The shin and the forearm each have two bones. The two shin bones are the tibia and the fibula. The forearm bones are the radius and the ulna. The weight bearing bones of the forearm and shin are the radius and the tibia which are larger bones than their counterparts.
- The radius connects the inner hand and humerus.
- The tibia connects the inner foot and the femur.
To say that they are weight bearing bones speaks to their ability to bear but also transfer weight through a series of bones.
Using downward facing dog in yoga as an example of a shape where we bear weight through both the hands and feet, I’d say that a good percentage of students doing the pose fail to align the weight bearing bones of the forearm and shin correctly.
If you are in downward facing dog and the weight in your hands and feet falls towards the outsides of the palm and foot, you will be putting your energy into the smaller bones of the forearm and shin— the ulna and fibula— which aren’t designed to be weight bearing.
What this means is these bones can accept weight but cannot transfer that weight through other bones. In the case of the fibula it ends short of the knee and the ulna lacks the more literal connection that the radius has with the humerus.
When we stand, walk, do downward dog or handstand and ground the extremities through the outer hands and feet, we deny the body the chance to function most efficiently.
Ideally, we gain access to the core by grounding correctly through the weight bearing bones of the hands and feet. The opposite is true as well— we lose access to our core when we ground through the outsides of the hands and feet.
Try doing and feeling both and see what you think.