… ass, trunk (as in “junk in”), caboose, bottom, derrière, fanny … how many euphemisms are there for one’s backside? Leave a comment.
Today’s anatomy lesson is on the muscles of the aforementioned backside. Observe:
The most external muscle is called the gluteus maximus. Its fibers run diagonally across the buttock, it originates around the inner rim of the hip (the coccyx, the edge of the sacrum, the posterior iliac crest) and inserts at the gluteal tuberosity. These muscles are responsible for extending and laterally rotating the hip.
Beneath the maximus muscles and with different sets of fibers running nearly up and down, the gluteus medius muscles are responsible for a variety of movement; abduction, flexion and extension, and lateral and medial rotation of the hip, depending on which portion of the muscle is in question. The medius is considered the deltoid of the hip. It originates at the hip between the ilium and the iliac crest and inserts at the greater trochanter (remember that?) of the femur.
Finally, the gluteus minimus, the deepest of the gluteal muscles, is responsible for abducting, flexing, and medially rotating the hip. It also originates at the hip and inserts on the side toward the front of the greater trochanter. If you want to feel the medius and minimus muscles working, lie on your side, put your hand on your hip, and slowly lift your top leg. The muscles that make that happen are the gluteus medius and minimus.
Some yoga poses that work the glutes are locust pose (salambhasana), wheel pose (urdvha dhanurasana) and warrior I (virabhadrasana). I like to stretch my glutes in pigeon pose (eka pada rajakapotasana) and a pose I call turtle pose. I can’t find it exactly at the yogajournal.com site, but this – called easy pose or sukhasana – is close. When I teach the pose, I have the participants sit so nothing is crossing and both their ankles are on the floor. I then ask them to lean forward and imagine that their hips are a bowl they’re trying to pour into their laps, then come up, switch the leg that’s in front, and try again. I can get my forehead to the floor most days (though I doubt I’ll be doing THAT for a while!).
Finally, I get my participants into a lying twist. I can’t find that at yogajournal, either, but here’s how to do it: lie on the floor with your feet on the mat. Put one ankle – let’s say the right one – on the other knee. Scoot your bottom (there are those glutes again!) an inch or so toward the direction of the the leg you just lifted – in this case, to the right). Take a deep breath in, then exhale and lower both knees to the left, keeping as much of your back and shoulders on the mat as you can. It’s a lovely stretch – my favorite, I think. Really – try it.
all links courtesy of yogajournal.com
image credit, muscles
image credit, lying twist
(come back later and I’ll update about my head. Be forewarned (foreheaded?); I’m posting pictures…)