Yoga anatomy is a branch of science concerned with the bodily structure as yogis perform asanas. Studying and understanding yoga anatomy helps and allows us to better understand the body, and practice yoga in a safe and healthy manner.
Cross-referenced to my earlier blog post on Yoga Asana Technique – Paschimottanasana A, I have tried to break down the asana at anatomical level (i.e. skeletal, muscular and respiratory movements).
Yoga Anatomy – Paschimottanasana A Asana
Skeletal/ joint Movement
From sagittal plane:
-Flexion at spinal & hip joint
-Dorsiflexion at ankle
-Extension at elbow joint
From transverse plane:
-Internal rotation at hip and shoulder joint
-Protraction of scapula
-Forearm slightly pronated
Muscular Movement (Voluntary)
While we hold in this asana, eccentric muscular contraction (i.e. lengthening of muscles) of our skeletal muscles can be felt at erector spinae, latissimus dorsi, gluteus, piriformis, hamstrings, gastrocnemius, soleus, rhomboids and lower trapezius. Skeletal muscles are attached to bones and allow us to create movements of the body.
When practicing yoga in general, we tend to breathe voluntarily (conscious breathing) to synchronise our asana movements with our breathes. This form of active inhalation and exhalation expands and contracts musculature surrounding the abdominal and thoracic cavity.
During inhalation, volume in the lungs increases three dimensionally (i.e. from top to bottom, from side to side and from front to back). External intercostals contract while relaxing internal intercostals. This motion rises and expands the rib cage, and diaphragm contracts.
During exhalation, volume in the lungs decreases. External intercostals relax while contracting internal intercostals. This motion contracts the rib cage, and diaphragm relaxes.
Digestive/ Endocrine Perspective
This asana tones abdominal and pelvic region (i.e. organs like liver, pancreas, spleen, kidney & adrenal glands).
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