Recently I came across a blog post where the author suggested Pandiculation is another name for Active Stretching.

So here’s how I distinguish between Stretching and Pandiculating.

If I focus on stretching a muscle, the focus of my attention is on lengthening a muscle. There is no focus on the quality of lengthening. The aim is to get the muscle lengthened and in many cases the longer the muscle can be stretched the better. Lengthening is the purpose of stretching.

Pandiculation isn’t just about lengthening a muscle! It’s about enhancing the way the muscles function. It’s concerned with both the shortening and the lengthening of muscles and as such it’s concerned with lengthening muscles out of a shortened contracted state. This distinction is important! The lengthening phase is focused on switching off the contraction to release the muscles out of a shortened state.

As well as the contracting and releasing of the muscle, there is a third phase where after we’ve contracted a muscle and then released the muscle we have a complete resting phase.  This resting phase offers the brain the opportunity to update its functioning to apply the learnings from pandiculating the muscle into our subcortical storehouse of learned behaviours. 

This learning happens because rather than being focused on the behaviour of lengthening the muscle, we are focused on developing our ability to sense and direct muscles into contracted and out of contraction into a full released and lengthened state.

Growth through pandiculating occurs as we learn new patterns of contracting and releasing areas of our musculature to produce new ways to live, breath and move.