Determining how one part of the body is moving can get confusing when there are multiple parts moving or the body is oriented in a different way. If how to name a movement gets confusing, just think, "If I were to make the same movement, or activate the same muscles while in anatomical position, what would the movement be called?" For example in Virabhadrasana II the front knee has been flexed and abducted from anatomical position to get into the pose, and the back thigh has been abducted. This is fairly easy to see even without going back to anatomical position. If you don't remember what flexion and abduction are, stay tuned for the next post, Anatomy Language: Part II, and we'll review!
In a more complex example, let's look at the arms in Gomukhasana (Cow Face Pose). The upper arm has been taken into flexion, abduction and external rotation in order to get into final position while the lower arm goes through extension, adduction and internal rotation. This one is much harder to see if you don't take it back to anatomical position! If you break down the action of each arm, you will see that it takes all of those motions to move each arm from anatomical position to it's final location. Now knowing what motions the arms make, we can determine what muscles are involved and then how to prepare for the pose. That's all for now.
Update: see Anatomy Language: Part II.
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