Advanced Yoga Anatomy Course

David Keil Anatomy Related Workshops

The advanced anatomy course is is the synergy of all the other workshops I teach. In understanding my own process of development, I first understood the practice and philosophy of yoga. On top of that layer was the understanding of how the human anatomy functions and dysfunctions, distilled in my basic anatomy course. This lead to the ability to observe other people’s anatomy and gain information that could then be fed back into their practice. Last but certainly not least is the way in which we feed that information back into the individual practitioner which is through adjustments of various kinds.

The intention set for this week is to take the student through a process. The first stage of development is to more deeply understand the functional anatomy of the body. The next step is to then observe the anatomy of others, seeing the patterns and the way theses patterns live in everyone’s individual anatomy. Finally is to then assist or adjust the other person and their posture(s).

At the end of this week the student will be able to speak about the body using an anatomical vernacular, know where major boney landmarks are and how to find them, and have a deeper understanding of how the body functions anatomically. The student will also be able to observe the postural patterns of individuals in a non-judgmental way in order to assist that individual in an appropriate manner. Finally the student will then be able to make more intelligent decisions as to how and when to intervene into his or her students’ practice through a variety of adjustment and assist options.

Course Requirements

Although the course is designed for teachers, serious students of yoga who are not choosing to teach are also more than welcome to attend. More important is that any individual coming has a basic anatomical knowledge of the body. The workshop is designed to follow on in level from the “basic” workshop. However, previous participation in that workshop is not required.

On Practice

Part of the scheduling of the practice session will depend on the number of participants in the class. My preference is to divide the group in half to make for a smaller number of students to work with.

The purpose of these classes are for me to observe and integrate the information we’re covering in the lecture portions of the week within the scheme of the practice. The method of teaching will not be a led “verbal” class. Instead, the students will be responsible for working with particular poses on their own, at their own pace, with guidance from the teacher. By reviewing the asana list you can acquaint yourself with the poses before arriving at the workshop. Do not be put off by this method of practice—it is extremely empowering and will allow for a greater amount of individual time for integration of information.

On Anatomy

Although knowledge of anatomy is not required for the practice of yoga as a teacher or advanced practitioner, the study of anatomy helps to bring the body together and clarify points of question in ones own body and practice.

In this portion of the workshop we will dive ever deeper into the human body (deeper than we go in sections of the “basic” YogAnatomy course). We will further explore connective tissue and its nature as well as a guest lecture from three nationally renowned teachers in their field.

We will also do some practical work palpating different structures found on the surface of the body, including boney landmarks and muscles so that we have a sense of where different structures and muscles are in relationship to one another.

During the week we will also visit the major joints and muscles of the body and look at their design and function in relationship to the asanas. All the areas will add on elements not covered in the “basic” workshop.


In order to attend any of the workshops, an application must be filled out and submitted. After it is reviewed you will receive an email confirming receipt of application and details about sending a non-refundable deposit of $50 to hold your spot. Payment of at least half of the cost of the workshop must be received within one month of submitting the application. Any remaining balance must be paid before the first day of the workshop. Click here to submit application.

On Observation

One of the most important skills a teacher can have is the skill of observation. Being able to see what a student is doing and or not doing during a class can make all the difference in a particular pose or in the level of sharing possible by a teacher. Therefore, a major component of this week will be the development of observation skills.

In this course we will build on the anatomical lessons and begin with a very structured, step-by-step approach to “postural analysis”. In these lessons we will look at a classmate standing still using a plumb line and use charts to mark the nuances of the postural patterns in that body. This process begins the development of the eyes in a very organized way.

The next step or level of observation is through movement and we will create the space to observe people as they walk and move through it. In conjunction with this, we will then mimic the patterns that we see in the student walking so that we gain a more kinesthetic feel for what is going on in that person’s body.

Finally, we will take the eyes back to the yoga mat and observe poses as they form (transitions into) as well as the state of the asana (static form). In addition to our observation skills, we will then need our palpatory skills and common sense understanding to assist and or adjust the poses accordingly.

On Adjusting and Assisting

Facilitating an individual’s progression through a series of asanas or depth in individual poses is an important facet of being a teacher. Whether the adjustments are verbal or physical they have a place in the teaching of yoga. From the development of knowing the body more intimately to seeing the body, we then move to touching and moving the body and the principles that support not only doing it in a safe and appropriate manner but in an intelligent way that supports the aim or purpose of a pose as well as the development of the student.

There is no intention to teach a set adjustment for any one pose, instead we’ll develop those principles that underlie all good adjustments. This would include appropriate places to place the hands and understanding how moving one area affects the other. Understanding proper body mechanics to protect you during adjustments as well as seeing the similarities in adjustments of similar poses.

check the schedule page to see if there are any upcoming advanced anatomy workshops.