Flexibility in Yoga: The Role of the Joints

Some people are more flexible than others: the ligaments around their joints are looser and permit a greater range of motion – hyperflexibility is an inherited body type. Joints are the pivots for movements in the body, supported by strong ligaments and according to a study of flexibility, the importance of these different factors are:

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Previous Hip Injury and Yoga Practice

Many people turn to yoga as a way of healing hip injuries that they acquired elsewhere. Some people find that their injuries improve with mild stretching and strengthening, but others find that their symptoms get much worse. Continue reading

Neck Strengthening with Yoga

There are various ways to strengthen the neck in yoga but it’s important for women to bear in mind that they have relatively small upper bodies and their necks are often not as strong as men’s are, so they are more prone to neck injury – this does not mean that women cannot develop upper body and neck strength, only that they need to be patient and practise neck and shoulder strengthening regularly. A gung-ho attitude on the part of students or teachers will lead to injury. Continue reading

Shoulder Flexibility with Yoga

Shoulder flexibility is usually very difficult for men to achieve. Unlike with hips, male and female shoulder structure differs only in size, and women mostly struggle to develop upper body strength, while men cannot get their elbows behind their ears. Strong women usually have similar inflexibilities to men and this is often related to differences in strength between chest muscles, Latissimus Dorsi and the rotator cuff, as well as posture. Continue reading

Back Flexibility with Yoga

As we get older our spines bend less, mostly because of the effects of gravity on the spinal discs, which begin to dehydrate and become compressed after 30, reducing the spaces between the facet joints in the vertebrae and limiting movement. Gravity and an upright human posture also causes some the spinal muscles found in children to be converted to more rigid and stable ligaments in adults. Child-gymnasts and young yogis are capable of much more extreme backbending than adults, but this lessens over time, as flexibility gives way to stability. Continue reading

Hip and Hamstring Flexibility

Hamstrings and hips get a lot of stretching in yoga, because everyone wants to do Hanumanasana, and also get their feet behind their heads, preferably both feet at the same time.
For many, this will never happen, precisely because they try so hard and focus only on one set of muscles without understanding the interlinking between the muscles of the hips, legs and lower back. Continue reading