Have you ever thought about the implications of the act of stretching?
Stretching, even when it’s gentle, is forcing your muscles to lengthen. Yet, the more you force your muscles to stretch, the more it wants to tense. Think about how you feel when someone forces you to do something you don’t want to do. Don’t you at first recoil from the task? Similarly, you may strengthen and stretch in a way that keeps you feeling stiff and inflexible. It feels good in the moment, yet you are caught in a vicious cycle.
The solution is to always challenge your body as a whole, trusting your whole-body intelligence to step up to the plate as much as needed instead of trying to control its functioning. That is how you develop the art of flexible-strength. Although a natural happening, some unlearning may be needed to reclaim this innate skill.
Hypermobility can be impressive from an athletic viewpoint.
However, frontal expansion with neck compression is not in line with integrated functioning.
Hypermobility, a condition where joints easily move beyond the normal range, is a mixed blessing. It makes it that much easier to overstretch since there is less tension in the ligaments surrounding the joints. It’s easy to mistake hypermobility for flexibility. Because this compensates for the lack of stability in the joints, hypermobile people often have tense muscles. If you’re in this predicament, learning the art of flexible- strength becomes a necessity because it prevents you from overdoing, either while stretching or strengthening. It can help you regain better muscle tone and more stable joints.
The art of flexible-strength starts with allowing your joints to release which brings about lengthening in your muscles. However, it is also important to not sacrifice your skeletal height which keeps everything together yet in an expanded state as well. This combo allows your muscle tone to rebalance which creates stability around the joints. All this is the work of your postural mechanism at work. It is its job to handle your best coordination, posture, and balance when you do not interfere. It is an ambassador for your whole-body intelligence.
Learning to activate your whole-body intelligence via this mechanism you were born with is the most efficient way to function at your best, on or off the mat. And it is one of the golden keys to The Wise Way to Yoga which can be applied to all yoga styles.
Ready to embrace the Wise Way to Yoga?
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Cecile Raynor has been teaching the Alexander Technique for over 25 years out of which came her Body Intelligence Activation Process™ (B.I.A. Process) to assist yogis in enhancing their practice towards best performance with optimal safety. She is also a Thai Yoga Massage Therapist and a Reiki Practitioner. Faculty at Akasha Yoga Teacher Training, she runs a 12 months Mastermind for Yoga Teachers with a Vision, and a 90 Day Virtual Program for trainees, new teachers and committed yoga practitioners interested in using their body more efficiently on and off the mat in a way not taught in regular training courses.
And her book, THE WISE WAY TO YOGA, is to be published in May 2018! To be followed!