This past Wednesday I had the privilege of participating in a panel discussion with Brette Popper (moderator), Amy Matthews, Alison West, James Bae, Alan Finger and Swami Sadasivananda. The panel was sponsored by YogaCity NYC and was hosted at Yoga Union in New York City.
A lot of people turned out to hear us explore a variety of questions, including:
While I probably shouldn’t have favorites, I do confess to having a special fondness for the piriformis. It’s got a super cool name that just kind of rolls off the tongue (click here to hear it pronounced), it feels great to stretch it, and when it’s flexible it’ll add much more sukha to your Sukhasana (Comfortable pose) and make postures like Eka Pada Galavasana (Flying Crow) more accessible. However, if it’s tight it will limit the ability of the femur to laterally rotate within the hip joint, which has a lot of potentially not-so-great consequences (both on and off the yoga mat). By taking the time to learn more about this little muscle you’ll be able to more skillfully stretch it in your own practice and help your students find ways to safely stretch it in theirs.
Check out this fun little video that I put together awhile ago showing a posture progression that prepares for Eka Pada Galavasana, Flying Crow. I’ve updated this post to include some bullet points after the video indicating which muscles need to be stretched, and which postures you can stretch them in.
When discussing the anatomy of yoga, it’s important to have a commonly agreed upon terminology, a language of movement, so that we’re all on the same page and can communicate more precisely when discussing such things as the location of bones and bony landmarks; the locations, attachments and actions of muscles; and the anatomy of yoga asana. Familiarizing yourself with these terms will help you understand the yoga anatomy articles that you read on this blog and elsewhere, create more consciousness within the muscle and joint actions in each posture, and enable you to more skillfully articulate those actions to your students through effective verbal cues and hands-on assists.