A Full Body Stretch Flow will keep you supple and strong.
At Bendable Body we divide the muscles in the body into 16 'zones' or muscle groups. Each zone is comprised of muscles, fascia and a meridian channel. When you do a Bendable Body stretch for one of these zones you impact everything in the zone and associated with the zone:
- The muscles: their strength and flexibility
- The fascia: it's health and pliability
- The meridian channel and the flow of energy through it
- The organ, physiological and emotional health associated with the meridian channel
- The joint nearby, it's health and functionality
A 'Full Body Flow' at Bendable Body is a stretch routine that covers all 16 muscle groups in the body and is ordered by the meridian association and the order that energy flows through the meridian channels.
More specifically: there is actually only one meridian channel in the body. However, it is broken down into 16 primary sections. In a 24 hour period energy makes its way through this entire channel, and all 16 sections, one full time. It takes the same pathway every day. So we order our full body flow stretch routines - going from muscle zone to muscle zone - in the same order that energy flows through the meridian channels.
There are a number of benefits to this. First, you support and 'turn on' the flow of energy through the channels, which in turn aids in organ health, physiological health and emotional health. It also increases your energy levels! Here's a direct quote from John, "When I first started stretching I did a full body flow every day for a year. Not only did I feel physically amazing... but I also felt clear as a bell." From a physical standpoint you are strategically stretching in an order that both alternates from the upper to lower body and also accesses the biomechanical relationship between muscle groups. In short, certain stretches make other stretches better and a Bendable Body full body flow takes advantage of this.
Most people come to us for physical pain, particularly in the joints. But there is a 'rabbit hole' of results from resistance stretching that goes way beyond just joint pain and muscle stiffness.
What's wrong with traditional full body stretch routines?
The biggest issue is the understanding of what stretching actually is. Traditional forms of stretching define stretching as releasing muscles from a tight or shortened position to a lengthened position. The theory is that muscles get stuck in 'shortened' positions from sitting, texting, too much computer work, etc... and in order to solve that you need to hold the muscles in a lengthened position which is what traditional stretching essentially is.
At Bendable Body we do agree that sitting, texting, computer time all damage the muscles and fascia. But to say that muscles get stuck in a short position and need to be lengthened to resolve that is false.
A tense, tight, stiff muscle is also a weak muscle. The job of muscles is to move the body around. They do this by making a variety of movements that include shortening, lengthening and rotating. Tight muscles lose the ability to do one or more of these things. Hard, dense fascia that has accumulated in and around the muscle is the cause. It is holding the muscle in a dysfunctional pattern. Passively elongating a muscle will not address the unhealthy fascia at all and will actually cause more of it to form - ultimately making you tighter, stiffer and weaker.
When you use the Bendable Body Method you start with the target muscle group in a shortened position, add internal resistance, and lengthen through the resistance. This specific movement targets and restructures unhealthy fascia on a cellular level - freeing up tight, tense and bound muscles.
There is a reason 'the jury is out' on whether on not 'stretching' is effective. It's because traditional stretching is being judged and it's not only not effective, it can make things worse.
You may be wondering: then why does it feel good to do a traditional stretch? It feels good because there is a temporary release of tension stored in the muscle - emphasis on temporary. If you pay attention you will feel that though you have some level of release and relaxation during and immediately after a traditional stretch, it doesn't last. And if you really pay attention you will also notice that you don't gain flexibility or strength as a result.
Areas of the body and deeper health associations covered during a full body flow:
There are 16 primary muscle groups in the body - all of which are covered in a full body flow. Each muscle group stretches a grouping of muscles and the surrounding fascia and is associated with a meridian channel, organ and joint.
You will notice that some muscle groups overlap with one another. For example: there is more than one muscle group that runs through the chest and biceps. This overlap is normal and once you start stretching and get familiar with the various stretches and 'zones' they target, you will feel and experience the difference between them.
The following images represent either the start or end position of the stretch. At Bendable Body there is no holding poses. Rather we resist through a range of motion. To fully understand stretching and how to do it, watch the full body flow video at the bottom of the post.
Front of Upper Body & Arms:
- Image 1 - lung organ and meridian; chest and biceps; shoulder joint
- Image 2 - heart organ and meridian; chest and biceps; elbow joint
- Image 3 - pericardium organ and meridian; chest and biceps; wrist joint
- Image 4 - appendix organ and meridian; chest and biceps; shoulder girdle
Front of lower Body & Legs:
- Image 1 - Liver organ and meridian; inner thighs; hip girdle
- Image 2 - pancreas organ and meridian; medial hamstring; hip joint
- Image 3 - sexual organ and meridian; hip flexors; knee joint
- Image 4 - kidney organ and meridian; groin; ankle joint
Back of Upper Body & Arms:
- Image 1 - Large Intestine organ and meridian; top of shoulders and neck; shoulder joint
- Image 2 - small intestine organ and meridian; upper back and triceps; elbow joint
- Image 3 - skin organ and meridian; back of shoulders and triceps; wrist joint
- Image 4 - thymus organ and meridian; upper back and neck; shoulder girdle
Back of lower Body & Legs:
- Image 1 - gall bladder organ and meridian; IT band; hip girdle
- Image 2 - stomach organ and meridian; quadriceps & shins; hip joint
- Image 3 - brain organ and meridian; central hamstring and calves; knee joint
- Image 4 - bladder organ and meridian; lateral hamstring and calves; ankle joint
Try this Full Body Flow video.
*Please note: This video contains 16 easy to medium level stretches. We have numerous stretches for each muscle group. It is important to do a variety of poses for each muscle group so that all aspects of the muscle group get stretched.