Prolonged supported stretches have a profound effect on the body. As the stretch is held:
1. The connective tissue and muscles loosen
2. Deep stretch of the joints occur
3. Range of motion increases by decreasing muscle tension and pain
In the picture below, my client deeply stretches his inner thighs, pelvic floor and hip joints. This restorative yoga pose is called the Frog and can be very difficult to hold for an extended period of time and truly releasing into the pose . By using a support, the pose can be held for 2-4 minutes and effects of the stretch are increased. He has positioned the width of the patented MINIMAX under his torso and as his tissues lengthens he presses his body weight back.
In our modern world, a great amount of our time is spent sitting with our spine rounded and our heads looking down at our phones.
4. Improvement of posture and alignment can be achieved by resting in supported back bends. In the picture below, the woman is supported by a bolster, towel and pads. The other picture demonstrates how my client is back bending over the slope of the MINIMAX.
5. Deep prolonged stretching also effects the mind by calming nervous system and specifically the peripheral nervous system (PNS).
The PNS is part of the autonomic nervous system (ANS) and is the often described as the "rest & digest system". As the mind calms, stress and anxiety will lessen and self awareness increases. In the stretch below, the MINIMAX is flipped over with the rounded end toward the hips. Intention of reach and heaviness of hands and feet away from the spine creates a traction of the low back, as relaxation of the nervous system also occurs.
Even though prolonged deep stretches have these positive effects on both the physical and mental status of the individual, prolonged stretching is not always a regular part of fitness programs.
This may be due to tightness making prolonged stretches very uncomfortable. Using a supportive prop can be the answer by allowing the release of the muscular tension softly and calmly.
Supportive props for deep stretching are: yoga blocks, bolsters and blankets. There are many ways to personalize the support for deep stretches with these props but sometimes it can be difficult to position multiple props.
The MINIMAX was created in the spirit of Joseph Pilates and B.K.S Iyengar and is a yoga/pilates prop which can support the body in various deep stretches. If the support needs to be altered, this is easily done by turning the MINIMAX and taking support from the slope side or from the rounded end or even flipping the MINIMAX over. In the picture below, my client is stretching his thighs, hip flexors, spine and feet, with the MINIMAX flipped over allowing him to release into modified Saddle pose.
Please note there are full workouts and short stretch inspirations on Hooked on Pilates YouTube channel. Please reach out with any questions because the MINIMAX is my invention. In health, Martina