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Yoga

Is Stretching Supposed to be That Painful?

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Pain. It’s the big thing that draws people to getting flexible but one of the main things that keeps us away from stretching. 

So is pain in stretching a good thing, and if so how do I get around it?

Number one is to understand there are two kinds of pain. ‘Burning’ pain you feel while stretching is good. Think of it like going to the gym or doing a Crossfit WoD – you hurt the day after, right? It’s a sign of your muscles rebuilding stronger – or longer in the case of stretching – after they’ve worked hard.

Stabbing pain you want to avoid. If you’ve broken a bone, twisted something or dropped a plate on your foot you know what I mean.

How do you keep it to the good pain then, and make even that as comfortable as possible?

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1. Breathing. The deeper you breathe, the more you relax, and relaxed muscles get more flexible with less burning pain – think of it as giving your muscles what they want. Less fight = good news.
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2. Distraction. Have a conversation with your stretching partner, watch TV, it helps focus away from the pain, and reducing focus on pain tends to reduce the pain itself. Plus any excuse to catch up on Netflix I could go for.
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3. Listen. To your body. Go slow, if your body wants to open up today, it will. Pushing to far too fast turns stretching pain into stabbing pain = ton muscles = major setback to your flexibility. 
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4. Position. Stretch in a way that doesn’t damage joints, experiment or ask an expert for advice.  

Stay smart & stay safe. Felix