This entry was posted on Jan 13, 2023 by Charlotte Bell.
I frequently supply hip workshops at varied trainer trainings within the area the place I dwell. Because the recipient of bilateral hip replacements, I’ve realized lots about which poses and methods of approaching asanas promote wholesome yoga apply, and which don’t. Being bone on bone in your hip joints supplies an unmistakable sign as to when to proceed or when to again off.
In a single coaching, a pupil who had been educating in a health studio requested an important query. She defined that one in all her feminine college students turned 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 assorted 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’d have mentioned sure. In reality, I did encourage girls to benefit from their relaxin-induced flexibility throughout being pregnant. No extra.
Ligaments Are Not Imagined to be Floppy
Fortuitously, the third(!) time I took anatomy, the significance of understanding the buildings 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 3 times: Ligaments’ fundamental perform is to restrict the motion of our joints.
That is additionally crucial: Ligaments and tendons are avascular, i.e. containing no blood move of their very own. Oxygen and different vitamins diffuse into ligaments and tendons from cells outdoors the tissues. As a result of these buildings have to be sturdy, they’re largely principally 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? Once 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 would not have the “reminiscence” that muscle tissue has. Once you overstretch ligaments, there’s likelihood they won’t bounce again to their former size.
If ligaments are supposed to defend joints by limiting their motion, frequently over-stretching joints can result in joint instability over time. I do know various severe practitioners who at the moment are 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 exchange those they overused. These fancy poses method again when weren’t price their penalties.
Versatile folks have a a lot stronger tendency to overstretch joints than stiffer folks do. Armed with the pervasive “no ache, no achieve” philosophy, we flexies are inclined to preserve 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 might put on down the cartilage that protects our joints and retains them articulating easily.
The Counterintuitive Reply for Wholesome Yoga Apply
My recommendation to the scholar’s query was to encourage her pupil to guard her joints, to do much less relatively than extra. Counterintuitive, I do know, particularly when many asana lessons encourage folks 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 pupil to carry extra weights and stiffen up. Equally, a too-flexible pupil 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 appears like.
Stretch Gently for Wholesome Yoga Apply
By all means, do apply to keep up flexibility in your muscular tissues, and do not forget that it takes 30 seconds of steady stretching to your muscle spindle neuron to truly permit your muscle to habituate to a brand new, longer size. So take your time, and be light. Once you really feel tissue stretching alongside the bones—so long as that stretch shouldn’t be excessive—it’s in all probability wholesome. Once you really feel discomfort in a joint, please cease doing what you’re doing. And please defend your college students’ future joints by educating them the distinction.
When you’re focused on exploring this additional, my guide Hip-Wholesome Asana supplies anatomical data, apply ideas and a listing of hip-healthy poses.
About Charlotte Bell
Charlotte Bell found yoga in 1982 and started educating in 1986. Charlotte is the creator of Conscious Yoga, Conscious Life: A Information for On a regular basis Apply and Yoga for Meditators, each printed by Rodmell Press. Her third guide 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.