I recently got a comment in one of my IG posts stating that I should mention that I am hypermobile and common people will never achieve that degree of flexibility that I was demonstrating. And my posts could even injury them. And this motivated me to create the first VBLOG on Zohar.Yoga.Flex YouTube Channel.
When I read the comment from above....
...my first thought was:
"I always state on my posts that you should do the exercise I demonstrate under professional guidance. Most of my audience are adults and already grown up to decide if they want to try it by themselves or not.."
Second thought was:
"She is stating that I am hypermobile. Specially, that my back is hypermobile - OK so she saw this post of me doing an advance flexibility tutorial, my back looking super flexible, and she probably thought that "only hypermobile people can do this".
Third thought was:
"This is so sad. She hasn't even stopped checking my feed, my profile or biography. This is another case of ignorance towards the hard work that some of us have put on building our flexibility throughout the years!"
On the left is me, in December 2016. At first, it looks like I am super bendy on my back right? However, if you have look closer, you can clearly see that my spine was as straight as a stick! But, how do I get the effect that my back is bended? My hypermobile shoulders!! Yes, some parts of my body are naturally flexible, and I have hypermobility on my shoulders and cervicals. But my back spine, specially in extension, is not naturally flexible at all.
On the right, it is me in May 2021. I have worked hard to increase the range of motion of my back. Very hard! In the same way that I have worked very hard to control the hypermobility of my shoulders. Because uncontrolled hypermobility can lead to severe injuries like dislocations or chronic pain.
Now, let's get to the main point!
I have spent the last 3 to 4 years getting myself into the flexibility world. I have trained and I still train with professional contortion coaches, and in parallel I have done studies in the field of flexibility, and I work with adults increasing safely their range of motion.
And the answer to the question is basically: NO, you don't need to be hypermobile to achieve extreme flexibility poses or become a contortionist. However, depending on your lifestyle and genetics, increasing your flexibility may require more work than for others. Those who gain flexibility very fast, it means they have the genetics on their side. They are naturally flexible. Now, you can be naturally flexible and NOT hypermobile. According to HMSA, "Hypermobility is the term used to describe the ability to move joints beyond the normal range of movement." You can be flexible and not necessarily move joints beyond the normal range of movement.
For others, it takes years to open the body. Again, it depends a lot on your lifestyle, the sports you practice and how many times per week you are willing to stretch and open the body. But, if you really want to become flexible, you can do it.
It takes commitment, change of lifestyle and passion. And only if you do it for you, you will success in the long term.
Gaining flexibility in a safe way it also requires working together with coaches that know the right techniques and have experience working with adults. You can't use same technique in adults like with kids. Our bodies are totally different! Adults, we often require pilates and physiotherapy training beside flexibility training. Our bodies have been formed and we already have a movement pattern defined from the years we have been living in this planet :)
I personally have to do loads of physiotherapy hours until I managed to control the hypermobility. And still sometimes, it can get challenging to deal with it!
I hope this post and the vblog will help you understanding better flexible people and also flexibility training itself.
Check on classes to see the current schedule for in person and online Zohar.Yoga.Flex flexibility and yoga classes. I also teach privates on demand, both in person and online.
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Because if you truly want to become flexible, it is possible!
* This post doesn't include cases that include irreversible physical conditions like herniated discs, that would have to be checked separately to assess their degree to become more flexible.