Please watch this video for key tips on how to use Moving Stretch to get the most out of your stretching. Then scroll down and read the tips below before you start.
1. You must make sure you are fit and healthy enough to stretch. People with a wide range of mobility, strength and flexibility levels can do the stretches, but if you are ill, have recently had an operation, are in pain or have an injury you must check with your doctor or physiotherapist (physical therapist) before stretching to make sure that stretching is suitable.
2. Some of these stretches require a little bit of equipment, things that you will find useful for your stretching include; a yoga mat, padding for your knees (cushion, blanket, pullover), a yoga strap (but you can often use a towel or belt instead) and sometimes you will need a chair or desk (but you can often use stable things that are around the same height).
3. The stretches require you to contract your muscles throughout the stretch, however, do not do this to 100% ,or as hard as you can. We suggest tensing to around 60-70% of your maximum ability. When you are tensing this much you can breathe normally, smile or speak. When you are tensing too much you often cannot do these things. Also it can result in muscle soreness and stiffening up, so it is important you do not over-tense.
4. We never push beyond a comfortable range of motion, but only go as far as we can while keeping the tension on and never pushing through pain.
5. We never hold the stretch, because the stretch happens while we are moving between the beginning and end points. This way the body does not need to tense up protectively when it senses you may be pushing beyond your limits, and yet your ROM will still increase if it is helpful for you.
6. We make each movement fluidly, and with a consistent, measured pace. We never make sudden, jerky or forced movements. We want the body to feel safe and to expand our levels of mobility and flexibility organically and safely, rather than trying to force it.
7. You may be a little achey after your first couple of stretching sessions, this is because you are also strengthening at the same time and it is completely normal. Just keep moving, make sure you drink enough fluids and it will pass. You can stretch while you are feeling achey in this way (it is a muscle soreness, never a sharp or moving pain).
8. Do not stretch while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or when you are very tired or ill. It is harder to listen to your body in these states and you may injure or over-exert yourself, in which case you will move backwards with your health and flexibility instead of improving.