I turn 60 this year. I want to continue to enjoy outdoor activities, playingwith my grandchildren, and maintaining my independence for all the decadesremaining to me. To do this, I must be flexible. Strength and endurance areimportant, too; but first comes flexibility. I need help with this: my effortsat stretching seem to go nowhere; my muscles have no give.

March 1, my first session. My goal was very general:more flexibility.When asked, I mentioned tight calves and hamstrings and tight neck and shouldermuscles. Of course, as we progressed through our sessions, we discoveredmanymore areas that needed loosening. For motivation, Matthew demonstrated variousposes, including the plough position. I thought, "maybein a year or so."

July. My entire body was more flexible; I was feeling better, moreenergized; and now stretching was fun because I could actually feel my muscleslengthening. Toward the end of July, all of Matthew'sadvice seemedto gel in my mind and make their way to my body: don'thold your breath; don't tighten your muscles; relax into the stretchas youlet your breath out!

The plough. Between sessions, I had been stretching my hamstrings using themethod Matthew taught me, and during the sessions, Matthew folded me intoa "semi" plough, which works on stretching the head, neck, andupper shoulders whilekeeping the legs bent. I never dreamed I was ready to put the two piecestogether. But Matthew's keen eye noted that my upper andlower halves appearedready to go the distance simultaneously, and, to my great delight, by theend ofJuly I was able to fold myself into the plough!

I'm empowered. I now have the means to stretch my bodyfrom head to toewhenever I want, wherever I am. My body is capable of more than I believed,and I'm looking forward to challenging it further.

-Penny (Reston, VA)