Loading and Stretching

Loading and Stretching

Stretching. That one simple word is anything but simple. It’s a linguistic divide among the yoga community. On one side we have the “yoga is not stretching” camp and on the other side we go to public yoga classes, and we do what seems to be stretching. In fact, just yesterday I took a class where we did some “hamstring stretching,” a few “neck stretches” and a “shoulder stretch.” (Quotations are the teacher’s words, not mine.)

Regardless of which side you are one, I believe the conversation around stretching is useful. For us to agree on whether or not yoga has anything to do with stretching, we must first agree on the definitions of the words we are using.

To Bend or Not to Bend (the Knees in a Forward Fold*)

To Bend or Not to Bend (the Knees in a Forward Fold*)

I am not sure how or why this division came about, but whether or not to bend the knees during a hamstring stretch is a fiercely contested topic in the yoga community. Perhaps it is because injury at the proximal tendon (yellow part of photo below) is quite common among yoga teachers and students. When I lead biomechanics workshops for yoga teachers, I often ask who in the room has experienced, or knows someone who has experienced, proximal hamstring tendon injuries. The show of hands is staggering.

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