Functional Yin Yoga
Functional Yin Yoga is all about acknowledging skeletal differences.
Within the spine, there are 33 individual vertebrae.
Cervical spine – connects the skull to thoracic spine = 7 vertebrae, C1-C7.
Thoracic spine = 12 vertebrae T1-T12 & also connect to the ribcage.
Lumbar = 5 vertebrae L1-L5 & connect to the pelvis.
Sacrum bone = 5 bones, connects to the 4 coccyx vertebrae (tailbone).
Backbends primarily involve bending in the lumbar spine, & the degree of flexibility in this area is influenced by the unique shape of our vertebrae.
In Functional Yin yoga anatomy, it’s crucial to recognize the significant role played by our unique bone structure in safely accessing poses like Lotus. Positioning our Femur bones within the hip socket is instrumental in facilitating hip joint movements, including flexion, extension, & rotation.
When we discuss hip internal & external rotation, we focus on the actions occurring at the hip joint rather than fixating on the foot’s movements.
During internal rotation, the inner thighs gracefully roll inward towards the back….
Observe the intriguing contrast between these two femurs, our thigh bones. This captivating image, courtesy of Paul Grilley, beautifully illustrates the inherent diversity found within our bone structures. It is a compelling explanation for why each individual’s expression of yoga poses is inherently unique & distinct.
If our bones are different, this also means our joints can have VARYING ranges of movement.
Within the Functional Yin yoga approach, we embrace the significance of skeletal variations, which prompts us to frequently inquire, “How does it feel?” instead of fixating solely on aesthetic alignment or the outward appearance of a pose. We emphasize understanding where you experience sensations & stress within a pose.
The human body’s skeletal framework varies among individuals, impacting bone & joint shape, size, & orientation. Yoga poses often demand a wide range of motion, particularly in the hips & shoulders, which can be challenging for those with structural limitations resulting from bone composition.
For instance, individuals with shallow hip sockets may struggle with the deep hip external rotation required in poses like Shoelace.
Yin yoga is distinct from many other styles of yoga, particularly in its approach to alignment. Unlike more active forms of yoga, Yin yoga deliberately avoids strict alignment principles. Here’s why alignment isn’t emphasized in Yin yoga –