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Functionality versus aesthetics in Yin Yoga

Have you ever wondered why you do what you do?

Seeing different bodies in size and shape almost every day for 15 years, I realized that what I learned in anatomy was different from what I observed in my work.

As a nurse, I was trained to see patients individually.

Some patients could not move at all, so we had to "put" them in different positions. If they were able to communicate verbally, I often asked them how they felt. Some of them liked to be put in certain poses.

From the outside looking in, it may have looked uncomfortable, but they were comfortable. I realized that most of my colleagues liked to put them in the same positions repeatedly without considering the patient's needs. One colleague even told me that I was putting them in the wrong place.

I realized: it's not how a pose looks, but how a person feels in a pose that matters!

In yoga, it is similar. In almost all of my teacher training, I learned different types of alignment. Later, I combined them in my classes because one alignment doesn't fit all.

When I asked my teachers why the postures have to be a certain way, I received many answers. One answer was that it is for energetic reasons. But, for me, the solutions were not complete.

I left my mind open. A thorough study, self-awareness, the information from Paul Grilley's Skeletal Variations, and fascia's role made it more than clear to me that functionality beats aesthetics!

Yin Yoga Skelett Variation
Yin Yoga Skelett Variation

In this picture, you can see that every human bone in the world is unique.

Suppose we understand that no two people have the same bone shape, the same proportions, and therefore not the same range of motion. In that case, we can see that no two people will look the same in a yoga pose.

So if you are in healthcare, exercise trainer, or any other type of bodyworker, first think about the functional aspect of why you do what you do.

You want to learn more about functional yoga and how to palpate, strain and compress your connective tissues to stay healthy, flexible, fit and young? Come and join us for our next Yin Yoga Foundation training.

radiantly yours,


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radiantYINsight does not assume any liability for the topicality, correctness, completeness or quality of the information provided. The contents of this platform editorially serve for informative purposes. They, therefore, do not represent any healing statements or promises of treatment successes and the like.


About the author

Sabine Winkler Radiant Yinsight

Sabine Winkler is an internationally active yoga teacher, coach and trainer. She lives and teaches in Vienna and leads workshops, teacher training and retreats worldwide. During her many years of travels, she has completed over 3000 hours of training in the Sivananda Hatha, Ashtanga, Vinyasa and Iyengar styles. In addition, Sabine is an assistant teacher of the renowned... more


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