Sensational Yoga Anatomy

Learn your body by directly experiencing it
Published: 2019 11 29

Sensational yoga anatomy is designed to help you better feel your body and control it (or if you like, better choose how to use it). Additionally, it's to help you understand it.

The understanding comes in part from studying anatomy and biomechanics. But in a larger part it comes from directly experience your own body.

A large reason for learning sensational yoga anatomy is that it can help you deal with problems, or figure out how to deal with problems related to joint and/or muscle pain and poor posture. It can also be useful for helping you understand how to improve flexibility and strength.

The key to all of this is learning to feel and control your own anatomy. And that's what sensational yoga anatomy is intended for.

Sensational Yoga Anatomy Index

0 General Anatomy

0a General Joint Anatomy

The most important idea here is that joints are critical structures. And your brain is programmed to look after your joints by keeping them lubricated. Joint lubrication (or if you like, joint tensegrity) is maintained by variations in muscular activation. One way to approach joint pain is as a signal that joint lubrication is failing (or in danger of failing). And to the end of fixing the problem, you can look at the muscles that work on the joint.

0b Muscle Anatomy

How do you control your muscles (and why you might want to)? That's what's covered here. Apart from protecting your joints, you need muscle control to feel your body. Plus, they are interesting.

1 Feet and lower legs

Working from the ground up. In sensational yoga anatomy you could consider "standing" to be our basic anatomical reference position. But, it's not the only reference position. The more important point is that you specify the position you are using as a reference. But anyway, this section focuses on the feet, and that includes the toes, the ankles and the shins. If you've got flat feet, poor hamstring flexibility, asymmetric knee or hip problems, low back pain, this is one place you can start. (You don't have to start here, but sooner or later, if you are dealing with problems, you are probably going to have to look at your feet. )

2 Knees

The knees, then do more than just bend and straighten. The knees are the interface between your feet and your hips. And they allow your shins to rotate, but only when they aren't straight. And there's a lot you can get just from understanding that simple idea.

3 Knees, thighs, hip bones

Note the last part in the title, "hip bones". The hip joints are focused on in the next section. Her the focus is on the thighs, and that includes the long hip muscles. These are muscles that cross both the hip and the knee to attach from the corner points of the pelvis to the outside and inside edges of the two shin bones. And to control the slack in these muscles, well, then you have the vastus muscles and the adductors. (And this is why understanding that the knee allows rotation is such an important point.)

4 Hips

The hip joint is where the femur connects to the hip bone. I like to use a bicycle wheel (with spokes) to model how the muscles of the hip joint work. And I like to consider the gluteus maximus as two, possibly three, separate muscles. One of those muscles actually attaches to the tibia.

5 Spine

Here's a look at the spinal column separate from the SI joints. Sort of. Here we can look at the pelvis as the base of the spine and along with the ribs and skull, as levers that our muscles can work on to manipulate the spine. Much of the musculature of the spine (and ribcage) can also be used as respiratory or breathing muscles. It's also relevant for "good" posture.

6 Ribcage and Neck

You could consider the obliques as belonging to the waist. I've deliberately included them here since they are very similar in function to the intercostals. An important idea about the ribcage is that it serves as the foundation for your arms. While it is flexible, the muscles that work on it, and this includes the obliques and intercostals and the serratus posterior which are linked to in a previous section, all of these can be used to stabilize the ribcage. This then gives the arms are stable foundation from which to work.

7 Shoulder Girdle

The shoulder girdle is part of what makes our arms so flexible. They have a large range of motion relative to the ribcage. And part of the job of the scapular stabilizer muscles is not only to allow this movement, but also to enable the shoulder blades to be stabilized relative ot the ribcage to give the muscles of the shoulders and arms a fixed foundation from which to work. Note that if the arms are stable, then the arms provide a foundation instead and so the shoulder muscles can then work on positioning, or stabilizing, the shoulder blades and in part, the ribcage.

Here you'll also find information for dealing with and avoiding shoulder impingement and winged scapula or shoulder blades.

8 Arms (Shoulder and Elbows and Wrists)

When dealing with the arms, one simple idea to work on is elbow joint stability and elbow joint control. Like the knee, the elbow allows rotation. Unlike the knee, the forearm can rotate relative to the upper arm whether the elbow is bent or straight. And whether the elbows are bent or straight, you can use your arm muscles to stabilize them against rotation or to control the rotation. This can be more important in poses or actions where the arms are bearing body weight.