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We now live in a yoga era where we see the highest number of yoga injuries ever recorded. Now I don’t think that’s a good thing. We get 150,000 hip and knee joint replacements a year – that’s not a design fault. That is user error. - Gary Carter 

Not everyone can do every pose in yoga, and each pose will be difficult or impossible for some students. Here we discuss our ultimate limitation and the risks of trying to push past them.


There is no one alive that is Youer than You - Dr. Suess

Your biology (dictated in part by your genes and the environment you live in) + Your biography / experience (all of the things you have done and been exposed to in your life) = unique you.

Each person has different proportions of body segment lengths, muscle insertion lengths, muscle to tendon length ratios, nerve conductance velocities, intrinsic tissue tolerances etc etc. Imposing a stereotypical ‘ideal’ technique will often prevent an athlete from reaching their full potential.’ - Stuart McGil


What stops us in going further in a yoga pose could be something : Physical / Emotional / Psychological /Spiritual. Physically, unless we’re holding ourself from going deeper, we reach our edge when;

  • Our tissues can stretch no further (tension)

  • Our body is hitting itself (compression)


In any given pose TENSION Is felt in the side opposite from the movement (in cobra pose below, tension may be felt on the front of the body). It can be changed over time with diligence. COMPRESSION Is felt in the direction of the movement. (below compression may be felt in the back of his body) it can only be changed by going around the point of compression. Otherwise we’ve reached our ultimate limitation. 

TENSION - skin, muscle, fascia, tendons, ligaments, joint capsule 

SOFT COMPRESSION - flesh in contact with flesh

MEDIUM COMPRESSION - bones compress our flesh

HARD COMPRESSION - bone hitting bone

Understanding these factors will help us determine if and how a yoga posture can be improved.


Our ultimate range of motion is dictated by when our bones hit each other. Not acknowledging bone on bone compression and wanting to go further, whatever the cost, will only result in injury. It’s ok to feel compression, but it should never hurt. The body will generally warn us if we are going too deep or holding a stress for too long. Avoid stressing the body if feeling pain: even little tweaks are to be avoided because little tweaks lead to big tweaks. Regularly practising our full range of motion helps us to maintain this full range of motion.

Find our boundaries, it is important to understand where our challenges lie, what is possible for us, grow to the limits available to us and recognise and honour the limitations when we meet them.



All parts of the body need an adequate amount of stress to be healthy : too much is not good, and neither is too little. All exercise is to stress tissue so the body will respond by strengthening it.

  • Too little stress - atrophy, tighten, loose ROM

  • Too much stress - degeneration, lead to arthritis, hyper mobility. 

  • Not too much/little - optimal health GOLDILOCKS POSITION

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