This entry was posted on Jan 13, 2023 by Charlotte Bell.
I frequently provide hip workshops at numerous trainer trainings within the area the place I dwell. Because the recipient of bilateral hip replacements, I’ve discovered rather a lot about which poses and methods of approaching asanas promote wholesome yoga apply, and which don’t. Being bone on bone in your hip joints offers an unmistakable sign as to when to proceed or when to again off.
In a single coaching, a scholar who had been instructing in a health studio requested a vital query. She defined that one in every of her feminine college students grew to become unusually versatile previous to ovulation. This happens in many ladies due to the presence of “relaxin,” a hormone that relaxes the ligaments that maintain collectively the varied joints within the pelvis—hip joints, sacroiliac joints and pubic symphisis. The trainer mentioned that she inspired the scholar to maneuver additional into poses at that interval in her cycle since she was already extra versatile. “Ought to I proceed doing this?” she requested.
Thirty years in the past I might have mentioned sure. The truth is, I did encourage girls to make the most of their relaxin-induced flexibility throughout being pregnant. No extra.
Ligaments Are Not Presupposed to be Floppy
Happily, the third(!) time I took anatomy, the significance of understanding the constructions of ligaments and tendons lastly sank in. (For clarification, ligaments join bone to bone in our joints; tendons join muscle to bone on the joints.) Ligaments and tendons are constructed of dense, collagenous, connective tissue. Ligaments are dense, fibrous tissues which might be designed to restrict the motion of our joints.
Please repeat this thrice: Ligaments’ foremost operate is to restrict the motion of our joints.
That is additionally crucial: Ligaments and tendons are avascular, i.e. containing no blood stream of their very own. Oxygen and different vitamins diffuse into ligaments and tendons from cells outdoors the tissues. As a result of these constructions have to be robust, they’re largely largely collagen fibers with some elastin to create a small quantity of stretch.
Don’t Sprain Your Physique!
Have you ever ever sprained an ankle? How lengthy did it take to heal, and did it ever return to its former stability? While you sprain your ankle, you overstretch ligaments. As a result of the tissue is avascular, it doesn’t heal as rapidly as muscle does. Ligaments should not have the “reminiscence” that muscle tissue has. While you overstretch ligaments, there’s a very good probability they won’t bounce again to their former size.
If ligaments are supposed to shield joints by limiting their motion, frequently over-stretching joints can result in joint instability over time. I do know quite a lot of severe practitioners who are actually of their 50s—together with myself—who remorse having overstretched our joints again within the day. All too many longtime practitioners now personal synthetic joints to interchange those they overused. These fancy poses approach again when weren’t price their penalties.
Versatile individuals have a a lot stronger tendency to overstretch joints than stiffer individuals do. Armed with the pervasive “no ache, no acquire” philosophy, we flexies are inclined to hold stretching till we really feel ache. As a result of we don’t really feel a lot in regular vary of movement, we collapse into our joints the place there’s loads of sensation. Not solely does this overstretch our ligaments, it causes us to hold or push into our joint capsules, which may put on down the cartilage that protects our joints and retains them articulating easily.
The Counterintuitive Reply for Wholesome Yoga Follow
My recommendation to the scholar’s query was to encourage her scholar to guard her joints, to do much less relatively than extra. Counterintuitive, I do know, particularly when many asana courses encourage individuals to push previous their limits and rock these fancy poses. If an individual’s ligaments are unstable due to an infusion of relaxin—or by extreme warmth or some other outdoors issue—that creates a scenario of imbalance within the joints.
You wouldn’t encourage a muscle-bound yoga scholar to carry extra weights and stiffen up. Equally, a too-flexible scholar doesn’t profit from turning into much more versatile. An excessive amount of flexibility is simply as unhealthy is an excessive amount of stiffness. Steadiness is what we’re going for in asana apply. Familiarize your self with what regular vary of movement seems to be like.
Stretch Gently for Wholesome Yoga Follow
By all means, do apply to keep up flexibility in your muscle tissue, and do not forget that it takes 30 seconds of steady stretching to your muscle spindle neuron to truly enable your muscle to habituate to a brand new, longer size. So take your time, and be mild. While you really feel tissue stretching alongside the bones—so long as that stretch is just not excessive—it’s most likely wholesome. While you really feel discomfort in a joint, please cease doing what you’re doing. And please shield your college students’ future joints by instructing them the distinction.
When you’re inquisitive about exploring this additional, my e-book Hip-Wholesome Asana offers anatomical data, apply ideas and an inventory of hip-healthy poses.
About Charlotte Bell
Charlotte Bell found yoga in 1982 and commenced instructing in 1986. Charlotte is the writer of Conscious Yoga, Conscious Life: A Information for On a regular basis Follow and Yoga for Meditators, each revealed by Rodmell Press. Her third e-book is titled Hip-Wholesome Asana: The Yoga Practitioner’s Information to Defending the Hips and Avoiding SI Joint Ache (Shambhala Publications). She writes a month-to-month column for CATALYST Journal and serves as editor for Yoga U On-line. Charlotte is a founding board member for GreenTREE Yoga, a non-profit that brings yoga to underserved populations. A lifelong musician, Charlotte performs oboe and English horn within the Salt Lake Symphony and people sextet Purple Rock Rondo, whose DVD gained two Emmy awards in 2010.