The Pursuit of Bendy
We’re all built differently. Some of us are born with stable joints and strong ligaments. Some of us are born with shallow joints and loose ligaments. A person with stable joints may have perfectly relaxed soft tissue, but still have limited mobility because range of motion is limited by one bone running into another at a joint site. A person with loose or shallow joints will simply be able to move their joints further before encountering bony contact.
For a naturally flexible person, building stability—not more flexibility—creates balance. I’d argue that a naturally flexible person doing fancy poses that require hypermobility could be in the beginning, rather than advanced, stage of his/her practice. Here’s why:
Steady and Comfortable
Remember this: shtira sukkhan asanam? According to Alistair Shearer, Sutra 2.46 means, “The physical posture is steady and comfortable.” Hmmm. “Steady” implies stability. “Comfort” implies ease. Nothing in there about being über-flexible. And here’s Sutra 2.47: “[Asana] is mastered when all effort is relaxed and the mind is absorbed in the Infinite.”
Inquiri Your Practiceng into
Here are some questions you might consider asking yourself as you practice:
– How is my breathing? If your breath is not free and easy, mastery won’t be possible.
– Where am I feeling stretching sensation? Is it in soft tissue along the bones? Probably okay. Is it in a joint or joints? Back off.