Some people have the false assumption that stretching is the passive portion of a Dailey Method class – but the opposite could not be more true!
Staying engaged while you stretch will increase the safety of the stretch, the stability of the ligaments and tendons, and also optimize muscular length. Engaging a muscle on one side of your body (the antagonist) will increase the depth of stretch of the muscle on the other side of your body (the agonist).
Here are a couple examples of how to do this:
Hamstring stretch: While on your knees- take your right leg straight forward. Engage your quadriceps muscles in an upward motion to lift and support your knee cap. This will help you straighten the leg and increase the length of your hamstring muscle. It’s ideal to do this stretch with both a neutral spine and pelvis and also with a flexed spine. The two different spine positions target different fibers of your hamstring muscle. Repeat on the other side.
Quadricep and hip flexor stretch: Part of your hip flexors are certain fibers of your quadriceps muscles, so both of these can be targeted and stretched deeper by engaging both your gluteal and your hamstring muscles on the opposite side. Lunge your right leg forward with a deeply bent knee. Curl your back toes under to help find better hip alignment. Lift your hamstring up on on the back of the right leg and engage the base of your seat to press further into the front of your hip. Repeat on the other side.
I am demonstrating these from my balcony in Sayulita Mexico as I am here for the 4th annual Dailey Method and Women’s Health and Happiness retreat.
Stay tuned next week for my retreat highlights!