I have witnessed hyper mobility in various forms during my career as a yoga teacher. In a class I once covered, I met a young woman who had absolutely no proprioceptive sense; she did not know where her body was in space and had little control over it. This is extreme hyper mobility.
I have had clients who are ‘double jointed’ and others whose joints dislocate easily. These clients are encouraged to stack their joints when practicing yoga and to only perform asana at 60% of their capability. I keep my eye on these clients as I know that the long term ramifications of hyper mobility can be serious. It is possible to end up in a wheelchair at worst or suffer consistent pain.
Imagine my surprise therefore when I was told I was hyper mobile! NEVER has anyone told me this; not one yoga teacher. I have always considered myself stiff for a yoga teacher. But I now know that my body has been trying in its own way, to tighten things up so as to prevent my joints from subluxating. Subluxation is a "significant structural displacement”. Certain muscles have become increasingly tight, preventing hip rotation for example. I feel like I should have known but because I began my teacher training later in life, my body had already fixed itself into patterns that did not show up as hyper mobility but rather stiffness.
Recently I have been experiencing pain in my pelvis after exercise like dance, fast walking or jogging, but also and more alarmingly, after practicing king pigeon pose.
I have a lot of injuries at the moment too, many of which have been sustained upon speeding up as it were. I tore a hamstring after practicing lunges when I could not control my knee due to the pace. I pulled a quadricep after sitting cross legged for a long period of time and then doing a lunge. I tore a rotator cuff injury ‘swinging’ a kettle bell weight incorrectly. I twisted my ankle falling off the edge of a tractor rut and I have tennis elbow after carrying my heavy shopping basket on my arm for long periods of time. What a mess!
Being a yoga teacher, I have found it difficult to repair as I cannot simply stop and rest which is what I really need to do. Some of my injuries are 3 years old!
I decided to give Pilates a go using the equipment and it was during the class that it was revealed that I am hyper mobile. When extending my legs, my hips popped forwards. It wasn’t until this was pointed out to me that I realised it was happening and was not normal. Strange how you can see things in others that you cannot see in yourself.
My pilates instructor was great! She encouraged me to use my feet, connect to the ground and work with my breath; just as I do in my yoga practice! But now I have to learn to move with more caution, at an even slower pace. I’m hopeful that introducing pilates to my exercise regime will enable me to build strength and cultivate the balance that my musculoskeletal system requires.
What is lovely about all this is that I can begin my yoga journey all over again; that excites me! I love learning; going inside at a deeper level. It will be revealing, intriguing, probably frustrating at times. What is important to remember is that yoga is not about achieving the ultimate, it is about the journey, uniting mind and body and being able to sit comfortably in meditation.
I will be doing further research on hyper mobility to bring more to my fellow sufferers. There is nothing like learning from a position of experience!