Aly Faber stretches her client Spiro Galanis.

The Stretch Lady

Aly Faber uses yoga, massage therapy to maximize clients’ mobility

By Michelle Boudin | Photos courtesy of Aly Faber

Former NBA Champion Brendan Haywood discovered the benefits of stretching long before it became standard practice across the league. The Charlotte resident started working with the Stretch Lady in South Charlotte 16 years ago when he played for the Washington Wizards.

“I was thinking about the flexibility aspect. I wasn’t injured; I was just trying to get an edge from a flexibility standpoint,” Haywood says.

Aly Faber, who calls herself the Stretch Lady after some of her clients coined the term, says stretching is vital to a healthy lifestyle whether you’re a professional athlete or just someone who wants to be active and feel good.

“Many years ago, it was impossible to describe what stretching is because The Stretch Lab was not part of our vernacular, but now that it’s part of wellness, it’s easier to explain,” she says.

“Stretching is me doing yoga for you. You lay on the table, and I manipulate your body based upon the experience I have. You get the benefits of going to a yoga class without any of the tension.”

Haywood was ahead of his time when he first enlisted help from Faber. “Flexibility is key. We were just scratching the surface on it back then, but now every team has somebody that’s there for flexibility. Even the way people train is totally different now. It’s not about being the strongest person; it’s about balance and flexibility.”

Aly Faber stretches former NBA Champion Brendan Haywood.

Now retired from the game and working as a basketball commentator, Haywood, 44, says stretching is more important than ever, and he still works out regularly with Faber. “Now, my focus is on dynamic stretching. I still want to be as healthy as possible. She does a lot of the stretching for me that I wouldn’t normally do on my own. Having hip flexibility — everybody needs more hip flexibility.”

Faber agrees. She says her growing client roster proves that more people are catching on to the benefits of stretching. Clients drive from across the Carolinas to visit her home office.

She moved to South Charlotte 13 years ago but has lived in Charlotte since 1997, deciding to ditch the fast pace of Miami for the “New South.”

“We love being in Ballantyne. We love how the area has blossomed and includes everything we need. It’s a special area in Charlotte, for sure. The amount of growth I’ve seen has been exponential. … It’s just a great place to live. It’s easy living. I work here, I live here, and I love it.”

Her work has evolved over the years. Faber became a certified group exercise instructor when she was 17 and calls herself a devoted yogi. She worked in the corporate world until 2003, when she devoted herself full-time to a health and wellness career. She became a certified yoga teacher and quickly gained a loyal following, leading classes throughout Charlotte.

Soon, she started doing personal training for professional athletes who asked if she could also help at their summer camps for kids. To prepare for that, she studied how kids grow, and she says that’s when the magic happened.

“I adored teaching youth about how stretching could help them prolong athletic endeavors, keep injury-free and reach their potential. Coaches, schools and teams from all over the city asked me to work with them, and student-athletes’ parents wanted me to be their kids’ private stretch coach. I got connected to physical therapists, doctors and athletic trainers. All of this organically grew into what is now the Stretch Lady.”

Faber is all about growth and says that’s why she decided to go to massage school to add to her list of credits. She now incorporates massage into most of her sessions.

“I creatively and uniquely mix stretching and massage to create a beautiful fusion that benefits my clients and helps them be their personal best. The massage is integrated into it, so when I find a tight area, I can go in and massage it to help you get even more of a stretch.”