Do you know those people who can easily bend in half, putting their palms flat onto the floor? Or maybe they can put their feet all the way behind their head? Are you one of those people?
Many people with joint hypermobility syndrome grow up showing their friends all of the cool tricks they can do with their bodies: bending their thumbs back to their wrists, touching their feet to their head. I know these are things that I did!
So, it would make sense that yoga wouldn’t do much for those of us with hypermobility, right? Wrong!
While most people use yoga as a way to stretch and gain more mobility, it can still do wonders for those of us who are already hypermobile. The important thing to remember is be conservative! If you push into your flexibility, you will pay for it.
People with hypermobility will suffer from pain due to strains, sprains, tendonitis, and dislocations. Because our ligaments are unstable, we are more prone to dislocations, scoliosis, and many other joint problems – causing us a lot of pain.
But yoga can help! You just have to change your mindset around it. While most equate being limber with being “good at yoga”, your success will come from developing strength in your joints, not flexibility. Yoga can help stabilize the muscles around our joints by strengthening them through light resistance.
However, it is crucial that we use good alignment when we practice and always refrain from hyperextending our joints. There is no prize for being the most flexible, so be conservative! Focus on strengthening your muscles by challenging your joints to not fall into the hyperextended state, but hold them short of it. Yes, it’ll be more challenging then just letting your feet go all the way to your head, but by strengthening those muscles, your pain will begin to subside.
Yoga is something I practice regularly. And it has significantly reduced my pain from my hypermobile joints. Although I can bring my feet all the way to my head, I don’t allow myself to do that. If you’re not sure how yoga can help you, give us a call! We’d love to talk with you about your pain, where it’s coming from, and if yoga can be helpful to you. You don’t have to go through all of this alone, a life free from pain is possible!