Yoga Anatomy Workshop

The yoga anatomy workshop takes your anatomy knowledge to the next level. Be guided through key anatomical principles and concepts that help you see beyond the parts and pieces of anatomy. Instead, understand the integration of anatomy and movement.

Topics covered:

  • Go beyond the overly simplistic version of anatomy
  • Have important concepts and principles explained in simple terms
  • Apply the anatomy to your own practice
  • Understand the most common problems and injuries
  • Gain confidence in your ability to teach
  • Be inspired to learn more anatomy

Outline of  Yoga Anatomy Workshop

Anatomical Ideas
  • description of basic movements in the body and examples in yoga
  • connective tissue as a system and its various forms and purpose
  • how connective tissue intimately relates to flexibility
  • muscular system overview, its workings, function and dysfunction
  • integrated view of nervous system and muscular system
  • overview of the skeletal system
Exploring the Leg
  • discussion of the feet including the arches, ankles and how this feeds the standing postures
  • overview of the knee, its major functions and dysfunctions including the four major ligaments: ACL, PCL, MCL, and LCL
  • the knee and lotus, how it often gets into trouble in this pose, what to do, and how to help others
  • structure of the pelvis including the SI joint
  • The hip joint and what makes it so tight and how that effects the knee and spine
Psoas and Spine
  • naming the various parts of the spine
  • what movements happen where in the spine
  • the discs, their functions and dysfunctions
  • learn exactly where your psoas is
  • find out what the real relationship is between the psoas, energy and movement
  • lean how to integrate the psoas into your practice
Breathing and Arms
  • anatomical breakdown of the shoulder girdle
  • rotator cuff muscles, their function and location
  • the integrated movement of the clavicle, scapula and humerus
  • dealing with shoulder and wrist problems
  • diaphragm anatomy and function
  • relationship of the psoas and breathing

I’ve been teaching this yoga anatomy workshop since 2000. The workshop lays the foundation of information that gets applied in all the other workshops I teach.

The information is always presented in a simple and straightforward manner, as opposed to many other anatomy workshops students have attended. This workshop gives participants an opportunity to understand concepts and principles that apply directly to yoga and are often talked about but less often fully understood.

The yoga anatomy workshop begins with a fundamental shift in how the body is constructed and how it is discussed in Western scientific terms, which has both its positives and negatives. It’s important to understand how the Western concept of the body can be used to help clarify and process what we’re doing in our asana practice. Combining that understanding with yogic principles makes for a well-rounded perspective of what’s happening in our bodies and why it may benefit us.

The beginning of the workshop also creates a sense of how well integrated the body is and defines the four components that allow, restrict and create movement in the body, namely the skeletal, muscular, connective tissue and nervous systems. Just understanding the nature of these components and how they function together creates a very dramatic shift in understanding movement and the practice of asana.

In the second segment of the workshop we explore the leg as a whole as well as looking at the major structures that make it up, including the foot, ankle, knee, and hip joint.

In the foot we look at the arches, how they develop and play themselves out in our practice and what they represent. With the knee we focus on structure and function of this somewhat vulnerable joint and to that end we look closely at its dysfunctions, how they show themselves in the practice, and what to do with it in the practice to prevent further dysfunction.

In the third segment of the yoga anatomy workshop we bring our focus to the center of our body’s structure, the spine and the psoas. The spine is the central structure of our torso and the line along which the energetic centers of the body align themselves. As a result, understanding the movements, structures and functions of this joint become essential on all levels of the practice of asana. Movements of the spine and the asanas that go with it can have a significant impact on the movement of energy in the body.

Tying into this idea is the psoas muscle that would be considered the single most important structural and postural muscle of the body. It is located around some of the most important of the energetic centers, and sandwiches the spine on either side, initiating flexion or forward movement of the legs. This is also where we explore the functional bandhas that are used in practicing asana.

The last segment of the workshop covers breath and arms. Breathing is fundamental to life as only a few minutes without it can put is in a very precarious situation. Breath is also an important focal point for concentration and meditation and is one of the most commonly used elements used to bridge together mind and body. It is also where the bandhas are further fleshed out as a mechanism of the breath.

The shoulders and arms are our most mobile elements, with increased range of motion comes a loss of stability and more muscular effort to find it. Understanding the complicated combinations of joints at that create the shoulder girdle is the main focus here until we get down to the hand and wrist where common strain may be a problem for practitioners.