When I was new to yoga and super stiff from 20 years of only running, I would be so envious of those that effortlessly stretched forward, back, around and wide into pretzel shapes. It took me time to appreciate the benefits of being tight and now I constantly tell those that like to berate themselves for being tight to be proud!
Hypermobility is no picnic and we know the serious damage it can inflict. To counter this I have been introducing active vs passive stretching into my practice and my classes. That is, learning to contract muscles that support the hip joint while working on mobility rather than letting the supporting muscles relax and only stretch. I have described hypermobility as a car with no brakes – how do you know when or even how to stop the movement. Whereas tightness is more limited range of motion so the brakes are easy to find, albeit some oiling and movement is needed. The bonus is that regardless of your range of motion, active work will serve you well.
While for some, it feels so good to move into those deep stretches,@oliverjanej knows better and has learned how to put the brakes on in her practice. As shown here, Olivia prefers the active work in this popular yoga pose – setting up with no hands and using her muscles to create movement in the hip joint. It’s more difficult out but oh so much more satisfying — and good for your joints too.