Schottenbauer Publishing

Friday, August 21, 2015

How Is Acceleration Relevant to Yoga?

As one of the slowest sports, yoga may not seem to contain much acceleration. The phenomena of acceleration, however, is essential to understanding the benefits of yoga, due to the effects of gravity. Gravity is the force which pulls all matter towards the center of the earth. On the earth's surface, the pull of gravity is associated with acceleration downwards. Yoga includes poses in various positions, including full and partial inversions. Therefore, various yoga poses engage the acceleration of earth's gravity in different ways.

Consider the following graph of a sun salutation sequence, excerpted from The Science of Yoga, Pilates, & Ballet: Volume 1 from Schottenbauer Publishing:

Discussion Questions
  1. Which direction is initially in the vertical position: x, y, or z? Why? (Hint: What is the acceleration due to gravity at the earth's surface?)
  2. Separate the graph into four sections, based on position. Label each section with one of the following: (a) Bow at Waist with Hands in Front or Behind Legs, (b) Hands Up and Around to Backbend, (c) Hands Up and Around to Standing Prayer Position, (d) Standing Prayer Position.
  3. What are the effects of gravity on fluids in the body (blood, lymph, etc.) during these motions?
  4. How might these differences in acceleration affect the health benefits and/or risks of yoga?

Additional Information

Schottenbauer Publishing