Stretch & Feel ItStephanie Herman
Year Released: 2001
Categories: Athletic Stretch
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One thought kept going through my mind while I did this 40-minute workout: "Why was this video made?" The stretching movements were linked together in a flowing manner. As soon as you reached the climax of the movement, you were instructed to immediately come out of it, so there was no feeling of relaxation or getting a good stretch so as to increase flexibility. I'm also not sure what level this tape was intended. Some movements were very easy but others required quick transitions into positions that required a good deal of flexibility. The setting was not much to look at either - three mats on a wooden parquet floor with a bizarre, garish backdrop. I do have one positive thing to say about this tape: the music was pleasant.
I think Stephanie Herman has an excellent series of tapes out, one of them being "Stretch & Feel It", the other two are called, "Fitness Through Conscious Movement" & "Esprit de Dance."
In Stretch & Feel It, Stephanie (former professional ballerina with American Ballet Theatre), choreographs a series of routines based on ballet, pilates, and yoga stretches. She starts off with incredibly graceful side stretches and then moves on to leg stretches and other upper body work. She repeats many of the movements throughout the 40-minute routine, so you really get a chance to become familiar with them.
Stephanie also explains where the movements are coming from within the body. She will, for example, say, "Try to imagine the arm movement coming from the shoulder socket." She also emphasizes strength coming from the abdominal muscles.
The workout is a great warm-up or cool-down stretch, or a relaxing invigorating stretch workout for a "lazy" day. If you are flexible and familiar with yoga, ballet, and pilates, your knowledge will be enhanced by the way Stephanie choreographs her movement to classical ballet music. I loved the way everything flowed so gracefully--Stephanie is beautiful to watch and a great example. Also, if you're a beginner, this tape is easy enough to follow, and Stephanie is very friendly and non-intimidating.
Stephanie was trained as a professional ballerina and danced with George Ballenchine of American Ballet Theatre. She has an advanced degree in sports medicine and is very graceful in her movements. I like her friendly, non-intimidating manner and think she is quite a knowledgeable teacher.
I happen to be the type that loves to stretch so I'm willing to try just about any tape. I really enjoy Stephanie's Stretch & Feel it workout. If you are familiar with Kari's Angles, Lines and Curves and you like the workout, you will love this tape. The workout is all done seated on the floor starting out with some very thorough back release & shoulder exercises. You can tell Stephanie is a ballet teacher, all her movements are very graceful. You do a short routine for a few minutes and then go through it at a quicker pace concentrating on using your abs the whole time. Next is slow controlled movements stretching your quads and more stretches for your back laying flat on the floor with gentle side to side movements with your knees. Very relaxing. Then you stretch your inner thighs. Next is another section where you start off releasing your back and the sides of your waist, my favorite section, then you move into hip flexor and calf stretches. Then you do back work done on all fours where you lift one arm with the opposite leg with slow controlled movements and you add in shoulder stretches. Then you do more hip flexor stretches, a little different this time adding in quadracep stretches and adding in more back work laying on your stomach and raising an arm with the opposite leg. The last section is more yoga based, going into downward dog position and raising one leg at a time into the air and really stretching your legs and then one more shoulder and side stretch section with some unique quad stretches added in. If you love Kari's ALC, I highly recommend this tape. Very thorough whole body stretches and very relaxing!!
I really like Stephanie's personality. She is very likable and very knowledgeable when it comes to ballet, yoga and pilates. She is very thorough with her workouts and they leave you feeling very relaxed and stretched out.