What is AIS?

The Active Isolated Stretching (AIS) technique was developed by Aaron Mattes over the last 4 decades. His technique provides assisted stretching of major muscle groups, this means the practicioner provides gentle pressure to aid in the stretch. It is effective because it is dynamic, not static. Static stretching can trigger the body's natural protective stretch reflex, and fights the stretch. Dynamic stretches provide greater benefit because the body doesn't see the stretch as a traumatic event, so it will relax and allow the muscle to lengthen. This will improve overall elasticity and blood circulation.                                                                                                               
This stretching method is active, meaning the client is working one muscle group to allow it'sopposing muscle group to relax and lengthen. The muscles are stretched in a particular order, as they are layered upon each other within the body. This order allows a deeper release of the next muscle. Each muscle group is worked at multiple angles to obtain maximum flexibility through the all the fibers in the muscle. Sometimes the protocol for a particular body part may need to be done more than once for the fullest benefit, basically, baby steps. Clients come away from a session feeling "worked" yet flexible.

For more information on AIS please see Aaron Mattes' website
http://www.stretchingusa.com/active-isolated-stretching

Author: Heather Mazeika

 

Earth Day

It is clear by the number of recycle bins, green spaces and park goers that giving back to the planet is important to Richmond. Now that spring is here; new beginnings, green plants, and clean spaces are the perfect inspiration to give back to the Earth. We take measures in our routines at Niche to reduce out impact on the environment. In honor of Earth Day, here are a few tips from us about how your routines can be more earth friendly.

Natural Light

A great way to conserve energy is by turning off the overhead lights and using the sun’s rays to illuminate your work space. At Niche, we have many large windows that remind us that the overhead lights are often unnecessary. We love to turn the lights off and allow the sunlight in during our yoga, fitness, and Pilates classes. 

Earth friendly cleaners

Many cleaners are labeled to say if they are earth friendly. Try to look for as few ingredients as possible and names you can pronounce. This typically will limit the number of harmful chemicals included in your choice of cleaner. The recipe we use for our mat cleaner is as follows:

·       In a 12 oz bottle combine

·       4 oz Vinegar

·       8 oz Water

·       drops of Lavender essential oil

The vinegar naturally disinfects while maintaining clean surfaces. Lavender is another natural disinfectant and smells delightful! This can be used as an all-purpose cleaner in the bathroom, kitchen, or home gym!

Green space

Incorporating potted plants in your indoor décor or gardening in your yard helps to create a welcoming space, detoxify the air, and improve mood. Having plants around is beneficial to physical and mental health. We love having succulents in almost every room at the studio.

Conserving water

This can be as simple as shortening showers, using rain water to water plants, and turning the sink off while brushing your teeth. We wait until our laundry is full before washing our towels so that we don’t waste water from that cycle. You can try it with your work out gear or hand washing tends to save more water and it is gentler on elastics.

Saucha

Saucha is Sanskrit for the practice of cleanliness in yogic philosophy. We love to keep our studio organized and clean by putting away and tending to our equipment properly. This can be applied in nature by making sure we collect trash and limit our impact on the natural environment during outdoor activities.

Recycling

Try to limit use of plastics but also keep in mind they can often be recycled! Plastic bags can be used as trash bags, in the car, or to pick up pet waste. Unsoiled cardboard as well as rinsed cans and bottles can be recycled at a local recycling center.

Transportation

Carpooling, riding your bike, or walking can reduce pollution from vehicles. This can increase your interpersonal interactions and steps for the day. Add walking or running to Niche to your fitness routine!

Addressing Wasted Energy

While we want everyone to be comfortable during their workout, we adjust the thermostat when no one will be in the studio. This can be done at home while residents are sleeping, out of town, or for a long work day. It is also helpful to unplug appliances when not in use.

Reuse

Tupperware, reusable shopping bags, and thrift stores are easy substitutes to reduce waste. Our instructors and students are welcome to refill a water bottle from our filtered water spout. You may also find a need for items you would typically throw in the trash. Pack home cooked meals in jars or containers from purchased food, old t-shirts may become cleaning rags, and bread bags can be reused as produce bags at the grocery store!

Non Electric Exercise Equipment

Yoga, pilates, and functional training conveniently don’t use electricity! Come to our classes to reduce electricity use in your exercise routine. Mat routines in yoga and pilates use body weight and mindful movement while the reformers and TRX™  are great alternatives or compliments to electric exercise machines.

We’d love to see you in the studio and give you a tour! Check out our class schedule to find the class for you.  

Author: Liz Creasman, tries to find any excuse to be outside. She is enthused when she sees people taking measures to reduce the impact they have on the environment in order to enjoy all that the Earth has to offer. Earth day is the inspiration for her blog post this week providing insight to the measures we take a Niche and how you can apply them too!

TRX 101

TRX 101

You’ve seen those black and yellow straps popping up everywhere these days. They’re hanging in your gym, at your physical therapist’s office, and now in your pilates studio. So the question is, what are these straps? How do you use them? And why are they everywhere? I’m here to answer those questions for you!

The TRX consists of two nylon straps fixed to a single anchor point with handles and foot-cradles at the end of each strap.  The straps can be attached to the ceiling, anchored to a wall, or even closed into a door. At less than two pounds, the straps can be carried anywhere for an on-the-go workout!

Now how do you use the TRX straps? Excellent question with SO many answers! There are hundreds of exercises you can perform on the TRX. Most resemble traditional exercises but either the individual’s hands or feet are attached to the TRX while the opposite end of the body is in contact with the ground. Think squats holding on to the TRX straps or push-ups with feet in the straps.

Why are TRX straps everywhere? Because they are an effective way to train the body for functional movement with a focus on the body’s core muscles. Functional movement consists of any movement we do during daily activity: squatting to get something out of a low cabinet, pulling a heavy door open, lifting an object on to a high shelf. Each of those movements requires strength and stability. The TRX uses bodyweight exercises to build strength, and the straps add a level of instability that trains the core to activate and control movement. 

TRX training sounds difficult, right? Yes, and no. The TRX is completely customizable. You can use the straps to make exercises tougher, but you can also use them to make modifications to exercises. For instance, squatting while holding on to the straps takes some pressure off of the legs as it allows the individual to help themselves back up with their arms as well as their legs, making a squat easier. On the other hand, putting feet into the straps and performing a push up increases the instability of the exercise and requires the core to activate more than a traditional push up.

Now that you know all about the TRX, come check out TRX Fusion at Niche Boutique Fitness Studio – Tuesdays at 6pm, Wednesdays at 9:30am, and Saturdays at 10:30am!