Book Review: Yoga for Bendy People

by Jay Hiller, June 29, 2023

I won’t give away the reason why the author is wearing a zebra suit.

Years ago in yoga class, I would sometimes end up practicing next to a woman who was very very flexible. It was hard not to be envious of how easily she seemed to get into positions that I couldn’t even get close to. My teacher would tell me now and then that people that flexible are actually breaking. I had no idea what she meant. To me, it looked like incredibly good genetic luck.

As a yoga teacher, and someone who is not at all bendy, I knew a few general instructions to give people who are very flexible. Contract your muscles before stretching, don’t hyperextend your knees, etc. In the book, Yoga for Bendy People, Libby Hinsley, a physical therapist and yoga teacher, explains in detail how frequently and why people who are hypermobile are in pain and how practicing yoga in ways that feel good to them in the moment may actually be injuring them. I was surprised by the number of physical disorders that can accompany hypermobility. I was also surprised by how much I found in the book to inform my own yoga practice, even though I’m more of a tin woodman than a bendy yoga girl. She offers practical suggestions for practicing if you are hypermobile and for instructing yoga to people who are hypermobile. This is a great yoga resource for any yoga practitioner or teacher.

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