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What Is Hypermobility?

“Hypermobility” refers to excessive range of motion in the joints. This is caused by hyperlaxity of the connective tissue – the tendons, ligaments and other fascial structures that normally function as a “seat belt” to prevent joints from hyperextending. When joints go beyond a safe range of motion, they can damage the connective tissue, sublux (partially dislocate) the joint, or fully dislocate.

Hypermobility is a spectrum that expresses differently in each person. You can have hypermobility in one joint or in many. You can have hypermobility with or without any pain. You can show symptoms in one body system or in multiple body systems, suggesting a connective tissue disorder underlying the joint laxity. Every hypermobile body is unique, but there are some underlying issues and overarching principles that can be addressed to support the body and mind no matter where you are on the spectrum.

Flexible people are naturally drawn to yoga. We generally love sinking deeply into poses, in part because deep stretches are easy for us and we often need to go deep to find sensation. But if we're hypermobile, practicing what’s easy and repeatedly going to our end range of motion can do more harm than good. Deep stretches can further stress our already lax tissues, making joints looser and requiring muscles to work harder to create stability. This is why we so often end up with joints that are too loose, muscles that are too tight, and bodies that click, pop, and ache.

The key is balance: where we have too much mobility, we need to cultivate stability. That’s where yoga comes in. A mindful yoga practice invites us to restore balance by cultivating stability in the body, equanimity in the mind, and compassion in the heart. 

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What our customers are saying

When the light comes from within, balance is inevitable.

Amy Jirsa, Quiet Earth Yoga

Symptoms, diagnoses and treatment

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We can be hypermobile in one joint or many; some joints may sublux or dislocate.

Some of us have stretchy skin that bruises easily. This may be a sign of Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome.

Is yoga safe with hypermobility?

If you have been diagnosed with Hypermobility Spectrum Disorder or Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, you may have been told not to practice yoga. That’s because a traditional yoga practice with typical instructions and cues can be dangerous for hypermobile bodies. We often lack the muscular stability and structural integrity to safely support yoga postures and often stretch ourselves to our end range of motion, compromising our already lax connective tissues. Our lack of proprioception means we may also lack awareness of where our bodies are in space, further placing us at risk for injury. 

However, when we follow principles that modify a typical yoga practice to support a hypermobile body, yoga can build stability and be a powerful tool for managing the symptoms and effects of hypermobility.

Since hypermobility manifests so differently in each of us, we believe students are best served with a highly individualized approach that adapts yoga postures and practices for each student.

As yoga teachers, we offer the unique perspective of living and practicing in our own hypermobile bodies, having gone through decades of misdiagnoses and unsafe yoga practices and injuries. We've studied hypermobility and related issues in depth and have developed strategies to help people everywhere on the spectrum develop a customized yoga practice that's safe and supportive for their body.

In our private sessions, the foundational principles and tools we teach to help build awareness, stability, and strength are customized to each individual student. This often means including specific yoga practices to support other common co-morbidities and hypermobile issues that we face physically, mentally and emotionally. 

To ensure your safety, we ask that you have the clearance of your medical team prior to working with us individually. If your doctor or physical therapist does not recommend yoga, please share our principles for a safe practice. We'd be happy to explain how we can share yoga tools to support your health and wellbeing.  [link to disclaimer]