What yoga instructors don't teach you in stretches and what they don't know about glute max. You go to yoga to help with your back pain, knee pain or shoulder pain and you do all these stretches and some strength oriented poses. Yet there seems to be no relief or you feel worse. The stretches and the strength poses feel nice or horrible and you can't figure out why b/c yoga is suppose to help you feel better. This is true, if and only if you are activating the the right muscles after stretching muscles that are tight that are possibly compensating for the muscle not fully working. But how do you know which ones the stretch and which ones to strengthen in the group setting? This is somewhat challenging but it is very achieving even a basic understanding biomechanics, functional anatomy and common compensation patterns. What do I mean by common compensation patterns? If a muscle is over worked (over contracting) it will shorten and tighten; and in general the functional opposite muscles will be lengthening and inhibiting (not wanting to work b/c it can't). Example: If your lower belly is pouchy and has a lack of tone your back and hips will start to hurt. The backside of your pelvis where glute max is so strategically placed will have a lack of tone but a deep muscle at the hip under glute max (mistaken for a tight glute max) will be tight as heck just as your low back will be! Of course, you have to know which ones. You can simply stretch the low back and the hip muscles and strengthen the lower abs and simply hope for the best. This isn't going to help b/c one critical piece is missing! Strengthening Glute Max!! The typical hip stretch is some variation of pigeon. It's great for getting into those deep hip muscles but it also stretches glute max on top of it. While you can emphasize an area being stretched you cannot isolated it. That is not how the body works! The body understand integrated or functional strength and stretching more than isolated strengthening and stretching (will get into that later). This type of instruction is not done in the majority yoga teacher trainings beginning and advanced. I'm bringing something into the yoga world that is new and unique and gaining momentum b/c it's critical when it comes to the physical postures. While you need to allow the posture to conform to you, you and the instructor have to understand what YOUR NORMAL is and recognize your 'restriction' is either functional or structural. Functional meaning which adjust it through stretch and proprioception (getting you to earn the position); or Structural meaning you are born that way or an injury caused this new orthopedic profile and now the pose will look different on you but will be correct for you. Whereas what is considered normal would put you at a bigger risk of getting some sort of injury; than receiving a benefit.