Biology was never my strong suit; the link between our body structures and yoga asanas was a concept that took me awhile to grasp. As a visual learner, I tend to find it easier to copy a pose after seeing someone do it, or just by observing a photo of a pose. This created the illusion that I was able to do many yoga asanas perfectly, when in fact, I was merely forcing myself into a pose without actually engaging the correct muscles or optimizing the full mobility of my joints.
I have always had problems holding myself up in Downward Dog due to sweaty palms and my tendency to lean into my arms. I’d always assume that it was due to my lack of arm strength (or ‘jelly arms’ as my friends used to call me), but turns out it was because I wasn’t pushing into the mat with my saddle joint and my quadriceps were not engaged. It was only through learning about the human anatomy that I was able to improve on my asanas and learn the correct techniques to get into and hold an asana.
With the knowledge of the saddle joint, I am now more aware of my weight on my hands and arms. This has definitely helped me to improve on holding Chaturanga, Cobra pose, Upward Dog, and Crow/Crane pose; as I actively push my saddle joint against the floor. The saddle joint provides stability to the bones, which makes it easier to hold Downward Dog for a longer period of time and prevents slipping as well. Applying this knowledge to my Crow/Crane pose has also helped to stabilize my pose and allowed me to hold a little longer, as well as avoiding any possible wrist injuries.
It was definitely an eye-opening experience to learn about link between yoga asanas and the human anatomy, as it made me review my basic asanas and taught me to be humble as a learner.
200hr YTT January 2017