Before I break into my best rendition of Shakira and dance around my room, How are you loves? I hope you have enjoyed a wonderful summer's weekend and soaked up some of that good, good Vitamin D on your bones. Actually, our bones are somewhat of a subject I wanted to touch upon here today.
You see, we talk about how unique and individual our bodies are in Yoga a lot. And while we all appear different to the eye, these differences stem way beyond the surface of the skin. We often attribute our inability to access certain poses in Yoga due to tightness in the muscular body: "There's no way I'll be able to do the splits, my hamstrings/ quads are far too tight," "Legs behind the head, forget it, my hips are way too stiff for that," Muscular tightness of course will be a prominent factor for many of us in determining the sensation and depth of a pose, especially if we aren't committing to a regular yoga practice, or complimenting strength-based, high-intensity exercise with flexibility and mobility work. But what if the practitioner has been visiting their mat daily for years? This practitioner may have moved beyond muscular tension and finds themselves at a standstill. In other words, they have hit compression. Where bone meets bone. That saying; "It's all in the tissues".... well from a physical Yoga perspective it's also in the bones too.
BIPOC communtiesLook at the structure of the hip bones above. At first glance, we might think them the exact same. Both perfectly healthy bone structures, both taken from human bodies. However, looking closer, you'll notice some subtle and some gross structural differences that can play a huge role in how we move in our Yoga practice and in day-to-day life. Factors such as the size, shape, depth, or position of the hip socket (acetabulum) will all play a part in how much internal or external rotation we have or how much we are able to abduct our legs wide (Hello box splits) Just looking at these two different hip bones you may notice the hip sockets on the left are facing more to the side and are a litter higher up, compared to the right side where the hip sockets are facing slightly downwards. Like a little glove, the acetabulum on the right is slightly more pronounced at the front. The shape of the pelvic bowl (The ilium) on the left looks more [food] bowl-shaped whereas the right looks more like a jug or pouring bowl (If you use your imagination) And that's just the hip socket. Looking to the first picture of this post and you'll gauge the infinite amount of shapes and sizes of the femur head (greater trochanter) - the knobbly ball at the top of the leg bone, that inserts into the hip socket. All these unique shapes in our anatomy will affect the different ranges of motion we have in our legs and hips. So, not only are we completely unique on the outside but on the inside too. And isn't that BLOODY FABULOUS! Please don't think of this as something disheartening! More so I think this can be so empowering for us to acknowledge. Perhaps it reminds us of the intention behind what we are physically practicing; A reminder that the physical practice is one part of a very in-depth system. Above all I hope this brief skim of our anatomy reminds us to FEEL our practice rather than fixating on the look of the posture. Want to learn more about the hips? This will be a prominent theme of ours over on the STAND SURE CHANNEL for the month of July when we launch! More details to come this week loves!
*** These images are kindly supplied by Paul and Susie Grilley. Both Paul and Susie are renowned for their major contribution and popularisation of Yin Yoga as we know it today. Their knowledge and studies of the anatomical body stems far beyond Yin and has been a huge influence on the shifts we see in modern Yoga today, from language, queing and adjustments.