form and function: anatomy and yoga

by Lorenzo Sewanan

Josh Rosen, Alex Domingo, David Asuzu

yale school of medicine


the concept for form and function

alex domingo and josh rosen

yale school of medicine


This project began as we started to consider the many different ways in which our experience of anatomy has affected our lives. On one level, there is a professional value in the knowledge we have gained; knowledge that will be used to guide our future studies, our interactions with patients, our physical exams, and our understanding of symptoms and pathology. On another level, anatomy has given us the privilege of deeper insight into the functioning and design of our own bodies. Often while preparing for lab or studying for a qualifier, we were awestruck that the connections and systems we were studying on paper were working inside us every moment.

This year, many of us have taken up the practice of yoga; we meet once a week for a student-led session that includes a series of postures, movements, and breathing exercises. As we concurrently progressed in our yoga and anatomy studies, we came to realize that the knowledge we gained in the anatomy lab could be used in many ways to further our yoga practice, and vice versa. Understanding the layout of our skeletons, muscles, and organ systems allowed us to take greater control of our yoga practice and to further refine and perfect our poses. The language of anatomy gave us a more precise means to teach and learn about yoga postures. In addition, anatomy enabled us to deepen our understanding of how yoga postures are designed to enhance the function of various body systems. Our yoga practice has enhanced our study of anatomy in the lab and classroom by providing a functional context for our knowledge.

For this project, we selected ten concepts that are common to both yoga and anatomy and that have contributed to our understanding of both anatomy and yoga. We chose core yoga poses that embody these concepts and photographed various members of our yoga class performing them. Our selection of the historical library and yoga studio setting parallels the learning that occurred in both the classroom and studio. We hope that these pictures provide a unique perspective on how anatomy has impacted our lives, and how thankful we are to the donors that made this knowledge and insight possible.