We know that stretching is important to increase mobility to perform gorgeous high kicks and lovely backbends – but when crunched for time, it can be hard to justify spending time to ‘just’ to stretch. However, stretching is probably be more important than you realize! Stretching doesn’t just help you to sit in the splits; it increases your overall range of motion. You’ll find that taking dedicated stretch classes, like a Moving Stretch class, can improve your wellbeing.
If you related to the “crunched for time” phrase, check out this collection of
online ballet barre workouts that you can do at home.
Not all stretches, and not all stretch classes, are the same. When you think of stretching, you may think of hanging out in a straddle or pigeon pose while watching television. These are static stretches. Many stretch classes lead students through dynamic stretches. For example, Moving Stretch incorporates resistance, which requires a certain amount of physical effort. However, practitioners can choose how much resistance to add, which is similar to many other calisthenics workouts.
Moving Stretch classes are also designed to stretch the fascia, or connective tissue, within the body. Specifically, the myofascia surrounds muscle sheaths; so stretching these structures is just as important as lengthening the muscles fibers themselves.
Moving Stretch Class in London with Andrea Molin
After snapping some quick photos to inform me about my postural alignment, we began class standing, first filling the chest with air, then the belly. My body consciousness slowly awakened as I noted subtle postural changes and weight shifts. It was just like beginning a yoga class, arriving on the mat in mountain pose.
From there, we completed a handful of exercises that focused on opening the chest (since I spend many hours hunched over a keyboard) and the hips (which are tight for most people). To teach the simple functional movement exercises, Andrea would mirror me. Then we increased the speed and I continued the short movement sequences as he checked whether I was performing them correctly or not. I also caught glimpses of myself in the mirror, which alerted me when I activated the wrong muscles to initiate certain actions.
Although dance knowledge is not required to take group classes or private sessions,
Moving Stretch is especially suited to dancers.
Admittedly, I felt ungainly as I tried to maintain my core while lurching to the rhythm of my breath, which continually grew faster. I vaguely worried about toppling over, while contracting and arching my torso or lowering into deep lunges, but Andrea never made me feel awkward or silly. He simply offered suggestions, increased my resistance by asking me to press against his arms and counted me down through the sets like a personal trainer.
Andrea was consistently relatable and actively encouraged me to ask questions or voice my observations with the welcoming phrase, “Tell me.”
Some moments were surprisingly intense, as I fought to maintain correct posture and my weak, underutilized muscles protested loudly. But I became more comfortable with the pace and methodology throughout the class – and I especially welcomed the stretching segment on the floor. Andrea incorporated some of his training as a floor barre instructor and as a massage therapist to help stretch my ham strings and hip flexors.
The smorgasbord of exercises focused on different areas of the body and left me feeling great. I stood up, feeling perfectly stacked, and efficiently paced around the room. I even longed to attend a ballet class, to see how the small adjustments we had created would better serve my technique. The Moving Stretch class worked like a tune up for my body, and Andrea said that there were hundreds more exercises to try.
One of the unique aspects of Moving Stretch is that the methodology of using resistance to increase range of motion can be applied to many other exercises. So, you can really gain a lot by investing in a class or two and creatively working the approach into other physical practises.
Private Moving Stretch Class Summary
Level: N/A – private class was specifically tailored
Physical intensity: 3 / 5
Best moment: Walking around the studio after class, feeling perfectly aligned
Best quote: ‘I am only here with you for one hour. You have 23 more hours to improve yourself each day.’ – Andrea
Most challenging moment: Staying conscious of activating the correct muscles throughout the session
Three words to describe class: Subtle, eye-opening, beneficial
If You Go to a Moving Stretch Class:
Group classes are available on a scheduled basis at a cost of £15 / class (60 minutes).
Private stretch classes can be purchased from £50 / class (60 minutes).
All information correct and up-to-date at time of posting.
Have you ever taken a class focused on stretching? If so, what kind of stretching did you do? Let us know in the comments below!
In case you are curious, you can compare my pre- and post-class photos below. I can see differences from each perspective, but I think the side-view is most obvious.
Disclosure: Dance Dispatches was offered a complimentary session to assess the stretch class and to write an open and honest review about our experience.
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