Why are some people more flexible than others?

Words: Laura Wilson

In light of this December’s move of the month being the splits, we thought we’d delve a little further into the topic of flexibility. Ever wondered why some people are limber and loose with apparently minimal effort, whilst others can stretch daily but see little to no improvement (we’ve definitely been there!)?

Put simply, our flexibility is determined by two things – our muscles (you guessed it), but also our bones. Ever been told in yoga class that if you practice every day, one day you’ll be able to touch your toes/perfect your downward dog/do the splits/perform some other super-flexi pose? Well, this isn’t always true.

We are able to improve our flexibility and mobility by stretching regularly, releasing tension with foam rollers, spikey balls and, our favourite, massages (this is official permission to book yourself in for one, stat). However, we don’t have so much impact over the shape of our bones. Our bodies are unique in a whole host of ways, and our skeleton is no exception. Some of us have much deeper hip sockets than others, for example, whilst others have shallower ones, allowing more flexibility at that joint. Ever had that frustratingly flexible friend who came to class one time after zero preparation ever and effortlessly nailed that move you’ve been working on for months? (Yeah, we feel that pain).

This is not to say that stretching and release work is not important (have a read of this post about the benefits of flexibility). We have a whole Barre Body class dedicated to mobilising and moving your body freely (if you have not been to a Barre Yin class yet, do yourself a favour and book in. It’s soo delicious). But, it is important to remember, when stretching, that more flexibility isn’t always better, and that you are not somehow inferior because you don’t have the bendiest body in class.

Moving your body is something that should be done with joy, and as a celebration of what you are capable of, rather than a punishment for what you are not. The same philosophy can be applied to stretching. Be guided by what feels beautiful and loving to your body. Let go of any ideas of ‘perfection’ and to fully accept and love where your body is at in this moment.