What Is Mobility?
Mobility is different to flexibility, it's about having the freedom to move functionally and freely. To be able to do this there are certain things that need to be in place and yes flexibility is one of them but not as you're thinking.
Why Is Mobility Different To Flexibility?
When we talk about flexibility we really mean the length and elasticity of the muscles but mobility encompasses flexibility and the movement in the joints.
When it comes to Yoga everyone thinks they need to be flexible and that Yoga will make them flexible and yes in a way this is true but actually what it should do is make you more mobile!
How Does Yoga Improve Your Mobility?
In actual fact not all forms of Yoga do improve your mobility, I'm sorry to say, some even hinder it. Many clients of mine have come to me from other classes with injuries and issues formed in other styles of Yoga and this is actually because a lot focus too highly on flexibility without what is really needed to make you mobile which is what I like to call the magic formula. This formula includes strength training, movement of the fascia and oiling the joints.
The 3 Steps To Better Mobility
Step 1: Strength Training
This is paramount! If you want good mobility you've got to strengthen everything surrounding the joints. I am not talking about becoming a heavy weight lifter because in my experience these people often loose their mobility because they bulk too much around the superficial muscles. Think more like a dancer or martial artist. Their strength comes from deep within the body and really the best way to gain this kind of strength is with good body weight training. Much like what we do at A to Z Yoga.
Step 2: Movement Of The Fascia
This essentially means movement of everything because your fascia is everywhere within the body! This should be trained in many ways. It needs to be strengthened through impact; for instance, running and jumping. It also needs to be lengthened through stretching but not passive stretching, so this is where a good Yoga practice can come in handy.
Step 3: Oiling The Joints
You obviously can't put oil in the joints to loosen them, however, you can move them in ways that release synovial fluid and this is like oil for the joints. The way to do this is to learn to move the joints without moving the rest of the body. e.g. stand on your left leg, lift the right leg to hip height and then externally and internally rotate the leg from the hip joint without letting the pelvis move with it, this can be applied to any joint movement.
Work on these 3 steps and you'll be well on your way to better mobility!
Join me at our next workshop and/or retreat where we'll be working deeply on this subject.