Flexibility and Balance have been shown again and again to be strong indicators of health and longevity. In that regard, I am extremely pleased and privileged today to be able to share some of the wisdom of two great teachers (mentors) I’ve been lucky enough to receive instruction (and advice) from in my Martial Arts journey.

Introducing… Sifu Josie (who says she learned the 100 Day Stretching Challenge from Master Chenhan).  Sifu Josie originally wrote this email post for the students of her Northshore Tai chi and Qigong classes and after reading it I thought it was too good not to be shared with our readers too. I asked if she would allow me to share it as a Guest Post on our blog and she agreed. Enjoy!


{Welcome Sifu Josie}:

“Hi y’all:

I am passing along this link to the 100 day challenge.

Are you doing it?

Have you already started?

Some of you heard about it and wanted to be involved so… here it is:

What is the 100 day challenge?

If one of your goals is to become more flexible, have less pain, be more balanced, and do more activities, then this is a good start.

Challenge yourself to work on your own flexibility.

It is amazing how open you will start to feel within your body after just a few weeks of being consistent, determined, and persistent.

However, this is just one exercise.

Can you think of others that might help?”

{Exit Sifu Josie}



“Head To Toe” Video Bulletpoints courtesy of

“As you saw in the video (above), I shared a few specific things to keep in mind for this stretch.  Here are the bullet points:

1. Consistency

  • Perform the stretch every day in the morning when you wake up, and the evening before you go to bed, 100 times each leg.
  • Also perform the stretch both before and after any wushu training sessions

2. Alignment

  • Bring your foot lower in order to get better hip alignment.  Your foot on a high bar might pull your hips sideways
  • Make sure the leg you are stretching is locked and your toe is pulled straight back, not at an angle.
  • The bottom leg should also be flat on the ground with your leg straight.
  • Your hips should face the bar or wall and be squared off.  Same with your shoulders and torso.
  • To make sure you have the best alignment reach for your foot with the opposite hand.

3. Technique

  • This is an active (bouncy) stretch, not a passive (holding) stretch.
  • The bounce should not hurt excessively.  You should feel a good stretch, but not to the point of extreme discomfort.
  • Every 20 or so bounces re-check your hip alignment to make sure your position is correct.
  • Every 20-40 stretches go slightly different
  • Measure your progress with your hands and fingers

One super important thing I want to make sure you understand is the importance of stretching your calf.  A lot of people think that the head-to-toe stretch is about the hamstrings, but it is actually just as much (if not more) about your calf flexibility.  You aren’t just bringing your head towards your toe — you are pulling your toe towards your head.  If you don’t feel the stretch in the calf then you’re not doing it right, and you will never get the head-to-toe.

I also want to reiterate that the key to this is CONSISTENCY.  If you don’t keep up with this stretch EVERY DAY, twice a day, then you can’t expect to magically get your head-to-toe.  It takes dedication and persistence, so keep at it!  The first few days you might not see much improvement, but by the second week you’ll be amazing at how quickly your flexibility is improving!

So, there you have it.  The stretching technique that I used to get head to toe in under 100 days.  I’d love to hear about your success with this technique (or any experiences you might have), so go ahead and try this out (for 100 days!) and let me know how far you got.  You can shoot an email to”


{Re-Enter Sifu Josie}:

“Everyone has to start somewhere… right?

The Instructor on the video is already very flexible, so he starts with his leg
quite high up. But for those of us who are at the beginning of your stretching practice, you can start with your foot on a chair seat.

My (Josie’s) picture at day 21 (I started a lot earlier than all of you)



If your balance is an issue, you can hold onto the counter top with one hand. Start very gently.

Use a towel around your feet to help pull your toe/ball of foot back.

By the way… it should only take you 3 minutes in the morning, and 3 minutes at night… No excuses, right?

See you in class… Happy stretching




      1.    Decreases muscle stiffness and increases range of motion. Stretching helps improve your range of motion which may also slow the degeneration of the joints.

     2.     May reduce your risk of injury. A flexible muscle is less likely to become injured from a slightly extensive movement. By increasing the range of motion in a particular joint through stretching, you may decrease the resistance on your muscles during various activities.

     3.     Helps relieve post-exercise aches and pains. After a hard workout, stretching the muscles will keep them loose and lessen a shortening and tightening effect that can lead to post-workout aches and pains.

     4.     Improves posture. Stretching the muscles of the lower back, shoulders and chest will help keep your back in better alignment and improve your posture.

     5.     Helps reduce or manage stress. Well stretched muscles hold less tension and therefore, leave you feeling less stressed.

     6.     Reduces muscular tension and enhances muscular relaxation. Stretching allows the muscles to relax. Habitually tense muscles tend to cut off their own circulation resulting in a lack of oxygen and essential nutrients.

     7.     Improves mechanical efficiency and overall functional performance. Since a flexible joint requires less energy to move through a wider range of motion, a flexible body improves overall performance by creating more energy-efficient movements.

     8.     Prepares the body for the stress of exercise. Stretching prior to exercise allows the muscles to loosen up and become resistant to the impact they are about to undergo.

     9.    Promotes circulation. Stretching increases blood supply to the muscles and joints which allow for greater nutrient transportation and improves the circulation of blood through the entire body.

   10.    Decreases the risk of low-back pain. Flexibility in the hamstrings, hip flexors and muscles attached to the pelvis relieves stress on the lumbar spine which in turn reduces the risk of low-back pain.


Maybe, just maybe, if we stretched more, we would be less uptight, and peace would reign throughout the land. (ha ha ha). That may be wishful thinking, but at the very least we would be able to tie our sneakers when we’re ninety! Flexibility, or the lack thereof, is probably the single most important factor affecting our quality of life as we age.

The pain and stiffness of aging begin as temporary tensions that become learned habits. But don’t assume that with aging you will automatically lose your flexibility. You can counterbalance the effects of aging so that your physiology is quite a bit younger than your chronology. When you stay flexible, you’ll be able to live with vibrancy, energy, and independence.


The Benefits of Stretching for Older Adults

Over the years, we develop habitual ways of using our muscles to move and position ourselves. Poor posture and a lack of flexibility may be the result of a legitimate medical problem or may be the result of limited stretching and improper body alignment. When muscles get tight and stay tight, they cease to be elastic and they restrict movement. That sense of restriction, or stiffness, often leads to disuse. Disuse causes weakness and tightness, which in turn causes a vicious cycle of more disuse, weakness, and tightness.

You have to “lube your chassis” to ensure a smooth ride.

Regular stretching activates fluids in your joints, thereby reducing the wear-and-tear caused by friction.

The Benefits of Stretching for Younger Adults

The benefits of stretching for younger Adults is so that you won’t have to be reminded when you are older !!!”

{Exit Sifu Josie}

Thanks to Master Chenhan, and especially Sifu Josie for sharing such a great exercise and providing an engaging and beneficial post!! Great stuff!!

Guest Post Contributors:



                                                            Master Chenhan (SYL Wushu)



                                                 Sifu Josie (NorthShore TaiChi & Qigong)


The North Shore Tai Chi Spirit & Chinese Health Qigong has been operating in North & West Vancouver since 2008. Additionally, our Instructor, Sifu Josie Loehrich, pairs with another North Shore Instructor, Master Instructor Lynne Cove, who has been teaching for over 27 years.

We specialize in teaching beginners forms: 24 form, 5 section, 13 postures, as well as intermediate forms such as 13 postures Yin Yang, 42 form, 48 form, 32 form sword, 108, Cheng Man Ching. We emphasize “the basics” and principles of Tai Chi.

Additionally, we teach a wide variety of Qigong forms: Baduan Jin, Yi Jin Jing, Wu Qin Xi, 18 movements, Qigong on Wei Lei Mountain, Silk Reeling, 5 elements, and a wide variety of medical qigong forms.




Vote for Darren vs. The 100 Day Stretching Challenge

Who wants to see Darren take on Sifu Josie’s and Master Chenhan’s 100 Day Stretching Challenge?


Who wants to join the Challenge!?

Challenge Requirements to be announced shortly….


Flex It or Lose It!

For more on the benefits to be had mentally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually from disciplines like Qigong, Tai Chi, Shaolin Kung Fu, Wushu, and more, start here with my first post titled: Ancient Secrets to Health and Longevity.

Go ahead…

Make it a habit to flex those muscles everyday.

It just may add life to your years and years to your life.

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