Page 1

You don’t have a soul. You are a soul. You have a body.


Anatomy Coloring Book A Visual Guide to Form, Function, and Movement Kelly Solloway Illustrated by

Samantha Stutzman

Get Creative 6

Get Creative 6

An imprint of Mixed Media Resources 104 West 27th Street New York, NY 10001

Connect with us on Facebook at facebook.com/getcreative6 Senior Editor MICHELLE BREDESON Art Director IRENE LEDWITH Managing Editor LAURA COOKE Associate Editor JACOB SEIFERT

To my mother, who has always supported me no matter what. If not for her strength, perseverance, tenacity, and, above all, patience, this book would not have been possible.

Production J. ARTHUR MEDIA ______________________ Vice President TRISHA MALCOLM Chief Operating Officer CAROLINE KILMER Creative Director DIANE LAMPHRON Production Manager DAVID JOINNIDES President ART JOINNIDES Chairman JAY STEIN Copyright © 2018 by Kelly Solloway All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or used in any form or by any mean—graphic, electronic, or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or information storage-and-retrieval systems—without permission of the publisher. The designs in this book are intended for the personal, noncommercial use of the retail purchaser and are under federal copyright laws; they are not to be reproduced in any form for commercial use. ISBN: 978-1-64021-021-9 Manufactured in China 1 3 5 7 9 10 8 6 4 2 First Edition


Acknowledgments To all my teachers, first and foremost Raji Thron, who has shown me so many paths in the sometimes long and winding road of yoga. My gratitude is limitless. To my teacher Erich Shiffmann, whose teachings are with me every day, though our times together have been short. To Sheryl Edsel, who has influenced my practice and teaching more than she probably knows and to whom I am eternally grateful. Also, I would like to honor this beautiful practice of yoga and all those teachers, writers, scholars, and sages who have come before us and continue to live among us today. And last but not least, to all my students over the years who continue to teach me every day. I am especially thankful for your patience with me when I go off on my anatomical tangents. —Kelly Solloway

Contents Acknowledgments. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 Introduction. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8 How to Use This Book. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10

Part 1 Vocabulary and Basic Systems of the Body. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14 Planes of Movement. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16 Directional Terms. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18 Terms Describing Movement . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20 Systems of the Body. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24

Part 2 The Skeleton, Joints, and Connective Tissue. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28 Functions of the Skeletal System. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30 Types of Bones. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30 Axial Skeleton. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31 Appendicular Skeleton. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34 Types of Joints. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37 Types of Connective Tissue . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 39 Fascia. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 40 The Shoulder Joints. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 42 The Joints of the Pelvis. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 44 The Knee Joint. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 46

Part 3 The Muscular System. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 48 Functions of the Muscular System. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 50 Characteristics of Skeletal Muscle Tissue. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 50 Roles Muscles Play. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 50 Types of Muscular Contraction. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 52 More Muscle Facts. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 54 Neck Muscles. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 56 Shoulder Muscles. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 60 Upper Arm Muscles. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 66 Muscles of the Forearm . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 72 Muscles of the Upper Torso (Anterior). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 74 Muscles of the Upper Torso (Posterior). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 80 Muscles of the Lower Torso and Core. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 86 Muscles of the Pelvis. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 96 Muscles of the Front of the Leg . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 102 Muscles of the Back of the Leg. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 106 Muscles of the Medial Side of the Leg. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 108 Muscles of the Lateral Side of the Leg. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 110 Glossary. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 112 Index . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 115 Pose Index (Sanskrit). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 119 Pose Index (English) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 119 About the Author . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 120 About the Illustrator. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 120 Flash Cards . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 120


The Yoga Anatomy Coloring Book



Introduction This is a short story of your body, specifically how

This book is not intended to teach you how to do the

your body moves in yoga asanas, or poses, and therefore

yoga asanas. It is designed to teach you what you are

how you move around in life. After all, yoga doesn’t end

actually doing with the muscles and bones in your body

when we roll up the mat. One of the things I love most

to properly move and align the body as you practice. It is

about studying anatomy is that it makes me realize I

an introduction that focuses on the fundamentals and is

am quite literally a walking laboratory, and every asana

intended to inform rather than overwhelm. If you want

practice becomes an experiment to see how my body is

to be overwhelmed, you can pick up a copy of Gray’s

doing and how I can tweak things to improve it. Since


the body is changing moment to moment, it never gets old (the practice, I mean!). Over the years there have been many books

For yoga teachers, this book will provide a great working knowledge of general anatomy. I believe that if you’re going to teach people how to move their

published that are geared toward yoga anatomy. What I

bodies, then you should know how the body moves.

have found are some great books, but most are not very

For teacher trainees, this will be a great resource to add

helpful for the layperson who does not have any kind

to the anatomy portion of your training. For the yoga

of formal training in anatomy or physiology. What I am

practitioner, once you have a better understanding

attempting here is to give the yogi and the artist within

of the body, your asana practice can become more

all of us a thoughtful, fundamental understanding of this

intelligent and safer.

bag of bones our consciousness travels around in­—in a

It is my sincere wish that after reading and coloring

creative and fun way. In other words, I’m trying to make

your way through this book that you will not only have

anatomy interesting to the point that you might even

a better understanding of how your body moves and

like it (you have been warned)!

the terms we use to describe it, but that you will gain a

Most anatomy books are pretty dry, and simply reading about the anatomy doesn’t seem to stick with

deeper appreciation of anatomy and maybe even begin to like it.

me. I get bored pretty quickly. Illustrated books that simply show the anatomy and label the “parts” are helpful but still lack the interactive quality that would

Om shanti. —Kelly

help solidify learning. A coloring book that includes the necessary text together with illustrations that could be colored in is a match made in heaven. Having the illustrations in yoga asanas, even better! I have found that actually coloring in the muscles and bones sparks more understanding of what I am reading about. It’s easier to remember and just makes it more fun. I hope you find this to be true as well!

I would love to see how you color the poses. Feel free to share your work on Instagram: #yogaanatomycoloring).


The Yoga Anatomy Coloring Book

How to Use This Book


The Yoga Anatomy Coloring Book

Muscles of the Medial Side of the Leg These are your inner thigh muscles. These muscles range from relatively short to really

I want to make this as easy and fun as possible. Yes, anatomy can be fun. Part 1 will give you the language you

long. Any yoga asana that asks you to straddle your legs, whether seated, standing, or in any other position, will stretch this group of muscles.

need to get started. I strongly suggest you read this section


the medial pelvic bones from the pubis to the ischium and

You’ve got to love the way this group of muscles is named.

they all cross over the hip joint. The pectineus is the shortest

before you start hopping around the book, and the body.

They are named after exactly what their main job is:

muscle of the group and has the most superior insertion

adduction! Remember, adduction means moving a limb

site along the medial side of the femur bone, followed by

toward the center of the body. They help you move your legs

the adductor brevis, then the adductor longus. The adductor

toward the midline, or toward the opposite side of the body.

magnus, the strongest muscle of the group, inserts all the way

There are five of them:

down to the medial distal head of the femur (at the bottom of

It will provide a solid foundation to then explore the rest. It may not be the most exciting part of anatomy, but just as you have to learn a few chords before you can play some beautiful music, you will need to learn some new words to learn anatomy. We will start with defining the general terms you need to know before you start digging deeper into this


Pectineus: This is the shortest muscle of the group.

the thighbone just above the inner knee). The gracilis inserts


adductor brevis: Shorter than the adductor longus, but

medially just below the head of the tibia (toward the top of

longer than the pectineus. l

adductor longus: Longer than the adductor brevis,


adductor magnus: This is the deepest and most

but you figured that out already just by the name. powerful muscle of the group. l

Gracilis: This muscle is unique to the group in that it is the only one that crosses the knee joint.

the shinbone just below the inner knee).

What they do The adductors adduct the hip. This is their primary job. In addition, they medially rotate the hip. Because the gracilis crosses the knee joint, it also acts as a synergist in knee flexion. So now that you know what the adductors do and where they start and end, you can figure out that any asana

book. You will find these terms used over and over again, not

Where they are

that takes the leg into abduction will ask the adductors to

The adductors are located along the medial thigh right in

lengthen and any asana that takes the leg into adduction will

just in this book, but in any anatomy book you read. Without

between the quadriceps and hamstrings. They originate along

ask the muscles to contract.

an understanding of these basic terms you can easily get

Prac t i ce ti p

lost and frustrated. It’s not complicated; it’s just a different

Stand in vrksasana (tree pose; see page

way of expressing what you already know. For example,

as possible. You will feel all the adductors,

instead of saying the “front of the body,” in anatomy the term

anterior is used. Anatomy has its own lexicon, and a confident understanding of the terms will create fertile soil for your knowledge of anatomy to grow. Learn the terms. I also suggest that you read the introductory sections on

F u n Fa c t

47) and get the bent knee as abducted

The adductor magnus is the third largest muscle in the body and super strong. It is one of the reasons soccer players can kick the ball with the inside of the foot and get so much power. This is also the muscle that is most often the cause of a groin pull. OK, that’s not so fun, but worth knowing.

except gracilis, getting a good stretch. Because of the bent knee, gracilis is generally left out of the stretch in tree pose. Then, keeping the knee going out to the side, extend the leg into utthita hasta padangusthasana and invite gracilis to the party. Use a strap if needed. You will feel gracilis make a grand entrance as the stretch along the inner thigh gets emphasized.

muscles in Part 3 before diving into the different muscles. This will give you a comprehensive overview of how the muscular system works before you start picking it apart. We will be exploring the body from head to toe, part by part. We will not cover every muscle, as there are just under 700 muscles in the

Practice Tips Helpful hints enhance

Fun Facts Interesting trivia about

human body (this number is a little sketchy because nobody

your yoga practice, help

anatomy to break the

really knows), but we will cover the major ones. By the end,

you avoid injury, and

ice in yoga class.

it will be just like you completed a big puzzle. Of course, any

deepen the connection

foundation will be stronger if it’s reinforced, so after getting

between the asana and

a better understanding of your anatomy lexicon and a good

the anatomy.

overview of the muscles and bones, feel free to explore and discover this internal world. Remember, you are a walking laboratory; take time to feel the bones and muscles in your body as you read about them. Move through your joints and

or your students) are practicing the yoga asanas (postures).

feel those muscles and bones in action.

Not only will your knowledge of the body grow, but you will

There are many illustrations to color—please do! This will provide another layer of learning that can really help things

have some great artwork to show for it! At the back of the book you’ll find a detailed index, a

“stick.” I think reading is great, but I believe that by actively

glossary of terms used throughout, indexes of the yoga

“filling it in” you will develop a more intimate knowledge of

asanas in both English and Sanskrit, and perforated flash

how this body is put together. Once you have that, you can be

cards you can use to quiz yourself and study yoga anatomy

more sensitive to what is happening in the body as you (and/

on the go!

How to Use This Book

The Muscular System



Poses to Color Detailed black-and-white drawings of key yoga Humerus

poses that highlight the anatomy of the body.

Pectoralis major Deltoid Triceps brachii Biceps brachii

Identifying Labels The names of the muscles and bones described in the accompanying text, as well as other key

Vastus medialis Sartorius


Vastus lateralis Pelvis

Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana

Labels to Color The main terms that are presented in the text

oo-TEE-tah HA-sta pad-an-goosh-TAH-sah-nah

Extended Hand-to-Toe Pose

Adductor magnus

Psoas Gracilis

utthita hasta padangusthasana will give you a nice view of the adductors of the elevated leg

and shown in the pose and can be colored to

Ischium Ilium


strengthen the connection between the names


getting a good stretch. Of course, you have to


Adductor longus

keep your balance as you do it. Yoga is like that;

and the anatomy.

Adductor brevis

it keeps getting you to pay attention. Adductor magnus

Detail Illustrations Close-up images that provide a detailed look at

Vastus lateralis

important areas of the body.

Pose Names Sanskrit and English names and pronunciations

Tibialis anterior


of the Sanskrit names.


The Joints of the Pelvis

The Skeleton, Joints, and Connective Tissue

The Yoga Anatomy Coloring Book


Sacrum Ilium


Side Plank Vasisthasana asks your pelvis to stay neutral and lifted. For most,

Like the shoulder, the pelvis is also more Ilium

than one joint. Most people use the

stabilizing those hips and keeping them from being affected by the powerful forces of gravity is challenging. Keeping your pelvis stabile and neutral will go a long way to liking this posture—and feeling

terms pelvis and hips interchangeably;

strong in it.

however, we want to be more specific. These are your pelvic joints. Sacroiliac Joint The sacroiliac joint is commonly referred to as the SI joint. The SI joint joins the ilium to the sacrum. It attaches the pelvis to the spine.

acetabuloFemoral Joint This is your hip joint. The acetabulofemoral joint is the ball-and-socket joint of the pelvis. The acetabulofemoral joint connects the proximal head of the femur to the acetabulum (a concave depression in the hip). The socket of



Pubic symphysis

F u n Fa c t Pubis


The very top of the SI joint creates the dimples in the lower back.


Pelvis Sacroiliac (SI) joint

the acetabulum forms at the joining together of the ilium, pubis, and ischium—the three pairs of bones that form the pelvis. This joint serves to support the body whether it is still, in motion, or

Acetabulofemoral joint

holding a balance. The hips connect the upper and lower body and join the lower limbs to the axial skeleton. Spine

Pubic SymPhySiS The pubic symphysis joins the pubis bones.


Unlike the acetabulofemoral and SI joints, which Inguinal ligament

are synovial joints, the pubic symphysis is an amphiarthrosis joint, meaning it doesn’t provide a lot of movement. There are also many muscles and ligaments that help keep the pelvis together. The illustration of vasisthasana gives you an idea of how the ligaments start to layer around the pelvis to stabilize the bones as we move them around. A few of the main ones are labeled.

Iliofemoral ligament Pubic symphysis Femur

Iliolumbar ligament



The Yoga Anatomy Coloring Book

Coloring Tips: l Colored


pencils are readily available, easy to use, and won’t

bleed through the paper. Get as many different colors as you can. If you don’t have enough colors to use a different one for every label or anatomical feature, you can vary the pressure or layer colors to create new colors. l Lighter

The Yoga Anatomy Coloring Book

Coloring Tip

Fill in the coloring labels with the same colors as the muscles and bones to help learn the names.

colors are best because they won’t obscure the

texture of the muscles or the leaders that connect the labels and anatomy. l The

main muscles and bones featured in each yoga pose

illustration are listed in type that can be colored. Color these names the same color as the muscle or bone itself. This will help strengthen the connection between the

The Muscular System


muscle or bone and its name. l In

some places, a specific area of a bone is labeled. (For

example, the tibial tuberosity is a little bump on the tibia bone of the lower leg.) These are often origin or insertion sites of muscles that are described in the text. Color them a little darker than the bones they are part of. This can help give you an idea of the texture of the bone. l When

coloring the muscles, lighten up on the color Pectoralis major

as you get closer to the bone. This will represent the


tendon of the muscle. l Color

individual muscles in a group different shades

Pectoralis minor

Triceps brachii

of the same color. For example, there are four

Biceps brachii

quadriceps muscles; if you color them four different blues, you will easily see and remember that they are separate but related. l Some

illustrations may contain bones and/or muscles

that are not specifically covered in that section. You’ll already be familiar with some from earlier sections, while you will add others to


Coloring Tip

Tibialis anterior

Color the areas of the muscles close to the bones a lighter shade to represent the tendons.

your repertoire as you read and color through the book. (Extra credit: Further test your knowledge by adding labels to muscles and bones that are shown but not


labeled!) l If

you go out of the lines, don’t worry; the body is

messy like that anyway. Let’s begin our journey under the skin.

Talus Medial cuneiform Metatarsals

How to UseThe ThisMuscular Book System

Prasarita Padottanasana


Muscular System Rectus The femoRis

Vastus medialis


anteRioR supeRioR iliac spine (asis)


Prasarita Rectus femoRis anteRioR Vastus supeRioR iliac anteRioR Padottanasana Wide-Legged Forward Bend Vastus medialis inteRmedius

pra-sa-REE-tah pah-doh-tahn-AHS-anna

pra-sa-REE-tah pah-doh-tahn-AHS-anna

Prasarita padottanasana is a beautiful way

Wide-Legged Forward Bend

to illustrate the powerful quadriceps engaging

Vastus Vastus inteRmedius lateRalis

Prasarita padottanasana is a beautiful way to keep the knees straight while the inner


the powerful quadriceps engaging saRtoRius lateRalis Coloring Tip thighs and backtoofillustrate the legs get a good stretch. to keep the knees straight while the inner

saRtoRius QuadRiceps thighs and back of the legs get a good stretch.

The rectus femoris and the sartorius both Color grouped muscles

assist(such to pullasthe pelvis into anterior tiltsartorius to quadriceps) different The rectus femoris and the both tendon deepen the forward bend. pull the pelvis shades ofassist the to same color orinto anterior tilt to deepen the forward bend.

similar colors to show their connection. Pelvis

QuadRiceps tendon

spine (asis) infeRioR iliac spine (aiis) anteRioR infeRioR iliac

patellaR spine (aiis) tendon patellaR

tendon tibial tubeRosity tibial tubeRosity

femuR femuR

tibia Pelvis


Anterior superior iliac spine (ASIS) Anterior superior iliac spine (ASIS)

Anterior inferioriliac iliac spine (AIIS) Anterior inferior spine (AIIS) Sartorius Sartorius Vastus intermedius

Vastus intermedius

Rectus femoris

Rectus femoris

Vastus medialis

Vastus lateralis

Vastus medialis

Vastus lateralis

Quadriceps tendon

Quadriceps tendon Femur


Tibialis anterior

Patellar tendon

Tibialis anterior


Patellar tendon tuberosity Tibial tuberosity



Coloring Tip Some areas are part of a larger bone (e.g., the tibial tuberosity is an area of the tibia). Color them a little darker than the bones they are part of.

Part 1

Vocabulary and Basic Systems of the Body It’s important at the start that we all speak the same language. To the layperson, anatomy can sound like a different language, and, in a way, I guess it is. Anatomy has its own lexicon, and without a basic understanding of these terms it’s easy to get lost; let this section be your guide as you travel through this book. Before we start moving around the body and learning a bunch of new words, we need a point of reference from which to start. Here in the West the agreed-upon neutral posture is referred to as the Western anatomical position. This posture is very similar to tadasana (mountain posture), except that the palms are facing forward, whereas in tadasana, palms face inward. Everything describing positioning and movement starts from the Western anatomical position. In this book, we will be concentrating on the muscular and skeletal systems, which make up two of the eleven biological systems. This chapter also includes a brief description of the other nine systems of the body. We will not go into them in great detail, but it’s important to have some understanding of them, as all the systems of your body work together to create the whole you.


The Yoga Anatomy Coloring Book

Planes of Movement We move in three dimensions. We can bend forward and backward, we can bend left and right, and we can twist ourselves up. These are all ways in which we move through space. In this book, we’ll refer to the three planes of movement that the body moves through and how these planes divide the body.

Uttanasana OOT-tahn-AH-sah-nah

Sagittal Plane

Standing Forward Bend Forward bends such as uttanasana move solely through the sagittal plane. In this posture, you’re neither twisting nor side bending.

Sagittal Plane Divides the body into right and left sides. This is not a 50/50 split, although it could be. The sagittal plane can divide the body at any point into right and left sides. It could, for example, travel from the top of your left shoulder down to your left ankle for more of a 70/30 split.

Virabhadrasana II veer-ah-bah-DRAH-sah-nah

Warrior II Virabhadrasana II moves solely through the frontal plane. In this posture, you’re bending neither forward nor back nor are you twisting, except when you rotate the neck to gaze forward.

Frontal (or Coronal) Plane Divides the body into front and back sides. Again, this is not necessarily an even split. The frontal, or coronal, plane can divide the body at any point into front and back sides. For example, it could travel from the top of your forehead down to the front of your ankles, making for an uneven dividing of the body.

Frontal Plane

Vocabulary and Basic Systems of the Body

Parivrtta Trikonasana par-ee-VRIT-tah trik-oh-NAH-sah-nah

Revolved Triangle In twists such as parivrtta trikonasana the torso is moving through the transverse plane. Notice I did not use the word solely to describe this posture. In many yoga asanas, the body may be moving through two or even all three planes at once. In revolved triangle you’re rotating your spine through the transverse plane, bending your hips through the sagittal plane, and aligning your arms (at least trying to!) in the frontal plane.


Coloring in these POSES... will help you get a grip on this concept of 3D movement. I suggest coloring the plane first to highlight how the body is moving through it. Do the posture and notice where you are and how you got there. I like to imagine an invisible force field running through my body!

Transverse Plane

Transverse Plane Divides the body into top and bottom sections. The same rules apply as with the other planes, except that the transverse plane expands out to all sides and does not run from top to bottom. For example, this plane can travel through your waist, dividing the body into hips and legs below and the rest of the body above, or it could divide you at the knees with most of the body above.


The Yoga Anatomy Coloring Book

Functions of the Skeletal System We’re going to read and color our way through the skeleton from head to toe and see how these bones all come together. Every structure needs a good foundation; for the body, it’s the bones. They are the underlying support that is rarely seen but always required and in need of care and maintenance. These are just some of the functions our skeletons perform for us: Support


The bones are built to carry the weight of the body and will

Make no mistake, this body is built to move. And in so many

support you for a long time as long as you take care of them.

incredible ways. Muscles attach to the bones and pull on the

One of the great gifts of yoga is that asana practice keeps

bones to move the body. Through the amazing arrangement

bones happy and healthy. Using the weight of your body as

of muscles around the skeleton we can pull ourselves in all

resistance as you move through gravity will create stronger


bones. Several recent studies have shown that yoga greatly reduces the risk of bone loss. Some studies have even found a

Mineral Homeostasis

relationship between yoga and an increase in bone density.

Bones store calcium and phosphorus to be released into the blood when needed.

Protection The rib cage protects the most vital of our organs, the heart

Blood Cell Production

and lungs. The skull protects another vital organ, the brain.

Red and white blood cells and other blood elements are

The spine protects the spinal cord. The bones act almost like

produced in red bone marrow.

a suit of armor for our most precious parts. A fracture or break to any of these “protecting” bones can be more serious than


other bones because of the vital organs lying underneath.

Yellow bone marrow stores lipids (fats) and minerals.

F u n Fa c t

Types of Bones Bones are usually divided into five different types based on what they look like:

The only visible part of the skeleton—can you guess? The teeth! And they are covered with the hardest substance of the body— enamel.

Long Bones

Sesamoid Bones

Support weight and facilitate movement; examples include

These small bones are embedded in tendons, and most

the femur and the humerus.

resemble a sesame seed. They protect tendons from stress and wear. There are a lot of them and they are usually really

Flat Bones

tiny. The biggest one is the patella, or kneecap.

Protect organs; examples include the sternum, scapula, ribs, and cranial bones.

Irregular Bones Any bones that don’t fit into the above categories. They

Short Bones

usually have a complex or an odd shape and help protect

These bones are located in the wrist (carpals) and ankle

internal organs; examples include the vertebrae of the spine

(tarsals) and provide stability and some movement.

and the bones of the pelvis.

The Skeleton, Joints, and Connective Tissue


Axial Skeleton

Frontal bone Temporal bone The skeletal system is divided into two distinct sections. Parietal bone The axial skeleton consists of the cranium, spinal Sphenoid bone vertebrae, ribs, sternum, and hyoid bone. It pretty much Ethmoid bone makes up the center. The appendicular skeleton is Occiptal bone everything else. So that’s easy. We’ll go into that more later. Mandible Maxilla The Skull Zygomatic bone The skull contains a total of twenty-two bones: eight in the cranium (the bones that surround your brain) and fourteen in the facial area. Nasal bone Coloring in the skull will help bring all these bones together. At the Inferior nasal concha middle of the brow behind your frontal bone is your sixth chakra, the ajna chakra. It is the seat of wisdom and intuition. Traditionally Palatine bone it is the color indigo or royal blue. (See Chakras on page 32.) Vomer lacrimal bone Ajna chakra

Frontal bone


Maxilla Palatine bone

Zygomatic bone Parietal bone

Sphenoid bone Frontal bone

Temporal bone

Nasal bone

Sphenoid bone

Temporal bone

Zygomatic bone

Lacrimal bone

Ethmoid bone Inferior nasal concha

Maxilla Mandible

Vomer Parietal bone Occipital bone

Anterior View

Inferior View

The Skeleton, Joints, and Connective Tissue


Types of Joints We are most concerned with synovial joints, or diarthrosis joints as they are sometimes referred to. These are your hips, shoulders, knees, and elbows, to name a few. Synovial joints are the ones people are most familiar with. The other two types of joints, synarthrosis (fibrous) joints and amphiarthrosis (cartilaginous) joints, offer a lot less movement than synovial joints and will be described just briefly here. synarthrosis Joints Synarthrosis joints are bones joined by fibrous connective

Hinge Joint Hinge joints move through the sagittal plane and can only

tissue, which allows for very little movement. The sutures in

flex or extend. The most common examples of hinge joints

the skull and sockets of the teeth are good examples of these

are the elbow, knee, and phalanges (fingers).

types of joints.

Gliding Joint A gliding joint is formed between bones that are flat or

amphiarthrosis Joints Amphiarthrosis joints are formed with hyaline cartilage, which allows for more movement than the fibrous connective tissue of synarthrosis joints, but these joints still have limited movement. The connection of the ribs to the sternum, the pubic symphysis, and the disc joints of the vertebrae are good examples of these types of joints.

Synovial Joints Synovial joints are the most mobile type of joint. There are different types of synovial joints, but they all have a few things in common. A joint capsule surrounds all synovial joints. This is where synovial fluid is produced. You can think of synovial fluid as WD-40 for the joints. It keeps them lubricated and

slightly curved. Gliding joints allow for a wide range of motion in a “gliding” movement. The movement of your patella (kneecap) is a good example of the gliding joint. It glides along a groove in the femur to allow for flexion and extension.

Pivot Joint This is a fun one. A pivot joint is formed when one bone rotates, or twists, around another. The proximal and distal radioulnar joints are “true” pivot joints. Just by the name you can infer that the radioulnar joint is formed where the radius and ulna meet. The radius literally wraps around the ulna. This joint pronates and supinates the forearm. This is why the ulna doesn’t attach to the bones of the hand, so it can turn the forearm without turning the hand.

by movement. This is one reason sedentary people are “stiff.”

Saddle Joint The most common saddle joint is found in the thumb

Movement also disposes of the “used up,” or old, fluid. So,

(carpometacarpal joint). It got its name because someone

moving your joints is kind of like giving them an oil change!

thought it looked like a rider on a horse.

moving smoothly. The only way to produce synovial fluid is

Synovial joints can be divided into five categories:

Ball-and-Socket Joint These are the most mobile of all the joints and include the hip and shoulder joints. A ball-and-socket joint is shaped basically the way it sounds: the rounded head of a long bone (ball) fits snuggly in the concave depression of another bone (socket). A ball-and-socket joint can move through all the planes of movement; it can flex and extend (sagittal plane), abduct and adduct (frontal plane), and rotate laterally and medially (transverse plane)—sometimes all at once.

This list could be extended much further and the joints broken out into even more “subcategories,” but this should be enough to get you started. If you can get these joints down, you’ve got a lot of the body pretty well covered.


The Yoga Anatomy Coloring Book

Utthita Parsvakonasana oo-TEE-tah parsh-vah-coh-NAH-sah-nah

Extended Side Angle


Utthita parsvakonasana asks the spine to maintain neutrality as you stretch the side body. As you lengthen the side body, the

the ends of the bones that form the joint the same color can help you see how these joints are formed.

disc joints maintain space and provide stability between the spinal vertebrae. The glenohumeral joint in the lower shoulder must stabilize the lower arm, taking weight, while the joint in the upper shoulder keeps the arm abducted. The knee joint of the front leg must maintain flexion and keep the knee steady and aligned, while the knee joint of the back leg has to hold the leg in extension.

Hinge joint (elbow)

Synarthrosis joint amphiarthrosis joint

Pivot joint (proximal radioulnar joint)

Ball-and-socket joint Hinge joint Gliding joint

Saddle joint (thumb)

Synarthrosis joint (ribs to sternum) Amphiarthrosis joint (disc joints between vertebrae)

Pivot joint Saddle joint

Synarthrosis joints (skull sutures)

Ball-and-socket joint (shoulder)

Gliding joint (patella) Hinge joint (knee) Amphiarthrosis joint (pubic symphysis)

Ball-and-socket joint (hip)

Hinge joints (phalanges)


The Yoga Anatomy Coloring Book

The Knee Joint The knee is primarily a hinge joint with some (like very little) rotational qualities. There are three points of articulation involving three of the four bones of the leg that make up the knee joint: the femur, the patella, and the tibia. The knee is complex; it takes a couple of connections to form it. Here they are: patellofemoral Joint The patellofemoral joint consists of the patella sliding along the groove in the

Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) Posterior Cruciate Ligament (PCL)

anterior distal head of the femur.

Medial Collateral Ligament (MCL)

Tibiofemoral Joint

Lateral Collateral Ligament (LCL)

The tibiofemoral joint consists of the

Medial meniscus

femur articulating with the proximal head of the tibia.

Lateral meniscus

Unlike with the shoulders and pelvis, we are going to take a closer look at some of the


bigger ligaments of the knee. They are: l Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) l

Posterior cruciate ligament (PCL)


Medial collateral ligament (MCL)


Lateral collateral ligament (LCL)

These are the great knee stabilizers. They work to keep the knee structurally sound

Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) Medial collateral ligament (MCL)

and strong. Because they are ligaments, any injury will really hurt and take a while to heal. In the case of a tear, even worse. The menisci are also important to the health of your knee

Lateral meniscus Medial meniscus Lateral collateral ligament (LCL)

joint, as mentioned earlier. Always remember, nothing you do in yoga should cause your knee, or anything else for that matter, to hurt.

Posterior cruciate ligament (PCL)

Be careful and keep your knees happy. We will

Proximal head of tibia


get further into the muscles and tendinous attachments of the knee later in this book. Fibula

KNEE (Posterior View)

The Skeleton, Joints, and Connective Tissue


Vrksasana vrik-SHAH-sah-nah

Tree Vrksasana gives the knees an opportunity to both flex and extend. It is in the extended leg that we rely on the deep ligaments of the knee to stabilize the leg and maintain balance.

patellofemoral joint


Tibiofemoral joint Spine Pelvis


Patellofemoral joint

Prac tice Ti p Femur Tibia


Setting a steady, soft downward gaze as you enter and try to maintain

Tibiofemoral joint

vrksasana will go a long way to help keep you Tibia


steady. Don’t forget about your dristhi (gazing points) in all your asanas.


The Yoga Anatomy Coloring Book

More Muscle Facts Knowing a few simple general facts about how your muscles are arranged in your body and what is happening as they move will inform your asana practice and give you a much clearer picture of what you are doing and why. Paired Muscles

Moving the Bones

Muscles are usually arranged in opposite pairs. There are, of

The muscular contraction pulls equally on both bones;

course, exceptions, but for the most part this is how it works.

therefore, it will always bring the lighter bone toward the

For example, your quadriceps (the four muscles in the anterior,

heavier bone. Unless you consciously try to do otherwise, the

or front, of your thighs) and your hamstrings (the three

insertion site will always move toward the origin site when

muscles in the posterior, or back, of your thighs) are opposing

the muscle shortens and contracts. For example, when you

pairs of muscles. To stretch the hamstrings, the quadriceps

contract your biceps muscle, the lower arm will move

must contract, and vice versa. Agonist and antagonist. A lot

closer to the upper arm, because it is lighter. All things

of muscles work like this. They complement and help protect

being equal, the insertion site always moves toward

each other.

the origin site. And remember, muscles do not push, they

Origin and Insertion

pull. ALWAYS. You cannot push your bones away,

When a muscle contracts and shortens, it brings two bones

you can only pull them away. That’s how

closer together; therefore, a muscle must pass over at least

it works.

one joint. Think about it: what would be the point of having a muscle that begins and ends on the same bone? It would be useless! A muscle always starts on a heavier bone, referred

Biceps femoris

to as the origin site, and ends on a lighter bone, referred to as the insertion site. If you know where a muscle originates

Iliotibial (IT) band

and inserts, then you know that if you pull those two points away from each other, you will stretch the muscle. Pull them closer together, you will contract (and strengthen) the muscle. Learning where a muscle starts and ends can take you a long way in figuring out how this body works and how to better align your asanas.

Gastrocnemius Vastus lateralis


Tibialis anterior

Peroneal longus

The Muscular System


Biceps brachii

Adho Mukha Svanasana


AH-doh MOO-kah shvah-NAH-sah-nah


Down Dog One of the reasons we love our down dogs is because they just seem to get to all those big muscles and give them a lot of attention, whether it’s the back of the legs getting a good stretch or the shoulders opening and engaging. Adho mukha svanasana is a must. Here are some major muscles as we find them in down dog. Get familiar with them here, as we will be delving deeper into these muscles throughout the rest of the book.

Serratus anterior Latissimus dorsi External oblique Gluteus medius Gluteus maximus Biceps femoris

Gluteus maximus

Iliotibial (IT) band

Gluteus medius

Vastus lateralis

External oblique

Pectoralis major Triceps brachii

Latissimus dorsi


Serratus anterior

Tibialis Anterior Soleus Deltoid

Peroneal longus Flexor carpi ulnaris Extensor carpi ulnaris

Pectoralis major

Biceps brachii Triceps brachii Brachialis

Flexor carpi ulnaris Extensor carpi ulnaris


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Splenius Capitis and Splenius Cervicis The splenius capitis and splenius cervicis are deep muscles that play a critical role in supporting your neck. They give the posterior cervical spine the strong support it needs to keep our heads screwed on straight, particularly if we are putting any of our body weight there, as in a headstand.

Where They Are These muscles come in pairs and run obliquely, starting in the upper back and traveling up the posterior neck to the upper neck and skull.

Splenius capitis Splenius cervicis Temporal bone Mastoid process Occipital bone C1–C7 T1–T6

The splenius capitis originates along the spinous process of T3–C7 (with some strong fascial attachments, as with all muscles) and inserts at the mastoid process and the occipital bone of the skull. The splenius cervicis originates inferior to the capitis at the spinous process of T6–T3 and inserts along the transverse processes of C4– or C3–C1 (not everyone is the same). The splenius cervicis does not attach to the skull and is deep to the splenius capitis.

What They Do These muscles work together and pretty much do the same thing. When the splenius capitis and the splenius cervicis are working bilaterally, they extend the neck. When working unilaterally, they help laterally flex the head and neck and rotate the head and neck. T1–T6 Splenius cervicis

deep muscles of the neck This detail illustration shows more clearly

Splenius capitis

the origin and insertion sites of the splenius


capitis and splenius cervicis. Keep in mind, there are many more muscles and connective tissue layered all around the splenius capitis

Mastoid process

and splenius cervicis to support either just the weight of the head when we are right side up, or

Temporal bone

a fair amount more when we are upside down. Occipital bone

The Muscular System


Sirsasana sheer-SHAH-sah-nah

Headstand When practicing sirsasana, the splenius capitis and splenius cervicis are essential in stabilizing the neck to protect the cervical spine as it takes on all that extra weight. It is essential to start a headstand practice with forearms down in order to control the


amount of weight in the head and give the body more support. Practicing this style of headstand first will strengthen not only the splenius capitis and splenius cervicis, but all the other surrounding Femur

muscles as well, not to mention your core. Once these muscles get stronger and you are comfortable taking more weight in your head, you can start to approach a more advanced headstand practice. Always remember to relax the neck and allow the cervical spine to decompress after a headstand practice.

Vastus lateralis

Biceps femoris

Vastus medius

Gluteus maximus

Splenius capitIs


Splenius cervicis Occipital bone SPINE

Spine External oblique


Latissimus dorsi

Serratus anterior

Prac tice Tip As you approach more challenging asanas


and you begin to put more and more weight in the head, it is crucial you have the strength to support the weight and

Humerus Splenius capitis

avoid injury. In my experience, anyone who practiced headstands as a kid will progress quicker than one who did not. Muscles remember!

Occipital bone

Splenius cervicis Spine


The Yoga Anatomy Coloring Book

Shoulder Muscles We’re going to focus on the major muscles surrounding the glenohumeral joint and the scapula. Because shoulder injuries are some of the most common, knowing a little bit more about the muscles of the shoulder can help you prevent injury or, if needed, help an injury to heal. Deltoid

Rotator Cuff Muscles

The deltoid is a big, powerful muscle. It wraps around the

The rotator cuff consists of four muscles. Even if you can’t

top of the shoulder from the clavicle in front all the way to

memorize their names, at least know that there are four of

the spine of the scapula in back. Since it goes from anterior

them. And know that the primary job of the rotator cuff

to posterior, it does a lot of things. The deltoid quite literally

muscles is to stabilize the shoulder at the glenohumeral joint

works against itself, meaning while one section is acting as

(where the head of the humerus attaches to the scapula).

the agonist, another section acts as the antagonist. When

The rotator cuff muscles surround the glenohumeral joint. A

someone asks me what the deltoid does, my usual answer is

stable platform is essential for normal shoulder biomechanics

“everything.” Well, it doesn’t do everything, but it does a lot.

in everyday activities and is crucial for high-demand activities,

The deltoid is so big it’s divided into three sections: the

such as a strong yoga practice. The rotator cuff muscles

anterior deltoid, the middle deltoid, and the posterior deltoid.

provide that support. But they don’t just stabilize; the rotator

Where It Is

cuff muscles are also synergists for moving the shoulder in

The anterior section of the deltoid originates from the lateral

almost every direction. The prime movers of the shoulder are

third of the clavicle, the middle deltoid originates from the

much bigger muscles we will get to later.

acromion process, and the posterior fibers originate from the spine of the scapula. The three sections of the deltoid travel down the upper arm and form a common tendon that inserts at

F u n Fa c t

the deltoid tuberosity located

The deltoid is named after its shape—a triangular shape similar to the symbol of the Greek letter delta.

There are four rotator cuff muscles: l Subscapularis:

The subscapularis muscle is the most

powerful of the rotator cuff muscles and provides the most stability. l Supraspinatus:

There is much debate regarding how

in the middle of the upper arm,

much the supraspinatus actually does to move the

on the lateral side. If you follow

glenohumeral joint, but everyone agrees it does help.

the deltoid down from the shoulder, you can feel where it comes to that triangular point at the deltoid tuberosity.

l Infraspinatus:

This muscle in the only one in the rotator

cuff that has an assistant and gets help to do what it does. l Teres

minor: This is the muscle that helps the

infraspinatus. It is the smallest of the rotator cuff muscles.

What It Does

Where They Are

When all fibers are working together, the deltoid abducts

The supraspinatus originates from the supraspinatus fossa,

the arm. When the anterior fibers are acting, they medially

which is located above the spine of the scapula and has a very

rotate, flex, and horizontally adduct at the glenohumeral

strong attachment. The supraspinatus tendon threads under

joint of the shoulder. When the posterior fibers act, they

the acromion process of the scapula and inserts at the top of

do the exact opposite. The posterior fibers of the deltoid

the head of the humerus at the greater tubercle (a little bump

laterally rotate, extend, and horizontally abduct at the

in the bone). The infraspinatus originates at the infraspinatus

glenohumeral joint. The anterior and posterior deltoids

fossa, which lies just below the spine of the scapula. This is

are their own “paired” muscles, while the middle deltoid

another strong attachment. The infraspinatus inserts just

primarily abducts the arm.

posterior to the supraspinatus at the greater tubercle on

The Muscular System


Dhanurasana don-yoor-AH-sah-nah

Anterior deltoid Middle deltoid Posterior deltoid Deltoid tuberosity Clavicle

Bow When practicing dhanurasana, your deltoids have some work to do. When holding on to the lateral side of your ankles, your posterior deltoids must concentrically contract to hold the medial rotation and extension at the glenohumeral joint and stabilize the shoulder. Conversely, the anterior deltoids must eccentrically contract (remember, this means the muscles lengthen, but are still working) to hold the posture. Some yogis like to switch this up and reach for the medial side of the ankles, still working the deltoids, but in the opposite way.

Extensor digitorum Deltoid tuberosity Humerus

Posterior deltoid

Tibia Fibula

Clavicle Middle deltoid Anterior deltoid

Pectoralis major

Gluteus maximus Latissimus dorsi

Iliotibial (IT) band

External oblique


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Muscles of the Lateral Side of the Leg These are the muscles that run along the outside of the leg. Most yogis become familiar with the IT band pretty early on but don’t recognize that as you travel down to the lower leg, you have some pretty powerful muscles there as well. IT Band


OK, I know, the iliotibial band is not technically a muscle. But I

The peroneals are a group of muscles most people have never

think it bears mentioning here because it is so big and works

heard of. And to make matters worse, somewhere along the

with the upper leg in such a powerful way.

line someone decided to change the name to the fibularis

Where It Is The IT band basically starts at the greater trochanter of the

group. For our purposes here, we will stick with the peroneals,

femur. This is that big bump at the top of your upper leg on the lateral side. The IT band travels down the lateral side of

although, truth be told, I do like the change, as it describes where these muscles are located. There are two peroneal muscles: Peroneal longus: This one is longer.

the upper leg and basically ends at the top of the tibia on the


lateral side at a tubercle (bump in the bone). I am purposefully


being a little vague and not using the terms origin and

Peroneal brevis: This one is shorter.

insertion sites because, since this isn’t a muscle, it does not

Where They Are The peroneals originate along the lateral fibula with the

have a tendinous attachment to the bones.

peroneal longus starting above the peroneal brevis. The

What It Does Most importantly, you should know that the IT band is a

tendon of the peroneal longus extends all the way under

powerful knee stabilizer and synergist for hip abduction. It does assist in medial rotation and flexion at the hip as well.

the foot and inserts right alongside the tibialis anterior. These two muscles, the peroneal longus and the tibialis anterior, form a stirrup around the foot. The peroneal

Not So F u n Fa c t A tight IT band can pull on the knee laterally and cause the patella to go off its groove. This hurts. Keep your IT band from getting too tight. Stretch it!

brevis inserts on the lateral side of the foot at the 5th metatarsal.

F u n Fa c t Some people have a third peroneal muscle called peroneal tertius.

They are the opposing muscles to tibialis anterior, meaning they do the opposite. The peroneals plantar flex the foot and evert the calcaneus. Translation: They help point the toes and turn the heel out.

The Muscular System



Iliotibial (IT) band





Parsvottanasana shows off the IT band, the peroneals, and the TFL beautifully. While this posture is most known for the intense stretch it gives the hamstrings of the front leg, the TFL assists with hip flexion in both legs

Peroneal longus

and medial rotation in the back leg. The IT band keeps that knee stabilized

Peroneal brevis

and aligned. The peroneals provide support to the legs and grounding


to the feet as you try to maintain an equal distribution of your weight between the front and back foot. Notice how the TFL muscle just morphs right into the IT band.

5th metatarsal Calcaneus Spine


Tensor fasciae latae (TFL)

Humerus Infraspinatus Iliotibial (IT) band




Tibialis anterior

Peroneal longus Peroneal brevis


5th metatarsal


The Yoga Anatomy Coloring Book

Glossary A



Cervical spine

Moving a part of the body away from the midline.

The seven vertebrae that form the neck.

Acetabulofemoral joint


The connection of the femur (upper leg) to the pelvis.

The circular movement of ball-and-socket joints.

Acromioclavicular joint


The connection of the acromion process of the scapula to the clavicle.

The vertebrae that form the tailbone.

Concentric contraction


Muscle fibers shorten.

Moving a part of the body toward the midline.



The ability of muscles to shorten.

The muscle that must contract as another muscle lengthens.

Coronal plane

Amphiarthrosis joints

See frontal plane.

Joints with very little movement.



The muscle that must lengthen as another muscle contracts.


Anterior (ventral)

Closer to the center of the body.

Toward the front of the body.


Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL)

Structure is pulled inferiorly.

A ligament of the knee.


Anterior pelvic tilt The pelvis tilts forward, pulling the sits bones back.

Located away from the center of the body in relation to another structure.

Appendicular skeleton


All bones except the skull, sternum, ribcage, and spine.

See posterior.

Atlantoaxial joint

Dorsal flexion

The connection of the C1 vertebra to the C2 vertebra.

Atlanto-occipital The connection of the occiput to the C1 vertebra.

Atlas Another name for the C1 vertebra.

Axial skeleton The skull, sternum, ribcage, and spine.

Axis Another name for the C2 vertebra.

B Bilateral Both sides of the body working together.

Bursae The connective tissue found in joints that cushion the area between the bones.

Stretches sole of foot; heel pulls away from the knee and the toes pull in toward the lower leg.

E Eccentric contraction Muscle fibers lengthen while still exerting strength.

Elasticity The ability of muscle to return to its original length.

Elevation Structure is pulled superiorly.

Extension The angle of a joint is increased.

External rotation See lateral rotation.

Excitability The ability of muscle to be stimulated.


Extensibility The ability of muscle to lengthen.


K Kyphosis


Exaggerated curve of thoracic spine.



The connective tissue surrounding every structure in the body.

Femoropatellar joint


The connection of the femur (upper leg) to the patella (kneecap).

Cartilage that increases the surface of the socket of a ball-andsocket joint.



A muscle that stabilizes a structure of the body while other muscles move around it.

Flexion The angle of a joint is decreased.

Fossa A shallow depression in the bone.

Frontal (or coronal) plane Divides the body into front and back (anterior and posterior) sections.

G Glenohumeral joint

Toward the side of the body.

Lateral collateral ligament (LCL) A ligament of the knee.

Lateral flexion Side bend of the spine.

Lateral (external) rotation A joint moves toward the side of the body through the transverse plane.

Ligament The connective tissue that connects bone to bone.


The joint that connects the humerus (upper arm) to the scapula (shoulder blade).

Exaggeration of the curve of the lumbar spine.

Gliding joint

The five vertebrae that make up the lower back.

A joint formed between bones that are flat or slightly curved.


Lumbar spine

M Medial

Hinge joint

Closer to the middle of the body.

A joint that can only flex or extend.

Medial collateral ligament (MCL)

Horizontal extension

A ligament of the knee.

The joint angle between two bones increases along the transverse plane.

Medial (internal) rotation

Horizontal flexion The joint angle between two bones decreases along the transverse plane.

Hyperextension The joint extends past the normal range of motion.

I Inferior

A joint moves toward the center of the body through the transverse plane.

Meniscus The connective tissue that cushions a joint.

O Origin site The attachment of tendon to heavier bone.

Toward the bottom of the body.


Insertion site

Pivot joint

The attachment of a tendon to a lighter bone.

A joint that is formed when one bone rotates around another.

Internal rotation

Plantar flexion

See medial rotation.

Toes point, stretching the top of the foot.

Isometric contraction

Posterior (dorsal)

Muscle fibers are stimulated, but the muscle length stays the same.

Toward the back of the body.


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Posterior cruciate ligament (PCL)


A ligament of the knee.

Closer to the head.

Posterior pelvic tilt


The pelvis tilts back as the sits bones are pulled forward, tucking the pelvis.

Turns palm to face forward or up or turns the soles of the feet in.

Prime mover

Lying face up.

The strongest muscle involved in a particular movement.

Synarthrosis joints


Joints that offer the least movement.

From the Western anatomical position, the lower arm rotates so palms face back, or the soles of the feet turn away from each other.

Prone Lying face down.



Synergist A muscle that helps the prime mover perform an action.

Synovial (diarthrosis) joints The most movable joints in the body.

Scapulae pull away from each other.




Located toward the center of the body in relation to another structure.

Attaches muscles to bones.

Pubic symphysis

The twelve vertebrae that make up the upper back.

The joint connecting the pubic bones.

R Retraction Scapulae pull closer together.

Rotation Spinal twist.

S Sacral spine

Thoracic spine Threshold stimulus The amount of stimulation needed to move a muscle.

Tibiofemoral joint The connection of the tibia to the femur (lower leg to upper leg).

Transverse plane Divides the body into upper and lower portions.

Transverse process The part of the vertebral body that protrudes laterally.


The five fused vertebrae that connect to the ilium of the pelvis.

A small bump on a bone.

Sacroiliac (SI) joint


Joins the sacrum to the ilium.

A larger bump on a bone.

Saddle joint


A synovial joint most commonly associated with the thumb that looks like a rider on a horse.

Sagittal plane Divides the body into right and left sides.

Scapulothoracic joint The connection between the scapulae and anterior ribs.

Skeletal muscles Muscles under voluntary control.

Spinous process The part of the vertebral body that protrudes posteriorly.

Unilateral Occuring on one side of the body.

V Ventral

See anterior.

Vertebral discs Connective tissue between the vertebrae.


Sternoclavicular joint

Western anatomical position

The connection of the sternum to the clavicle.

The reference point for describing where parts of the body are either on their own or in relation to each other.

Superficial Closer to the skin.


Index A

axial skeleton 31

ligaments 39

abduction 20

axis 32

meniscus 39

extended hand-to-toe pose 109

tendons 39

extended side angle 38

vertebral discs 39

extended triangle 20, 100

acetabulofemoral joint 44 acetabulum 44


Achilles tendon 106

bakasana 68

contractibility 50

extending 20

acromioclavicular joint 42

balasana 88

coracobrachialis 70

extensibility 50

acromion process 42

ball-and-socket joint 37

core muscles 86

extension 20

adduction 20

bhekasana 82

coronal plane see frontal plane

adductors 108

bhujangasana 84

cow face 63

adductor brevis 108

biceps brachii 66

cranium 31

adductor longus 108

biceps femoris 106

crow 68

adductor magnus 108

bilateral movement 21

cuboid 36

gracilis 108

bladder 26

pectineus 108

bones see skeleton

cuneiforms 36

adho mukha svanasana 55

bones, types of 30


adho mukha vrksasana 19

flat bones 30

dandasana 43

adrenal gland 24

irregular bones 30

deep 18

agonist 50

long bones 30

“deep 6” muscles 98

amphiarthrosis joints 37

sesamoid bones 30

deltoid 60

ankle bones 36

short bones 30

depression 22

antagonist 50

bow 61

dhanurasana 61

deep (muscle) 40

anterior 18

brachialis 66

diaphragm 78

subcutaneous 40

anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) 46

brachioradialis 68

digestive system 24

visceral 40

brain 26

distal 18

fibula 36

dorsal see posterior

fixator 50

dorsal flexion 22

flat bones 30

down dog 55

flexing 20

anterior inferior iliac spine (AIIS) 102


anterior pelvic tilt 22

calcaneus 36

anterior superior iliac spine (ASIS) 92

camel 86

appendicular skeleton 34

carpal bones 34

appendix 26

cardiovascular system 24


extensors 72 extensor carpi radialis brevis 72 extensor carpi radialis longus 72 extensor carpi ulnaris 72 extensor digiti minimi 72 extention, horizontal 22 external obliques 94 external rotation see lateral rotation

F fascia 40

flexion 20, 23 dorsal 22

eagle 20, 40

horizontal 22

cervical spine 32–33

eccentric contraction 52

ardha chandrasana 35

lateral 21

chair 76

eka pada rajakapotasana 99

ardha matsyendrasana 21, 57

plantar 22, 24

chakras 31, 34

elasticity 50

arm bones 34

flexors 72

chaturanga dandasana 52

elevation 22

arm muscles 66

flexor carpi radialis 72

child’s pose 88

endocrine system 24

biceps brachii 66

erector spinae muscles 84

flexor digitorum superficialis 72

brachialis 66

circulatory system see cardiovascular system circumduction 21

iliocostalis 84

flexor pollicis longus 72

brachioradialis 68

foot bones 36

coracobrachialis 70

clavicle 34

longissimus 84

cobra 84

spinalis 84

forearm muscles 72

extensors 72

four-limbed staff posture 52

flexors 72

coccyx 32–33

ethmoid bone 31

concentric contraction 52

excitability 50

frog 82

forearm muscles 72–73

frontal bone 31

triceps brachii 68

connective tissue, types 39

excretory system see digestive system

upper arm 66–71

fascia 40

frontal plane terms 18

atlas 32

labrum 39

exocrine system see integumentary system

frontal plane 16, 18 anterior 18


The Yoga Anatomy Coloring Book

immune system see lymphatic system

lateral rotation 21


posterior 18

latissimus dorsi 82

malasana 104

ventral see anterior

inferior 18

leg bones 36

mandible 31

inferior nasal concha 31

manubrium 42


leg muscles 102–111

infraspinatus 60

adductor brevis 108

maxilla 31

gallbladder 24

inguinal ligament 92

adductor longus 108

medial 18

garland 104

insertion 54

adductor magnus 108

garudasana 20, 40

integumentary system 24

adductors 108

medial collateral ligament (MCL) 46

gastrocnemius 106

internal obliques 94

biceps femoris 106

medial rotation 20

glenohumeral joint 42

gastrocnemius 106

meniscus 39

glenoid fossa 42

internal rotation see medial rotation

gracilis 108

metacarpals 36

gliding joint 37


hamstrings 106

metatarsals 36

gluteals 96

large 24

IT band 110

mountain 15, 25, 27

gluteus maximus 96

small 24

pectineus 108

movement 20–21

gluteus medius 96

irregular bones 30

peroneal brevis 110

bilateral movement 21

gluteus minimus 96

ischial tuberosity 106

peroneal longus 110

unilateral movement 21

gomukhasana 63

ischium 36

quadriceps 102

muscles, contraction types 52

gracilis 108

isometric contraction 52

rectus femoris 102

concentric 52

greater trochanter 86

IT band 110

sartorius 102

eccentric 52

semimembranosus 106

isometric 52

semitendinosus 106

muscles, roles of 50

soleus 106

agonist 50

tibialis anterior 104

antagonist 50

vastus intermedius 102

fixator 50

vastus lateralis 102

prime mover 50

vastus medialis 102

synergist 50

lesser trochanter 86

muscle tissue (skeletal), characteristics of 50

dorsal see posterior



halasana 97

janu sirsasana 64

half lord of the fishes see seated twist

joints, types 37

half moon pose 35

ball-and-socket 37

hamstrings 106

gliding 37

biceps femoris 106

hinge 37

semimembranosus 106

pivot 37

semitendinosus 106

saddle 37

hand bones 34, 36

synarthrosis 37

handstand 19

synovial joints 37

amphiarthrosis 37

headstand 59 head-to-knee pose 64 heart 24

K kidney 26

hinge joint 37

king dancer 71

hip bones 19

knee joint 46

horizontal extension 22

patellofemoral joint 46

horizontal flexion 22

levator scapula 64 ligaments 39 anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) 46

contractibility 50 elasticity 50 excitability 50

inguinal 92

extensibility 50

lateral collateral ligament (LCL) 46

muscular system 49–111

medial collateral ligament (MCL) 46

functions of 50

N nasal bone 31

tibiofemoral joint 46

posterior cruciate ligament (PCL) 46

kurmasana 81

linea alba 92

navicular 36

liver 24

neck muscles 56

long bones 30

scalenes 56

labrum 39

longissimus 84

splenius capitis 58


lacrimal bone 31

lotus 79

splenius cervicis 58

iliac crest 86

lateral 18

lower torso muscles 86–95

sternocleidomastoid 56 nerve, sciatic 26

iliocostalis 84

lateral collateral ligament (LCL) 46

lumbar spine 32–33 lung 26

nerve root 26

iliopsoas 86

lateral flexion 21

lymphatic system 24

nervous system 26

ilium 36

lateral movement 20

humerus 34 hyoid 34 hyperextension 20

iliacus 86


natarajasana 71

autonomic 26



central 26

pivot joint 37

rotation 20, 21

functions of 30

parasympathetic 26

planes of movement 16–17

external see lateral

mineral homeostasis 30

peripheral 26

coronal plane see frontal plane

internal see medial

movement 30

somatic 26

lateral 21

protection 30

sympathetic 26

frontal plane 16, 18

medial 20

storage 30

sagittal plane 16, 18

rotator cuff muscles 60, 62

support 30


transverse plane 17, 18

occipital bone 31

plank 52


olecranon 34

plantar flexion 22, 24

sacral spine 32–33

one-leg royal pigeon 99

plow 97

sacroiliac (SI) joint 44

origin site 54

posterior 18

sacrum 32 saddle joint 37


posterior cruciate ligament (PCL) 46

padmasana 79

posterior pelvic tilt 22

sagittal plane terms 18

paired muscles 54

prasarita padottanasana 103

lateral 18

palatine bone 31

prime mover 50

medial 18

pancreas 24

pronation 21

sartorius 102

paraspinals see erector spinae

prone 18

scalenes 56

parietal bone 31

protraction 22

scapula 34

parivrtta trikonasana 17

proximal 18

scapulothoracic joint 42

parsvottanasana 111

psoas 86

scorpion 23

paschimottanasana 51

psoas major 86

seated forward bend 51

patella 30

psoas minor 86

seated twist 21, 57

patellar tendon 102

pubic symphysis 44

semimembranosus 106

patellofemoral joint 46

pubis 36

semitendinosus 106

pectineus 108

pyramid 111

serratus anterior 76

pectoralis major 74

sagittal plane 16, 18

sesamoid bones 30

pectoralis minor 76


short bones 30

pelvic joints 44

quadratus lumborum 88

shoulder 19, 34

acetabulofemoral joint 44

quadriceps 102

shoulder joints 42

pubic symphysis 44

rectus femoris 102

acromioclavicular joint 42

sacroiliac (SI) joint 44

vastus intermedius 102

glenohumeral joint 42

pelvic muscles 96

vastus lateralis 102

scapulothoracic joint 42

“deep 6” 98

vastus medialis 102

sternoclavicular joint 42

gluteals 96

shoulder muscles 60

skeleton 28–47 appendicular 34 axial 31 skull 31 soleus 106 sphenoid bone 31 spinalis 84 spine 32–33 cervical 32 lumbar 32 thoracic 32 splenius capitis 58 splenius cervicis 58 sprain 39 staff posture 43 standing forward bend 16, 107 sternoclavicular joint 42 sternocleidomastoid 56 sternum 34 stomach 24 strain 39 subscapularis 60 superficial 18 superior 18 supination 21 supine 18 supraspinatus 60 supta padangusthasana 73

gluteus maximus 96


deltoid 60

supta virasana 90

gluteus medius 96

radius 34

infraspinatus 60

synarthrosis joints 37

gluteus minimus 96

reclining hand-to-toe pose 73

levator scapula 64

synergist 50

piriformis 98

reclining hero 90

rhomboids 64

synovial joints 37

tensor fasciae latae 100

rectus abdominis 90

rotator cuff muscles 60, 62

systems of the body 24–27

pelvic tilt 22

rectus femoris 102

subscapularis 60

cardiovascular 24

anterior pelvic tilt 22

renal system 26

supraspinatus 60

circulatory see cardiovascular

posterior pelvic tilt 22

reproductive system 26

teres minor 60

digestive 24

pelvis 36

respiratory system 26

side plank 45

endocrine 24

peroneal brevis 110

retraction 22

variation 21, 94

excretory see digestive

peroneal longus 110

revolved triangle 17

sirsasana 59

exocrine see integumentary

phalanges 34

rhomboids 64

skeletal system 28–47

immune see lymphatic

piriformis 98

ribs 34

blood cell production 30

integumentary 24


The Yoga Anatomy Coloring Book

lymphatic 24

diaphragm 78

transverse plane terms 18

vastus lateralis 102

muscular 49–111

erector spinae 84

inferior 18

vastus medialis 102

nervous 26

external obliques 94

superior 18

renal 26

iliacus 86

trapezius 80

ventral see anterior

reproductive 26

iliocostalis 84

tree 47

respiratory 26

internal obliques 94

triceps brachii 68

skeletal 24–47

latissiumus dorsi 82

urinary see renal

T tadasana 15, 25, 27 talus 36 temporal bone 31 tendons 39 Achilles 106 patellar 102 tensor fasciae latae 100 teres major 82 teres minor 60

longissimus 84 lower torso muscles 86–95 pectoralis major 74 pectoralis minor 76 psoas 86 psoas major 86 psoas minor 86 quadratus lumborum 88 rectus abdominis 90 serratus anterior 76 spinalis 84

vertebral discs 39 virabhadrasana I 92 virabhadrasana II 16, 21, 75


visvamitrasana 21, 94

unilateral movement 21

vomer bone 31

ulna 34

vrishchikasana 23

up dog 66 upper arm muscles 66–71 upper torso muscles 74–85 urdhva mukha svanasana 66 urinary system see renal system

vrksasana 47

W warrior I 92

ustrasana 86

warrior II 16, 21, 75

utkatasana 76

Western anatomical position 15, 25, 27

uttanasana 16, 107 utthita hasta padangusthasana 109

thoracic spine 32–33

teres major 82

tibia 36

transverse abdominis 92

tibialis anterior 104

trapezius 80

tibial tuberosity 102

upper torso muscles 74–85

tibiofemoral joint 46

tortoise 81


torso muscles 74–95

transverse abdominis 92

vasisthasana 45

core muscles 86

transverse plane 17, 18

vastus intermedius 102

utthita parsvakonasana 38 utthita trikonasana 20, 100

wide-legged forward bend 103 wrist 34

X xygomatic bone 31 xyphoid process 90


Pose Index Sanskrit adho mukha svanasana 55

halasana 97

urdhva mukha svanasana 66

adho mukha vrksasana 19

janu sirsasana 64

ustrasana 86

ardha chandrasana 35

kurmasana 81

utkatasana 76

ardha matsyendrasana 21, 57

malasana 104

uttanasana 16, 107

bakasana 68

natarajasana 71

utthita hasta padangusthasana 109

balasana 88

padmasana 79

utthita parsvakonasana 38

bhekasana 82

parivrtta trikonasana 17

utthita trikonasana 20, 100

bhujangasana 84

parsvottanasana 111

vasisthasana 45

chaturanga dandasana 52

paschimottanasana 51

virabhadrasana I 92

dandasana 43

prasarita padottanasana 103

virabhadrasana II 16, 21, 75

dhanurasana 61

sirsasana 59

visvamitrasana 21, 94

eka pada rajakapotasana 99

supta padangusthasana 73

vrishchikasana 23

garudasana 20, 40

supta virasana 90

vrksasana 47

gomukhasana 63

tadasana 15, 25, 27


English bow 61

half lord of the fishes see seated twist

scorpion 23

camel 86

half moon pose 35

seated forward bend 51

chair 76

handstand 19

seated twist 21, 57

child’s pose 88

headstand 59

side plank 45

cobra 84

head-to-knee pose 64

side plank variation 21, 94

cow face 63

king dancer 71

staff posture 43

crow 68

lotus 79

standing forward bend 16, 107

down dog 55

mountain 15, 25, 27

tortoise 81

eagle 20, 40

one-leg royal pigeon 99

tree 47

extended hand-to-toe pose 109

plank 52

up dog 66

extended side angle 38

plow 97

warrior I 92

extended triangle 20, 100

pyramid 111

warrior II 16, 21, 75

four-limbed staff posture 52

reclining hand-to-toe pose 73

wide-legged forward bend 103

frog 82

reclining hero 90

garland 104

revolved triangle 17


The Yoga Anatomy Coloring Book

About the Author Kelly Solloway is a born-and-raised Jersey girl. She has been practicing yoga since 2001 and teaching since 2003. In 2007, in an effort to escape from the rat race and finally reach the cheese, she decided to quit her day job to go to massage school with the hopes of earning a living as a yoga teacher and massage therapist. It was in massage school that she discovered her love for anatomy. She soon realized that once you get a better understanding of how the body is put together and moves around, the asana practice becomes that much deeper and more profound. And at the same time

very visceral and real. She currently teaches public and private yoga classes at Yoga Synthesis, run by Raji Thron, her beloved teacher, in Ramsey, New Jersey, and teaches anatomy in teacher-training programs. She also runs her own Gentle Restorative Teacher Trainings, workshops, and classes and continues to share her love of yoga and anatomy in the northern New Jersey area. Kelly holds a bachelor’s degree in sociology. She is a registered 500 E-RYT yoga teacher and is a licensed practicing massage therapist.

About the Illustrator Samantha Stutzman is an artist and medical illustrator based in Grand Rapids, Michigan. She studied human anatomy at Michigan State’s College of Human Medicine and graduated from Kendall College of Art and Design as the Medical Illustration Excellence Award recipient.

Samantha completed her post-college internship with Thieme Medical Publishers in New York City and then went on to create her one-woman company: Blue Leaf Illustrations LLC. Samantha is skilled with oil, graphite, colored pencil, charcoal, ink, and digital illustration.

Flash Cards As you read and colored your way through this book, I am hopeful that you learned a huge amount of human anatomy that was new to you. And I hope that you will want to continue adding to your knowledge and really get your anatomy down. Now you can test your newfound knowledge! The next sixteen pages are perforated; carefully tear out each page and separate it into four cards. On the front of each card is a yoga asana with the anatomy labeled with letters. First, see if you remember the name of each asana. Bonus points for knowing the English and Sanskrit names! Test your

memory of the anatomy you’ve learned in this book by trying to figure out which muscle or bone is being labeled. The answers are on the reverse side. Carry these cards with you so you can study them while riding on a train or waiting for an appointment. If you struggle with certain poses or areas of the body, go back to those sections, reread them, and study the labels, bones, and muscles you colored. Even after you have mastered the anatomy, review the cards from time to time to refresh your memory and strengthen your understanding of this amazing body that lies just under our skin.

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Profile for Sixth&Spring Books

The Yoga Anatomy Coloring Book  

In the tradition of the best-selling The Anatomy Coloring Book, The Yoga Anatomy Coloring Book seeks to demystify anatomy for the yoga enthu...

The Yoga Anatomy Coloring Book  

In the tradition of the best-selling The Anatomy Coloring Book, The Yoga Anatomy Coloring Book seeks to demystify anatomy for the yoga enthu...