Sun Salutation Anatomy Part 3

As per the previous two blogs on the sun salutation (geared towards the current teacher trainees), the anatomy behind the various poses is vast and often very confusing. So in this series of blogs I am giving you a very basic anatomical breakdown of the sun salutation. 5) URDHVA MUKHA SVANASANA - UPWARD FACING DOG From Ashtang Namaskar we lift up into upward facing dog. From Ashtang Namaskar you lower the hips down and flatten the body down to the ground. The feet are kept together or one foot apart (Iyengar has them one foot apart), the calf muscles contract to point the toes away taking the ankle into plantarflexion. The quadriceps contract to straighten the legs (extension). Next the palm

Sun Salutation Anatomy Part 2

4) CHATARUNGA DANDASANA - FOUR LIMBED STAFF POSE What follows after the equestrian pose (low lunge) is the most difficult part of the sequence. The pose involves very little flexibility and is more about balance, strength and most important of all, technique. Step back from the lunge and assume a four point press-up plank position. The muscles required to maintain this position are too many to mention. So I will only mention the large more spoken about muscles in the body. Starting with the upper body; the triceps of your arms contract to straighten the arms. The front deltoid and pectoral muscles contract as the hands push into the ground. The serratus anterior (above in red) contracts to s

The Serratus Anterior

Before the second part of my sun salutation anatomical breakdown, here is a quick look at the serratus anterior. This muscle is mentioned frequently in part two so I thought it would be helpful to understand this muscle a little more. The serratus anterior is an major stabiliser of the shoulder blades (scapula). It originates on the side of the upper ribs (image above). It runs between the shoulder blade and the ribs and inserts onto inner edge of the shoulder blade. When it contracts, it pulls the shoulder blade forward and around the side of your ribcage (a movement known as protraction). This balances out the work of the middle trapezius and rhomboids (which retract - or draw the shoulder

The Rotator Cuff - Subscapularis

The subscapularis is one of the four muscles that make up the rotator cuff group. The rotator cuffs are group of muscles that, along with their tendons, pretty much act to stabilise the shoulder. Of the four muscles that make up the rotator cuff group, the subscapularis is the most powerful. The muscle itself originates from the inside of the scapula (shoulder blade) and then inserts itself on a small bump (lesser tuberosity) on the front of the arm (humerus). You can see this by viewing the image above. The job of this rotator cuff is internal rotation (to turn the arm inwards). Problems and tightness in this muscle restricts shoulder function and can play a role in shoulder pain and discom

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