Yoga Anatomy | Teacher Training | Hybrid

This four day experiential anatomy training offers a practical exploration of how our underlying anatomy shapes the experience of our yoga practice. The training is an open exploration into the structures behind the shapes we make in asana practice and how anatomy can support intelligent sequencing.

Creative Anatomy Yoga Teacher Training | Hybrid | 40 hours

23–26 April 2021 | IN STUDIO or VIRTUAL LIVESTREAM | with Melanie Cooper & Stu Girling

This four-day course provides the perfect blend of theoretical learning, practical exploration and application. The training will cover the main movements in the body as well as the main joints and muscle groups. Expect to explore how anatomy effects the experience of the yoga practice, rather than learning complex scientific names of muscles and bones!

The teaching is aimed more at looking at bone structure, joint shape, muscle patterns and how mental and emotional history shapes our practice. With these ideas in mind we will look at how a deeper knowledge of anatomy can support an intelligent approach to sequencing asana classes.

The course can be attended as a stand-alone Yoga Alliance accredited course or as an optional module on our 300-hour programme

Course Overview

Melanie Cooper and Stu Girling will guide you through this training with sensitivity, patience and good humour. Their aim is to ignite a passion for yoga anatomy and for you to be able to apply this knowledge to your classes in a way that will take your teachings to a deeper level both in terms of working with different bodies and how you might construct a class that has anatomical coherence. The yoga world is evolving to understand that poses don't have alignment – people do. All bodies are different and each person is unique – this makes the job of being a yoga teacher complicated but potentially more interesting and rewarding.

The approach taken to anatomy here is that creative yoga concepts are examined and questioned through the lens of new research and knowledge. In the training, you will revisit questions such as "what is strength and flexibility" and "what is needed as a balance to these qualities". Teaching will take a functional approach to anatomy including looking at topics such as body reading, bandhas and gravity as a route to healthy balanced functional movement. 

Further communications

It is essential that you are opted in for emails on our website in order to receive all the updates about this course. Please ensure that you are opted in for emails. Log in to your Shala account > Click My Account > Profile > Receive Newsletter. Emails will come from

Course Content

This course takes a refreshing approach to the yoga world's obsession with flexibility, focusing instead more on healthy, balanced functional movement and the importance of strength/stability in balancing flexibility/mobility. 

From this training you will learn:

  • How you can break down yoga poses to understand the movement involved 
  • How this can help us understand what is limiting students in a posture 
  • How we can use this knowledge to inform our sequencing and our approach to the student
  • How knowledge of anatomy can inform a balanced healthy movement practice 
  • What major muscle groups are involved in each main movement in asana - forward bends, backbends, twists, and hip “opening
  • The Anatomy of Breathing - see details below

The Anatomy of Breathing:

  • Dispelling common myths about breathing
  • Everything you need to know about the diaphragm
  • How to cue and teach breath in a positive way
  • The anatomy of healthy breathing
  • Breath, the nervous system and Vagus nerve
  • Breath, gravity and posture


  • A 200-hour yoga teacher training is usually a prerequisite for joining any of our Level 2 trainings but not essential. This course is for anybody who wants to take a deeper dive into anatomy including recent 200 hr graduates and yoga teachers wanting to up-skill. 
  • This course can be taken as a stand-alone course or as part of our 300-YA accredited programme
  • The course is "hybrid" and you can opt to take it IN STUDIO or as VIRTUAL LIVESTREAM for those unable to travel to the Shala in South London
  • You will receive 40 accredited Level 2 hours as a stand-alone course or towards our 300-hour training; 32 contact hours plus 8 hours of prep and homework
  • Once you have completed your 300-hour training you can register as a RYT 500 teacher
  • Teacher Bio

    Melanie and Stu first met in Goa when Stu started going to Melanie's Ashtanga led primary - Stu then began to teach the anatomy on Melanie’s teacher trainings and things evolved from there. Stu has become a world famous anatomy teacher and Melanie considers Stu her main anatomy teacher. Together they have co-taught many trainings and holidays – having fun and sharing anatomy in an engaging and practical way

    Stu Girling

    Stuart has a BSc in Health Studies and a MSc in Information Systems. He began his journey in health and fitness working as a personal trainer and then went on to qualify in Sports Massage and Injury Treatment, as well as, Advanced Medical Massage. For the last 7 years he has worked almost exclusively within the yoga community with yogis making up over 90% of his clients. Stuart has had a dedicated Ashtanga yoga practice for 10 years and an interest in anatomy that has spanned several decades.

    Having already taught Swedish Massage and associated anatomy, his love for both yoga and anatomy led to the natural progression of teaching Anatomy and Physiology for Yoga Teacher Trainings. In this endeavour he seeks to make anatomy accessible, fun and above all usable within a yoga context.

    Melanie Cooper (E-RYT 500)

    Melanie has been teaching yoga since 1997. Her love of yoga comes through strongly in her teaching. Melanie is a genuine and down to earth teacher who brings a vast breadth of knowledge to her trainings. She offers a place where you can find what works for you, a place where you will be welcomed as you are with no judgement or expectations – where you can find the practice and way of teaching that is truly right for you.

    Melanie divides her time between the UK and Goa running teacher trainings and retreats in UK, Sweden, Crete and India. She is the author of 'Teaching Yoga Adjusting Asana’. Read Melanie's full biography here.

    Express Interest

    Please register your interest in this course so we can keep you updated.

    Course Dates

    The course has the following modules scheduled:

    Friday 23 April 2021

    9-5:00 pm

    Saturday 24 April 2021


    Sunday 25 April 2021


    Monday 26 April 2021



    • The cost is £495 for the full 4-day training IN STUDIO (or LIVESTREAM ONLINE if you are unable to travel to the studio). 
    • A non-refundable deposit of £150 is required on booking.
    • To reserve your place, please decide whether you would like IN STUDIO or VIRTUAL attendance >>click the PAY DEPOSIT button>> click ENROLL >> select the payment item >> choose deposit or pay in full
    • Note it is usually possible to change from IN STUDIO to VIRTUAL but not generally possible to change from VIRTUAL to IN STUDIO
    • If you do not pay in full, please ensure that you save your credit card details so we can process the final payment of £345. This will happen 21 days before the start of the course and a receipt will be sent to you when the payment has been taken.
    • 300 hour students get a 10% discount on this training if they have booked three trainings with us including the core. Email us if this is the case and the discount will be applied when the balance is taken

    • The deposit is non refundable but can be transferred to another person 
    • The remaining balance is refundable up to 1 month before the event.  
    • Cancellation 2 - 4 weeks before the event: 50 % of the balance in refund only
    • Cancellation less than 2 weeks before the event: no refund

    Trainings at the Shala are run independently and all payments for training services are accepted on behalf of the individual teachers. 

    • The livestreamed elements of this training will be recorded and anyone who is unable to attend this part can email us to request a link to the recording, which will be available for 7 days after the event. 
    • Late cancellations and no shows will be charged as if you had attended. 
    • In the event that a training is cancelled by the Shala you will be offered a refund or the option to be transferred to an alternative event
    • The course leaders and the Shala reserve the right to photograph or film during the programme and to use these images for our website and marketing purposes