Of all of the aspects of fitness, flexibility is often the most neglected. While strength and stamina decline only slightly as we age, the suppleness of the muscle tissue is radically reduced from childhood to maturity. While most of us assume that it is normal to get stiffer as we age, this is largely a myth. In the same way that we may increase and preserve the strength of muscle by daily training, we may increase and preserve flexibility by stretching daily. Many people avoid stretching because it is considered painful or they are simply unsure of how to do it.
The Eastern Traditions of Yoga and Martial Arts have long understood the connection of physical and mental well being. Western Systems of Contemplative Movement such as Pilates and Active Isolated Stretching have confirmed this wisdom through a modern, scientific approach.
The primary techniques that all of these systems share is a focus on:
- Deep Breathing
- Strong Core & Flexible Muscles
- Precise & Graceful Movement
- Healthy Posture
- Self Knowledge
- Vital Energy
Smart Stretch provides an integrative path to balance the body. We are not creating a new style of yoga or movement, simply making these techniques available for our students in a way that is as practical and straight forward as possible.
Although the goal of yoga is a mental state of balance, it is clear that we use the vehicle of body and breath to arrive. Therefore it is helpful for those practitioners to have a good foundation in practical anatomy so they may use the body in a way that is most efficient. When the body moves well, the breath naturally deepens and the mind becomes clear.
Our foundational modality is Active Isolated Stretching (AIS), a gentle yet highly effective form of Isolated Muscle Stretching.
Active Isolated Stretching works with the body’s natural intelligence to safely elongate muscle and deep myofascial tissue. Using precise bodily positioning, AIS isolates specific muscles for a stretch lasting no more than 2 seconds (yes, 2 seconds!). This 2 second stretch allows for optimal flow of blood, oxygen and nourishment without triggering the protective contraction of the muscle avoiding painful tears caused by prolonged static stretching. The stretch is repeated up to 10 times to gradually increase mobility in the muscle and joint. The isolated contraction builds specific muscle tone and strength and trains muscles to fire in the correct patterns therefore increasing bodily awareness and coordination.
There are many benefits of learning the method of AIS:
- greater isolated flexibility
- greater isolated strength
- greater body awareness
- address common postural misalignment
- repair injured muscles, open joints, and break up scar tissue
- awaken dormant or atrophied muscles
- blind spots such as weak or stiff tissue may be identified and addressed
- gain an intuitive sense of movement and alignment in sport or in life
AIS teaches you how to isolate, stretch, and strengthen virtually every muscle of the body.