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Joint vulnerability after yin postures

 
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meganrivard



Joined: 14 May 2019
Posts: 3

PostPosted: Tue May 14, 2019 11:31 am    Post subject: Joint vulnerability after yin postures Reply with quote

Hello! I just finished my 50 hour yin training and I have let things sort of marinate for a bit but I still feel like I need more clarity on something. First of all, I love the yin practice and love the way it feels in my body. So much of what I have learned from The complete guide to Yin Yoga really resonates with me but I have some concern over the vulnerability of the joints after a yin practice.

Let’s use the GH joint for an example, if you do heart melting pose to open up the capsule and cause a (positive) stress to the ligamentus structures, you might immediately gain let’s say 5 degrees of flexion. That same student leaves class, sees a friend outside their yoga studio and gives them a high five. The amount of force places on that joint structure within this newly available range of motion can be harmful. That newly available 5 degrees hasn’t been exposed to this resistance and if you counter your yin with a yang exercise (ie Crossfit, running, cycling) this leaves me feeling a bit worried. Of course “anything could happen” but after speaking with a colleague about this, I’m convinced that it’s quite likely to be harmful, as the joint needs to be strengthened rather quickly for this to be helpful. Is the reward higher than the risk? Is it better to have a teeny bit more range if it only makes them more at risk for injury? Of course this isn’t just about the shoulder joint, this principle can be applied for any joint we target in these postures. I know that Bernie said fibroblasts react to this stress to create more strength and stability but I spoke to my chiropractor and while he enjoys yin yoga and agrees with many principles, he said that’s not totally accurate. He said that fibroblasts basically do whatever your body tells it to do so if you tell it to open in melting heart, it just opens. It doesn’t counter balance that opening. Some may think that this is simply why a yin yang class is helpful, but my concern is that the strengthening needs to happen in that newly available/end range, in a very specific space, as opposed to very generalized conditioning movements. Maybe I need to dig deeper into studying the affects of fibroblasts on yin tissues, but I thought I would ask the question in case anyone has insights or were considering this as well. Thoughts?
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dave



Joined: 28 Dec 2013
Posts: 27

PostPosted: Tue May 14, 2019 9:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes this problem is very well know in human kinetics science. Every joint has two ranges. The active range and passive range. The active range is how far the muscles can pull the body part in the range. The passive range is how much further the joint can move with an external force applied. 90%, or higher, of exercise injuries occur beyond the active range. The greater the difference between those two ranges the higher the chance of injury. It's important to have the smallest difference possible between the active and passive range.

Nearly all people will gain enough flexibility using active stretches, using the muscles properly. To apply force to gain more range without the associated strengthening at end range becomes very risky.
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meganrivard



Joined: 14 May 2019
Posts: 3

PostPosted: Tue May 14, 2019 11:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes, I’m familiar with active and passive range of motion. Thank you for your reply. If this is so risky, it seems sort of crazy to access all of these yin tissues, getting maybe a bit more range and then expecting them to not go out and injure themselves. Isn’t this something we should closely consider? Is this a safe practice? Is the risk outweighing the reward?


M
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Bernie



Joined: 23 Sep 2006
Posts: 1021
Location: Vancouver

PostPosted: Wed May 15, 2019 12:47 am    Post subject: Creep and recovery after yin yoga Reply with quote

Hi Megan

Thanks for using the Forum!

I understand your concern, and remember during the Yin Yoga course we talked about creep. It can and does happen: during a long held stress, fascia will creep and thus lose some strength. This is why all Yin Yoga classes use counterposes and shavasana--to give time for the tissues to recover and to speed up that recovery. As I mentioned in the course, I would not recommend someone do Yin Yoga just before sports. If you want a refresher on this topic, you can read my article on Creep and Counterposes.

Your concern over "high-fiving" someone after Anahatasana could be valid if - there was no counterpose, and there was no time between doing that posture and high-fiving. In reality, this would not happen. There is time after the pose, during shavasana and leaving the studio which should be sufficient to allow the creep to resolve. Theoretically, anyway.

The important question is - what do you feel? Does your shoulders feel fragile after class? Have you ever experienced a problem?

I do not agree that "the joint needs to be strengthened rather quickly", it just needs time to recover. I would not suggest doing handstands right away or lifting weights for at least 30 minutes, but simply daily movements should not be an issue. But, that will vary for every student.

Regarding the fibroblasts, I am not sure what your chiropractor means when he says that they will do what they do and will just open. They don't behave like that. They don't "open". For more on what they do, I would suggest reading the work by Helen Langevin which I discuss in this Forum Thread. There are specific cellular responses that the fibroblasts make when subjected to long held stresses.

And, then there are all the other physiological responses we have to these stresses, such as the change in the state of water (from gel to sol). These are discussed a bit more in my article A Scientific Basis for Yin Yoga.

You also ask about strengthening: yes - we do need to strengthen the joints too, but that happens by stressing the joint. Strengthening the muscles around the joint will actually take load of it. That is great if the joint is weak, but better is to strengthen the yin tissues of the joint. Remember the quote in the course from Professor Laurence Dahners, “A common clinical finding is that unloaded ligaments not only atrophy, but also undergo contracture.” Unstressed fibroblasts increase and contract their actin skeletons causing contracture. An absence of stress generated electrical potentials (SGEP or piezoelectricity) increases contracture. We need to stress these tissue, not just strengthen the muscles. Stressing these tissues forces them to adapt and become thicker, stronger and more resilient.

Again, all of this is theoretical. What is important is your experience. Do you feel fragile after Yin Yoga so much that you are fearful of giving someone a high-five? If so, do more counterposes or take more time before subjecting the joint to large stresses.

Cheers
Bernie
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dave



Joined: 28 Dec 2013
Posts: 27

PostPosted: Wed May 15, 2019 1:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

meganrivard wrote:
Yes, I’m familiar with active and passive range of motion. Thank you for your reply. If this is so risky, it seems sort of crazy to access all of these yin tissues, getting maybe a bit more range and then expecting them to not go out and injure themselves. Isn’t this something we should closely consider? Is this a safe practice? Is the risk outweighing the reward?


M


I'm going to make up some numbers here and you will see why at the end.

Maybe a person spends 10% or their time in a true yin - stretching the joints kind of pose. 40% of the time in relaxing poses mild stretching. 50% of the time with a wide variety of strengthening. Particularly strengthening at end range if they are doing yoga or other deep movement types of exercise.

All this depends on the joint used, the situation and needs of the person, the experience of the person. etc.

It's tiny little factors at end range that make a big difference. Alignment, duration, frequency, various types of strength in and around the joint. A person should be very cautious about that.

Just like most things don't just dive right in. It takes good education, experience and hard work, not necessarily physical hard work, maybe better to call it discipline to get the best of it. Knowledge can help remove fear or danger.

The thing is yoga isn't just physical benefits. Maybe back off slightly on the physical and focus on some other aspect.
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meganrivard



Joined: 14 May 2019
Posts: 3

PostPosted: Wed May 15, 2019 9:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Okay, great points! Thanks guys. I’ll look into those discussions Bernie. My chiropractor simply stated that basically fibroblast “do whatever your tissues tell it to do, ie if you put it into forward flexion it will simply allow this opening to happen but it doesn’t necessarily react to that stress to make it stronger right away. I remember you saying it takes a routine practice of yin to make a true change so maybe that’s where the confusion is. I also agree with you with you when you say that’s why counter poses are so important. I guess my biggest concern is whether or not a quick 30 second counter movement in the opposite direction is sufficient for true strengthening. I also agree though that if you did a deep stretch or stress through the Gh your body would likely not want to high five someone in that example, as your nervous system/intuition would probably let you know that’s not a good idea. I will review the creep talk in the forum as well as my notes.

What do you do with students who’s body is creating stability after trauma? Ie post delivery (even a year later) and their adductors are super tight but are holding your body in that position because it’s a safe space? Maybe it feels tight (and is!) but creating more space and range in that area doesn’t really serve you? Maybe I’m looking into this too much I just want to have a clear understanding before I start teaching. I find that sometimes a lot of people don’t understand the difference between generalized tension and holding patterns that while they may be temporary, serve a great purpose post trauma. Do you ever speak to this in class? Ie “If you have had a previous injury in a specific joint it may not always be a good idea to stretch this area as it can be helping to keep things stable” or does that leave the student confused and apprehensive? Or maybe what you’re saying is that all of these postures and counterposes WILL allow for strengthening to these structures.

I would love to hear your thoughts Smile thanks for the replies!
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Bernie



Joined: 23 Sep 2006
Posts: 1021
Location: Vancouver

PostPosted: Sun May 19, 2019 7:28 am    Post subject: Stress - good! Reply with quote

Well, talking about fragility and counterposes, I think we can overly worry about this. After all, it is not much different to how you feel tired, weak and a bit fragile after doing a strong yang practice too. Think of a good workout at the gym or with weights or even after a 90-minute vinyasa class. There is this sense of tiredness, but in a good way. You wouldn’t go out right then and ski, or run a marathon, or play tennis. You probably could give people high-5s with no problem though. The same after yin. The real concerns from creep come after a long static stress, maybe an hour or so of sitting with a flexed lumbar spine? I don’t see us holding shoulder stresses very long in yin classes. But, again, if there was a sense of fragility after your yin practice, it would be wise to respect that and not go and do strong yang stresses there. It is all part of listening within.

As for the student recovering from trauma: the 3 stages of healing seem to be roughly — phase 1, inflammation for 3-7 days; phase 2, repair and proliferation for 4-6 weeks; and phase 3, remodeling and maturation for 1-3 years (see Jules Mitchell’s Yoga Biomechanics, page 140.) Note the last phase! It can last a long time. Someone may think they are all better, but their body is still recovering strength and stability at the level of the cells and fibers. Essential to these last 2 stages is applied load. Rest, if any, should only be used in the initial stage. In phase 3 the fibroblasts need to be stimulated to replace the temporary type 3 collagen used earlier in repair with the stronger and original type 1 collagen. Plus, crosslinks between the fibers grow to make the tissue stronger and we need a stress to the tissue to indicate the direction of these crosslinks. The collagen organizes along the lines of loading. This is not necessarily about creating more space, but finishing the repair of the tissues, and again—stress is essential! So, even traumatized tissues need exercise: which form of exercise can be varied. Dynamic, good. Short static stresses, good. Long static stresses, also good. Mix it up.

Once again, instead of thinking of stretching, think of stressing! Stress is necessary. Stretch may or may not happen, who cares?

Cheers
Bernie
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