These images demonstrate the terminology for identifying body locations in yoga postures. Note that some of the terms are interchangeable. For example, an anterior structure (such as the chest) in utkatasana is also ventral.
1) The sternum is medial to the shoulder.
2) The shoulder is lateral to the sternum.
3) The shoulder is proximal.
4) The hand is distal.
5) The head it superior to the feet.
6) The feet are inferior to the head.
7) The chest Is anterior to thr back.
8) The back is poster ior to the chest.
9) The abdomen is ventral.
10) The lumbar region is dorsal.
11) The abdominal muscles are superficial.
12) The abdominal organs are deep.
Bone is the dynamic living tissue that forms the body's structural framework. The bones mass is composed of organic and inorganic materials including calcium salts and connective tissue, as well as cells and blood vessels within a calcium matrix. This combina-tion gives bone a tensile strength near that of steel, yet maintains a modicum of elasticity. By aligning the direction of the force of gravity along th®.major axis of the bones, we can access this strength in yoga postures.
Regular practice«^yoga is beneficial for your bones because healthy stresses are applied in a variety of unusual directions. This strengthens bones, which remodel in response to stress by depositing layers of calcium into the bone matrix. Like a physiological yin/yang, lack of healthy stress on bones weakens them.
Bones are also the body's reservoir for calcium, critical in a variety of physiological functions including muscle contraction. The concentration of calcium in the body is tightly regulated through a complex interplay between the skeletal, endocrine and excretory systems. This involves feedback loops between the parathyroid gland, the kidneys, the intestines, the skin, the liver and the bones.
Bone mass decreases in osteoporosis. This age related decrease is associated with the loss of estrogen in post-meno pausal women. Studies have demonstrated that resistance type exercise maintains bone mass. Accordingly, it is reasonable to conclude that the various healthy stresses that yoga practice applies across the bones may aid preventing osteo porosis.
The bones of the skeleton link together at the joints and act as levers for the muscles that cross the joints. Consciously contracting and relaxing these skeletal muscles moves the body into the various yoga postures.
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