A mathematical model of effects on specific joints during practice of the Sun Salutation--a sequence of yoga postures

J Bodyw Mov Ther. 2011 Apr;15(2):201-8. doi: 10.1016/j.jbmt.2009.07.008. Epub 2009 Aug 8.


The 'Sun Salutation' consists of a sequence of ten yoga postures, each posture counteracting the preceding one producing a balance between flexion and extension, performed with synchronized breathing and aerobic activity. As this sequence is often performed and recommended by many yoga practitioners, there is a need for the development of a biomechanical model to support its reported clinical benefits. This requires a detailed knowledge of the nature of the forces and moments at the various joints involved. A simple mathematical model based on rigid body mechanics is developed for each of the Sun Salutation postures. Dynamic moments with high magnitudes and rates, applied with unusual distribution patterns, optimal for osteogenesis, are found to occur. Also, the joints are subjected to submaximal loadings thus ensuring that none of the joints are overstressed.

MeSH terms

  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Energy Metabolism
  • Humans
  • Models, Theoretical*
  • Posture / physiology*
  • Time Factors
  • Yoga*