Anatomy is the study of the structures of the human body. Macro anatomy is the study of the major structures of the body, while microanatomy is the study of the inner workings of the body such as the structure of a cell or the specific muscle fibers.
Mostly what will be discussed here is a little bit of physiology so that we can understand the normal functions of our human organism as well as macro anatomy, as it plays a more functional role in what we need to understand as yoga teachers. Why is the knowledge of anatomy important for our yoga practice and as teachers? On a physical level it gives us the necessary comprehension to align our bodies properly and help prevent injuries during our asana practice.
- Through the knowledge of anatomy we can move away from patterns of tension and poor alignment and work towards proper alignment in each asana as well as in our daily posture and therefore have a greater experience of opening our body safely
- As practitioners and teachers, a basic understanding of the science of movement and flexibility, will help us improve our own practice as well as how we communicate to students how to reach deeper, more open states of their practice. With comprehension of things such as reciprocal inhibition and how Golgi tendon organs work, we are provided with tools to help us access and understand our bodies and go deeper in every asana.
- As we learn more about anatomy, we also begin to learn to discern the difference between compression and tension. We can understand in our own practice and for our students, when we have reached our capacity for a certain pose because of the bone to bone compression, or because of muscular tension.
- This will not only help prevent injury, but it will also help to provide a better understanding of every individual’s unique body and practice and their proper individual alignment in each pose. There is a growing trend for yoga asana to be used as therapy. Anatomical understanding is a most crucial aspect of applying yoga asana as therapy.