Yoga Myth :
That everybody, if they try hard enough, can get their leg behind their heads
“if you keep practicing you will get there”
The more recent studies of teacher Paul Grilley on the anatomy of bone structure has shed more light on skeletal alignment and bone shapes that will ultimately determine your range of flexibility. Of course you can work on the flexibility of your muscles and fascia but the reality is some people will never be able to get their leg behind their heads however many hours of everyday they might practice and try. This is of course an extreme example. So let’s talk simply about sitting in crossed legged seated position. Some students will have their knees touching the floor whilst others have their knees somewhere inline with their rib cage and i’m sure you can all relate or at least picture this scene.
The angle of the socket in the pelvis, the angle and shape of the femur, the length and angle of the neck of the femur : these will all determine what your body can do and not a tireless practice or idealism. Your bone size, shape and alignment are key to unearthing the myth behind flexibility.
Please see some of the images that clearly show these differences:
Please note my own anatomical notes added to images to help you better relate to what i am referring to in this article.
To see the more images of the possible variations of bone structures please click here
Other factors :
Your muscle has the ability to stretch 20% of it’s original size therefore you can alter your flexibility from where you are today to where you might be next month but only within your ultimate skeletal range of motion. Your fascia also has the ability to stretch to a smaller degree but even so this will change your own personal flexibility alongside elongating with your muscles.
Hence why the trend of social yoga imagery is fuelling and streaming a false belief that ‘leg behind head = good yogi ‘and anything other = not picture perfect/ bad yogi”. I am not against imagery of yoga asana however i will question the intention and egos behind some of the people posting out there.
Note to Self:
‘We are not all the same and cannot all fit the yoga asana cookie cutter’
Your flexibility or ability has nothing to do with yoga, your courage mixed with compassion and presence does. The body is an illusion, what goes on inside is truth and a truth only you know.