Claudia Jiang – Yoga Anatomy

Yoga anatomy
It is important to learn anatomy as a yoga instructor. It will help to facilitate healthy practice and share with students what’s going on in the body. For example, by understanding how the spine works, it can help us to work with students in forward and back bends.
First, we need to understand what is human anatomy. Human anatomy is the study of the structure of humans, from molecules to bones and how they interact to form a functional unit. There are few key aspects; a yoga instructor should get familiar with. It includes the skeletal system, the muscular system, the respiratory system, the digestive system, the endocrine system, and the cardiovascular system.
The skeletal system:
The skeletal system is made up of 206 individual bones. It includes two major divisions: axial skeleton and appendicular skeleton.
Axial skeleton (80 bones) consists of the bones of the head and trunk of vertebrate including skull, hyoid, auditory ossicles, ribs, sternum, and vertebral column. Appendicular skeleton (126 bones) is in the regions of upper/lower limbs, pelvic girdle and shoulder girdle.
The vertebral column, also called as backbone or spine, is one of the important parts in the skeletal system. It is the crucial body part when we practice asana.
As we can see from the above picture, there are 33 vertebrae all together. These are divided into 5 regions, cervical spine (7 vertebrae), thoracic spine (12 vertebrae), lumbar spine (5 vertebrae), sacrum (5 fused into 1) and coccyx/tailbone (3 -4 fused into 1).
It is important to have a healthy vertebral column to prevent back pains. People who took yoga classes are as twice as likely to cut back on pain medicines for the back aching than people who managed symptoms on their own, according to a study published in the journal Archives of Internal Medicine. Yoga provides ways to prevent and heal back pains from various types (Yoga Journal)

  1. heal injured back muscle
  2. speed up recovery time from back injuries
  3. prevent re-injury
  4. enhance flexibility
  5. improve posture
  6. strength the lower back muscles

For example, child’s pose which is an active stretch to help elongate the back . Another good pose to stretch back is extended puppy pose. It helps to stretch the spine and shoulders and improve flexibility of spine.
Misalignment of the spine will cause kyphosis (exaggerated heperflexion of the thoracic vertebrae), lordosis (exaggerated hyperextension of the lumber vertebrae), and scoliosis (lateral curvature of the vertebrae).
Yoga poses can reduce the above misalignment. For example, Cobra pose benefit for kyphosis by strengthen the back muscles, open and realign the heart and chest area .
Yoga journal
the journal Archives of Internal Medicine
student name : claudia jiang yuanayuan