Muscles Function – Upper Body

When one starts studying Yoga at Tirisula, one finds that Yoga goes beyond than deep stretches and challenging poses. During my 200hr YTT, I am discovering the many faces of Yoga. Yoga is science, human anatomy, physiology and philosophy. Yoga is Asanas, is Karma, is Prana and Dhyana. Yoga is every cell of our bodies in union with the universe.
The 200hr course is just a beginning of a life journey of studies and dedication, if one wants to become a true Yogi.
For me, I am enjoying this course, and trying to learn as much as possible in a short period of time. What I learn in these 6 weeks, will be the foundation to know myself and what direction I want to pursue in Yoga.
With all the hard work in mind, I worked on a paper with the main muscles of the body and their function. I also added the exercises and Yoga poses that use these muscle groups. It was a lot work to find the poses that are related to each muscle and I had to use an Anatomy Book to help me with that. I used Yoga Anatomy by Leslie Kaminoff and Amy Matthews and also many Internet researches.
I hope this will help us on this important portion of becoming a Yoga Teacher.
Please feel free to add and make comments if you don’t agree with some of the poses that I used. The work is divided in two parts: Upper Body and Lower Body
Mitania Bailer 200hr YTT Nov, 2013
Rectus Abdominis Function – Flexion & Lateral Flexion/Tilting pelvis backwards
Exercise – Sit-ups, Partial Curl-ups, Pelvic Tilts, Hanging Lift
Yoga Poses: Navasana/ Backbends/ Halasana
External Pectoralis Major Function – Shoulder flexion, extension, adduction, internal rotation, & horizontal adduction
Exercises – push-ups pull-ups, incline bench press, regular bench press, climbing a rope, throwing, and tennis serve
Yoga Poses: Chaturanga / Crow Pose/ Dhanurasana /

Deltoid Function – Entire muscle: shoulder abduction; Anterior fibers: shoulder flexion, internal rotation, & horizontal adduction; Posterior fibers: external rotation & horizontal abduction
Exercises- Lateral “butterfly” exercises (abduction)
Yoga Poses: Warrior I & II / Downward Facing Dog / Full Arm Balance
Latissimus Dorsi Function – Shoulder Extension, adduction, horizontal abduction, & internal rotation
Exercises – Chin-ups, rope climbing, dips on parallel bars, rowing, any exercise puling the arms downward against resistance
Yoga Poses: Adho Muhka Savasana / Hand Stands / Upward Bow (Wheel Pose)
Teres Major Function – Shoulder extension, adduction, & internal rotation
Exercises – Chin-ups, seated rows, “lat” pull-downs, rope climbing
Yoga Poses:) Dolphin Pose / Reverse Prayer / Eagle Pose ( Garudanasana)
Teres Minor Function- Laterally rotates arm
Yoga Poses: Dolphin Pose / Reverse Prayer / Eagle Pose ( Garudanasana)
Biceps Brachii Function – flexion at elbow, supination at forearm
Exercises – Arm curls, chin-ups, rock climbing, upright rowing
Yoga Poses: Kukkutasana / Bhujapidasana / Feathered Peacock Pose
Triceps Brachii Function – Extension at elbow, arm extension
Exercises – push-ups, dips, bench press, shoulder press
Yoga Poses: Utthita Trikonasana / Cow Face Pose / Chaturanga
Internal Oblique Function – Ipsilateral Rotation, Lateral Flexion and Forward Flexion
Exercise – Side Planks, Curl-ups with rotation, Side Bends
Yoga Poses: Parivritta Janu Sirsana / Marichyasana / Vakrasana ( Twisted Pose)
External Oblique Function- compresses abdominal contents, lateral rotation, and draws thorax downward
Yoga Poses: Inverted Pose (Viparita Karani) / Belly Twist / Side Plank Pose
Transverse Abdominis Function – Compresses Abdomen
Exercise – Prone Plank & Drawing In Manuever
Yoga Poses: Revolved Abdomen Pose / Marichyasana D / Vakrasana
Erector Spinae Function – Extension and Lateral Flexion
Exercise – Squat, Dead Lift, Prone Back Extension (Cobra)
Yoga Poses: Seated Forward Bend / Locust Pose / Paschimottanasana
Esternocleidomastoideus: The function of this muscle is to rotate the head to the opposite side or obliquely rotate the head. It also flexes the neck. When acting together it flexes the neck and extends the head.
Yoga Poses: Warrior II / Utthita Trikonasana / Marichyasana D
Subscapularis Function- The subscapularis rotates the head of the humerus medially (internal rotation); when the arm is raised, it draws the humerus forward and downward. It is a powerful defense to the front of the shoulder-joint, preventing displacement of the head of the humerus.
Yoga Poses: Natarajasana ( King of the dancers Pose) / Reverse Prayer
Lavator Scapulae Function – Elevation of Scapula
Exercise – Shoulder Shrugs
Yoga Poses: Virabhadrasana I & II / Utkatasana
Rhomboid Major & Minor Function – Adduction, Downward Rotation, Elevation of Scapula
Exercise – Chin-ups, Bent-over Dumb bell rolls
Yoga Poses: Prasarita Padotanasana C / Parsvottanasana / Baddha Padmasana
Upper Trapezius Function – upward rotation & elevation
Exercise – Shoulder Shrugs & Upright seated rows
Yoga Poses: Downward Facing Dog / Arm Stand Poses
Middle Trapezius Function – upward rotation & adduction
Exercise – Shoulder Shrugs & Upright seated rows
Yoga Poses: Karnapidasana / Camel Pose / Fish Pose
Lower Trapezius Function – depression of scapula & down rotation
Exercise – Shoulder Shrugs & Upright seated rows
Yoga Poses: Warrior II / Fish Pose / Upward Facing Dog
Pectoralis Minor Function – Stabilization, Scapula Depression, Downward Rotation & Abduction Scapula
Exercise – Push-ups, Incline Bench Press, Cable Crossover Chest Fly
Yoga Poses: Parsvottanasana ( Reverse Prayer) / Fish Pose / Warrior I (arms up open wide)
Pectoralis Major Function- Adducts and medially rotates arm
Yoga Poses: Natarajasana ( King of the Dancers Pose) / Cobra Pose / Prasarita Padottanasana
Serratus Anterior Function – Stabilization, Scapula Depression, Upward Rotation of the Scapula
Exercise – Push-ups, Incline Bench Press, Pull-over
Yoga Poses: Chaturanga / Royal Pigeon Pose / Utthita Parsvottanasana
Flexor Carpi Radialis Function – wrist flexion
Exercises – wrist curls, grip-strengthening exercises for racquet sports
Flexor Carpi Ulnaris Function – wrist flexion
Exercises – wrist curl
Extensor Carpi Radialis longus Function – Wrist extension
Exercises – reverse wrist curls, racquet sport
Extensor Carpi Ulnaris Function – wrist extension
Exercises – reverse wrist curls
Reference: Yoga Anatomy by Leslie Kaminoff and
Mitania Bailer 200hr, Nov 2013

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