Are They Even Compatible
Both Cook and Starrett would agree that optimal performance occurs when the muscles and tendons around a joint allow for a proper degree of the moment with sufficient control in all stages of that movement. So if mobility basically means the ability to move bones with respect to a joint how is that any different than flexibility? Thats like asking if strength training that much different than power training? They connote different aspects of training depending on their purpose
When we talk about mobility, we are generally referring to one having sufficient range of motion for a particular exercise. One needs sufficient mobility in their hips to properly do squats Or more generally, one might say that doing squats properly requires a requisite amount of flexibility. So, flexibility generally relates to the relative ease and degree bones can move with respect to one another based on the tightness of the related muscle groups while mobility generally refers to the requisite flexibility specific joints and muscles need to have to perform their intended function
So do all of these famous athletic trainers develop mobility in the same way? Not at all.
You Don’t Have To Be A Hippie To Practice Yoga
Yoga is a practice that encourages self-awareness, love, and connection with the world. As practitioners become more mindful and conscientious of their actions, many do make choices that seem “hippie-like” to the outside world. But you won’t be shunned if you don’t fit into the hippie lifestyle.
According to the 2016 Yoga in America survey, half of yoga practitioners do say they “live green, eat sustainably, and donate time to their community”all positive attributes, by the waybut that means half don’t claim to do those things. So let the record state that yogis have no requirement to give up meat, join a commune, or stop using commercially-made deodorant.
Similarities Between The Two
To understand the reason for the belief that stretching and yoga are virtually the same, lets look at how they are similar. Both relieve tightness in muscles. Both can engage the entire body. They can have some of the same goals.
Here the similarities end.
With that out of the way, we can begin to examine the many differences.
Poses vs Stretching Exercises
Stretching involves holding a position. You work on lengthening the muscle until you are stretching to the maximum. You push your body to the point just before it becomes uncomfortable, often leading to a release in tension.
A yoga workout, on the other hand, is made up of many poses. Some of these are similar as stretches, but a large number are quite distinct.
Furthermore, a yoga workout can be in the form of a flow, moving from one pose to another. Sometimes you hold a pose for several breaths, sometimes you change from one to another quite rapidly. This means that, although yoga can be relaxing, in other cases it can cause your heart rate to rise. Power yoga and strength-building workouts are good examples of this.
Central to yoga is breathing technique. You breathe as deep and as long as you can. Breathing in stretching, however, teaches you to improve how you breathe during exercise. It helps you practice to avoid holding your breath.
Aims of the Practice
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Strike A Pose For Strength
Some styles of yoga, such as ashtanga and power yoga, are very physical. Practicing one of these styles will help you improve muscle tone.
But even less vigorous styles of yoga, such as Iyengar or hatha, can provide strength and endurance benefits.
Many of the poses, such as downward dog, upward dog, and the plank pose, build upper-body strength. The standing poses, especially if you hold them for several long breaths, build strength in your hamstrings, quadriceps, and abs. Poses that strengthen the lower back include upward dog and the chair pose.
When done right, nearly all poses build core strength in the deep abdominal muscles.
Yoga Stretches To Improve Balance
- Urdhva Hastasana / Upward salute raise arms overhead and gaze to the thumbs whilst lengthening torso
- Vrkasana / Tree pose- placing foot on either ankle, calf or inner thigh. Look forward to the tip of your nose place hands together
- Eka Pada Utkatasana / One legged chair pose place ankle onto opposite knee. Bend grounded leg, keeping gaze forward, arms raised. Opens hip and builds strengthens glute in grounded leg.
- Virabhadrasana / Warrior 3 ground and straighten one leg, as opposite extends towards back of the mat, toes pointing to the floor. Hands can be in prayer beneath the chest, reaching to the back foot or reaching forward
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Yoga Can Fit Into Your Schedule
Your yoga practice can take as much time as you have to dedicate to it. Some formal yoga classes are 45, 60, or 90 minutes long, but the idea that you have to commit yourself to an hour of yoga to reap its benefits is far from reality.
“Anyone can go online these days and find a yoga class that’s 5, 10, or 15 minutes long,” Minos says. “Making the excuse of time being the key factor in not doing something for yourself is something I wish people would rethink. If you have 10 minutes to watch TV or get on the computer, you have time for yoga!”
Nuts And Bolts Of Mobility Training
Mobility is a hot topic because CrossFit has introduced complex movements to the masses that require mobility to perform correctly without injury. Kelly Starrett is one of many pioneers in the field of mobility and has achieved a great deal of fame through his blog MWOD and affiliation with CrossFit. But what is mobility, and how does it differ from flexibility, stretching, and yoga?
Mobilization is a movement-based integrated full-body approach that addresses all the elements that limit movement and performance including short and tight muscles, soft tissue restriction, joint capsule restriction, motor control problems, joint range of motion dysfunction, and neural dynamic issues. In short, mobilization is a tool to globally address movement and performance problems. Kelly Starrett on Mobility. In the SFMA and FMS space, Gray Cook talks about 4 progressions of movement in his Move Well. Move Often motif.
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Move More Often To Stay Healthier
There truly is a variety of flexibility exercises you can do, Travers says.
And like with all other exercises, if you can find a few you enjoy youll reap the benefits of having an easy, go-to routine that will become like second nature. Knowing how to stay flexible can make you feel better, help you move more easily and prevent joint pain and muscle tension down the road.
Remember Yoga Is More Than Touching Your Toes
Its normal to immediately picture someone doing a posture that requires insane flexibility, like putting your feet behind your head. But theres much more to it. Yoga helps you practice mindfulness, learn how to listen to your body, and reduce stress, just to name a few.
Each pose allows your body to sink, deeply stretching muscle fibers and loosening you up, says Chase. It takes time, but not as long as you may assume. Your body and mind simply have to make the connection. Start with a beginner class and then as you become stronger, transition to a more challenging class. There are all types of yoga, though. Try all different forms at a few studios to see which one speaks to you most.
The benefits of yoga are plentiful, but the key is always to find a style that works for youand Aaptiv has options. Head to the app to see them for yourself.
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Relaxing Beginnersyoga For Flexibility Stretch Routine
Difficulty Level: Very beginner friendly, more therapeutic than hard-core stretching
Duration: 20 minutes
There are days when I wake up and just dont feel like moving. Onthese days, the last thing I want is to run or do a heart-pumping yoga routine.This video is so easy to wake into, it is not only relaxing, but it also givestime between gentle stretches to really wake your body up.
This gentle routine is so therapeutic and is made for beginners. Ifelt completely relaxed yet well stretched after.
- The video starts off with agood few minutes of breathing meditation, really great for intention settingand relaxing the mind.
- I particularly love the gentleneck stretches Many sequences tend to skip this part of the body but weactually put a lot of tension and stress on the neck.
- Other poses are really gentle on the spine and legs, perhaps except for pigeon pose
How Do We Improve Flexibility Eg Range Of Motion
There are 3 general techniques soft tissue work, stretching, and joint mobilization.
- Joint Mobilization techniques including Muscle Activation Techniques, Active Release Technique , Rolfing, Structural Integration Therapy, Dry Needling , Acupuncture, and Trigger Point Therapy. Many of these techniques fall under the umbrella of physical therapy, but they are all individually branded techniques that fitness professionals, chiropractors, and physical therapists use to help people move better. Which is the best? It depends on whats wrong, why you have pain or motion limitation, and the skill of the practitioner.
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Best Yoga Postures For Flexibility
- Standing Forward Fold
This posture is almost like a test, it helps you realize how flexible you are at the moment and how far you have progressed as you continue your practice! The more disciplined you progress, the more flexible you will be, and finally you can touch your hands by keeping your legs upright. But for now, you need to stay as far as you feel. The support of the lower abdominal muscles provides more flexibility in the lumbar spine.
- Low Lunge Side Bend
It releases tension in hip flexions and stretches obliques, intercostals, and shoulders. When looking from above, make sure that your knees are not in front of your wrist and pull your lower abdomen in order not to overload your lower waist. In this posture, exhale three to five slowly and switch sides.
- Screaming Toe With Triceps Stretch
This posture may be the biggest stretching exercise for your feet. Increasing the flexibility in your feet gracefully fluctuates energy throughout your body, helping to protect your knees, hips, and spine health. Take 3 to 5 slow breaths on both sides.
- Cobblers Pose
If you have difficulty in this posture, you can put a block or pillow under your knees. You can leave the supports as you progress. It is a great stretching exercise for your muscle groups in the lower region.
- Reclining Spinal Twist
Important note: Yoga is not a medical treatment method. Please contact your doctor for your health problems.
How Can Props Help To Increase Mobility And Flexibility
You can use props such as a foam roller, physio ball or simply a tennis ball to lengthen out the soft tissue that lays on top of the joint and surrounds the joint that could be inhibiting the joints mobility. These objects help to create some pressure onto the soft tissue, allowing the myofascial structures in the body that surround the muscle down to the bone to relax and stretch out.
Studies suggest that sustained pressure may reduce fascial adhesions and, as a result, soften the targeted tissues. This will give you a greater range of motion and, thus, greater mobility.
So, imagine you have all the space you need to move in the hips, i.e. theres no bone compression, but the muscles surrounding the hip joint are tight. Although your quadriceps may be really strong, they may at the same time be very tight, causing tension up to the hip joint. This is because the four muscles forming the quadriceps run together into a tendon on the outer side of your thigh called IT band.
A lot of people use the foam roller with the intention to stretch the IT band. The thing is that you cant really stretch out the IT band since its a tendon and not a muscle. It actually is designed to be strong and tight in order to hold your leg in position. However, you can apply the foam roller onto the muscles that feed into the IT band. Creating some more space in these muscles will allow you to increase mobility and flexibility in the hip and the knee.
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What Are The Best Yoga Poses For Splits
When working towards Hanumanasana or full splits practice poses that target the muscles involved, primarily the hip flexors and hamstrings.
Of the group of muscles known as the hip flexors, the psoas major is the strongest.
The psoas is often considered together with the iliacus as the iliopsoas. The iliopsoas can be stretched by practicing Anjaneyasana , Eka Pada Rajakapotasana , or Utthan Pristhasana .
The other main muscle group to stretch for the splits is the hamstrings. The hamstrings are responsible for extending the leg at the hip and flexing the knee.
To stretch the hamstrings practice Parsvottanasana and Ardha Hanumanasana .
For all of these poses be sure to hold them for at least 30 seconds. You will see the most immediate benefits if practiced regularly so strive to practice multiple times a week or up to twice a day.
These each target one side at a time so remember to balance and stretch both sides.
Stretching The Hips In Standing Poses
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What Yoga Is Best For Flexibility
To become more flexible, you need yoga combining dynamic movements and longer holds. For example, this 20-minute Full-Body Flexibility yoga practice is ideal.
Some of us have better flexibility results with static holds coupled with deep breathing, others with movement or bouncing but in general, a blend of both suits most people. Thats exactly what yoga for flexibility practices designed by Skill Yoga do, inspired by hatha and vinyasa yoga.
Dont be afraid to use props in your yoga practice a strap or a block to bridge the gap between your hands and feet, or the floor, depending on the pose. They help you achieve the correct alignment and that, in turn, makes your flexibility training more effective. Props also make progress tracking easier because youll see how much closer youre getting to not needing them and then, one day, you wont need them at all!
How Is Yoga Beneficial In Improving Strength
Yoga can actually help you improve strength. There are many yoga postures which stress on strength building, such as holding the plank position for long or the downward dog position, or upward dog position.
If done correctly nearly all the yoga poses build core strength in the deep abdominal muscles.
Few of the yoga poses, which help improve strength are:
Navasana is a yoga pose which engages your core completely and also requires sufficient core strength. This yoga pose strengthens the abdomen and spine. The abdominal muscles get toned and tightened if Navasana is done regularly. Navasana also strengthens the lower back muscles.
Utkatasana involves sitting on an imaginary chair. This yoga pose helps stabilize the knees and strengthen the thighs. It might seem easy to do this yoga pose, but an immense effort is required to sustain the pose. Utkatasana is a perfect asana to make the legs and ankles strong.
Padanguathasana involves bending your torso towards the feet making your palm touch the toes. This yoga asana benefits by strengthening your bones, spine and legs.
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Yoga For Flexibility And Strength
Whats the best yoga for flexibility and strength?
Flexibility and strength are best trained together. Of course, you can be strong and inflexible, or you can be flexible and weak, but having a good balance of the two is ideal. Its because you need a certain level of strength to move your body efficiently and safely, and flexibility to move in your full range of motion.
Yoga automatically increases both your strength and flexibility. Most yoga poses train the strength of some of your muscles while stretching the opposite side of your limb or body. This is an ideal scenario because youre stretching and strengthening at the same time!
Some naturally flexible people need more strength training to stabilize their joints and prevent injuries. For those, some yoga poses may be easy to get into but holding the pose correctly or repeating it then increases their strength. All this results in a well-balanced body and stable joints.
How They Are The Same
Before we dive into how yoga is an extension of stretching, we felt it is important to cover where they are also similar. If you have ever attended a yoga class, you probably noticed that some of the postures are quite similar to athletic stretching.
Stretching is defined as reaching, widening or pulling something, and putting your limbs into positions that make the muscles feel less tight.
We will cover a few of the similar stretches that you may recognize:
- Seated hamstring stretch- Janu Sirsasana
- High Lunge stretch- Virabhadrasana or Warrior one
- Low lunge hip stretch- Anjaneyasana
- Laying Glute stretch- Sucirandhrasana
- Tall lengthening stretch- Tadasana or Mountain pose
- Seated forward hamstring stretch with both legs Paschimottanasana
You can probably see the similarities here, but since stretching is just one of the eight core components of yoga, we will now cover why if you need the flexibility, you should just stick to stretching.
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