Updated: Apr 19, 2021
“Wait - hold the phone - full pause - what is mobility?”
Simply, mobility is the ability to move with clarity, ease, and freedom. I’m about to get nerdy with you. Stick with me.
When I talk about joint mobility, I'm referring to your range of motion (ROM) in your joints. A joint is where two or more bones connect. Your moveable joints will move in certain ways depending on the shape of the joining surface. A few examples include the thumb, neck, elbow, hip, and shoulder. Try out the movement as you read about them!
The thumb joint is a saddle joint, so it can go forward-and-back, side-to-side, but it cannot internally and externally rotate (that would be weird, but cool, but weird). Try it out for yourself and train for your next thumb war.
The first and second vertebrae of your neck is a pivot joint, so it can go back and forward (saying Yes), and rotate (saying No).
The elbow joint is both a hinge and a pivot joint, so it can bend, straighten, supinate (rotate hand up), and pronate (rotate hand down).
The hip and shoulder joints are both ball-and-socket joints. They can move in all directions so that you can reach up, back, out to the side, across your body, the back of your head, your low back, and roll in a circle!
Thanks for trying those movements out with me. Let’s keep going.
You also have joints that have limited, or zero, movement. Those are fixed joints and we like those to stay put.
When the mobility of a movable joint is underused, a “blind spot” can feel tight, inflexible, weak, etc. When there is a blind spot or a lack of mobility in one area, the movable joint closest to it will try to help. This is called “coupling”. It is easy to couple our movements to get the job done. The job may be reaching your ams overhead. Rather than just moving the shoulder joint, you might also extend your back, shift your head forward, or both. This isn’t necessarily bad. It’s just coupling.
Training yourself to decouple joint movements, and then couple them when you want to, can be great for several reasons.
You can have a better understanding of how you move (proprioception, balance).
Your movements will be more efficient (ease, freedom).
You can generate more force (strength).
Yoga practice and mobility training can both offer opportunities to gain mobility. I bring yoga postures and mobility practice together in all of my offerings because I know how important it is for you to be able to move freely and without pain. It can change your quality of life. I incorporate mobility into yoga asana so I can support my clients in cultivating a strong and sustainable yoga practice.
“Mobility is not well understood. Megan Spears Yoga can make it personal and understood in a very meaningful way. I feel like I discover new capabilities and insights every session. I feel like you are invested in my progress so that I will have a better life...Better means being peaceful, mindful, aware, intelligent, mobile, and strong. Not compared to anyone else. So as I continue on in my life I will age with those same qualities as a descriptor. Mobility in my body and mind so I can give back more because I can do more until I reach my grave. It’s also fun. Laughter is good. You also kick my ass. That is good too.” - MM.
If you are you looking for more range, flexibility, and more fun(tionality) in your yoga asana practice, then, let’s practice. I offer weekly virtual classes every Tuesday morning at 7am Central and Wednesday at 9:30am Central. You can also rent a full-length yoga class with me to practice when you want!
Your joints will thank you. Your low back will thank you. Your neck will thank you. Your wrists will thank you.
And I thank you for being here!
Talk to you soon,
- Megan Spears