Mobility vs. Flexibility: What’s the Difference?
Often when people think of yoga, they automatically assume it is all about flexibility or simple stretching. But yoga is also an excellent modality to improve joint mobility. Flexibility is defined as “the ability of a muscle or muscle groups to lengthen passively through a range of motion”, whereas mobility is the “ability of a joint to move actively through a range of motion.” SS Physio Australia.
It's important to work on mobility and flexibility and a well-balanced yoga program provides both. Dynamic movement is one of the best ways to maintain or increase mobility in your joints. Mobility takes strength and requires your muscles and joints to work together. A couple examples of poses that are excellent for mobility are Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward Dog) and Utkatasana (Chair Pose). Both poses emphasize the posterior chain of the body as well as shoulder, hip, and ankle mobility.
For athletes, mobility is vital. Moving your body through a full range of motion is necessary to move efficiently and prevent injury. Sometimes mobility is limited because muscles are too tight but passive stretching isn’t enough to create the space for the joints to move freely. Kylie Larson’s new Yoga for Athletes: Lower Body Mobility and Recovery specifically addresses these issues.
As we age, maintaining mobility is important to stay active and independent as long as possible. Hatha, Vinyasa, and Yin yoga are all great practices to increase and maintain mobility in the joints as well as flexibility. If your posture’s been suffering, try Michelle Marchildon’s Yoga for Mobility and Shoulders.
To mix things up and have some fun, try Lila Whiting’s Inversions Strength & Conditioning, and Body Movement by expert, Dawnelle Arthur.
Take some time to address your joints and mobility so you can continue running and hiking and doing whatever you want well into your sunset years.
Yoga for Atheletes: Lower Body Mobility & Recovery - Kylie Larson
Inversions Strength & Conditioning - Lila Whiting
Yoga and Mobility for Shoulders - Michelle Berman Marchildon
Body Movement - Dawnelle Arthur
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