Why Stretching Might be Working Against You

Yoga Medicine teacher Rachel Land shares the story behind the Yoga Journal flexibility challenge, why it isn’t all about stretching, and why she doesn’t “stretch” anymore.

“Why I’ve Stopped Stretching”

Senior Yoga Medicine teacher Rachel Land created our Yoga for Flexibility Challenge but explains why it’s not all about “stretching.”

Like many yoga teachers, I’ve been reasonably flexible my whole life. Not flexible in the “tuck both feet behind the head” sense, but I’ve always had to work harder on creating strength and stability than on increasing my range of motion. In fact, I find that deep static stretches at my end range can actually create joint stiffness, even pain, the next day.

For that reason, I don’t really “stretch” anymore. Which doesn’t mean that I purely work strength. Instead, the gentler side of my practice focuses, not on flexibility for its own sake, but on these three aims…

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