This blog is generally aimed at the the current Teacher Trainee's, but is something that any regular practitioner or anyone with any interest in anatomy may find helpful. The subject of anatomy when it relates to asana practice is interesting and opens up a number of debates. It can just make the process much more complicated than it should be. Does it really matter what is stretching and what is contracting (shortening)? In many ways it does not. You can have a very enjoyable practise without knowing your vastus medialis from your sternocleidomastoid! What an understanding of anatomy does however, is give teachers the tools to guide students in the right direction and to ensure what you are doing is safe and consistent with the way your body is designed. For example, a teacher understanding that a knee is a hinge joint gives them the knowledge and understanding of how to keep the bent knee safe in Warrior 2. Without this knowledge the front knee could drop in, potentially causing pain to the student. It is for this reason that students are cued to push the knee out and keep it consistent with the joint of the knee.
The following basic anatomical break down of the classical sun salutation should give you an idea of what works and when, helping you to synchronise your mind, body and generally help refine your surya namaskar.
1) TADASANA - MOUNTAIN POSE
The 1st part of the traditional Sun Salutation sequence is Tadasana. Or Namaskar-Asana. Or Pranam-Asana. Different names but all referring to the same standing upright posture.