Share Pin Email
feature image
Live Fit

Can You Be Too Flexible? Hypermobility, Explained

Being bendy might earn you a spot in the front row at yoga class, but it isn’t always better. Here's how hypermobility may cause some surprising problems.

209
Author Image
Contributing Writer
SHARE:

You’ve probably been in yoga class with a person who can bend like Gumby and thought: Why can’t I do that? So you begin testing your range of movement on the mat, pushing your body to go a little further, a little deeper. While the energy in the room can encourage you to pull off the fullest possible expression of every pose, you might want to back off a bit. If you don’t, you could end up breaking down some important tissues in your body. Stretching past your limits can harm your joints and render vital ligaments functionally useless. The condition that results is called ligament laxity, or hypermobility.

“When you’re hypermobile, you can’t control your joints the way that you need to,” says certified strength and conditioning specialist Mike Robertson, co-owner of Indianapolis Fitness and Sports Training. “Your wiring just isn’t the same as other people’s, your joints are less stable, and that can cause you to have injuries.”

The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association reports that general joint laxity naturally occurs in about 4 to 13 percent of people. The condition can be caused by one’s collagen structure, bone shape, muscle tone, or a function of one’s nervous system that relays information about the body’s movement in space called proprioception. Women and children are more likely to have hypermobile joints, as are people of African, Asian, or Middle Eastern descent. For people who are born with a wider range of motion than normal, the extra flexibility is just a way of life.

“Most people who are hypermobile don’t know that they’re hypermobile,” says Nikki Villella, co-director of Kula Yoga in New York City. “If you ask them if they’re aware that they’re hyperextending, they’ll usually say, ‘No, what are you talking about?’”

The wider range of motion comes at a price. “If you have excessive function or laxity at a joint, it can express motion that you don’t have naturally,” Robertson says. “You won’t have the same perception of where your joints are in space, which can cause issues. For instance, if a female athlete is hypermobile and has to make a jump, the knee joint itself isn’t relaying any warning that she’s getting into a problem area, and before you know it she has an ACL tear.”

That’s a risk we can wind up sharing if we manage to achieve hypermobility through, well, bad stretching, which Robertson says happens more often than you’d think. “What I see the most often when we start talking about joint laxity or hypermobility is people who stretch themselves into it,” he says. “They’ve basically blown out the front side of their hip capsules because they’ve stretched their hip flexors for so long. These people have stretched to the point where their ligaments are not doing the job that they should be.”


Related: A Yoga Sequence for Inflexible People


The best thing you can do to avoid hypermobility is to not stretch yourself into it in the first place. “The whole point [of yoga], in my opinion, is balance,” Vilella says. “So rather than hanging out in their joints, I would want someone to learn to stabilize those joints and do a lot of what I call ‘hugging in,’ or engaging the muscles. How well they can do that is going to depend on what kind of class they’re going to do and what kind of moves they’re doing.”

Vilella says that Iyengar practice can be especially helpful, since it typically moves more slowly and asks practitioners to spend more time in poses, but adds that a student can bring the “hugging in” mindset to any practice, even a more flowy one. Robertson agrees that learning to engage the muscles, rather than just stretching them, is key. In fact, if you’ve stretched yourself into hypermobility, it’s especially important.

“If you overstretch a ligament, the bad news is that you’re not going to get that back,” Robertson says. “But you can turn on the muscles surrounding the joint that do things similar to the ligament.” Robertson also recommends having your range of motion analyzed regularly. One to two times a year is ideal.

“If you’re serious about training and taking care of your body, I always say you should find somebody who’s qualified to assess you,” Robertson says. A physical therapist or someone who holds a certification from Functional Movements Systems or the Postural Restoration Institute is a great point of contact. Another good point of contact are any of the Egoscue clinics across the nation, listed here. These clinics specialize in postural therapy and have worked with numerous clients over the years who have suffered from the negative effects of hyperflexibility. “Even if you’re really good at coaching yourself, it’s helpful to have a second set of eyes giving you constructive feedback,” he explains.

Lastly, remember that being bendy isn’t always better. There are other aspects of your practice you can work on in class besides flexibility. “You don’t have to go to the end range of your motion [in every stretch],” Robertson says. “Stay somewhere that’s comfortable, then work on your breathing patterns instead.”

By

SHARE:

Comments (0)

Load More

Find us on Instagram

@LIVESONIMA
  • For dinner tonight try this refreshingly quick and easy no-cook, clean-eating, recipe that you'll want to eat again and again! 
Fill these Thai inspired lettuce wraps with whatever raw vegetables are in the crisper drawer at the moment. The key ingredient is always the delicious peanut sauce! 
Get the full recipe - link in bio! 😍 Developed by our friends at @furtherfood 🙏🏽
. .
.
.
.
.
#yogalifestyle #yogaliving #yogicdiet #yogadiet #positivenergy #cleaneating #positivelifestyle #positivemindpositivelife 
#mindfulliving #livewell #livefree #livefit #sonima #livesonima #healthylivingrevolution #healthierchoices  #balancedlife #balancediet #createbalance #createhealthyhabits #brainhealth #mindbodyconnection #veganrecipes #rawveganrecipes #rawfooddiet #vegandinner #vegetarianrecipes #rawvegan #lettucewraps #furtherfood
  • 🌟Sharathji U.S. Tour SCHOLARSHIP🌟
_
Do you want to practice with Paramaguru Sharath Jois when he is on tour in the U.S. this year? 
He is coming to three cities and is offering six scholarship spots based on need. .

Fill out this scholarship application and you may be chosen to receive this amazing opportunity to learn from the living master of Ashtanga Yoga.
_
To Enter:
1.  Go to the website and fill out an application on or before April 5th, 2019

2.  Repost this graphic on your IG account and tag three friends in the comment section below who you think should attend the tour (optional)

3.  Check your email on April 8 - to find out if you’re one of the lucky recipients!
_
Note: 
Applicants must be able to attend all of the practice days in the location of their choosing. 
No travel or accommodation costs will be covered.

Follow the link in our bio - look for the option at the bottom of the page 👀❣️
.
.
.
.
@joisyogaencinitas @miamilifecenter @eddiestern @sharathjoisr @stanfordashtangayoga .
.
.
.
.
#sharathjoisusa2019
#sharathjois #guruji #ParamaguruSharathJois
#sharathtour2019 #ashtangayoga #ashtangapractice #joisyoga #joisyogaencinitas #brooklynyogaclub #ashtangayoganewyork #ashtanganyc #ashtangayogastanford #sonima #livesonima #miamilifecenter #miamiashtanga
#ashtangafamily #PrimarySeries #IntermediateSeries #practiceisprayer #ashtangacommunity #sharathjoisageless 
#ashtangafamily #alliscoming
  • Check out the link in our bio to view this riveting video expressing why receiving the practice from the source is like nothing else. Read why coming to practice on tour is an experience you won’t want to miss! 
Don’t wait too long... Be sure to register to come practice with Paramaguru Sharath Jois when he’s in the U.S. this Spring! .

Follow the link in our bio for direct access to the video or go straight to our IGTV! 🤩
You won’t want to miss these beautiful words and moments with @sharathjoisr 🙏🏽♥️🙌🏽
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
@joisyogaencinitas @miamilifecenter @eddiestern @livesonima @sharathjoisr @stanfordashtangayoga @ifilmyoga @harmony_ashtanga @kinoyoga @timfeldmannyoga .
.
.
.
.
#sharathjoisusa2019
#sharathjois #guruji #ParamaguruSharathJois
#sharathtour2019 #ashtangayoga #ashtangapractice #joisyoga #joisyogaencinitas #brooklynyogaclub #ashtangayoganewyork #ashtanganyc #ashtangayogastanford #sonima #livesonima #miamilifecenter #miamiashtanga
#ashtangafamily #PrimarySeries #IntermediateSeries #practiceisprayer #ashtangacommunity #sharathjoisageless 
#ashtangafamily #alliscoming
  • Watch this riveting video that expresses why receiving the practice directly from the source is like nothing else, and then be sure to register and come practice with Paramaguru Sharath Jois when he comes to the U.S. in the Spring!

Stanford, April 22-27
Miami, May 1-7
NY, May 10-14

Register at the link: https://www.sonima.com/sharath-2019-register/

#sharathjoisusa2019
  • An Irish Blessing for everyone today... “May the road rise up to meet you. May the wind be always at your back.” Happy St.Patrick’s Day! 🍀☘️🍀☘️🍀
.
.
.
.
.
.
#stpatricksday #luckoftheirish #irishblessing #positivenergy #positivelifestyle #positivemindpositivelife 
#mindfulliving #livewell #livefree #livefit #sonima #livesonima #healthylivingrevolution #fourleafclover
  • We've uncovered the most surprising and practical weight-loss tips for you!  These 4 strategies will support weight loss, nutritious eating, and keep you feeling great throughout the year. ❤️ .
Find the link in our bio. .
.
.
Receive fresh content delivered to your inbox every week!