If you'd like to enhance your practice and teaching by learning more about anatomy and kinesiology, there is one very powerful place to start: study the breath. It's the centerpiece of strength and function and is also an effective assessment tool for the balance of effort and ease in yoga.
Move through the cycle of the breath several times. As you inhale, your hands move down. As you exhale, your hands move back up. It's not uncommon for this to feel opposite. We have been taught to hold the belly in and the pelvic floor up, but the breath is dynamic, not static.
Relax through your shoulders and neck, and take the breath slow and low. Focus around the bottom of the ribcage, 360 degrees. As you inhale, energetically root into the ground (diaphragm and pelvic floor move down). As you exhale, gently draw the energy up (diaphragm and pelvic floor move up). Yes, we often move our arms overhead when we inhale and the energy of the arms moves up, but think of the energy of the breath providing balance by rooting down. At first there will be a lot of thinking, but then move toward what you feel. Find an ease of breath. The breath is our center. It is both automatic and under conscious control. It can lead us to relaxation or increased energy, stillness or strong movement, and it can let us know how we're doing at any given moment.
If you are interested in learning more and experiencing these concepts in person, join me for How You Breathe Matters. We'll explore the anatomy and function of the breath and integrate it into yoga postures, transitions, practice, and teaching.
A student at heart, Jen is passionate about learning and sharing what she has learned to empower yoga students and teachers. Jen is a physical therapist, yoga therapist, and yoga teacher. She teaches online classes and workshops.