Monday, September 19, 2011

Pimp Your Stretch

How Feldenkrais Can Make a Stretch More Effective

It's not just about a stretch, it's about how you do it. If you "pimp your stretch" with Feldenkrais you can transform a crude muscle extension into an opportunity to let go of tension.

Think this is cool? Check out the video below.

The worn-out approach

"It's a bit of a stretch" implies taking something too far, beyond what's reasonable. But is it reasonable to "feel" a good stretch? Often we look for some sort of resistance, as if finding tension reassures us that we are doing the stretch properly. But isn't tension what we're trying to get rid of?

When we push hard into a stretch, we often stretch out what's already flexible, but the tight parts get the message "work hard" and just tighten more. When stretching hard, the tight parts work to resist the stretch. It's like untangling a mess of string by pulling on the loose ends - more often then not, the knots just get tighter.

Tangled up in blue.

The smart solution

With a Feldenkrais approach, you'd first look at the tangle carefully. Then you'd slowly and gently try pulling and pushing little by little, bit by bit, changing angles, going to the middle, then working further out. By observing how the knots start to tighten and loosen, you'd slowly work out how to untangle the string.

This approach doesn't necessarily ensure quick or straightforward solutions. The aim is to pay full attention to the process and to let go of any expectation of an immediate outcome.

So when it comes to stretching, instead of feeling for the stretch or pain or resistance, we feel for a sense of ease. Comfort lets us know that we're not simply pulling the knots tighter, and it helps us to learn how to move without pain.

Here's an example of a simple stretch for the wrists, shoulders, and upper back, which you can do in your chair. You can "pimp" it by playing with aspects of the movement and looking for connections through your body.

Find out more about Oli Wiles and Feldenkrais at

1 comment:

Stella Doro said...

Looove the title! and I love that I can mster these vids while sitting in front of my laptop!