The physical demands of New York Fashion Week are not to be underestimated. From running around in five-inch platforms to wearing clothes that skew more complicated than real-world wearable, the marathon of shows, presentations, and parties tends to leave behind some aches and pains.
Which is to say that the opening of Outer Reach, a new stretch studio in Tribeca, couldn’t have come at a better time. Founded by fashion industry veterans Aimee Cho (1.61, The New Jock) and Alex Drexler (Alex Mill), the studio is designed to help New Yorkers expand mobility, increase kinesthetic awareness, and optimize postural alignment through building strength and stability. With a dynamic program created by pioneering stretch expert Toni Melaas, Outer Reach’s holistic method incorporates engaged bodywork, breathing, postural alignment, and myofascial release to counteract the physical and emotional stress that comes with the modern sedentary lifestyle.
“The postures we situate ourselves within now—bent over a smartphone, hunched over a computer, sitting sitting sitting—confront us with a demand for physical maintenance that is more specific to our individual bodies,” explains Toni Melaas. “It requires a deeper, more discerning, long-term approach to keep us operating optimally.”
Inside a light-filled space with high ceilings and exposed brick walls on Greenwich Street, Outer Reach offers both one-on-one and group classes led by its certified Stretch Leads. “We want to empower students with tools so that they might have a more sophisticated and effective conversation with their own bodies,” says Melaas. “Both inside the studio and, more importantly, in their daily lives.”
Beyond thwarting tech neck and lengthy amounts of time behind a desk, active stretching is a universally powerful tool for keeping the body more mobile, flexible, and aligned over time. According to Toni Melaas, this is because it improves muscle-to-bone synergy, allowing muscles to be drawn deeper to the bone so that the body can activate and move more fluidly. “Learning to stretch from a place of strength and engagement allows us to apply similar tools to fight gravity and maintain buoyancy, especially on concrete streets,” she says.
Cho intends to create an environment that is the “opposite of intimidating” so that all individuals, no matter their fitness level or current state of body awareness, are welcome. “We are for every body,” says Cho. “This work is about giving each person who walks in our door insight into their own journey and physicality.”
Outer Reach is located at 345 Greenwich Street; outerreach.com.
Originally Appeared on Vogue