Sadly, for the past few months, yes.
I have been an avid yoga practitioner since being introduced to yoga in the mid-1980s. Having attended my first class with my mother at her office, I became a “Star Student” where the teacher would ask me to demonstrate the postures. As I was a dancer most of my childhood I developed alot of flexibility and easily imitated the postures or asanas. Naturally, I was highly flattered and instantly loved yoga. After that, I continued classes wherever I could find them.
Flexibility is a liability when there is not enough stability.
Landing in Switzerland in 1989, I found a class in the United Nations where I was pushed and pulled in many positions – I loved it! However, the sad reality is that I was becoming hyper-mobile in my spine, hips, knees and shoulders.
After being trained to teach in the 1990s, I regularly followed trainings and became more and more interested in healthy movement, biomechanics and the protection of the body and the joints. I especially became interested in the joints after I developed osteoarthritis in my toes. This came about from the jumping back into Chaturanga that I was doing 20 – 40 times per day. in my home practice as well as my classes I was teaching. After this, never again would I teach the jumping back, and I would discourage my students from doing so.
About 12 years ago, I was diagnosed with arthritis of the hips. It has given me pain on and off through the years and neither the physiotherapists, doctors nor myself could pinpoint the problem. Over the past 2 years I would get regular strange issues, like the fibula bone in the lower leg being displaced, sporadic knee pain, and a blocked hip. All of this despite my regular yoga practice. (Interestingly, I would rest and not practice and the pain would go away – big clue, but I didn’t listen).
Then along came the confinement with COVID. During this time I practiced in the mornings, fully demonstrated the one-hour classes 3 times per week, taught private classes online and followed classes and workshops taught by other teachers. The result was that I was getting my hyper-mobility back, overstretching the hips and hamstrings. All of this created more movement in the hip joint, more deterioration of the cartilage and pain to the point of limping.
This has brought me back to some of the principles I learned years ago with the fascia and the Bowspring. Create more stability rather than flexibility. I have found great relief in practicing these methods again. Taking onboard these principles I will begin to weave them into my yoga classes again. And of course we will avoid over-stretching – because nobody benefits from hyper mobile joints.
Things change, we all change with time, and hopefully improve as well. I hope that all of my students will discover the benefits of the new way of practice and will come to find a better way of movement and posture. I am grateful to teach and continue being a student, every moment of every day.