Information contained here is not given to replace a doctor’s medical advice. Consult your physician before beginning this or any exercise routine. If you experience sharp pains when you are doing this or any pose, ease up a little. The “no pain no gain” mentality does not apply to yoga.
When we stretch, it is important to understand that our main focus of stretch is not on ligament or tendon. The stretch focus is on muscle and fascia. Fascia is the connective tissue that surrounds muscles and allows them to move freely over each other. Muscle and fascia can stretch up to 150 percent of its volume. Tendon only stretches about 4 percent of its volume. Tendon attaches muscle to bone, and the degree of stretch should be limited there as well.
Ligament is a bone-to-bone attachment and should not be stretched extensively. Like a wooden bar in a ballet class that dancers stretch over, why would one try to make that stabilizer bar extremely flexible? It would not be able to support the weight of the dancer stretching on it. The bar should be a little flexible, but not too much. This same concept applies to ligament stretching.
There is strength in “yielding,” as the Taoists would say. We know this all too well here in California, the earthquake capital of the world. One of the key indicators to know whether or not you are stretching the wrong area is if you experience a trigger pain (typically a sharp electrical feeling).
Vinyasa means “movement.” Unlike a yoga posture, this is more of a sequence of moving poses.