15 Minute Stretching Workout

Image of 15 Minute Stretching Workout + DVD
Release Date: 
December 6, 2009
Reviewed by: 

It’s simple: stretching is essential for well being. Understanding that thought is easy. Regularly stretching, however, can be a challenge; and this book is here to help. 15 Minute Stretching Workout starts with a brief anatomical overview of the body’s structure and the interconnectedness of its parts. Clearly, moving is important for good health. Reading, one discovers how to re-direct movement patterns and habitual motions to gain stability and ease, and to improve balance and focus. Four stretching practices are presented: wake up stretch, posture stretch, flexibility stretch, and strength stretch.

Instructions are included for coordinating breathing with the stretches. Cultivating a breathing practice along with stretching will help one observe what’s happening within, and self-awareness helps one find which workout is the most beneficial. Finding the workout that’s right leads to a healthy self-image and relief of stress. Included are reminders about leaving competition and judgments out of a workout, and encouragement to observe oneself and one’s path of motion during the stretching processes.

Each of the four sections includes an overview of the benefits of the stretches; brief, clearly written instructions and photos of the postures; a gatefold displaying the entire sequence; and answers to frequently asked questions. The names of the stretches are descriptive, some influenced by yoga and some by dance. The language clues and imagery used in the instruction are easy to assimilate and remember, and the photos are excellent and effective in their simplicity.

15 Minute Stretching Workout also provides instruction for releasing postures and transitioning to the next stretch, both of which are important and many times not well detailed in other exercise books. This book’s binding also lends itself to laying open well, so it’s easy to use while in motion. After reading the detailed instructions for each stretch the gatefold is right there to give a photographic reminder of the entire sequence. A DVD accompanies the book; it’s organized into the same four stretching workouts. Visuals are simple, so attention is focused on practice. One can choose to hear only the spoken instruction, only the subtle music, or both.

The music is pleasant and not intrusive. The voice is clear and well-paced for a continual flow of practice, and the DVD does clarify some of the instruction in the book for those who are visual learners. It also previews seven other related titles, which are available on DVD. The stretching workout requires very few props, making it easy to do any time or any place. Careful tips are given for using additional props to gain comfort and avoid injury in cases where over-stiffness or over-flexibility is experienced.

There are examples for breaking the work down into parts to gradually gain access to strength, flexibility, and stability. Modifications for greater challenge in the stretches are also presented. After the stretching workout, breathing techniques and tips for relaxation and effective rest are given. The book concludes with a discussion of stretching as an integral part of the formula for quality of life.

15 Minute Stretching Workout is recommended for anyone who is learning independently, and for wellness teachers who seek additional warm-ups and different approaches to postures for their students. We all participate in the natural aging process so why not “extend upward against the force of gravity” and uplift your outlook on life?