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Don't do it just because you can!

(And before you ask - NO - that's not me in the photo - Ha ha!)

The curse of being too flexible. Less flexible people probably won't think of it as a 'curse' but being too flexible can have it's own set of challenges.

When we're more mobile there can be a tendency to 'sag' in the joints.

We often think that ‘more is better’ but is this really the case with flexibility? What do we really gain from pushing too hard to become more flexible when we’re already quite flexible in that area anyway? A balance of strength and flexibility is a good thing to aim for. Improving your range of motion through your joints makes a lot of sense too; as does creating stability around your joints, particularly important if you're one of those extra bendy Wendy types.

A quote I heard the other day, from a movement specialist, went something along the lines of "what's the point in being able to do the splits if you can't lift your leg up whilst in the splits"? That's flexibility without the corresponding strength.

When we have flexible hamstrings we tend to ‘hang off’ them in standing forward bends i.e. the legs are straight and knees locked which then rounds the back so we’re bending from the spine rather than the hips. Our hips are better designed to bend in this position so bending the knees and allowing the spine to elongate is more beneficial and sustainable for our bodies.

Those of you that do weekly classes with me will have noticed that one of the latest things that I am brain-washing you with is to bend your knees in most forward bends (including Down Dog). Everyday life is doing it's best to encourage us to hunch forward and stick the chin out so this version of forward bending is an antidote to that. That's not to say that the traditional way of forward bending is 'wrong' - not at all - I just personally think that doing it this way is more sustainable in the long run and can easily be carried over into life i.e. in your movement off the mat during every day tasks. Also during class we are working on making some of our stretches more active (keeping muscles engaged) rather than passive (flopping into stretches) as well as moving our joints in to postures without using our hands to get there e.g. coming into tree balance without grabbing the foot and pulling it up into place.

Next time you're on your mat see if you can tell the difference between an active and a passive stretch and let's see if we can work towards balancing bendiness and strength for more efficient movement patterns and stable joints.

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