Friday, February 11, 2011

Weekend of Yoga Anatomy with David Keil

Whew!...Almost a week back from David's anatomy workshop this past weekend and finally writing a post. A busy week this week of fun (late night out to see a band I love!) and not so fun stuff (dentist appt., car repairs) seems to have swallowed up the days.

I leave every workshop with David remembering why he is my teacher. David teaches with humor, patience and common sense....all three of which are crucial to enjoying a weekend of human anatomy. :)

As a Mysore teacher I generally see the same students in class each evening. As a practitioner, I practice with the same body daily. In both cases, it's easy to fall into patterns, habits and stop seeing clearly. David is a great guide to help me question what I think I know and to help me step out with confidence when, what I find that know, isn't what I expected. What I really got out of the weekend was an opportunity to take a step back and look at the big picture. I've returned again to practice and teach with fresh eyes.

More in the next few days on a few topics that came up during the workshop which I'm still mulling over....but a few anatomy bits from the weekend that stuck with me:

On forward bends: (*waves to Helen*)
-David had 2 things to say that I made a note of:

1) If the hamstring is already torn, David recommends folding forward with straight legs, but not bending as far...not bent knees!

2) To avoid hamstring tears and sit bone pain, he encourages students when folding forward with bent knees to keep trying to actively straighten the legs (without over doing it of course)

There's a great anatomical description with details and an answer to Why? to both of these here:

On chaturanga:
-After an interesting discussion on the "right" or "wrong" placement of everything from shoulders to toes in chaturanga, David made 2 points that stuck:

1) What chaturanga looks like will evolve with the rest of your practice...just like any other pose. The "right" chaturanga is the one that is appropriate for a particular person's body at that point in time in their practice.

2) this--this is a direct quote "The right chaturanga is the one that doesn't injure you."
More anatomy discussion of chaturanga here:

More thoughts from the weekend to come soon!


  1. Hey Christine, thanks for posting this. Going to explore the bent knees engagement forward bend in myself, makes sense. Did he talk about engaging quads when legs are straight? Had read the articles you posted previously, I'm such a geek, lol. He explains things very clearly. Look forward to hearing more.

  2. Hi Helen,

    Yes, he did talk a bit about engaging the quads when the legs are straight. I liked the way he explained it: "work to actively try to straighten the legs". Sometimes students have a hard time wrapping their head around "engaging the quads" (or maybe it's just my explanation of engaging the!) I'm interested to see if I get less puzzled looks if I use David's phrase.

    Good to know I'm not the only yoga anatomy geek out there! :-)