Beyond Asana: redefining the way we look at posture

Ever thought of using yoga postures to help improve your body reading and functional screening skills?

In our modern era of social media, many yoga practitioners aim to “perfect” a posture by mimicking an image or example from an external perspective. Students are impatient to make a pose appear advanced, while teachers often forgo the in-depth education needed to safely and effectively perform the asana. A key component of the practice is skipped in this methodology. In fact, the most important element of yoga is overlooked here which can lead to misalignment and injury.

This element is biomechanics.

Biomechanics is a discipline in the field of Exercise Science and Human Movement that studies the function, structure, and movement of biological systems. In other words, biomechanics studies the inner workings of different forms of movement through a functional approach. This study looks at how forces are applied and loaded in the body, on a deeper anatomical level.

By integrating modern sports science into traditional yoga practices, yogis and athletes alike are able to not only refine a posture, but understand it. More often than not, a student will learn and practice a pose without truly understanding why they are doing it, and what is happening beneath the surface. We’re putting an end to this lack of information by providing the missing link of teaching yoga from a biomechanical perspective.

The benefits of comprehending biomechanics extend beyond the mat. When you learn to look at anatomy through forces, you begin to understand just how connected elements of the body are, and will look at injury and injury prevention in a new light. From children to professional athletes to elderly people, the study of biomechanics can be applied to any form of movement; minimal to advanced.

To fully grasp the deeper knowledge of a posture, two key components are needed from a teaching angle:

  1. Understanding the benefits

  2. Communicating the benefits

Understanding the biomechanical benefits will be of no use if the teacher cannot communicate this knowledge to the student. Furthermore, communicating the benefits of a pose will hold no real meaning (and can actually be harmful) if the teacher lacks a functional understanding of the asana.