The Problem If You Are Hypermobile and Doing Yoga.


The Problem If You Are Hypermobile and Doing Yoga.

Top Tips for Hypermobile People



 The main problem of hypermobility and yoga is rooted in the misconception that yoga is about stretching. 

It's not. 

WHHHAAAAT ? 

 Yoga is not about stretching?   

No. it's about connection.  The root of the word yoga means joining, union and connection. 

Where in our body do we connect to ourselves?   Through our JOINts.  

Often why I refer to my work as the JOINT RENEWAL SYSTEM(TM) is because when I call it YOGA people get all sorts of images in their minds... 


There is absolutely NO NEED for anyone to move their body this way in order to stay healthy, active and go about their lives feeling good, relaxed and easy in their body.   

I totally respect the young flexible women and men who want to play and explore these advanced poses.  But as most of my students and clients are not looking to do fancy poses, it's very unhelpful to think of yoga with images like these. 

When I have a student come to me who is hypermobile I have to suggest to them  to take a different approach to my classes.

It's easy to tell most of my students not to stretch, but to open their joints instead.  Because as they are already quite stiff, they learn to simply place their focus away from those stretchy feelings / sensations that most yoga classes make the mistake of putting that as a goal,   and instead I teach my students to get inside their joints.  

They FEEL their hips, ankles, low back, Spine, shoulders. The 27 joints in each hand and 33 in each foot.  They learn to feel and therefore better understand all the joints, and actually their stiffness protects them from injury. 

For the hypermobile student the work is different.  I encourage them work on HOLDING the poses, at the first level/layer before any restriction.  Because they can over stretch, and they will push to get that stretchy feeling, they can easily create loose ligaments and then the joints become unstable.  

With aging, problems in the joints, ligaments and tendons start to show up for everyone, however they can get really bad for the hypermobile person. 



And another problem is that they have not trained their minds or their awareness to be focused inside the joints, so often they don't feel anything to begin with. Or they are starting to feel the effects of joint pain because of hormonal changes or age. 

I tell my hypermobile students to NOT stretch as far as they can (there is nothing to prove - we know you can stretch).  

It is much much harder to refrain from reaching or extending any distance at all.  

And they have to ignore any instructions I may give to the other 99%  of the students to extend and reach (never stretch - that's different), and even then they have to remember to  NOT do that.  

Instead the hypermobile student is focusing on gathering together.  

They are exploring, doing research and looking for the connections inside their joints and between joints (hip to knee, ankle to hip for example) by holding the pose over time. 

If you are hypermobile  your approach has to be different

 So drop any notion of yoga being  about reaching, stretching or lengthening. 

I say to my hypermobile students - let's put our focus on CONNECTION - which is actually what everyone is doing in a yoga class,  it's just for most people when they reach and lengthen, there will be a deepening sense of connection in the joints. 

 Not so for those who are hypermobile!  

If you are hypermobile, here are some tips: Try and keep your focus on the true meaning of Yoga: union, connection, joining.   

Focus the mind, and cultivate the ability to do micro movements in your body mindfully and keeping engaged with how it FEELS inside the joints (with a secondary focus on ligaments, tendons and muscles). These tiny, tiny movements and connection to your mind are super important to build connections in your brain, new neural pathways and connections to how your body moves best. 

The mind will often decide that you are not feeling anything (because you are not getting that stretchy feeling) and you might be tempted to stretch. 

  This is the problem of hypermobility

So take your attention away from what your mind might be telling you and return the mind to engage with the present moment FEELING in your joints. 

 Place your awareness inside them and know that you will, over time, cultivate the awareness to feel more and more of the subtilties and differences in each joint.  learn about your own unique body, the beauty inside you.  The wisdom and joy you contain. 

Your yoga is to train your mind, to engage your feeling ability and eventually you will become far more intelligent to your own body, to the nature that you are,  how best to move it.  How not to over stretch it. And how to look after it as you age. 

If you would like more information about the JOINT RENEWAL SYSTEM(TM) you can sign up for a free guide here https://www.kathywhiteyoga.com/jointrenewalsystem

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