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At the End of the Stretch

February 7, 2013

Down Dog 6

Have you gotten into a stretch in yoga and been unable to go further, but not because you feel a stretch?

According to Maura Barclay for Yoganonymous, your skeleton may be to blame!

Although it seems logical that your muscles and connective tissues are the primary factor in how deep you can go into a pose, it is in fact your bone shape, size and proportion that determines your ultimate limit. While all of us strive to get the deepest expression of our Yoga postures, at some point your body says, “Stop, please!”

If you are feeling your end limit because it’s feeling like you are at your maximum stretch, this is your elastic limit, i.e., the most you can stretch your myofascial tissues without injury. However, if you are at your end range of movement with no feeling of stretch but just can’t seem to move deeper, that is most likely your compressive limit or where your bones actually run into each other. Once you’ve reached that point, you’ve reached the potential of that joint in that posture and that’s as far as your body is going to go. You can coax your muscles and their associated connective tissues into getting longer, but you can’t argue with your bones.

Original article on

One Comment leave one →
  1. February 8, 2013 6:26 pm

    Thank you for this. More teachers need to be aware of this when they are instructing their students. Someone with excellent flexibility may still have less range of motion due to body type. Stretching to achieve your physical limits is excellent, pushing beyond them while trying to match to someone else with a completely different body type is often the cause of injury.

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