The Importance of Balancing Strength And Flexibility In a Yoga Class

The process of stretching is responsible for creating flexibility. Flexibility is directly influenced by the amount of connective tissue which is around the muscles. Connective tissue consists of tendons, ligaments as well as fascial sheaths. This type of tissue contains a substance that acts as both a lubricant as well as a glue. 

Elastic connective tissue offers elasticity. Collagenous connective tissue provides tensile strength. When a limb is overstretched, and a muscle is worked outside its normal range, the connective tissue near the muscle is put under duress. This is called hyper-extension. As a result, the affected muscles may become longer as well as lax. In addition, joint pain, swelling as well as immobility can occur.

Muscles that are long and lax are often found adjacent to short tight muscles. The short muscle needs stretching and the long muscle next to it requires a strengthening exercise. The challenge that is faced is which exercises to perform that will stretch, and which will strengthen the correct muscles.

Yoga Asanas are dynamic movements

These movements bring a limb and the muscles through their full range of motion in the joints. Asanas can also be static movements. What this means is that during static movements, the practitioner develops the ability to assume as well as maintain extended positions by using only a specific part of the body. 

Dynamic and static movement, in addition to counter poses, allow a Yoga practitioner to balance strengthening as well as stretching. If exercised properly, with proper alignment as well as breathing, all while respecting the limitations of the body, the regular practice of yoga allows the practitioner to grow, develop as well as extend their physical capabilities while limiting the possibilities of injury.

Types of movement

The seven primary types of movement are the following:

  1. Flexion – decreasing the angle at the joint such as the chin to chest
  2. Extension – increasing the angle at the joint or a return from flexion such as the head returning to erect alignment
  3. Hyperextension – the continuation of extension goes beyond a starting position or, alternatively, beyond the vertical plane line at the ear, for example dunking your head backward
  4. Abduction – sideward movement away from the midline such as your arms or legs moving out to the sides
  5. Adduction – return from abduction for example bringing the arms back to the sides
  6. Rotation – left, right, inward, and outward 
  7. Circumduction – when a movement describes a cone such as an arm circling

As the primary movement patterns are made use of in daily life, these are often the focus of conditioning exercises in the gym.  Primary patterns are characterised as compound (utilise lots of joints as well as muscles), familiar to us in addition to being necessary throughout life.

Standing Forward Fold, Standing Side Stretches, Upward and Downward Dog Pose, Wide Angle Forward Fold, Bridge Pose, Reclining Hand to Toe Stretch, Sage Marichi Pose, Locust Pose, Hero Pose, Shoulder Openers like Cow Face, Eagle Arms and Camel and the Lotus Position all include a combination of the primary types of movements. 

The participants in a Yoga class will find some poses easier than others. Yoga is not a competition with yourself or with others. It should be enjoyed. Yoga can develop both your mental and physical fitness levels, so there is no reason for you not to start Yoga and start developing yourself holistically both mentally and physically.