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  1. Hello, I need some advise here on strength training. My background is ballet dancing and swimming as a teenager, racquet games and yoga as a adult. I am pretty flexible, and have no problem getting into bridge, pancake, front and side splits. I have recently started Taiji and found that has improved my lower body strength substantially, not to mention stablisiing the knees. My problem is getting upper body strength. While practising yoga, I always have problems with stablising my hyper extended elbows in downdog and all the arms balancing poses. I can't do a downdog without feeling strain on either on my right wrist or elbow. I can't do Chaturanga without feeling the strains on the neck and deltoid. Somehow, handstand gives much less problems. For the past one year, I hardly do any these poses but been focusing on gaining better range on my shoulder with Stretch Therapy Exercises. The exercises are great. They have settled quite a few of my issues on neck and shoulder and importantly learned to deactivate overused muscles on the neck, shoulder and arms... . I am currently running a centre teaching others ST. I am small-sized, 5 foot 1 and 99% of students are bigger than me! I wish to gain sufficient upper body strength correctly by using my own body mainly. I need the strength to assist students in class as well as doing simple household chores like lifting a heavy pots. I am currently doing some simple wall planks, getting the shoulder to protract and using the core. On the floor, I still feel the strain on wrist and elbow. Any suggestions to improve are welcome.
  2. Final product title, and how workshops will be offered in 2011 I have copied and edited a post from my BLOG today; I shall be very interested in comments here, too. After much discussion, I have decided that this will be the new title and sub-title: Stretch Therapy™ How to attain ease in the body and graceful movement I will be grateful for final comments on the name. To remind readers, this title is for the new book/video product (it will be both downloadable, with embedded video) and Print On Demand ('POD"), the book and images only version. Future workshops will flow from this decision, too. There are three ST workshops, and everyone begins with the first one, immediately below: Intro. to Stretch The very first experience any new person will have of the ST method, this three-day workshop will be completely practical/experiential, and will include a relaxation session each day. Anyone, whether an individual wanting to have a 'body sabbatical', or someone wanting to become a Stretch Teacher or a Stretch Practitioner (Therapist in some jurisdictions) will need to begin with this workshop. Someone who has done Intro. to Stretch may choose to go on to the Stretch Teacher or Stretch Practitioner streams. Stretch Teacher An additional three-day workshop will focus on teaching the attendees how to teach a decent stretch class: this includes all the staples such as essential functional anatomy, how to teach multiple variations of the same exercise at the same time, how to structure a class, and how to correct a student's form. The additional three-day workshop may be done any time after the Intro. Completion of the six days entitles an attendee to attend a Stretch Teacher Certification examination, too. Stretch Practitioner (Therapist) A Stretch Practitioner will begin with the Intro. to Stretch, then takes a second, different, three-day workshop that focusses on how to treat common problems like neck and back pain, in the one-on-one rehab. or clinic situation. This includes the latest research into these problems, tests on how to distinguish structural from functional leg-length differences, the critical exercises to relieve low back and neck pain, and more. Completion of the SP six days allows an attendee to call themselves a Level One Stretch Practitioner. Level Two Stretch Practitioner (Therapist) This additional two-day workshop focusses on neural repatterning, muscle activation, and a full revision of all the key stretching and strengthening exercises. In addition, Level Two includes how to test and treat shoulder and arm problems, including RSI. On completion, an attendee may call themselves a Level Two Stretch Practitioner. We are in the process of designing and implement an SP certification scheme, too, but this has not been finalised. Please subscribe to our occasional newsletter to be kept informed of developments, HERE. The ST system requires teachers and practitioners to engage in regular refresh and upskilling. This can be done every three years by attending any of the three-day workshops above. Heavy discounts apply to anyone repeating any workshop or attending the other stream's workshops: we want you to be as good a teacher or practitioner as you can be. See the main site for detail. We feel that making the first experience of the work all-practical can only help everyone. As well, on the SP side, many past attendees have said that we have tried to pack too much into the six-day format, and hence the additional days. What do you think?
  3. Some background. My body of work is presently known as "Stretch Therapy™"; it has a number of streams, including Stretch Teacher, Stretch Therapist, and the Monkey Gym. A full list of the present workshops on offer (plus a YT video, where I speak abut the different workshops) can be found HERE on my main site. As a side note, you may have seen that this site has inherited the name we were bestowed 26 years ago, and that has been a difficulty in positioning and branding our work, too. In recent years, a large number of people have attended the Stretch Teacher workshop, in particular, just to do intensive work on themselves, for a variety of reasons, including rehab all the way to simply giving their bodies a deep rest and to experience what true deep relaxation feels like in the body/mind. Accordingly, a number of hosts have commented that the present name of these workshops (Stretch Teacher) is a barrier to these people wanting to do these workshops because (completely reasonably) the term 'teacher' implies the purpose. Another piece of the puzzle is the title of my new book (a multi-media product, but still a book to me) is Stretching Mindfully. As well, I have registered two new URLs with this in mind (stretching-mindfully.com, and moving-mindfully.com), the latter to make explicit the third dimension I wrote about earlier this week. My inclination is to keep "Stretch Therapist": its message seems clear and unambiguous. As well, the Monkey Gym workshops similarly seem relatively easy to understand. What are your reactions to calling the third stream, the one presently called "Stretch Teacher", by the name of the new product, Stretching Mindfully, and open it up explicitly to the widest possible audience, and add a lying relaxation module to each day? If we had these three streams, anyone wanting to teach this system would enrol in the Stretching Mindfully workshop along with the people who want a body/mind "sabbatical" (and this would give the potential teachers very useful 'ordinary' bodies to practise with, too). The reason for raising this is that we are now in the "post ANU" phase of the system's unfolding: we can change anything we want and this is the best time to do it. I am going to repost this over at the Stretch Therapy Forums, and make a YouTube clip on this too. My goal is simply to get this work out there as widely as possible, and to teach this system to teachers who can carry this work forward. What are your thoughts?
  4. Hellooooo fellow ST's! Happy New Year! Some very good friends of mine have migrated north and now reside in the Brisbane CBD area. They are looking for a Stretch Teacher to join classes for a) (initially) reduce back pain and general health and well-being. They are just on the CBD fringe on the western side. If you are an ST in the area or know of one (or several), please reply ASAP so I can pass the details to them. Much appreciated Thanks! Holly
  5. Hi there fellow ST's! As a newbie to stretch therapy, I wondered whether I could call on the ST community to share their experiences so far of ST and offer any advice. I had my first ST class of 6 participants on Thursday and have been very excited about it! As a remedial therapist, my class has come entirely from my database, so they are at least familiar with the benefits of stretching. However, despite regularly prescribing stretches and exercises, I found myself like a fish out of water in the class - and I've known my participants (the majority) for years. I was so nervous the night before, I even dreamed about it where I had over 40 people turn up for the class (in a space only big for 10 people)! A big thank you to Merryn for posting her class plans. They're fabulous and very useful. So, I'm curious about several things. I could only fit in an 8 week term this year and wondered if others had done similar and what to focus on. I started with the foot sequence (including Cherie's plantar fascia release on the ball - thanks Cherie!). [side note: Despite the fact everyone loved the tennis ball release, the last minute extra tennis balls I grabbed weren't up to scratch and as soon as weight bared down on them, most either squashed flat or burst!! Thankfully, most had a good sense of humour and we moved on!] Next was introducing the pelvic movements and daily 5. We completed the 'Elvis/ J. Lo' (again, awesome cue Merryn!), did the angry cat/ happy dog, looked around at our tail and finished with the side bend (kneeling). Everyone did really well. As any class, I'm sure, there were varying degrees of ability and flexibility. One lady in her 60's had a double mastectomy approx. 12 months ago, and found the side bend a little uncomfortable. I imagine there would be a considerable amount of scar tissue from the operations, including over her lats. She felt more comfortable as the shoulder rolled forward. I imagine a lot of the restriction in that area for her now would be due scar tissue - should I be suggesting this is an area for her to continue working on? Should I continue with that exercise or should I be suggesting another/ modification initially? I also have a lady in her mid 50's who is used to doing yoga. There are 2 points here: 1 - although I explained to her this is not yoga, I feel there is a sense that given the initial class, she feels as if it's 'easy' or 'not enough'. I wondered what experiences other ST's have had where there is a more 'advanced' student in the class and how you have handled such students. 2 - During side bend, she feels 'bunched up' on the side she is bending towards, on the L & R. From her 'experience' she stated 'and I don't think its very good' - i.e. its causing her discomfort therefore it should be avoided. Knowing her through treating her for many years, the area she mentions is what we've been working on more recently in the clinic, so when she made the comment, instinctively, I believe this to be an area she needs to stretch. Even so, I felt quite intimidated by her 'matter of fact-ness' and reminded me of how green to ST I really am! So, in summary, I'd like to hear about your experiences and how you handled situations such as the ones stated above as well as suggestions for class plans moving forward into week 2. Thanks guys, Holly
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