If I could offer 1 suggestion, or thought, that would have a drastic impact on your yoga practice – or any movement practice really – dance, weightlifting – anything – it would be to ask yourself the following question:
How can I create more stability?
In order to move well, our body needs to feel stable. The more we find stability in our joints, the more freedom of movement we’re going to have. (If you want to know more about this, click here and check out my blog post about why you’re tight).
Stability is different than tightness or stiffness. It’s strength, and it’s control, and it’s support – at the joint.
To be honest, that question is pretty vague – you might be asking yourself now, ok…so how do I even know if I’m finding more stability?
Here’s a good place to start:
Our body draws stability from 3 different areas in the body:
- Glutes (your butt)
The best way to know if you’re creating stability in a joint is to use something called isometrics. Basically, this means you’re engaging an area of the body without moving anything.
Here are some examples:
Holding a plank pose is an example of an isometric for your shoulders and core (and glutes if you focus on that).
Doing a crunch would not be an isometric for your core because you are bending your spine to do the movement.
As long as your body has stability in 2 of 3 of these areas, you will move better. If you can find stability in all 3, you’re going to be moving the best (but that’s not always possible, depending on the exercise or pose).
Here’s are more examples of an isometric action:
One way you can try to find an isometric is to try to drag your feet or hands apart from each other or towards each other. Both are isometrics. Both will feel different depending on the body performing the action.
Next time you’re in a warrior pose, pull your feet towards each other – again remember they won’t move, but you’ll feel muscles engage.
Next time you’re in plank, imagine you could tug your hands back, or in, or away from each other – try all of these and see what feels best on your shoulders.
Ask yourself: Am I stabilizing in 2 of the 3 zones of stability in my body (shoulders, core, glutes)?
How can I engage more muscles here?
Get curious. Play around with it and see what you can feel.
I’d love to hear what you discover! Drop me a comment and let me know what you’ve found works for you in creating stability.