Plane Talk

Un­der­stand­ing the three anatom­i­cal planes of move­ment (sagit­tal, coro­nal, and trans­verse) can help you rec­og­nize pat­terns and im­bal­ances in your body, al­low­ing you to move with more in­ten­tion—in your yoga prac­tice and be­yond.

Yoga Journal - - Contents - By An­nie Car­pen­ter

Un­der­stand­ing how the three anatom­i­cal planes of the body work prom­ises to revo­lu­tion­ize the way you ID move­ment pat­terns, prac­tice, and even teach.


want to un­der­stand how we move—and as we be­come more aware, we head down a path to­ward even more cu­rios­ity and self-aware­ness. I see this evo­lu­tion in my stu­dents all the time. The first spark— maybe some­one re­al­izes she’s tighter in her left hip than in her right - is of­ten rev­e­la­tory. Soon af­ter, this stu­dent may no­tice that be­cause of the tight­ness, she fa­vors her right side. Then she may dis­cover it’s caus­ing her back pain. With each dis­cov­ery this stu­dent makes about her move­ment, she be­comes more con­scious, in­quis­i­tive, and, ul­ti­mately, more knowl­edge­able about her­self.

Un­der­stand­ing how you move your body is key to get­ting stronger, stay­ing in­jury free, and feel­ing more bal­anced, grounded, and (I would ar­gue) happy. And a great tool to help you do all of this is to look at move­ment through the lens of the three anatom­i­cal planes.

Once you know how to work with these planes, you’ll be­gin to rec­og­nize the ones in which you feel most (and least) com­fort­able mov­ing your body. Then you may dis­cover you’re miss­ing whole seg­ments of move­ment in cer­tain planes—knowl­edge that can then in­spire you to start mov­ing in the di­rec­tions where you need to wake up. In do­ing this, you’ll ul­ti­mately learn how to wake up in your life too, help­ing you nav­i­gate this world more fully. Here’s what you need to know to un­der­stand the sagit­tal, coro­nal, and trans­verse planes, and why it’s so im­por­tant that you do.

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