Which is more impressive: her strength or her flexibility?

Via elephant journal
on Jun 22, 2013
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flexible yoga wow

Answer: her diligent practice.

“First start off by using the wall to support yourself as you do a handstand, then do a split.”

Wow of the day.


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8 Responses to “Which is more impressive: her strength or her flexibility?”

  1. Jennifer White says:

    Wow or wowsers! haha! Fun share, thanks.

  2. julian walker says:

    neither. that is mostly genetics and youth. fun – wow factor, but contortionist tricks are not much more than that…

  3. Jay says:

    Based on my limited practice, I agree wholeheartedly with the answer (her diligent practice). In the immortal words of K. Pattabhi Jois, "99% practice, 1% theory".

  4. shinandelierbong says:

    yep, you're totally right. she came out of the womb that way, found a wall and that's what happened. no practice necessary.. and of course, once she hits the age of 21, poof it'll be gone.

  5. awesome pic, I love it!

  6. julian walker says:

    hahaha! funny response, thanks for the humor. of course she has had to work at it, but you are missing my point:

    1) the vast majority of people could work at doing this and their genes just would not allow it to ever be accomplished in this way.

    2) yes, in fact as she ages this will change and many contortionist suffer incredible injury and pain because their bodies are able to do things that are not actually healthy for their joints, disks, and nerves.

    lastly, i think it is good to call out the common fallacy in the yoga community that being able to do impressive contortions somehow equates to having a "strong practice" or having some kind of mental strength and dedication that if everyone applied or developed would yield the same results. this is simply not true.

    some of the most advanced yogis i know have very pedestrian looking yoga postures, conversely, some of the most impressive yoga models i have come across have some of the most obsessive, unworthy, neurotic inner lives.

  7. julian walker says:

    here's is a study that did MRI scans on contortionists:

    seems there is a genetic component, but the biggest indicator is starting very young, usually under the influence of an adult, on a very dedicated regime of flexibility enhancing routines.

    just because we can distort the body's natural range of motion and stability, does not mean we should.

    a lot of the fetishizing of contortionist tricks in a spiritual context may have to do with our longing to transcend the limitations of the body, and in fact mortality itself – so we became fascinated with people who can do extraordinary looking things..

    i wonder if it might not be healthier to consider practices like yoga as being sustainable if a) they help us attain balance, stability and healthy flexibility, whilst helping protect against injury and b) support am attitude about the body that recognizes it preciousness, limitations and inherent sacredness without having to aspire to a contortionist aesthetic.

  8. elephantjournal says:

    Yes! Erich and Julian in one thread, wowza! ~ Waylon