Which comes first? It’s like the chicken and egg question and like this question, we can’t have one without the other. They go together. You can talk about mobility in a similar fashion as speaking about flexibility. It’s the ability to move your body through a range of motion.
Many bendy people gravitate towards a yoga practice because it is easy for them to get into the postures. On the flip side, others come because they want to be like these bendy people, or at least gain some extra flexibility. Being really bendy isn’t always best for your body, especially if it comes at the expense of stability, or the ability to control the range of motion. Think about what your goals are.
Do you want to do something because you think it looks good, like the splits? If so, is it because of the way it looks or do you think this will improve your life in some other way? How can you take the splits into your other daily activities? Will it make them better or more enjoyable? If you can do the splits, how do you get out of them? Can you reverse the exercise i.e. use the strength of your legs to get out of the splits or do you need to use your arms or contort your whole body to get out?
This week we will look at how we get into and out of poses. Can we get in and out of them using strength or do we need to rely on momentum? Are we finding a passive range for our stretching (e.g. when we use an external force to pull a body part into position like pulling your foot to your bottom with your hand when working on a quad stretch) or can we find the active range (e.g. when we pull the foot towards the bottom just with the leg strength – no hands).
For more information here is a link to Jules Mitchell talking with Charlie Reid about Yoga and Resistance Stretching. Jules is the teacher we brought to Australia to conduct her 5 day workshop Yoga Biomechanics: Stretching Redefined that Holly, Natalie and Bob attended. Jules is releasing her book of the same title in September.
Try the Exercise of the Week - the Quadricep Stretch.
The quadriceps are the main muscles found on the front of our thighs. There's four of them which is why we call them our 'quads' - much easier than referring to them by their names. These muscles extend the knee joint (straighten the leg) and we use them for most activities where the legs are involved such as standing, walking and climbing.
This is a great stretch that can be done almost anywhere - even on the plane. Maybe it is better to start on your belly with your ASIS and pubic bone on the floor. Leaving one leg down, bend the other knee, then reach back and grab the ankle without widening the knees or lifting the pubic bone. If this is not possible, use a strap, belt or towel to reach your ankle.