Having just this minute finished a lovely "Stretch Class" in the studio I thought it might be nice to share some of the elements which go into making a successful session here.

First, and foremost, a clean and welcoming environment. Lighting is according to the day (either blinds partially open or sometimes fully closed), inner floor lights glowing comfortingly and "45" #playlist. All of the mats are laid out with blocks and belts, a neat pile of fresh, fluffy face-cloths and a tray set with glasses of fresh, cool water. Changing room, 2 x clean loo's, A register for everybody to place name, email, signature and Facebook sign-in's (for those who are not "meant to be elsewhere"), verbal screening...and class for 45 minutes commences.

There is always an introduction to the muscle group / area(s) that will be focussed upon, and whether sitting or lying, a private intention is set for the session whilst breathing "up and down" the spine. A gentle warm-up will highlight the difference between subtlety and strength. And then to positions. I spend a long time planning an uncomplicated transitional route though 12 or more stretches with at least one balance and the deeper, more intense stretches as the final one or two.

Classes are available for all abilities which in turn appeals to all types of people from many different walks of life. There is always a lovely atmosphere in the studio, even when the session gets to the "hard" part someone will be smiling, puffing, wobbling. NB: grimacing is often accepted as a smile! And due to there only being a small number in each session (8 max) everybody soon knows everybody else...and in addition, everybody knows that it is a "non-competitive" journey so there are never any "full-on" egos vying for attention. In fact, I encourage "an internal dialogue" with whichever muscle group / area as it promotes a self-awareness and inner focus rather than anything else that may (or may not) be happening in the room. Today it was "Love your hamstrings. Love them some more!"

During the session instructional cues are given to all but the best element (not only for myself but primarily for the participant) is a gentle, hands-on "suggestion" of what, where and how they need to move in order to be in the correct alignment for that particular stretch. This intricate and tiny adjustment is done with such care and respect for each individual that it is always with huge wonderment (as much myself as for participant!) that improvements are noticed in as little as one session. One PT noticed a 6-8cm movement of bicep closer to ear within 30 minutes of a shoulder-opening session. 

And finally, to close the class, a gentle relaxation for a few minutes. I have been told I have a nice voice (at last a use for LAMDA training!) and the words I finish with are especially considered for whichever time of the day / day of the week, written, edited and read with feeling, empathy and gentleness. I feel honoured that newly stretched ladies and gents allow these words to wash over them, absorb and interpret them and by doing so give a "freshness" to their day and their being. 

Everybody's body needs to stretch and as we get busier, older, shorter we forget that it is a basic requirement necessary in order to stay fit for daily duties, whatever they may be. I encourage each of you to spend just a few moments when you turn away from your screen to wiggle your shoulders, drop your chin to your chest and just breathe fully to your stomach.

Classes are available throughout the week and by private arrangement for corporate and closed groups. Click here to read more and book.

#realmenbend #stretchingisfun #flexiblebodyflexiblemind 

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