DownloadGet our free ebook: <br/>30 Days of Guided Meditation

Top 5 Movement Science Insights For Yoga Teachers

These are 5 of “the worlds largest” eye-opening revelations I have learned from anatomy, physiology, kinesiology, and agony science that have given me a much different perspective on the body than the one I learned through my yoga learns alone. I hope you find these ideas interesting and inspiring for your own yoga practice and doctrine!

Each of these penetrations is simply my best proposal at a summary and takeaway for yoga teachers who might not have the time or engage to consider these issues exhaustively on their own. There are volumes more to be read about each of these points from primary and secondary informants, so feel free to investigate the links and remarks I’ve included below, or to do your own investigate on these topics to help you come to your own conclusions.

If you’re interested in how one might represent these Top 5 insights in their yoga doctrine, consider trying some class in my online class library, which is a great source of practices from myself and other gloriou science-minded yoga coaches I admire.

Please spoke the revelations below with a willingness to question your own biases and an openness to incorporate critical believe into your approach to yoga and movement. Without further ado, here are my Top 5 Movement Science Insights For Yoga Professor!


One of the core guidelines we tend to learn in our yoga teacher trainings is that after we’ve “worked” or “strengthened” a muscle or muscle group, we should then extend the arena to increase it back away and recover “balance”. The reasoning behind this rule is generally that when a muscle “works” or “contracts”, it is shortening. Therefore to avoid leaving your muscle in an excessively shortened regime, you should match it out by “lengthening” or “stretching” it after you’ve labor it.

This idea would make sense if muscles did merely decrease when they contract. But shortening while contracting is actually simply one part of the physiological equation – muscles direct just as often as they expand extremely. Illustrate your hamstrings and the lane they prolong while they’re working to control your swan dive into uttanasana( standing forwards fold) in yoga. When a muscle toils as it prolongs, this is called an “eccentric contraction”, and we move this direction all the time in our ordinary human progress.[ Ref]

Because muscles can and does in fact contract through all of their compass( short-lived, long, somewhere in between, etc .), it is clear that the physiological opposite of a muscle contraction is not a stretch. With this in imagination, it might be is now time to re-think our classic “strengthen it, then unfold it” regulate!


Last year I wrote a blog upright announced Are Some Shifts Inherently Bad ? which mostly suggested that no moves are inherently “bad”, and the only truly bad fluctuation is one for which your individual figure is not prepared or requirement. But the inverse of this insight is also right. While no fluctuation is inherently bad , no move is inherently good, either. There is a trend in the yoga life toward learning yoga poses and other fluctuations like “corrective exercises” that are thought of as “better”, more “functional”, or “healthier” for their own bodies. But current realities is that shifts don’t have inherent significance( i.e. “better for you”, “worse for you”, etc .) outside of the specific context of who is practising the movement and with what destination in mind.

We honor the complexity of the human body and its relationship to movement where reference is avoid appraising specific yoga poses and actions as inherently better, most functional, or worse than other yoga poses and progress. Context and individualized goals are the main determinants of what makes a movement “good”, “bad”, “functional”, or “dysfunctional”.


We generally learn in our yoga teacher trainings that alignment is important in yoga poses principally because it thwarts traumata. Nonetheless, we’re now learning that the different categories of adjustment, gash, and hurting are not as interrelated as we have previously been taught. Numerous beings exhibit “poor alignment” and are pain-free, while many others exhibit “stellar” adjustment and have chronic ache( and to reach problems more confusing, hurting and trauma( i.e. material shattering) are therefore not ever correlated either .)[ Link]

It turns out that the human body is more resilient and resilient than previous simulations of adjustment and anguish have accounted for. Our body actually has a remarkable ability to adapt to become stronger for responding to the lades it knows( as long as those loadings aren’t beyond the ability of our tissues to withstand .)[ Link] Therefore if we habitually post ourselves in a way that is different from “ideal alignment”, it’s less likely that our person will keep inescapable shatter from the “misalignment” and most likely that our organization will simply adapt to better treat the ladens of this alignment.( This is assuming that the braces in question are asymptomatic and healthy, of course !)

Now in a high-load situation, such as hunker in the gym with a 300 -pound barbell on one’s back, adjustment is undeniably an important tool for belittling jeopardy of hurt.[ Link] Activities like this involve high forces-out that are more likely to be beyond the capabilities needed of our tissues to withstand, and so aligning our braces intelligently is certainly recommended.

But compared to ponderous weightlifting situations, yoga is for “the worlds largest” side a low-load act. Small variances in alignment under low laden been insufficient to cause inevitable gash and injury in most mass. For precedent, if someone’s breast knee strays inward a few centimeters in warrior 2( cracking the classic alignment the principles of the rule of continuing the knee stacked instantly over the ankle ), the tissues of the knee is unlikely to respond to that laden by adapting to become stronger at that slant. And if the shoulders float slightly out of “joint-stacked” alignment over the wrists in board constitute, the shoulders, shoulders, and wrists should be signaled to grow stronger and better able to handle quantity from this new angle.

In fact, disclosing our form to variable consignments like this is actually a great acces to prevent harm because it helps mode our tissues to become stronger at all inclinations, rather than strong in only the classic “joint-stacked” position of traditional alignment governs. I would argue that increasing the ability of one’s tissues to accept onu by strengthening the body at all directions and ranges is a much more effective policy for injury-prevention than “alignment” is.

These dates I contemplate alignment as a tool that will contribute my students send the loadings in their own bodies where I purpose for those working loadings to extend, rather than as a necessary tool for injury-prevention.


This insight piggybacks right onto insight# 3. It’s very common in the yoga nature to pepper our alignment directions with cautionary word, such as “Align your breast knee right over your ankle in Warrior 2 to protect your knee” or “Press your pubic bone into the storey in shalabhasana to keep your low-toned back safe.”

As well-intentioned as they are, threatenings like this can actually serve to instill a spurious impression of fragility in our students, which can counterintuitively result in their experiencing pain. We know now that pain is a creation of the nervous system in response to a perceived threat. And our notions about our person are actually one affect that can directly increase or de-escalate our nervous system’s sensing of threat and yield of pain.[ Ref ],[ Ref ],[ Ref] Therefore the more we trust in the robustness and resiliency of our figure, the more we express a theme of confidence to our nervous system, which is likely to result in lower menace degrees and decreased agony. And conversely, the more we believe that our organizations are innately precarious and vulnerable to gash from low-grade loadings and small micro-“misalignments”, the most likely our ideologies are to contribute to increased menace levels and increased pain.

In warrior 2 constitute, stating that preserving the knee immediately above the ankle is important “to protect your knee” is a potentially nocebic suggestion to offer to our students.( A nocebo is a negative expectancy of an otherwise inoffensive event or action that causes negative consequences like anguish .) Likewise, stating that the pubic bone should stay anchored in shalabhasana “to keep your low back safe” seeks to our students that their stickers are fragile arrangements that will experience injury if their pelvis is tilted a few millimeters in the “wrong” direction.

Instead of using cautionary , nocebic usage about adjustment in our yoga class, consider talking about alignment in matters of what it helps us achieve in our poses. For illustration, in warrior 2 we are capable of say “Keep your front knee lined up over your ankle to engage your lateral trendy muscles” or “Press your pubic bone into the flooring in shalabhasana to prolong your low-spirited back and guide the backbend into your thoracic spine.” These types of clues implement adjustment more for load-optimization reasonableness and less for injury-prevention rationalizations. Instead of instilling a sense of insecurity about their bodies, these types of cues encourage increased mas awareness in our students, which can be confidence-building and empowering.


We often school yoga poses in a way that tells our students which specific muscles they should( or should not) be contracting in particular movements.

In specific framework, proposing which muscles a student should be using at any given time can be a useful type of counseling. But it’s helpful to realize that as a general rule, our nervous system actually does a good job of automatically organizing and coordinating the free movement of persons of our organization all on its own, without requiring much self-conscious input from our thinking recollection. In fact, consciously “micromanaging” which muscles our nervous system chooses to recruit can often interfere with our built-in, sophisticated machine ensure structure in a way that results in less efficient campaign.[ Ref]

With this in mind, here are two clues that are very common in the yoga macrocosm today that we could all use to stop yielding 😛 TAGEND

1) The glutes& aqueduct/ motor: there is no need to tell our students that they should “soften their glutes”, “relax their glutes”, or otherwise disempower the prime muscles of trendy extension that their bodies naturally draft when they lift their hips up into bridge constitute( setu bandha sarvangasana) and upward-facing arc constitute( urdhva dhanurasana ).[ Ref]

2) Arms overhead& shoulder positioning: there is no need to cue our students to “pull your shoulders down your back” when their appendages are overhead. When our forearms lift up, our shoulder blades naturally revolve and hoist along with the appendage flow.[ Ref] This is a normal, optimal change that is often referred to as “scapulohumeral rhythm”, and it is not helpful to interfere with this natural coordinated action by seeking to consciously gathers the shoulder blades down the back to prevent them from lifting.

Thank you for speaking these Top 5 insights with an open attention, and I hope to see you on the matting virtually or in person in the near future!

** Related: Keeping Your Yoga Teaching Current Online Training

Read more: