Existing research indicates that there’s little evidence supporting benefits of stretching and long stretches for 1 or 2 minutes weaken the muscle. In addition, long static stretches can also loosen ligaments and their ability to hold joints.
Most participants focus only on the physical aspect of stretching without a proper alignment which can lead to a lack of results and injuries.
Dr. Stuart McGill, professor of spine biomechanics at the University of Waterloo in Canada, has stated that, “static stretching deadens the muscle from a neural perspective – diminishing the stretch reflex and reducing peak strength and power. On the other hand, “active flexibility” facilitates muscle contraction and wakens the neural system”.
The development of efficient functional movement involves three stages: 1) functional awareness to learn the principles of functional anatomy including the muscles and joints responsible for human movement, 2) functional movement awareness to practice the movement of individual muscles and joints and 3) integrated functional movement joint movement of muscle and joint groups for specific movements
Traditional Yoga and Daily Life
If you feel tight and need to stretch regularly it means that this may be an indication that your body has muscle and joint imbalances. Stretching might provide temporary relief, and it will not address the problem of poor alignment and can lead to a further dysfunction.
The existing Yoga and Pilates programs follow the footsteps of the mainstream fitness and they don’t include dynamic movements required for daily life outside the gym how to properly bend, carry, walk, sit down and get up.
A typical Yoga and Pilates instructor does not have a complete knowledge of the functional anatomy and kinesiology and they cannot help their students to develop a scientifically sound functional movement.
Yoga and Pilates can be beneficial if you practice certain relaxation poses and deep breathing. On the other hand, if you are trying to perform poses to mimic what the yoga instructor does and your body is not ready for it you can do more harm than good.
Yoga poses can help balance but no use
One of the major problems that affect all populations is the ability to walk with age. Yoga and Pilates do not address this problem. On the contrary, functional yoga offers concepts and instructions how to improve the walking gait to prevent losing the ability to walk in the long-term.
Functional yoga does not include static stretching and incorporates dynamic movements into a class format. In particular, dynamic body weight exercises such as squats, hand walks, crawls, lunges, get ups and downs and they are very effective to improve flexibility because they involve multiple muscle groups, and the body is trained to engage them to function as one integrated system.
Functional yoga includes ballroom line dancing choregraphed that help to develop and improve functional movement.
I practice with clients and myself slow movements with quiet music to restore functional movement of the shoulder girdle. Also, I use resistance band and light weights with music to strengthen the shoulder girdle once the alignment is established.
In addition, I utilize floor exercises (like yoga) to rebuild spine-pelvic-hip joint complex (SPHC). Let me know if your teacher is interested in this approach.
When I started my fitness life, I was extremely tight. It is hard to believe now that I could only bend forward in standing position to 30 degrees before feeling discomfort. Also, I could not sit on the floor with the legs extended and had to use my arms to support the upper body. I took many yoga classes, and they brought no improvement.