Flexibility vs. Proper Form
Just because someone makes a YOGA pose look more “advanced” doesn’t mean it’s being practiced correctly!
For the longest time I would beat myself up in yoga class because I couldn’t get my leg up high in my standing leg splits. I would see other people with their legs almost completely vertical and I couldn’t even get my leg past hip height.
Once I learned more about the standing splits pose (and stopped comparing myself to other people. ) I realized I was actually practicing the pose correctly to receive all of the benefits intended.
Here is the difference:
- In standing splits your hips are supposed to be kept square (both hips pointing down) so that you are stretching your full leg (thigh, hamstring, & calf), stretching your groin, and strengthening your quad, ankle, and knee. Ultimately this will actually create more flexibility in your legs for more advanced poses!
- When you go for height over proper form you end up opening up your hip (instead of squaring) and not stretching or strengthening the areas that the pose is intended to.
Neither photo above is WRONG - but it is so important you know that a higher leg, deeper backbend, stronger hold etc doesn’t always mean that it is practicing the pose RIGHT! Listen to your body and embrace what your amazing body can do for you!