Over the next Yoga Anatomy series will explore the pelvis and the movements of the legs within our pelvic joints. These joints contribute a significant amount of stability as well as mobility and range of motion within our yoga postures and yoga practice.
Internal and External Rotation
The two anatomical actions that appear in many yoga poses are often referred to in anatomical language as internal and external rotation. Commonly this is when the thigh bone is rolled outward. Standing in mountain pose now turn your leg so that your foot does not face the front any more but rather turned out, pointing in a direction of the front corner of your mat. That movement is a external rotation.
Rolling the thigh in is internal rotation. Stand in mountain pose now turn your entire leg so that your right foot faces the front left corner of your mat. This is internal rotation of your hip joint.
Rolling the thigh out is external rotation. Standing in mountain pose now turn your entire leg so that your right foot faces the front right corner of your mat. This is external rotation of your hip joint.
These are not the only positions of our pelvic potential. Extension and flexion of the hip and abduction and adduction of the hip are two more movements that define the range of motion at this hip socket joint.
Rather than fixing our attention on the movement terminology, that can become academic at times we want to apply these movements and relate them to our yoga postures and yoga practice. All standing yoga postures i.e.: Asanas require a good balance between these two rotational hip joint positions. Yoga Postures are highly beneficial for maintaining and also improving our mobility. Naturally we will benefit from these hip rotations in our yoga postures as our flexibility improves and it will also keep our hips healthy in our daily living as human beings.