Saturday, November 10, 2012

Hello Youthful Yogis!
You may think I am still getting ready for Halloween with Miss Bony Back up there....but no, I am actually thinking about a little something called anatomy.

Anatomy is the science of studying the structure of something, in today's case, the human body.  Bodies are (of course!) totally amazing and there is a lot to learn in terms of how muscles, bones and other body parts work together to keep us going.

"Can we please talk about anatomy?'s my favorite subject!"

If you go to a yoga class you will hear a lot of talk about the way our bodies are constructed, even though the teacher may never even mention the word anatomy! Some Youthful Yogis can feel a little over whelmed by all the new vocabulary, and it is for this reason that I have designed a new activity that I think will help a lot... I think I'll call it: " Anatomy S'natomy"....or put another way: "What is that part of my body called and why is it so important, anyway?"

"You wanna talk muscles?...just tell me which one!"

OK, so here we go with our very first round of Youthful Yogis Anatomy S'natomy...are you ready? I'll give you the definition of a word, show you a picture of what we are talking about, and then ask you to figure out what yoga pose it relates to. Let's get started!

1)  "Quads": this word is actually short for "quadriceps", a large group of muscles on the front of the thigh.  The quads help with running, jumping and squatting. Strong quadricep muscles also keep our knee joints healthy!

2) Hamstrings: The hamstring muscles are located on the back of the upper thigh. They are super powerful muscles that help to propel us forward when we walk, run or jump.

"You gotta love my hamstrings: they are really totally awesome!"

The word "Hamstring" has nothing to do with ham or string...or does it? In some parts of the world, legs of ham can be seen hanging in shops to dry. The ham is tied up guessed it, string! So I guess there is a good reason why the burly leg muscles that move us around so well are called hamstrings!

Ham with strings...yikes!

3) Calf muscles:  these muscles are located on the back of the lower leg, running from the heel to the knee. Calf muscles are important for walking and running...they also help to support our ankle joints!

4) Forearm: We often think that "an arm is an arm is an arm"...right? Well, there are actually different parts to the arm. If you hear a yoga instructor talking about the forearm, he or she is talking about  the part of the arm that runs from the elbow to the wrist.


The word fore means "before" or "placed in front" I guess it makes sense that the part of our arm that is in front is called the forearm (FYI, the part of the arm that runs from the elbow to the shoulder is called the upper arm.)

5) Collar Bones: The collar bones, or clavicles, run from the upper area of the chest out to the shoulders. Our collarbones often stick out a little bit, and if you squeeze 'em with your fingers you'll be impressed by how sturdy they are! The collar bones help to keep the structure of our shoulders and ribcage in place...yay!

6) Sits Bones: Sits bones, also known as the sit bones or sitting bones, are the bony protrusions on the bottom of the pelvis. Not surprisingly, we feel our sits bones whenever we sit on a firm surface.

 I would not be lying if I told you that, officially, each sits bones is known as an Ischial Tuberosity...and I did not just make that up!!  You may hear a yoga instructor say "press into your sits bones," which more or less means: "sit so that you feel grounded and steady." But most yoga instructors do not use the word ischial tuberosity, unless they are trying be brainy!!

"OK, I admit...I'm brainy!"

7) Tailbone: The tailbone is another name for the base of the spine:

...scientifically, it's called the coccyx.

Yoga teachers often say "Point your tailbone down,"  an instruction that helps us to stand tall and maintain proper alignment of the spine.

"Check out my alignment, y'all!"

Wow, Youthful Yogis, we've covered a lot of information...but we are not done yet! Now it's time to see if you can match the muscles and bones we've talked about to yoga poses that we know and love. This is a "fill in the blanks" activity... good luck!

1) Upward Plank pose lifts and spreads the _________

2)    This fun little pose stretches the _________

....and this yoga pose strengthens that part of the body:

3)  The woman below is doing a pose on her ____________

hint: Popeye is just a little too buff in this part of the body!

4) This guy is probably pressing his _____________ into the floor.

5)  Do this if you want to stretch your _________ muscles.

6) Do this if you want to strengthen your ____________   muscles.

7) This guy really needs to point his________ down!!

Here are the answers, Youthful Yogis...let's see how you did!

1) Upward plank lifts and spreads the collar bones.

2) These two poses stretch and strengthen the hamstring muscles.

3) Popeye's forearms are way too big! And the woman you see is in forearm plank pose.

4) Since this guy looks comfy and steady, he is probably pressing his sits bones into the floor.

5) This is a great way to stretch your calf muscles.

6) The Yoga Dude is in chair pose, and that's a great way to strengthen the quadricep muscles.

7) Mr. Bony Back is kind of out of prepare for yoga he should bring both feet to the ground and point his tailbone down!

How'd you do, Youthful Yogis? Don't forget that everyone gets an A+ on Youthful Yogis fill in the blank activities!

That's all for now, Youthful Yogis. Have a great week...and don't forget to point your tailbone down!

"I am  so pointing my tailbone down!"