Myths of Anatomy & Physiology

There are several myths about yoga anatomy and physiology you might have heard. This tends to create ambiguity and even a sense of fear towards yoga anatomy. Many regard the topic as complex and too scientific, stopping them from pursuing a yoga anatomy and physiology course. Your introduction to yoga anatomy and physiology probably happened when your first yoga teacher explained benefits using sentences like ‘this posture supplies oxygen to the nerve endings in the back’. Or, you read about it when looking up yoga teacher training courses which highlighted everything in the module. While this might have been interesting, it would have also given rise to the question whether it is right for you.

In this article, we will look at some of the common myths around anatomy and physiology for yoga teachers.

Myth 1: Yoga anatomy and physiology is a science class

You do learn about muscles, bones, joints, organs and systems, however, the modules are all from a yoga perspective. The information and knowledge in applied anatomy and physiology of yoga is filtered and curated for teachers. Teachers study about the body to understand how and why we move the way we move, and how yoga techniques and practices significantly impact health and lifestyle. Functional anatomy is a powerful tool to understand yoga’s benefits. For example, the course will not deep dive into why older people tend to hunch or get shorter. But instead, it will address how yoga can prevent hunching, pain, discomfort and help a practitioner manage aging in a better way. A good course will explore which types of yoga postures will reverse rigidity and the role of muscles in making that happen. Gaining this knowledge will improve your credibility and confidence as a teacher, too.

Myth 2: Functional anatomy is too complicated

For many who are not from a science background the subject of functional anatomy can be overwhelming and complicated. There is a fear, and often, a mental block about whether you will be able to understand and remember the subject matter. The truth is, while it is complex for some, learning yoga anatomy with a good teacher will help you understand body movements easily. One can try to understand from their own body’s perspective and then apply it to yoga practices. 

Let’s look at the fact that there are six basic movements in the body. They are flexion, abduction, external rotation, internal rotation, extension and adduction. Now, it is recommended to always do both types of movements. For example, if the posture offers abduction of the hips (where the thigh bone moves to the side), then adduction should also be performed (where the thigh bone moves towards or across the midline). Similarly, for every external rotation, a counter-movement which offers internal-rotation should be practiced to ensure balance in the body. Learning the basics of these movements will help you craft a sequence that includes all of them, as well as explain the movement and its impact to students in a meaningful way.

Myth 3: A few hours of anatomy classes is sufficient 

It takes time to understand and study the anatomy of yoga. For those with exposure to the subject, it will be easy to grasp. For those in completely different fields, it will take longer. A few hours will give you a high-level understanding, but will not be enough to learn the important names, muscle groups, and basic processes in the human body. Don’t rush through the modules. Even if science and biology is not your cup of tea, take it slow and give it the hours it requires. It’s best to take up the course when you can dedicate sufficient time to study. 

Myth 4: You don’t need to remember names

Some will say remembering the names of muscles, joints, bones, hormones, etc., is not important. The truth is you don’t have to remember all of them, but you should know the important ones. Students will want to know which muscles are getting impacted, or which hormones are getting balanced. A simple way to remember this is to learn the top names from one body part at a time. Spend a few days learning those, and then move onto another region. At least for the yoga postures or practices you are teaching in class, it is good to know the names (and their function). It will only contribute towards improving your credibility as a teacher. 

Myth 5: Yoga anatomy and physiology are not that important

You might be thinking your students are not really interested in anatomy and physiology as long as they are experiencing the benefits of the postures. But over time, many practitioners are keen on knowing what is actually happening within their body during a practice. They want to know which muscles are getting strengthened, and they want to know how Ujjayi (Victorious) Breathing is impacting the nervous system. Even for you, as a teacher, knowing this will help advance your career in yoga and stand out among others. 

This article explains in detail what yoga anatomy really is. Click to read more.

It’s common to feel nervous and skeptical about pursuing a yoga anatomy and physiology course. Our recommendation is to start with learning the basics during your teacher training course, and then explore courses in functional anatomy. This will ensure your foundation is strong and your learning is in a progressive manner.

Contact us if you are interested in learning more about the functional anatomy and discover how it can make you a better yoga teacher. At Sampoorna Yoga Online Academy, you will find specialized help focusing on your well-being and expanding your knowledge of yoga, no matter where you are