This episode is part of a course.
Your Body on Yoga Artwork
Season 1 - Episode 13

Anatomical Planes and Movement

5 min - Talk


Kristin defines the three different planes of the body and them movement within each—sagittal, coronal, and transverse.

See attached .pdf below with Anatomical Planes and Movement.

What You'll Need: No props needed

About This Video

(Pace N/A)
May 27, 2018
(Log In to track)
(No Desires)


Read Full Transcript

As we know, we can move in lots of different ways, and in yoga practice many different movements combine to make up these yoga postures. It's nice for us to begin by defining the ways in which we can move, and in this definition we can move in three different planes. So if I took Eduardo and I cut him directly down the midline into right and left pieces, I'd be cutting him on the sagittal plane, a sagittal cut. Now that could be directly down the midline or like a deli slicer, it can be anywhere along the sagittal plane. And on the sagittal plane we can do movements that are called flexion and extension.

So starting of course from anatomical neutral or tadasana, we could take flexion of our elbow joints. Now flexion as it's defined is narrowing or making more narrow an angle between two bones at a joint. So I'm making this angle more narrow, flexion at my elbow. Harder to see, but take my word for it. This is flexion of our shoulders.

I'm making the angle between the two bones more narrow. Extension is defined as making the angle between the two bones at a joint more obtuse, so larger. So if this is flexion of the elbows, this is extension of the elbows and you might have heard of hyper extension of the elbow, moving beyond what's considered in this average range. If I am doing flexion of my shoulders, this would be extending my shoulders back to neutral or starting point or extending them back behind us, which would be extension of the shoulder joints. So we have flexion and extension or in the hips we have flexion of my femur in my hip socket or extension of my femur in the hip socket.

I also can do, going wild, flexion of both hips, making this angle between my torso and hips more narrow or extension back to neutral or extending further, making this angle more obtuse. So we can move in the sagittal plane, inflection and extension. Now we also could say cut Eduardo into front and back pieces, anterior and posterior pieces. That could be directly down the midline or like a deli slicer, anywhere along what's called this coronal plane or sometimes referred to as frontal plane, but it's coronal plane. The movements that are available on this coronal plane are what's called abduction and adduction.

Now because those words sound really similar to one another, when you're cool in anatomy world, you can use the language of abduction and adduction to determine the difference. I think they both kind of sound the same, but abduct, think of like aliens abducting you. They take you away from the midline. They take you away from home. So anything moving away from the midline is called abduction or abduction.

And then adduction is like adding two numbers together to make a sum. So if you're starting from this abducted space, adduct or adduct back to neutral or crossing the midline, adduction of the arms, we have abduction of the legs, adduction of the legs. And then lastly, we can maybe cut Eduardo into superior and inferior pieces, a top and a bottom. We could do that directly in the midline or again, poor guy, like a deli slicer, anywhere along what's called the transverse plane. The movements that are available on this transverse plane are what's called rotation.

We could simply rotate to the right in the spine or rotate to the left and then it gets more funky in the limbs. In the limbs, they can just, everything's just, you know, wild. They can go laterally rotated or medially rotated, otherwise known more commonly in yoga language, external rotation and internal rotation. We can externally rotate our, at our hip like a dancer might, or we can internally rotate in our hip like a pigeon toe. Now as you know, if you're practicing yoga, these yoga asana are often a mixture of many different movements in many different planes.

So let's take warrior two for an example. If I were to move into warrior two, I'd have to abduct my legs, I'd have to externally rotate my front leg, I'd have to flex through my back knee, I'd have to abduct my arms, I'd have to externally rotate my humerus and then I would pronate my palms to the floor, just another fancier rotation move in the lower arm bones and then I'd rotate my head and neck to the right. So moving across many different planes, doing various movements relating all of my body bits and bobs to one another.


Janet L
Kristin Leal
bodies are cool, right Janet ?!
Stacie C
I am finding myself suddenly falling madly in love with anatomy.
Kristin Leal
It's so hard not too, right Stacie ?!

You need to be a subscriber to post a comment.

Please Log In or Create an Account to start your free trial.

Footer Yoga Anytime Logo

Just Show Up

Over 2,900 yoga and meditation practices to bring you Home.

15-Day Free Trial