Improved range of motion is a benefit of regular yoga practice. When describing range of motion, a few terms are used as descriptors. Two of these terms are “mobility” and “flexibility.”
What is mobility?
your joints and joint capsules
When referring to improved mobility, describe creating more movement in your joints and joint capsules.
A joint is where two bones come together to create movement. For example, your knee joint is made up of the femur and tibia. Your spine is made up of multiple joints, with each vertebra stacked together to form a joint.
Every joint in your body has a certain amount of expected motion. People who move less in their joints are said to be “hypomobility.” These yogis may have difficulty adapting to poses that challenge range of motion.
Those who exercise more than normal are known as “hyperactive.” These yogis often find success in poses that challenge range of motion. However, this increased mobility can create difficulties in postures that depend on stability.
What is flexibility?
what is elasticity
Flexibility refers to how much length your muscles have. Muscles are soft tissue structures in the body that generate movement. Each joint has multiple muscle groups that move across the joint to generate movement.
If the length of the muscle is restricted, your range of motion may be limited. This can cause tightness or stiffness in your body.
Muscles also lengthen over the long term. Like overactive joints, overstretched muscles can lead to difficulties with stability-based posture.
10 Tips for Mobility and Flexibility:
In order to achieve your athletic goals, it’s important that your yoga practice includes flexibility and flexibility. Read how!
Understanding Muscles and Joints
Learn about muscles and joints. Supta Matsyendrasana – back twist
The first step in ensuring that you address both mobility and flexibility in your exercises is to increase your knowledge of anatomy. To properly increase muscle length or joint mobility, you need to know where one compares to the other.
For example, if you want to improve your backbend, you need to increase the flexibility of your pecs and the flexibility of your thoracic spine.
You’ll choose a pose that stretches your pecs. Examples of such poses are Supta Matsyendrasana – Back Twist or Baddha Utthita Parsvakonasana – Bound Side Angle Pose.
To improve mobility in the thoracic spine, try Matsyasana – a supporting fish with building blocks. Marjaiana/Bitilasana transition between cat/cow.
Knowing which structures you’re mobilizing and which you’re stretching will help you achieve your goals and balance your orthopedic range of motion in your asana practice.
Hold time for changing positions
Change the hold time of the pose. Ardha Hanumanasana – Half Split Pose
Deciding how long to hold a pose during practice can be confusing. If you want to increase your flexibility, choose a breath hold time of around 30 seconds (5-8 slow breaths). For example, if you’re looking to lengthen your hamstrings, choose a pose like Ardha Hanumanasana – Half Split and hold for 30 seconds on each side.
Conversely, if your goal is to improve joint mobility, choose a breath-to-motion based hold.
For example, if your goal is to improve flexibility in knee extension, you might choose a pose like Ardha Hanumanasana – Half Split. In this case, instead of holding the pose for long periods of time like you do for flexibility, incorporate your breath into the pulse of the movement.
Start on your knees. Step forward with your right foot, then push your hips back to straighten your right knee. Use the blocks at hand as needed.
As you inhale, shift your weight forward and bend your right knee into a lunge. As you exhale, move your hips back into a half-split. Continue this pulsatile transition for 5 rounds of breaths, then repeat on the other side.
Use props. Setu Bandha Sarvāṅgāsana – Supporting Bridge
Yoga mats, straps, pillows, and foam rollers can help adjust posture to achieve your exercise goals.
Add a block to the Setu Bandha Sarvangasana Bridge Pose to transform a normally active backbend into a more relaxed option to improve hip flexor flexibility. Start lying on your back with your knees bent and the soles of your feet on the mat. Stand with feet hip-width apart.
Engage your abs and lift your butt. Slide a block under your sacrum, then lower your hips so that you are leaning against the block. Compared to an active bridge, where you feel tightness in your glutes, quads, and hamstrings, with this variation, you feel your hip flexors stretch as the brace extends. Hold for 8 breaths.
Balance between mobility and flexibility
A balance between mobility and flexibility. Anjaneyasana – Low Lung Pose
For optimal range of motion, try to balance your body’s flexibility and flexibility. People who are hyperactive, meaning their joints move more than average, are at risk of muscle and tendon injuries if they don’t have adequate muscle flexibility.
For example, consider Anjaneyasana – low lung. In this pose, you have the opportunity to improve your hip flexor flexibility and hip range of motion.
Start on your knees. Step forward with your left foot into a lunge. Bring your left knee over your ankle and place it between your second and third toes.
Engage your abs and bend your right knee back until you feel a stretch in your right hip flexor. To improve flexibility in the right hip, hold this position for 5 breaths