Yoga Instruction


Anatomy of Movement Training For Yoga Teachers

Anatomical terms of movement are used to describe the actions of muscles on the skeleton. Muscles contract to produce movement at joints – where two or more bones meet.
As in anatomical terms of location, the terms used assume that the body starts in the anatomical position. Most movements have an opposite – they have been paired up for ease of understanding.

Yoga Instruction


Medial and Lateral Rotation

Medial and lateral rotation describe movement of the limbs around their long axis:

  • Medial rotationis a rotating movement towards the midline.
  • Lateral rotation is a rotating movement away from the midline.

Elevation and Depression

Elevation refers to movement in a superior direction (e.g shoulder shrug), depression refers to movement in an inferior direction

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Pronation and Supination

This is easily confused with medial and lateral rotation – but the difference is that pronation and supination can occur only when the forearm in semi-flexed.

  • Pronationmoves the palm of the hand so that it is facing posteriorly (your forearms are pronated when typing on a keyboard).
  • Supination moves the palm of the hand so that it is facing anteriorly (your hands are supinated when holding a bowl of soup).

Dorsiflexion and Plantarflexion

Dorsiflexion and plantarflexion are terms used to describe movements at the ankle. They refer to the two surfaces of the foot; the dorsum (superior surface) and the plantar surface (the sole).

  • Dorsiflexionrefers to flexion at the ankle, so that the foot points more superiorly
  • Plantarflexionrefers extension at the ankle, so that the foot points more inferiorly

Opposition and Reposition

A pair of movements unique to humans, these apply to some additional movements that the hand and thumb carry out

  • Oppositionbrings the thumb and little finger together.
  • Repositionis a movement that places the thumb and the little finger away from each other.