Doug Keller

The evolution of yoga has brought us to understand that meditation, as its foundation, is not the absence of thought, but rather the presence of awareness.
Creative action in a world understood as a manifestation of consciousness is not a contradiction of the steady, peaceful awareness described as the state of yoga, but it’s fulfilment. The path inward from the world is equally the path outward into the world.


Asana practice has evolved; from from ascetic practices focused on penance,  to seated practice to facilitate meditation, and finally to non-seated, physically challenging practices emphasising strength and flexibility while touting health benefits.

The ‘therapeutic wisdom’ of modern asana practice has further evolved to emphasise functional movement  — despite the fact that it also retains some of its extravagant and performative aspects rooted in its ascetic past. 

The benefits and purpose of asana — when cited these days — refer us to real-world situational biomechanics and practical health benefits, especially as they are used to address pain and function, particularly as these issues arise in day-to-day life.

Modern understanding of myofascial connections within the fascial web of the body — which echos yogic insights into the ‘subtle body’ and marma — has greatly helped this evolving connection between asana and functional movement. This asana session with Doug Keller will explore one specific aspect of our myofascial understanding of the ‘yoga body:’ what Tom Myers identified in his ‘Anatomy Trains’ as ‘Functional Lines,’ and Doug has dubbed as the ‘Kriya Sutras’ or lines for action in asana.

After a clear and straightforward introduction of these lines and how they deepen, clarify and  reinforce some common yoga instructions (while calling some others into question), these ideas will be put to work in an all-levels yoga practice with special focus on the health of the low back and the muscles surrounding it. This will provide new inspiration and tools for yoga teachers as well as inquisitive yoga students! 


Iconic representations of yoga — in seated poses as well as ‘advanced’ asanas going back to the 17th century and beyond — show us extraordinary challenges being placed upon the knees. Imagine what the prospects for yoga must seem to an aspiring practitioner with uncooperative knees! Even in the case of a more modest and realistic practice, the knees often have to negotiate between rigid (and sometimes misconceived) ideas about foot placement and demands for ‘hip opening, and suffer from the neglect.

While yoga most often seems like a challenge (and risk) to the knees, it can also be approached as an opportunity for improvement!

This asana practice session will start out with a look at the foundation — the feet. Foot actions, remedial exercises and issues of tightness relevant to problems of plantar fasciitis and the Achilles tendon and overall ankle restrictions that impact the knees will be highlighted, and how these impact the knees. 

This will naturally lead to looking at some key factors in the knees themselves which often vary from one person to the next, and how to work with them in asana, recogniSing the three-dimensional and spiralling relationship between feet and knees that promote knee health as well as safe and healthy ‘opening’ of the hips.

These ideas will be put to good use in an all-levels asana practice, with some suggestions of some key ‘bandhas’ to practice in the feet and knees to promote the safety and health of these joints.



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.

Read more: