Learn how your body works, and how it can move and feel better!

I teach anatomy, physiology and movement science for yoga teachers and practitioners online and around the world.

Upcoming workshops

Saturday morning class series

Tokyo Yoga

Saturdays, 8-9 am (Tokyo time) from June 6 to December 26, 2020

Advanced yoga teacher anatomy training course

Tokyo Yoga

Module 1: Friday, November 20 to Monday, November 23, 2020 
Module 2: Saturday, February 20 to Monday, February 22, 2021

Recent blog posts

How to sit comfortably on the floor

Many people struggle to sit on the floor. In this post, I’ll look at the anatomy of the hips and lower back to see why that might be, then cover a few tips for how to sit comfortably on the floor.  The anatomy of sitting To sit cross-legged, your hips have to flex, as well as externally rotate, so that the front of the thighs rotate away from the midline,...

Try this tip to improve balance in yoga poses

Many yoga students, including me, struggle with standing balancing poses like tree pose, or vrksasana.  In this post, we'll look at the primary muscle that stabilizes your pelvis when you're standing on one leg, which is called the gluteus medius. Understanding how your gluteus medius works, how to activate it, and how to develop your awareness of it may help you balance in those poses.  How balance works For you...

Should you flex your feet in seated forward bends?

Students often ask me in seated forward folds like pascimottanasana, “Should I flex my feet or not?” The short answer is that there's not one right answer. But flexing or pointing your feet will make a difference, because everything in your body is tied together. There's no one part that moves in isolation from the rest.  Lengthening the back side of the body The Sanskrit name for a seated forward fold, pascimottanasana, translates to intense...

Should you square your hips in warrior two?

In warrior (virabhadrasana) two, you may have heard the cue to square your hips toward the side of the mat, but is that necessary? Is it a good idea? Is it even possible? In this post, I'll look at the anatomy of the hips to answer those questions.  Joint positions Let’s start with the positions of the joints. In warrior two the hips are abducted, which means that the thighs...

Should you keep your spine straight in navasana?

Should you practice boat pose or navasana with an extended spine, or is it okay to let your back round a little bit?  Yoga teachers commonly teach navasana with cues like “Straighten your spine,” or “Lift your chest and pull your shoulders back,” but is that always the best way to practice it?  You may think of navasana as an abdominal exercise, but the primary muscles at work in the...

Does deep breathing increase blood oxygenation?

I’ve often heard yoga teachers say things like, “We only use a small percentage of our lungs when we're breathing normally,” or “We don't use our full lung capacity, and if we could breathe more deeply, we could bring more oxygen into the bloodstream.” But are those things true?  Well, it is true that if you’re breathing quietly, you don't use the full volume of your lungs.  Lung volumes Total...

How many calories do you burn practicing yoga?

Probably not as many as you think.  Does that really matter?  Maybe not as much as you think. Students occasionally ask me “How many calories do you burn practicing yoga?” I often assume that what’s underlying the question is another question, “Will I lose weight practicing yoga?” but that’s really a different question, which I’ll touch on later.  But because the word “calorie” is so bound up with the issue...

Scapulohumeral rhythm: what happens when you lift your arms overhead?

What happens when you lift your arms overhead? Lifting your arm is a pretty common movement—think shampooing your hair or reaching for a can on a high shelf. It’s also common in yoga practice, from the first movement of a sun salutation to downward facing dog and handstand. Unfortunately, there are some widespread misconceptions in the yoga world about what happens during this sequence of events. In this post, I’ll...