Range of Motion and Limitations in Yoga Practice
The range of motion is defined as the way our bodies move through space due to the unique construction of our skeletal system. In particular, the way the bones fit together at the joints. Every joint in the body has a set range of motion, determined by each persons specific skeletal structure. When a joint moves beyond its normal degree of movement, it is described as hypermobile. When it moves less than the prescribed degree of movement is it known as hypomobile.
With joints the saying often goes; ‘the more flexibility, the less stability’ and ‘the more stability, the less flexibility’. Yoga can help to stablize the over-flexible, and build flexibility in students with tight muscles. All positions and asanas in Yoga can be practiced in one form or another, by beginners and experts alike. This gives each practitioner an array of possibilities to improve flexibility, stability and range of motion overtime.
An acute knowledge of anatomy, physiology and Kinesiology can help both teachers and students diagnose what is it they need to work on to achieve optimal health in their joints. For example, in chair pose (uttanasana) limitations may come from tight hamstrings, but also from low range of motion in the pelvis and hip joints. Our DNA shapes and controls our skeletal system, ultimately determining our physical characteristic. Each and every body that attends a yoga class is uniquely different. Therefore, something that may be good for one person, may be dangerous for another, and vice versa. There are certain postures that should be completely avoided by people with specific medical conditions, and these same postures may greatly help others.
The movements from pose to pose, or coming in and out of a pose are the most important part of a practice: more important, in fact, than the pose themselves. They should be guided with care and attention on the physicality of each person in the room. The way an individual performs an asana practice is almost entirely dependent on their genes, background and environment. Every student will have the same organism, muscles, tissues, and joints, but not every body has the same structure, meaning that every body has different capabilities.
The most important thing in a Yoga practice, is that the student feels comfortable and safe. In the right environment and with the right instruction, Yoga can be used as a therapeutic tool, building stability, control and strength, in both the body and the mind. One of the things that sets Yoga apart from other exercise is the sheer amount of possibilities in each practice. An entire class can be dedicated to a single part of the body, with adaptions and variations for each posture.
Rome is home to yoga facilities that will help you increase your range of motion and give your body more stability. Through many styles and forms, you are able to choose one that resonates with your body and soul. We hope to see you soon on the mat.
Tina Samuels, a native of Rome, is a local yoga instructor and shiatsu bodywork therapist. Readers can contact her at www.romebodyworkandwellness.com.