When it comes to yoga, the very first excuse people come up with is: “Oh, I have to be flexible to do that!” Or even worse: “Oh, I can’t do yoga, I can’t even touch my toes!”
According to research, in the United States, more than 60% of folks start yoga to get more flexible. But where is this coming from? Why do we all believe that stretching equals yoga and that flexibility is the key to happiness?
Living a pain-free life
Many people choose to live in pain just because they can’t see a way out. They turn to painkillers, doctors, and physiotherapists, but that pain is still there. Then they try yoga, they try to stretch it out, and hey, it’s working! Well, for a day or two. Then pain is there again. So let’s stretch it out again and again and again, little improvement, but the pain never really goes away. That tight area of the body just stays tight over and over again. How is it even possible that our brain doesn’t start to adapt after a while?
Is Stretching good for us?
With stretching, we’re addressing a symptom. Like tightness: it is just a symptom. It’s telling us something is wrong. It’s not telling us what’s wrong. And stretching only addresses the symptom. It’s like when you have a dehydration headache, and you’re like, Gosh, my head is pounding. I’m just gonna take some painkillers. You’re still dehydrated, you have not addressed the issue. You’ve only addressed the symptom!
Not even talking about the muscles’ mechanisms. Stretching will never help you to eliminate your pain.
Check out this article: Why Stretching May Not Be As Great As You Think
Is Yoga for flexibility? The BIG answer is No!
While yoga originally started simply with breathing, the first yoga posture was – sitting! Then people started to realize the benefits of some asanas and those thin yogis from India started to do extreme poses like headstands. And here we are now, people from everywhere, no matter the age, want to reach their toes and put their legs above their head. Yogi trends like ashtanga or hot yoga started to spread and yoga has simply become equal with flexibility and stretching. No one remembers today that the only thing you need to do yoga is the capability to breathe!
Learn more about the goals of yoga here.
A Yoga podcast series: STOP Stretching!
Here and there, we all have to face pain during our journey. But LIFE does NOT have to be this way! Pain does not have to be a constant part of your life. And yoga does not have to focus on stretching and flexibility. There is a revolutionary way to eliminate your pain for good and the first step is to: stop stretching! Stretching is causing you more pain and flexibility is really not the key to happiness.
So let me introduce you to STOP Stretching! podcast series!
The goal with these podcasts is to flip the script on stretching and to help people to become pain-free. Throughout these 8 episodes, you will learn about Yogi Aaron’s story from living in pain to becoming pain-free, how he came to develop his signature yoga methodology, AYAMA – Applied Yoga Anatomy + Muscle Activation™, the science behind why stretching is actually hurting us, and how mainstream yoga has become fixated on flexibility even though it has nothing to do with enlightenment — which is the true purpose of the practice.
Listen to the STOP Stretching podcast series NOW!
Each episode will change the way you think about yoga, flexibility, stretching, pain, and more… here’s the podcast outline:
- Hey Yogis – no flexibility? No problem!
- How Is Stretching Hurting Us?
- Learn how the brain talks to muscles to start stretching correctly — and live pain-free!
- What is AYAMA? – A revolutionary approach to eliminate your pain for good
- The history of Yoga
- One yoga pose you should NEVER do
- How should yoga teachers teach yoga?
- Let’s live your life purpose!
Hey Yogis – no flexibility? No problem!
In the very first episode, through his story, Yogi Aaron shares why he has come to the conclusion that stretching is not good for your body. While many believe that stretching helps against tightness, Yogi Aaron shows that flexibility is not the key to happiness. He shares why yoga and stretching do not help to cure tightness and that there is a cheaper and healthier way to become pain-free than choosing therapists and painkillers.
How Is Stretching Hurting Us?
In episode 2, Yogi Aaron shares his story of living in pain to becoming pain-free and explains the science that backs his theory that stretching is hurting us. Plus, gain an understanding of what Applied Yoga Anatomy + Muscle Activation™ (AYAMA) is and how he developed this approach to yoga to heal himself first, and now countless others! You’ll learn how to apply this revolutionary approach to movement and Yoga to change your life for the better.
Learn how the brain talks to muscles to start stretching correctly — and live pain-free!
Meet Katie Burdick, a Muscle Activation Technique Teacher from Colorado and one of the key people who has inspired the development of Applied Yoga Anatomy + Muscle Activation™ (AYAMA)
In this third episode, Katie will be answering questions like what dynamic and passive stretching are and what exactly happens in our muscles when we stretch. You will learn how to stretch your muscles in a safe way while understanding the connection between yoga and Muscle Activation Technology. After this short interview with Katie, you will really understand why AYAMA is one of the best ways to practice yoga and that flexibility is really not the key to a joyful life!
What is AYAMA? – A revolutionary approach to eliminate your pain for good
Instead of stretching, what if we IMPROVE MUSCLE FUNCTION through muscular engagement? There’s this beautiful synergy between the way the body is moving and all of these postures. In this episode, you will be introduced to a revolutionary way to eliminate your pain for good. You will learn about anatomy, the history, importance and benefits of AYAMA, and how this revolutionary approach can greatly impact your life.
The history of Yoga
Have you ever wondered where this “yoga is stretching” madness comes from? The history of yoga is complicated and runs back thousands of years ago. It started simply with the connection of the mind and spirit. In this episode, we will plunge into the history of yoga, and uncover where when why and how this obsession with stretching came about. You will hear about the first yogis, mantras and connections, and the story of nowadays fancy asanas.
One yoga pose you should NEVER do
In terms of yoga postures, there are three poses at the top of the list that you should never do. But there is one (probably your favorite one!) that is literally ruining your body. Why? Because you are overstretching. In this episode you will gain a deeper understanding of why stretching is not good for you and what yoga postures you should avoid to keep your body healthy in the long term. You will understand the reason behind the destruction of these asanas and how to modify them for good.
How should yoga teachers teach yoga?
In this episode we will discuss the most common mistakes both yoga teachers and students alike make while practicing and instructing yoga in a modern-day context. You will learn about the darker side of yoga, and the sad reality of how these supposed gurus and beloved yoga teachers have actually severely abused their power and ruined the yoga name and the integrity of yoga itself.
Let’s live your life purpose!
The last episode is about YOU – you will hear some AMAZING testimonials from students who have trained in AYAMA with Yogi Aaron. They are regular people who are just like YOU. They love Yoga and had originally understood yoga to be all about flexibility and stretching. After spending some time learning with Yogi Aaron and experiencing the profound effects of AYAMA on the body, their understanding of yoga, and safe movement has completely transformed! We will also wrap up the contents you have been learning over the past episodes and help you with how you should practice yoga.
Yoga should not be about forcing the body open, it is about healing, and THAT CAN NOT BE ACHIEVED through stretching. Letting go of stretching is not easy, but yoga postures should bring stability. We all are here to live our life purpose – and pain doesn’t have to be part of our lives!
This podcast is for EVERYONE — yoga students of all levels, yoga teachers, everyone suffering from pain, and anyone who simply wants to move their body in a way that promotes youthfulness, strength, stability, and feeling good.
If you think the goal of yoga is to get more flexible, or that stretching helps you manage or heal your pain, this podcast series is going to change your life!
Listen to the STOP Stretching podcast series NOW!
To begin a practice of Applied Yoga Anatomy + Muscle Activation™, go and access the 15-Day Free challenge to begin the journey to becoming pain-free!
In creating this podcast series, there are a few people I would like to thank.
First and foremost, a huge thank you to Greg Roskopf, my teacher, The Founder of MAT.
Thank you to Katie Burdick, our second MAT expert.
To our writer, Madigan Cotterill.
My editor and assistant, Maddison Barrow.
Thank all the people we interviewed. Harriet Hubbard, Hendrike, Daniele Salvitto, Sherry Shabban.
We would also like to thank the website, Pixabay for the music.
I would also thank to thank Dr. Eric, my physical therapist, who inspired this work and saved me from surgery. Eric currently resides in Los Angeles. You can reach him here.
Links of interest where you can read more:
Stretching the Truth – NY Times
Stretching Before and After Exercise: Effect on Muscle Soreness and Injury Risk
The case against stretching has science on its side
Donna Farhi – Yoga’s culture of abuse
Jarlath Regan – Discover Yourself With Hot Yoga
ALAN FINGER – ISHTA Diksha
Movies and Videos of interest
Bikram on Netflix
Abuse in the Yoga Community with Josh Summers & Matthew Remski