Anatomese: Why this univeral language is essential for yoga teachers, personal trainers and movement teachers

Greetings friends,

My social media is blessed with an abundance of different movement teachers and manual therapists, filling my news feed full of brilliant discussions sparked by physiotherapists, chiropractors, massage therapists, occupational therapists, yoga teachers, CrossFit coaches, personal trainers, osteopaths, and many more brilliant, well educated individuals. The conversations are clear and concise even though we all have different practices because we share a universal lingo: anatomical language. This is taught in all academic programs, but not necessarily in basic entry-level programs like personal training certifications and yoga teacher trainings. 


I will hereby refer to anyone that teaches people how to move, be it with group fitness, yoga, personal training as movement teachers.


Below are just a few reasons why learning a new language can improve your teaching game.


In a class or private session, using specific terms, like flex the hips or externally rotate the shoulder, in conjunction with unique language like hinge at the hips and spin the arm outwards will teach your clients how their bodies move - at the joints. With this knowledge, your clients are able to make the best choices for how they move their bodes. As Perry Nickleston of Stop Chasing Pain says, "there aren't any bad movements, only good, better and best."

Discussing concepts with other professionals

For each amazing discussions I've read involving anatomical language, there's one in which people are trying to understand what the other is saying. It resembles this: someone says words like "tuck your tail bone" instead of "posterior pelvic tilt" and "round the back" instead of "flex the spine," leaving everyone to try to figure out in a flurry of confusion what is happening with a student's body. All of this is okay and we all start somewhere, but it could be better. Using anatomese to engage in clear, concise conversations with our colleagues and friends permits more accuracy and understanding, which will, in turn, benefit our students.

Understanding what you see in front of you

Coming back to the cueing convo, knowing the specific directions of movement available at a joint and understanding how to combine them for optimal stability and power, your students have less risk of injury and make better progress. When you develop the words to describe what you see in front of you, your brain can make better sense of it. 

Gaining an understanding of what muscles, joints and connective tissue are doing

Piggy-backing on the point above, when you know how joints move, you can figure out which muscles move that joint, how the connective tissue is stretching and how the bones are articulating in relation to one another. When you know or are able to think through, what's happening, or not happening, you can troubleshoot and have more tools to fix the problem in front of you. The best movement teachers envision the moving skeleton and use their knowledge of anatomy to deconstruct the movement and then put it back together to make that movement better.

These are all complex, multifaceted notions and the only way to begin to understand them is if you learn the language and apply the concepts to benefit your students. We brushed over these concepts in my yoga teacher training but I still didn't remember, let alone understand them. Six weeks after I finished my yoga teacher training, I took the Yoga Tune Up® Level 1 and got far more anatomy knowledge than I bargained for. Level 1 was like a fire hose of brain bombs and body concepts and I was completely overwhelmed. As I continued with my YTU Integration process, I was able to sort through the ideas and theories that I got in Level 1 and gained a much clearer picture of how the body moves and why it sometimes doesn't move well. If you're interested in learning anatomese and how top apply it to any movement practice check out my Yoga Tune Up® Teacher Trainings and the Yoga Tune Up® Teacher Trainings happening around the world. 

Thank you so much for take the time to explore my musings today, much love,