You know those seemingly benign workouts where you wake up the next day and realize you’ve used muscles you didn’t even know you had? That’s Essentrics. A blend of tai chi and ballet mixed with the healing principles of physiotherapy, Essentrics was developed by mother-daughter team Miranda and Sahra Esmonde-White, the former an ex-dancer with the National Ballet of Canada. The dynamic combination of strength and flexibility exercises creates long, lean and resilient muscles, and helps to avoid injuries. Exercise DVDs include a barre workout and sculpting series, and the latest offering is the Ultimate Stretch DVD, which emphasizes the importance of stretching all the body’s muscles — and not just the five-second quad stretch we all default to after a workout. Sahra, who counts NHL players, Olympic athletes, actress Sarah Gadon and model Lily Cole among her clients, shared some insider information with us on the importance of stretching.
theFashionSpot: What is your new DVD about?
Sahra Esmonde-White: The new Essentrics Ultimate Stretch DVD holds a series of stretch workouts that are aimed at all levels and are easy to follow. Our technique is unlike any other stretch because the workout is in motion — it’s flowing and it’s dynamic. In it, you have the option to do an activating stretch workout for 30 minutes, a muscle release workout for 30 minutes or a series of more targeted 15-minute programs.
tFS: What are the benefits of stretching?
SEW: Essentrics gives so many more benefits than traditional stretching because it’s designed to work three-dimensionally and to engage every one of your 620 muscles. Our bodies are three-dimensional machines, however, traditional stretching typically has you working as if you are two-dimensional; holding only one muscle in place and stretching only that targeted muscle. The reason Essentrics is so effective is because we work in rotational movements engaging all the muscles and working through every joint. The results are a rejuvenated feeling in your body, freedom in your joints, relief of aches and pains, increased mobility, injury prevention, faster healing and anti-aging.
tFS: What are two or three essential stretches that everyone should do?
SEW: Once you understand that targeted stretching doesn’t work, you begin to understand how difficult it is to name three stretches. In Essentrics, we have dynamic sequences that work through every muscle. You’re only as flexible as your tightest muscle, so you don’t want to leave any behind! Engage them all in a full-body stretch. That being said, I do love the sequences that focus on the hips and psoas, while engaging the full body.