The Therapeutic Wisdom of Yoga: Our Myofascial Map for Effective Yoga

The focus for this year’s annual online Therapeutic Wisdom of Yoga training will be to dig deep into the practical applications of the myofascial ‘Sutras’ that are at the heart of our understanding of asana practice.

Doug Keller Yoga Teacher.

A training-intensive for yoga teachers and inquiring students

The focus for this year’s annual online August training on the Therapeutic Wisdom of Yoga will be to dig deep into practical applications of the myofascial ‘Sutras’ that are at the heart of our understanding of asana practice.

The ‘Sutras’ - based on Tom Myers’ work Anatomy Trains - describe the interconnectedness of muscles that help us to understand areas of common pain patterns, and how and why pain and inflammation from stress in these areas arises. The goal is to clearly describe principles for practice of asana that reduce these stresses and support the body’s natural process of self-healing. And this is ultimately about aging well.

The process of aging well is a lifelong challenge, and the fascial element of our understanding of the Sutras is especially important for understanding aging and its challenges, which can be offset by yoga, when yoga is understood properly. The companion to the physical focus on asana will be an additional daily segment entitled ‘Yoga Reconsidered’ — a discussion of the therapeutic problem of suffering.

Yoga has from its inception been concerned with the problem of suffering, but largely dealt with it on an existential level, concerned with the destiny of the soul. While this concern remains, for yoga to be relevant and truly ‘therapeutic’ in modern times, we need to ‘update’ our understanding of suffering. Modern yoga can and should focus on the sources of suffering in habits and patterns fostered by modern culture, and get specific about how these patterns can be addressed through yoga practices.

The tools for this are implicit in the tradition, but need to be teased out and elaborated upon to address modern life.This discussion will be organized according to the yogic idea of the ‘Vayus,’ their relationship to ournervous system, and how each Vayu or aspect of wellness is addressed through yoga practice. This is meant especially to address the challenge of aging well, since support for the Vayus through yoga is fundamental to reducing and slowing the deterioration of age.

To round out the day, the ‘practice’ part of these sessions will centre on guided pranayama practice linked to the Vayus.

Who is this for?

This training is for yoga teachers, yoga therapists and other professionals working with the human body.

For those who have taken this annual training in the past, this will be a refresher and an update, with fresh perspectives for moving forward as teachers in step with our times.

For those joining us for the first time, this will be an accessible introduction to a very modern and practical perspective on yoga. New teachers have comfortably put ideas from the training to use right away, and continued contemplation on the themes of the training has nourished their teaching for years afterward.

Daily Schedule

All sessions are recorded with high quality video and sound, and the recordings will be available for a year — and can be downloaded to keep indefinitely.

The Zoom recording will be immediately available for those who are not able to make the sessions (such as because of time differences); the high quality edited versions will be available through Vimeo, and are usually ready within 24 hours of the broadcast.

15:30-16:30 UK time Each day will begin with a live guided practice session that introduces practical ideas for teaching derived from the day’s theme, giving you an experience of how they can be put to use.

16:30-17:15 UK time Break

17:15-20:45 UK time The main lecture will focus on the themes listed below, with further ideas for how the insights derived from them can be put to use.

20:45-21:15 UK time Break

21:15-23:00 UK time The ‘Yoga Reconsidered’ Sessions, which will include pranayama

Detailed daily material breakdown:

*You may buy recording access to the sessions that have already taken place.

Day 1: The Primacy of the Joints, and the Dynamics of Action and Stability

Before we can even talk about muscles, our first principle must be ‘Joint Play.’ If there is not proper freedom of movement in the joints, the natural reflexes of the body reduce both flexibility and strength in the muscles that attempt to move them. This increases stress on the tendons crossing the joints when we try to stretch the muscles, and is the root of pain problems arising from muscle spasms.

With an understanding of joints as a foundation, the focus will be on the myofascial lines of the back body (Paschima Sutra) and front body (Purva Sutra), both in stable posture and in movement. This is the initial context for understanding connections between foot, knee, hip, and low back problems, as well as the dynamics of forward bending and back bending.

Day 2: The Layers of the ‘Core’ — Sacral and Back Health

To the front and back sutras of Day 1 will be added the influence of the ‘Core’ — both the layers of the abdominals and the role of the psoas (and overall Madhya Sutra), as well as the stability provided by the abductors and side body (Parsva Sutra).

This will deepen and continue our treatment of the low back from the first day, and further explorelow back and sacroiliac health, which will include the role of the psoas, QL, and piriformis — and related pain problems.

Day 3: Spirals — Tensegrity and Joint Health through Natural Twisting Actions

The ‘Spiral’ or Parivritta Sutra forms a double-helix surrounding the legs, torso, and neck, and governs the spirals or twists of myofascia surrounding the feet, ankles, knees, hips and sacrum upto the neck and shoulders — all of which are essential for maintaining the stable space or ‘tensegrity’ of these joints.

An understanding of this Sutra is vital to understanding twists in yoga, from head to toe and back again, and their essential role in joint health — as well as for understanding the pain problems caused by imbalanced postural rotations. Understanding this Sutra goes far in helping us overcome those problems!

Day 4: The Shoulder Sutras: Influences on Shoulder and Neck Health

The Spirals that maintain the functional health of the body are intimately tied through layers of muscle to the shoulders and neck. The Shoulder Sutras, both ‘deep’ and ‘superficial,’ will be laid out in a way that helps us understand and address neck, shoulder, elbow, and wrist problems — and how to address them through asanas as well as remedial work.

Day 5: The Torso, the Breath, and Problems of Imbalances

The work with the torso, shoulders, and neck has a vital role in freeing and empowering the full expression of the breath and healthy function of the diaphragm.

This session will focus on the impact of all of the Sutras on the breath, and upon the imbalances that affect breathing and function, which includes touching upon scoliosis and related postural patterns and structural problems.

Asana is a full-body breath experience, as is pranayama itself — and this session will pull together themes of the Vayus from the ‘Yoga Reconsidered’ discussions in a practical, experiential way.


This intensive will be recorded and replay access offered to all students for one year after the course finishes.


You will receive a Yogacampus e-certificate of attendance of 30 CPD hours. The workshop hours are eligible for Yoga Alliance Continuing Education credits and as an approved IAYT (International Association of Yoga Therapists) APD course.

Meet the Teacher

Doug Keller has been teaching workshops and trainings in the therapeutic applications of yoga for a decade, and is known not only for his effectiveness in communicating this ever-evolving approach in these trainings, but also for his extensive writing on the topic in magazines, journals and his two-volume work on Yoga As Therapy. He is also, in addition to his travelling and teaching, a Distinguished Professor at the Maryland University of Integrative Health in their Master’s Degree programme in Yoga Therapy. This programme is state-approved and accredited for granting a Master’s degree in this field, and is fully accredited by the International Association of Yoga Therapists.

Doug has degrees in philosophy from Georgetown and Fordham Universities in the United States, and taught philosophy at college level for several years. He also spent a total of 14 years in Siddha meditation ashrams worldwide. He has produced three highly-respected books on asana, pranayama and yoga philosophy. Doug’s teaching is focused on the yoga of ‘Swatantrya,’ the yoga of one’s own inner expansion and awakening, and is rooted in a vast and inclusive perspective of study and practice that honours the insights of the many streams of wisdom that flow into the river of yoga.

Doug Keller