Hypermobility and Pilates – What does hypermobility actually mean?

We all live inside a different body. No two are exactly the same. Some are tall. Some short. They can be big- or small-boned. There are slow, heavy and fast-moving bodies. Toned and squishy bodies. Rather than pursuing a particular (and often unattainable) body type, the way to really explore our limits is to learn about our own particular type of body. The more we understand it, the more fun we can have with it!

Firstly, we need to identify the aspects of our bodies that don’t change, like the structure of our bones. A large-boned, seven-foot-tall person will remain tall their whole life, perhaps only shrinking a few centimetres in older age due to postural changes and normal disc height reduction.

But there are many other body traits that are changeable depending on how we live and what we do. The connectivity of our muscles, ligaments and tendons fit in to this category. Muscles have been described as the organs of the will – our mind can control them. We can use knowledge about the type of muscles we are born with to exploit this characteristic to make positive and lasting changes to them.

Some people’s muscles naturally hold a lot of tension. Others inherit muscles (and ligaments) that are more flexible and mobile – therapists often label them as hypermobile.

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Improving your yoga poses

Have you ever joined a yoga class and wondered why you seem to be struggling more than the yogi next to you?

It might help to break the pose down into the elements required by each area of the body and work on them separately before putting it all together.

Here’s an example using the ‘extended side angle’ pose as performed by Pilates instructor Luisa Burgoyne.

As pictured below, this pose requires:

  • left hip flexion
  • right hip extension
  • spine rotation right
  • elevation of right shoulder

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My prenatal Pilates experience – week 20

Having taught and practiced Pilates for around 8 years now, my body has always been rather consistent. Even when there’s a bit of tightness in my shoulders and neck or a slight twinge in my knee, my body has always felt reliable.

My pregnancy thus far has been quite smooth sailing (touch wood), with no morning sickness and only a little bit of fatigue. However, after hitting the 20 week mark with my baby bump beginning to take shape, a couple of new niggles have developed that my body wasn’t used to. The most prominent being a tightness in my coccyx (tailbone) and sit-bones (the two boney points that we sit on). These niggles were constant, whether standing, bending over or even just trying to find a comfortable position sitting on the couch.

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