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Power Play: putting some power in yoga sequences to protect joints

Power Play yoga sequence: abs, arms and shoulders (video)

We all need a little bit of power play in our yoga sequences. Why? Because there is a danger in yoga. The danger is to get to flexible. Okay: this might sound strange. Don’t we want to be flexible? Yes, we want, but not to flexible. Maybe you’re thinking this isn’t a problem for you. You’re doing yoga and you’re far from flexible. I’m afraid I’ve got bad news for you. Your muscles might not be as flexible as you wish, there is still a chance you are too flexible. Or to be more precise: your ligaments are.

Let me explain: when we do yoga we’re stretching our muscles. But that is not the only thing we do: we’re also stretching our ligaments. Ligaments are made off connective tissue. This tissue stretches as well. Not very easily, that’s why in yin yoga we stay in poses for a long time. But it does stretch. Why is this a problem? Well, the main function off your ligaments is to hold your bones in place. The four ligaments of your knee (two inside of your knee joint, one lateral and one medial) are keeping your femur (thigh bone) and tibia (shin bone) together. If it wasn’t for these ligaments you wouldn’t be able to walk. Your femur would just dislocate from your tibia.

Stretching ligaments

By doing yoga we are stretching these ligaments. What happens when these ligaments become really flexible? We will dislocate our joints. For your knee this might sound hard to believe, but it is possible. Let’s take a look at the shoulder for a second. You probably know somebody who has had a dislocated shoulder. It happens easily and often, because the socket where your upper arm, your femur, fits in, is very shallow. The muscles around it (rotator cuff muscles) have to work hard to keep your arm in place. They do that together with the ligaments. If you make a nasty fall, your shoulder can dislocate. The result is overstretching your ligaments. Your muscles are very elastic. If you overstretch them, they will get back to their original length. Your ligaments aren’t flexible. Overstretching them means they stay the length you have stretched them to. That’s the reason why people who have had a dislocated shoulder can dislocate it again. A good doctor will tell them to strengthen their muscles.

Too flexible ligaments

Your knees, elbows and hips are not that different from your shoulder. If you only work on your flexibility you are stretching your muscles and ligaments. Your ligaments can become too flexible with the risk of dislocation. To compensate you have to put power in your practice. Your muscles have to become stronger to compensate for this extra flexibility in your muscles. Power can be fun as well. Just make it playful, just like this Power Play yoga sequence.

Power Play yoga sequence

  • Balasana – child on fingers
  • Vyaghrasana – Tiger pose
  • Wrist warm-ups
  • 5x Plank into Chaturanga Dandasana – low plank
  • Sun Salutation
  • 5x Wide armed plank for latissimus dorsi
  • Sun Salutation
  • 5x Adho Mukha Svanasana – Downward Facing Dog pushups
  • Sun salutation
  • 5x Downward Dog to plank on 1 arm
  • Sun Salutation till Ragdol
  • Shoulder pumps
  • Awkward plank
  • Vastisthasana – Side plank
  • Purvotanasana – Stretch of the East
  • Vinyasa
  • 3x Bakasana – Crow Pose
  • Boat with hand switches
  • Vinyasa
  • Dolphin push-ups with side abs
  • Vinyasa
  • Knee raises
  • Salamba Sarvangasana raises – shoulder stand
  • Matsyasana – Fish
  • Jathara Parivartan – Universal twist
  • Savasana

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