Yoga: Stability vs Flexibility?

Picture your stereotypical yogi and what first comes to mind: a slim, beautiful super-bendy flexible god or goddess perhaps? Though yoga often attracts the hyper-mobile, this is a common misconception about the purpose and aim of yoga.  

Yoga is for everyone, no matter his or her level of flexibility; and involves a whole lot more than twisting yourself into a pretzel!

Shades Of Yoga emphasizes, alongside flexibility, the importance of also building strength and stability. This concept was further stressed to the students from an anatomical standpoint in our anatomy lectures during our RYT200 HR Yoga Teacher Training courses.

Without stability of the joints, we are prone to overstretching the ligaments and tendons and thus damaging the joints. Unlike muscles, these ligaments and tendons stretching is irreversible, and the damage unable to be undone.

So how do we stabilize? By engaging the correct muscles surrounding the joint, to stabilize it efficiently; using not only the superficial muscles but the more difficult to feel and find, core muscles. For example, if we take the shoulder joint and chaturanga asana the superficialyoga-pose-12 - Shades Of Yoga Teacher Trainingtop layer of muscle is the trapezius. Beneath this muscle the core muscles used are the rhomboid and serratus anterior muscles. With incorrect engagement of the muscles as you come through the chaturunga towards the mat, the scapula will ‘wing’ up and out of the back. Here you are putting all your body weight into the small rotator cuff muscles of the shoulder, not built for such a job, and leaving you prone to damage of the joint. However, when engaging the rhomboids and other back muscles evenly, larger muscles built to withstand a greater strain of weight, the scapula is held onto the back and the shoulder joint stabilized.

Though it may take time to refine, Shades Of Yoga gives a strong foundation to your yoga practice and teaches that with the correct knowledge and awareness yoga will continue to be your medicine rather than your poison!