Dr. Ariele Foster, based in Washington DC, has been teaching yoga for 16 years. She was inspired by her grandmother Lilo Foster, who taught yoga until the age of 87. Lilo was one of the few Jewish survivors in Germany from World War II and became re-acquainted with the healing power of yoga after her immigration to the US.

Ariele, finding herself enamored with anatomy, became interested in physical therapy after a profound experience as a physical therapy patient. She studied hard to become a doctor of Physical Therapy, becoming a licensed physical therapist in 2011.

Ariele has had many yoga teachers approach her about making the same transition- from yoga teacher to physical therapist which led her to create Yoga Anatomy Academy. As Ariele says “… [it] has been popular beyond my dreams. It’s really organically attracted so many students.” Yoga Anatomy Academy also provides anatomy courses for yoga teachers.

Ariele kindly shares with us her incredibly rich and informative 10 Principles of an Anatomy-Informed Yoga Practice (available as a PDF download,) which covers a range of considerations for yoga teachers such as; when to refer students to other professionals, re-thinking asanas and the importance of functional movement, and the balance between flexibility and movement.

This multi-tasking, multi-talented woman has founded a forum for discussion- Yoga for the Planet, inspired by her interest in environmental concerns,continues to teach yoga classes and also offers private sessions, workshops and courses, yoga retreats all while practicing as a physical therapist.


Note: Physiotherapists, Physical Therapists, ‘physios’- all the same profession. Different areas use different titles.


[9:10] What sparked Ariele’s interest in anatomy

[11:50] From teaching yoga to becoming a physical therapist

[12:30] Advice to yoga teachers interested in becoming a physical therapist

[16:30] The importance of referring your yoga students to a physical therapist when experiencing pain

[21:00] Cost can be a hurdle when one is considering physical therapy- how to put that in perspective

[23:30] Ariele’s position teaching anatomy to yoga teachers, belief that there needs to be a baseline of understanding

[24:20] Principle 1 – Any Pose Can Harm. Any Pose Can Heal.

[25:05] Principle 2 – Every Body is Unique.

[25:45] Principle 3 – Think Critically “Don’t emphasize the alignment of the pose higher than the individual”

[27:35] Cueing Warrior 1 using critical thinking

[28:45] What is functional movement?

[28:05] Principle 4 – Most Yoga Asana is Specialized, Not Functional Movement

[30:55] Principle 5 – Flexibility is No Good Without Strength

[33:25] Principle 6 – Variety is the Spice of Life

[34:30] Principle 7 – Safe Strength Building Comes from Progressive Loading

[37:25] Principle 8 – Listen to Your Body Works 50% of the Time

[41:20] Principle 9 – Readily Refer Out

[44:20] Principle 10 – Honor Both the Science and “Mystery”

[45:35] How to study with Dr. Ariele Foster



Email: ariele@sacredsourceyoga.com

Yoga Anatomy Academy

Yoga Anatomy Academy on Facebook

Yoga Anatomy Academy on Instagram

Ariele’s Personal Teaching Website: Sacred Source Teaching

Sacred Source Teaching on Facebook

Ariel’s Youtube Channel

PDF: 10 Principles of an Anatomy Informed Yoga Practice by Dr. Ariele Foster

Podcast: Heal Your Shoulder with Dr. Ariele Foster on the YogaBody Talk Show

Article: 7 Things to Ponder Before Going to Physical Therapy School: for yoga teachers, massage therapists and other holistic practitioners by Dr. Ariele Foster

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