Bone compression – the reason you may never get into certain yoga poses

 

By @Jennie_Ay

 

Can you get your hips to face forward in Warrior I (Virabhadrasana I)? Are you able to place your shin parallel to the top of the mat in Pigeon (Eka Pada Rajakapotasana)? Perhaps you find it difficult to lower your hand down your forward leg in Triangle (Utthita Trikonasana) or bring your feet up to the opposite thighs in Lotus (Padmasana)?

 

Trying to obtain “perfect aligment” in an asana can be an exercise in futility because the ability to move the body through a yoga pose is not just about the flexibility of the muscles, tendons and fascia in and around the joint. The ability of a student to perform a yoga pose is also influenced by anatomical factors such as bone structure. For example, the shape of bones and the angles at which they articulate to form a joint.

 

External rotation, bone compression and asana alignment in Lotus (Padmasana) 

 

In addition to flexibility, the ability of a yoga student to sit in full Lotus is also determined by the shapes and angles of their left and right femur (thigh bone) and acetabulum (hip socket). Sitting in full Lotus requires the ball-shaped head of the femur to rotate outward in the hip socket at about 115 degrees.

 

Carli demonstrating the correct knee and foot position in Lotus (Padmasana). Carli is able to perform full lotus because she can externally rotate her hips to 115 degrees due to flexibilty around her hip joint but also due to the bone structure of her thigh and hip bones.

Carli demonstrating the correct knee and foot position in Lotus (Padmasana). Carli is able to perform full Lotus because she can externally rotate her hips to 115 degrees due to flexibilty around her hip joint but also due to the bone structure of her thigh and hip bones.

 


External rotation of the hips halts at the point at which the greater trochanter of the femur comes into contact with the superior rim of the acetabulum. Basically, your thigh bone will stop rotating part way into Lotus when it makes contact with the bone of the hip socket. This bone on bone contact is known as compression and prevents any further progression in that particular direction, regardless of flexibility around the joint. 
Accordingly, you may never be able to go deeper into certain yoga postures due to the shape of your bones. 

 

 

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