (muscles exerting effort without movement) contraction
- Doing work in the extended position increases awareness (proprioception) of the stretching sensation—widening the window between stretching and injuring—and distinguishes between a stretch sensation and a pain sensation flexibility improves, by the stretch reflex being deactivated momentarily.
Break down stretches into ’functional units of flexibility’, reducing the movement into smaller parts starts first around a single joint, then builds to more complex movements. This Identifies tight muscles) in the chain of movement.
- Allows the person being stretched to pay more attention to the sensations in the desired muscle.
- The person being stretched doesn’t have to ‘do the work’ of holding a final (difficult) position.
- You can concentrate on form, relaxation of the muscles being stretched, and breathing
- Support of partner often leads to holding the stretch longer.