3 Obstacles Preventing Flexibility

in this video I'm going to teach you the three things that are preventing you from being flexible and how you can address these problems with training Your Body by targeting these specific areas it will increase your flexibility and get you the results you want faster it's a myth that you can't do yoga or be flexible if you're not naturally flexible in fact the myth is really in thinking in the first place that some of us are naturally flexible we all lose hydration in our muscles as we age so it's a use it or lose it scenario it's time to use it again it's also a myth that flexibility is all about stretching muscles work together when one muscle contracts its opposing muscle stretches or lengthens so your muscles aren't just tight they're also weak it's time to learn which muscles to strengthen and which to stretch it's time to activate your flexibility [Applause] foreign [Music] I was never a gymnast or a dancer as a kid in fact I was an athlete a tennis player and all the conditioning made my muscles so tight it was designed that way really to protect my joints for explosive movement on the tennis court I was also born with a condition called spinal stenosis it's a narrowing of the spinal canal and it's a degenerative disease which means it gets worse as I age even though I've been practicing yoga for 27 years and teaching for 17 I'd always thought of myself as painfully and flexible and I was sometimes even embarrassed to call myself a yoga teacher over about three years ago I ended up having emergency spine surgery it was a tough healing process and I wasn't sure if I'd ever move with any freedom again and I even contemplated quitting teaching yoga but luckily instead I became really curious to explore if I could move freely again if I could become more flexible so I began to research different techniques and also understand my particular limitations with my spine injury more after incorporating all that I learned into my daily routine my body began to open up in a way it had never before despite both my age and my injury I'm living proof that you can increase your flexibility no matter your setbacks and I'm going to show you how here are the three things that are preventing you from being flexible first tight and weak opposing muscles second the fascia that encapsulates the muscles and third your nervous system now I want you to notice that age isn't on that list so let's run through these areas a little deeper what do I mean by tight weak opposing muscles your skeletal muscles move your bones like levers muscles work together to do this whenever one set of muscles called the agonists contracts this built-in feature of the autonomic nervous system causes the opposing muscle the antagonist to release this is called reciprocal inhibition when I engage my quads it lengthens my hamstrings when I engage my glutes it lengthens the psoas and when I engage my external hip rotators it lengthens the adductors once you understand which muscles is The Agonist and which is the antagonist you can then know exactly which muscles you need to stretch and strengthen in order to activate while you're in a stretch and send signals basically to the opposing muscles now fascia is a sheet of connective tissue that both is designed to stabilize and separate your muscles and organs it accounts for almost 41 of a muscle's total resistance to movement fascia gets tighter with repetitive movement and with our sedentary Lifestyles but it can be reshaped now your nervous system your brain sends signals through your spinal cord to relax or tense your muscles when we begin to leverage these signals we can almost trick our body into flexibility flexibility is as much overcoming our mind than anything by employing different techniques that Target addressing all of these three areas you can increase your flexibility using reciprocal inhibition by Contracting The Agonist muscle is going to always help stretch the opposing muscle using Yin Yoga which is a supplemental yoga practice its entire intention is designed to stretch the fascia so that you can begin to reshape the webbing that surrounds your muscles P and F is a proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation and it triggers a reflex this reflex is a protective one that calms the muscles to prevent any injury now in order to explain this I want to break it down we need to talk about the three types of muscle contractions so you're one you're most familiar with is a contraction an example of this would be a bicep curl when I flex at the elbow joint the bicep contracts eccentric contraction the muscles actually lengthening while Contracting an example of this is goddess pose or horse stance your adductors are Contracting eccentrically while also lengthening isometric there's no movement at all many of our standing yoga poses use this type of contraction but we can also access isometric contraction by creating resistance and that's where PNF comes in PNF utilizes isometric contractions by creating some kind of resistance to the very muscle you want to stretch it will trigger this reflex to to relax the muscle this is done in a systematic way though you're going to contract the muscle isometrically for about six to ten seconds at just about 30 to 40 percent intensity then you'll relax for 20 seconds and then you'll do this two more times now each time that you relax you should see an increased range of motion you can utilize this with many of your yoga poses and in fact oftentimes your teachers are cueing this action without you knowing it and sometimes without even them knowing what this technique is every time your teacher says Emma imagine you're dragging your heel back towards your hip in something like half splits that's an isometric contraction cued to help you go deeper the missing length though is using this technique more efficiently and correctly in your practice I want to address one final concern that you might be having comparison comparison to others if you've ever compared yourself to others in regards to flexibility maybe you see someone new to yoga just glide into a split or progress into flexibility quickly you might be scratching your head wondering why that's not you two things they're likely coming from another discipline like dance or gymnastics or calisthenics or it's even possible that they have something called hypermobility hypermobility is the stretching of joints farther than their normal range of motion it might be easier to access these yoga poses but the danger is in relying on your joints and this can end up actually causing injury if you're hypermobile you especially want to learn to strengthen your muscles to protect your joints when doing poses at stretch because you're generally going to rely on those joints to stretch and could get injured I've designed a flexibility program for anyone who wants to understand their body better overcome what's preventing you from increasing your flexibility and unlock your potentia

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