Newsletter no. 11 – Monday 23 August, 2021
This is the web-based version of Stretch Therapy Newsletter no. 11
What gets stretched?
A question from a workshop attendee, asking whether we are planning to cover “tissue release” on an upcoming workshop prompted this brief post.
When we stretch (defined in the ST system as moving a limb or whole body into a new range of movement, or ROM), we need to consider momentary changes (changes that happen as we stretch), as well as changes over time (months to years).
Most people think of muscles and tendons when they think of ‘what gets stretched’, but in reality, all aspects of the body play a role in what limits ROM, and hence what gets ‘stretched’ as new ROM is explored – and this includes the mind. When I use the word “mind”, I am not referring to the brain, that mostly cholesterol grey matter a neurosurgeon might work on, but rather our image of ourself, who and what we think we are, what we think others think of us, our emotional responses, and most of all, our reflexive behaviours.
Read the full article.
The shoulder pull-down is an absolutely fantastic way of duplicating the partner shoulder push down (or depress) exercise. In fact, it allows some bells and whistles which the ordinary (but lovely!) shoulder push down exercise cannot achieve. And, especially good in this era, is that this is a solo movement. All you need is a chair whose base you can grasp with one hand while you are sitting. It can be as gentle as you need, all the way though to as strong as you want. Go slowly and carefully in the beginning.
A note from a student
You taught me posture, strength and flexibility at ANU 100 years ago (well, in about 1993–6). I had been training in Jishukan Ryu, an art with which you had a close association, and was looking for something to assist me with a better understanding of body mechanics and balance as well as principles for safe and effective enhancement of my flexibility and strength. I started with the “daily 5” and spent many wonderful (although often frustrating) hours being stretched into various unfamiliar positions over barrels and hanging suspended from pull up bars!
You will be pleased to know I have not stopped practicing what you taught me, in terms of physical technique, but more importantly in application of principles of movement, breathing and strength and flexibility training. Your fundamental ideas have been incorporated into my daily training routines – and indeed into my daily habits and movements. And through Jishukan Ryu instruction I have also passed on to many others techniques and principles that you taught me. An ironic circle of influence.
Of course in the beginning there was the word. But not the internet to spread it. It has been amazing to be able to follow your own journey and the corresponding evolution of your understandings through the magical electronic message stick. You have always remained my first port of call when I needed a reference exercise or principle for a strength gap or injury response. Or even a corrective for poor sitting or standing habits as the years pass and the body becomes more … experienced.
A tragedy (?) of the internet is that great teachers may reach students they never even know they have, and never get recognition for it. I feel a little remiss in that regard; so here I am saying thank you in the hope that a small expression of gratitude may feed the spirit of both of us and add to the collective wellbeing.
Wishing you the best, and thanking you for the guidance that has endured.
Bernie Q., Australia