Friday, February 13, 2015

Joint Laxity and Aerobic Fitness

Many of us have found a home on our yoga mat, and the comforts of home have helped us reconnect our minds and bodies. The time on the mat has shown us so much. How can we build on what we’ve learned through yoga as we work toward developing whole-body fitness?

Nordic Skiing is one of many ways to develop aerobic fitness
As I’ve mentioned in previous blog posts, the science is consistent and clear: Hatha Yoga does not build the kind of aerobic fitness that confers so many great benefits for body and mind. While this may seem like some pretty bad news, all is not for naught. Many of us have learned a lot about our minds and bodies from our yoga practices, and this embodied wisdom can help us explore the territory that lies beyond our comfort zone.

When your joints are looser— and many yogis and yoginis were born with a degree of joint laxity— developing heart-healthy aerobic fitness can be more challenging.  The world of fitness, and particularly aerobic fitness, is largely geared to those with stiffer joints.

For those with stiffer joints, getting on the elliptical trainer, going out for a run or taking an aerobics class gets the job done. For those with a degree of joint laxity, however, building aerobic fitness may be quite different. And when those of us with joint laxity try to fit the round peg in the square hole, the result tends to be undue muscle soreness or feeling depleted by exercise.

The more I talk with friends and colleagues in the yoga community, the more I’m impressed by people’s motivation to be healthier and happier. While it’s clear that the majority of yogis and yoginis recognize the importance of cardiovascular health, many have had negative-reinforcement experiences when they explore aerobic fitness.


Having worked with thousands of yoga students over the past 25+ years of teaching, a number of patterns have emerged. In the coming months a group of Alignment Yoga faculty will be exploring a novel approach for bringing the great benefit of aerobic fitness to the greater community. Along the way, we’ll be posting updates on our ongoing research.

1 comment:

Yogaranka said...

I am looking forward to learning about your discovery of bringing aerobic fitness in the yoga realm. I am not fond of any sports other than walking and yoga. I was intrigued by the heart meter showing no uptick of the heart during sun salutations. Would like to hear more.