What is the Anatomy of Yoga?
Do you ever wonder why you do the poses you do?
Do you tune-in to your body, during a pose and feel the muscles you are working?
As an instructor I can be a stickler about proper alignment, precision in the geometry of yoga is important. Attention to details is required to correctly engage the strength of your body. It is also important in helping keep the body safe during practice.
The anatomy of yoga refers to the anatomical group of muscles you are working in each pose or asana. Yoga is not a combination of arbitrary poses with no rhyme or reason. There is a system which meticulously works all of the musculature and skeletal parts of your body.
Yoga never ceases to amaze me. I have had students who could barely touch their toes, then with dedicated practice, one day they press-up into a back bend. It is truly miraculous. Yoga works because it is based on your anatomy, working to make it stronger, more flexible, more balanced and it helps keep the body’s range of motion fluid.
There are a few good resources you can use to help you understand each pose and the work you are doing. My favorites are Anatomy of Yoga by Dr. Ellsworth and Yoga Anatomy by Leslie Kaminoff and Amy Matthews.
Here are a few known yoga poses with detailed musculature anatomy of targeted muscle groups: