Hyper mobility is super common and has a HUGE impact on your yoga practice.
What is it? Well it is exactly what it says on the tin - where the joint (knee, shoulder, elbow etc) can go beyond it's intended range of movement and is therefore the joint is hyper (over) mobile.
How does it affect your practice? Hyper mobility impacts not only your yoga practice but every day life and other exercise. You want to encourage strength in your body and hyper mobility encourages laziness and damage to joints. Basically, hyper extension means you hang out in joints rather than using muscles which is detrimental to overall heath.
Why does it matter to me so much? Well, following my first blog post about having a safe practice, hyper mobility is not save, when you over extend you sit into the joint: into the tendons and ligaments instead of using your muscles to support the joint, making it weak and prone to injury in the long run.
How to manage hyper mobility? Unfortunately there is no easy way to manage hyper mobility other than to be aware of movement, especially while on your yoga mat. Instead of finding that end range of movement, full extension or flexion, you have to keep a slight bend into the joint - for example in plank pose to keep a slight bend through the elbows and knees. You will find it harder at first as you will engage more muscles but I promise you will get stronger!
I posted an IGTV on my Instagram to explain this visually too, head to my page @amyogainsta to check it out! To find out if you have hyper mobility or want to ask a question, please comment below.
For my first blog entry I think it is only right to explain to you why I teach the way I do!
I receive a lot of feedback from clients after class saying 'Thank you, you explain poses so clearly', and 'it is great, you always tell me what to do with my body and remind me to breathe'.
I feel passionately about making your practice as safe as possible every time you come into class. Don't think for one minute this means 'boring'! It just means having an awareness of your body alignment in each pose, and that is the key word, alignment! For example, when you play jenga, you look at how to take the next brick out of the solid stack without damaging the structure so you keep the alignment and stability. When we move, on or off the mat, we should be doing the same, as you take one foot off the mat to step forward, without realising (or maybe we need to realise more) you stabilise through the rest of your body with balance so you don't fall over!
Unfortunately yoga has a slight reputation for sustaining injuries, and that needs to change. From little things like flinging your head back in cobra to think you are going 'deeper' into the pose, but really you just load the neck with extra weight of the heaviest part of the body, or to taking a bind over and over again in warrior two or triangle pose because it is the deepest you can come into, This is great but that is repetitive internal rotation of the shoulder joint, something we should be trying to avoid too much of because we spend too much time already rounding the shoulders, collapsing inwards - instead we want to be opening up with external rotation i.e., cactus arms (bending at the elbows, elbows at shoulder height).
I have always found body mechanics interesting, At Sixth Form I studied Physical Education at A-Level which gave me a good understanding of the anatomy of the body and to take this knowledge through to my yoga. The yoga teaching training (YTT) course I chose had a deep anatomy focus to it and we covered 80 yoga poses - alignment information and adjustments to give in each of them, an online anatomy course all culminating in an exam on body function at the end of the course.
So yes, I focus on alignment and give constant cues to keep you safe to help you build muscle and strength in key areas of the body, but most of all so you can feel the pose to gain the most out of it. Those little tweaks of the hips, arms, head or toes all aid your practice. But don't worry too much, as my inspiration and fellow yoga teacher, Celest always says, 'any movement is better than no movement!'
If you found this blog useful, I welcome your comments.