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Home > Stretching the Anatomy - The Zen Mindset For Increased Flexibility

Stretching the Anatomy - The Zen Mindset For Increased Flexibility

by Dr. Henry Roth

Stretching is a pleasurable experience.That pleasurable experience is limited to a select few individuals who know how to derive the maximum benefit of their reaching effort because they become one with the stretching muscle or muscle group at that moment.

The Pure Pleasure of Stretching Yields Benefits for Both Body and Mind

Suppleness is a property of muscle. It means that muscle can easily accommodate the individuals ability to reach with great ease. Stretching is a whole body asset to your well-being as well as to your particular sport of choice. Even in today's age of better health and fitness awareness, there is still a large population of fitness enthusiasts that do not possess the mindset necessary to achieve a total body, mind awareness of what it takes to achieve a healthy state of suppleness in their bodies. Stretching is a pleasurable experience.That pleasurable experience is limited to a select few individuals who know how to derive the maximum benefit of their reaching effort because they become one with the stretching muscle or muscle group at that moment. To become one with your anatomy means to have a conscious sense of relaxing into your stretch with a total focus on the elastic sensation you are feeling at that moment. 

Stretching is like a relationship, the most important factor is the connection between you and your significant unique anatomy. How you interpret yourself as either tight or loose is a purely subjective experience.I have experienced that flexibility in how you choose to adapt to the daily stress of living plays a significant role in how your anatomy reacts to your current state of thinking about yourself as a human being. If you are tight and rigid in your character then you might possibly be the same way in your anatomy. There are many stretching techniques out there but without being tuned in to the sensation of your muscle-fascial tightness you will not know how to get the best of your reaching energy.


Each individual has their own dynamic reaching potential. The saran wrap in your body is known as fascia. It is your connective tissue foundation that holds every organ, nerve, blood vessel, and muscle in place. The saran wrap in one individual is tighter than another. So what is the real benefit to all this mindset I speak about. Stretching not only increases the elastic energy of muscle, it brings a cerebral state of well-being to your nervous system. Stretching is a form of meditation in which you are able to tune down the frequency of stressed muscles to a level that resonates relaxation throughout your entire being.Try the following stretch for your hamstrings, the muscle group that runs from the bottom of your posterior hip bone down toward the back of the top of the knee.The saran wrap also envelops the hamstrings and further descends past the knee joint right down into the heel and the bottom portion of the foot. This is an anatomical position of tissue many lay people are not aware of but plays a significant role in getting the best elastic potential from your effort.


Place your right leg upon a chair or table, preferably at the level of your navel. Reach forward by bending at the waist, keeping your knee slightly bent. Notice where you initially cannot go any further, this is the innate protective mechanism known as the stretch reflex. Now breathe in through your nose and then exhale as you continue the downward extension force and hold 10-15 seconds using 50% of your maximum effort. When you repeat this motion, this time attempt to bring your toes towards your knee and notice this different sensation. This is because you have influenced the fascial attachment from the bottom of the foot. You will notice a greater tension sensation but it becomes a highly relevant factor in achieving the best out of your stretch. Release your downward reaching tension and notice how relaxed the tissue is starting to feel. Zen means to meditate. Meditation means to be in non-attachment to your surroundings and your worldly concerns. In this stretch you are one with the muscle and its fascial attachment you are stretching. When you are stretching you just stretch so that the outcome produces not only a new lengthening potential but a sense of inner peace to your entire nervous system.




Dr. Henry Roth, DC began his career as a kinesiotherapist at a V.A hospital working with disabled veterans for 16 years. Within that time frame he studied the art of Swedish massage with a blind physical therapist and progressed thru several bodywork therapy certifications. He was a US Olympic team massage therapist at the 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary, Canada. In 1991 he became an apprentice to a master physical therapist at Carnegie Hall, NYC working with the classical musicians and dancers and their overuse syndromes. He currently holds workshops at AMTA and private facilities in the Muscle Normalization techniques which utilizes the principles of PNF and Muscle Energy techniques. He has also design-patented a heated stone for application in hot stone massage.
Dr. Roth's greatest passion is speaking in front of his fellow peers instructing them in several of his technique workshops and observing the immediate benefit to the therapists as they expel sounds of phenomenal relief in their own anatomy as a result of his demonstrated stretch applications.

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