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Stretching & Flexibility Paperback – September 1, 2000
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Stretching is healthy and natural: animals do it all the time. Stretching can alter consciousness by releasing tension in both the body and the mind. Laughlin, who teaches at the Australian National University Sports Union, has developed a comprehensive stretching program that combines basic warm-ups and yoga-type postures performed solo and with a partner to stretch virtually every muscle in the body. To explain exactly what takes place during these workouts, Laughlin provides accurate anatomical diagrams which show precisely which muscle groups are involved in various movements of the body, and the book's more than 700 photographs may be all readers need to perform the stretches he recommends, but the text is extremely clear and detailed as well. Laughlin presents nearly 100 exercises in all, and every part of the body is covered, from neck muscles down to fingers and toes. This is an excellent guide for athletes, health instructors, physical therapists, and all who want to increase their flexibility, strength, and peace of mind. David Siegfried
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I also enjoy the elaborate thinking that has gone into each stretch that allows the participant to isolate the muscle and keep the proper form. Once one learns the stretches, they are very quick to set up, but in the beginning all the extra instructions are essential in ensuring that the stretch is not defeated by an unwanted compensation or misalignment elsewhere in the body. Just going to a yoga class or Pilates mat class will not provide the benefit these stretches do because the postures are too uncontrolled and the typical western stiff body doesn't really achieve the 'guts' of the pose. This book however, is truly a remedial approach that expects the participant to have a very limited range of motion to begin with. Just to read the material, the techniques do not sound impressive, but when one actually does the stretches, the genius is revealed.
After a good session, the blissful feeling lasts for hours. I have made great progress in just three months. Though the author only touches on this briefly, a prominent effect that many readers may not be anticipating is an increased calm and poise that enters one life. By resetting muscle through resetting muscle length, the arousal and defensive parts of the nervous system become themselves more flexible and less reactive. A partner is not essential, but an enhancement, perhaps emotionally as well as mechanically. I notice also that the author has generously placed many demonstration videos on youtube.