Paul Blissett
Online Yoga Classes

Yoga classes in central Buckinghamshire
Over 5,500 face to face classes taught since 2002
Over 275 online classes taught

A couple of times a year or so we work through Mukunda Stiles Joint Freeing Series, described in his book "Structural Yoga Therapy" which is highly recommended and now available at a reasonable price. In turn, the Joint Freeing Series mobilises ankles, knees, hips, wrists, elbows, shoulders, spine, scapula and neck. It is generally highly effective for any joint stiffness, though this is not immediately obvious to students, since each of the movements focusses on a single aspect of range of movement in a particular joint. There is a two page summary of the movements from the book widely available on the internet, but the book is well worth getting as well and contains much more than just the Joint Freeing Series.

Since yoga postures typically involve the articulation of multiple joints, the value of the Joint Freeing Series becomes much more apparent when its effect on yoga postures is observed. I ask students to try cat, crocodile twist and dog and/or any other postures of their choice before we go through the Joint Freeing Series and then to repeat the same postures afterwards, noticing any difference afterwards. Generally I then ask each student to say a few words about their experiences. On one occasion a student started by saying, "It felt like we hadn't really done anything..." before going on to say how much more comfortable the postures were and how much fuller and freer movement felt in cat posture.

Obviously hypermobile students should not be encouraged to extend their already excessive range of movement, so instead I ask them to make the movements whilst creating a resistance to limit the movement thus both strengthening the muscles that support the joints and strengthening their core at the same time. I also suggest they use ujaiyi breathing to emphasize the effects.

The students who perhaps get least out of the Joint Freeing Series are those with good flexibility without being hypermobile, though even they are likely to have the odd niggle that can benefit from the experience and notice any differences between the two sides of the body. Having said that, I'm pretty flexible and I always notice a significant difference myself, especially in cat.





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