Regain or maintain healthy mobility and stay injury free. Yoga for life, enhancing your lifestyle and daily activities.
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What is Functional Movement?
Functional movements are based on our body’s biomechanics for dealing with real life scenarios, for example: lifting a child or groceries, rotating away from the steering wheel to back out of a driveway, squatting down to pick up a box, pushing a shopping cart, stroller, or golf pushcart, and daily walking.
There are 7 basic movements the human body can perform: pulling, pushing, squatting, lunging, hinging, rotating, and walking (gait). The spine moves in three anatomical planes: sagittal (forward and back), coronal (side to side), and traverse (rotating). Functional movements usually involve two or three planes of movement plus two or more joints and muscles. This places a high demand on the body’s core muscles. Building core strength is key to improving functional movement and injury prevention.
What are the benefits of this type of yoga class?
Functional Yoga allows for a more individualized alignment that encourages correct muscle activation rather than strictly adhering to traditional alignment. For example, Ukatasana or chair pose is traditionally performed with feet together in Tadasana. This alignment may lead us to activate our quad muscles when ideally, we want to activate our gluteus muscles for optimal mobility in our gait. By adjusting the feet hip distance apart, we can then activate the gluteus muscles and core to train more effectively the muscles we need for life off the mat. Every movement off the mat is enhanced by the work we do on the mat. All the postures and sequences aim to improve strength, mobility (range of motion), endurance, balance, and flexibility (length of muscles). Some additional benefits of functional yoga training are decreased stress, anxiety relief, inflammation reduction, improved cardiac health, less chronic pain, better sleep, and better breathing.
What can I do at home to improve functional mobility?
Standing Balance with Core Activation:
Step 1: Stand with feet hip distance apart, lengthen tailbone towards the earth and top of the head towards the sky. Engage your abdominal muscles, lift both heels off the floor and balance on the balls of your feet. If your balance is challenged, stand near a wall so you can use a light touch of your index finger against the wall to steady yourself. Lower heels and repeat.
Step 2: this round, after lifting your heels, close your eyes, engage your core and balance. Focus on your breath. Lower heels. Practice Step 1 several times before moving on to Step 2.
Shoulder Opener with Core Activation:
Stand with feet hip distance apart in Tadasana, or sit towards the edge of a chair with feet flat on the floor and hip distance apart. Reach behind your back for opposite elbows or forearms. Lengthen your tailbone down towards the earth and activate your core muscles by drawing your navel towards your spine so that you do not arch your lower back. Breathe and feel the expansion from collarbone to collarbone as the shoulder blades draw towards each other. Repeat with the other elbow or forearm on top.
Yoga is not just an exercise, it's a way of life.
Feel free to email Nannette directly with any questions at email@example.com