As I mentioned before, my injury was from an manual over-adjustment due to being hyper-mobile… What I learned the hard way… Loose is not Flexible: loose is just loose.
Before the emergence of Instagram and facebook, I was one of those crazy yogi’s seeing how close I could get my feet to my head. Competition was in yoga room, we had no venue to “show the world” but now, now it everywhere… Instagram and Facebook have portrayed yoga postures like Cirque du Soleil performances trying to inspire others. These Instagramers are creating yoga challenges and even giving written instructions on how to do these crazy handstanding arm balances. Followers are trying to emulate these postures completely unaware of their body type and posturing. When we attempt poses that are unhealthy for our body types or postures we are not ready to master, we dump into our joint spaces, likely causing compression and stretching beyond the muscle and into the ligaments that hold our bones together. Ligaments are not elastic. Without a proper tensional relationship in the ligaments around a joint, the other structures, including blood vessels, nerves and muscles, fascia and the joint themselves, the ligament must bear the stress of the posture or activity. This leads to overloading the structures and joints causing instability increasing ones risk of chronic pain and injury. The appropriate balance of tensions within the system is to facilitate normal functional range of motion. This is called tensegrity.
According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, loose is defined as:
- Insecure: not firmly fastened or fixed, not highly stable or well-adjusted
- Slack/lax: lacking restraint or power of restraint, not rigidly fastened or securely attached, lacking in precision, exactness or care
- Relaxed: free from a state of confinement, restraint, or obligation
- Unsecured: not rigidly fastened or securely attached, having worked partly free from attachments.
According to Merriam-Webster Dictionary, flexibility is defined as
- Elastic: easily changed: able to change or to do different things, characterized by a ready capability to adapt to new, different, or changing requirements, property of resisting deformation by stretching
- Resilient: able to endure strain without being permanently injured, the ability to recover shape quickly when the deforming force or pressure is removed
- Springy: ease with which something yields to pressure and the quickness of its return to original shape
- Supple: capable of bending or being bent, can be readily bent, twisted, or folded without any sign of injury
DANGERS OF LOOSENESS:
Per its definition, looseness is an unstable state. If we continuously stretch beyond our muscles into the joint spaces we ultimately hang in the tendons and/or ligaments. Ligaments and tendons do NOT stretch, they are devoid of elasticity and are sparingly supplied with blood-vessels. Once stretched, they cannot, without medical or surgical intervention, become less stretched. That means the joints they are connecting become unstable. An unstable joint will draw it support from the surrounding musculature. This is NOT the muscles job and when a muscle is forced to do a job its not supposed to do, it becomes tense, spasmed and or compressed. This equals pain. This next statement is important… YOU CAN BE IN AN INFLEXIBLE, RIGID, TIGHT BODY AND STILL OVER-STRETCH!!!
The most common joints to become unstable due to over-stretching are….
- Sacroiliac joint (SI) instability leads to chronic back pain (Thread the needle).
- Shoulder joint instability leads to shoulder pain and rotator cuff tears (Prasrita Podotanasana C).
- Knee joint instability causes knee pain due inflammation from misalignments and ligament tears. (Virasana and Lotus).
- Ankle joint instability causes sprained ankles. (Lotus).
I, unfortunately, learned the hard way… I can easily say it now: “If I had only known then what I know now,” I would have refrained from the postures that were harmful. However, I don’t think my ego was mature enough to actually listen. As I continue to write these blogs I will share with you what I have learned over the last 10 years from healing. Please engage and ask questions or offer what has worked for you. Let’s create a community of healers and those who have healed so we can achieve optimal health in our mind, body and spirit.