It seems every time we attend a yoga class, the teacher is offering postures to take you further into your range of motion, we see pictures on social media of hyper-mobile yoga students, and some teachers offer adjustments to push the body beyond its natural limits, to what end?
Does it serve our bodies now and in the future to put your foot behind your head, to do full splits, to sit in Lotus pose? Is there an anatomically functional reason for these extreme postures?
Some of these reasons may just be to please the teacher, the teacher suggests youcan move deeper into your range of motion, and you feel the teacher knows best, or perhaps you’re afraid of offending the teacher.
Our ego is a large contributor to injuries in our practice. We see the gumby-like lady on the mat next to us move into a deep backbend, splits, etc., and we feel we should be able move like that as well.
These hyper-mobile postures and those doing them are often glamourized in classes, magazines, television, and social media sites. But what you don’t see is the injuries now and in the future from going beyond our natural range of motion.
What we need to ask ourselves~ is there a functional reason for going deeper in a pose? We want to maintain flexibility in our hamstrings, quadriceps, and hips, but what is the functional purpose for pushing ourselves into the splits? We want open hips, but what is the functional purpose of padmasana (lotus pose)?
Are these postures going to create more strength in our bodies?
Excessive range of motion can create a greater liability to our structure than the benefits, so in other words, extreme motion can compromise our structure.
There is nothing wrong with trying new postures, some of us find some of the more extreme postures more easily accessible than others, but we must understand as students and as yoga teachers, that there is inherently a greater risk to these more extreme postures.
So next time you’re trying to push, pull, squeeze, or force your body into a particular posture, ask yourself ‘is there a functional reason for me to move this deeply into a pose’?
At Ignite Yoga, we believe that yoga is for everyone–For people of all ages and all walks of life.