If you’ve been following modern yoga trends and hashtags that contain the word mobility, you may have already been introduced to the CAR1 acronym. Simply put, the car is a controlled articular rotation, for a joint in the body. It takes a joint through all available ranges of motion while assessing the joint for movement on a basic level. These ranges or articulations help to define what the joint is capable of doing.
Why is this important? Understanding articulation at a joint level directly correlates to creating poses and advanced movement patterns. When a range of motion is unavailable to a joint, the tension or force (prana) being put into said joint has to be accounted for somewhere else in the body.
We can first identify the joint articulations needed to achieve a pose, then reverse engineer the practice from there.
Full Wheel Pose
Let’s use the example of full wheel pose. Contrary to what some people think, this pose does not require an large amount of extension in the spine. It does however require a significant range of motion in the hips and shoulders.
Any deficiency found in the hips and shoulders will likely change where the tension (or what I like to call “prana”) is in the position.
When the tension is too great for the joints (hips and/or shoulders), it usually moves towards the body going into the low spine causing discomfort.
Think of your body like an equation, it has to balance the tension (prana) within. When the tension is too great for a joint, it moves, either going in towards or away from the body.
In the example of wheel pose, I gave the example of the tension moving into your low spine. While the tension can move away going into the legs and arms, it is unlikely for that position.
To achieve a pose, we need to understand what joint articulations (ranges of motion) are needed to create said pose.
To understand our bodies joint articulations (available ranges) we need to express and assess them on a joint by joint basis.
CARs (controlled articular rotations) take us through a joint’s articulation (available ranges) while assessing and also strengthening the joint for future movement.
Learn the CARs, know “your” ranges of motion. Knowledge is powerful!
1CARs are a concept developed by Functional Range Systems.