Your Upper Body, Your Yoga

Including Volume 5: Asymmetries and Proportions of the Whole Body

The concepts Bernie presents will someday be standard in yoga teaching programs: tension, compression, skeletal variation, passive and active ranges of motion, asymmetry and proportion. Bernie’s magnum opus clearly illustrates the practical impact of these ideas for all yoga teachers and students.

Paul Grilley author of 
Yin Yoga:Outline of a Quiet Practice 

Having been a tremendous fan of Bernie Clark’s two previous books (Your Body, Your Yoga and Your Spine, Your Yoga), I was ready to dive into this third book. I could not put it down. The unifying theme across these works is that each person is an individual. Posture and movement technique migrates stress from one body part or tissue to the next. Stress is essential to stimulate optimal health, but it must be in the right amount. Too little allows a weak system, but too much stress creates cumulative micro-damage and, eventually, pain and injury. The key to health is to manage this tipping point. Bernie shows the differences in people, and how to modify each exercise for each area of the body to stimulate robustness rather than pain. His guidance on self-assessment allows the reader to converge on what is best for them. After all, yoga is not a competition but was intended to provide a path to optimal health. Your Upper Body, Your Yoga completes the trilogy guiding the yoga practitioner to resilience with wisdom.

Stuart McGill, PhD
Professor Emeritus
and author of Back Mechanic 

About the book

Your Upper Body, Your Yoga

Your Upper Body, Your Yoga is the highly anticipated final book of the Your Body, Your Yoga trilogy — the definitive investigation of how your uniqueness affects your movements, postures and your yoga.

This remarkable trilogy looks at the variations of human anatomy and its effect on the body’s biomechanics. Used as a standard text for many yoga teacher training programs it provides yoga students and teachers a system for exploring what asanas are possible and sensible and which postures should best be left alone. This third book in the series looks at the upper body: the shoulder complex, arms and hands. But, there is more. This final book also includes explorations of how asymmetries and proportions affect our practice.

You are unique. No one else in this whole world has your biology or biography. Why suppose that your yoga practice should be, or even could be, the same as anyone else’s? How far apart should your hands be in Down Dog? Where should they be pointing? Should you avoid hyperextension of the elbows? Is hyperflexion of the shoulders safe? The answer is it depends! Your Upper Body, Your Yoga looks at the upper body from both the Western anatomical/biomechanical point of view and the modern yoga perspective. It is filled with detail, discussion, illustrations and practical advice for bodies of all types.

Proportions and asymmetries are highly variable from person to person. The implications of asymmetries for a yoga practice and whether these asymmetries need to be changed, accommodated or simply accepted is examined along with variability in our proportions and their effect on postures.

Whether the reader is a novice to yoga and anatomy or a seasoned practitioner with an in-depth knowledge, this book will be valuable. For the novice, there are easily understood illustrations and photographs, as well as sidebars highlighting the most important topics. For the anatomy specialists, other sidebars focus on the complexity of the topic, with hundreds of references provided for further investigation. For the yoga teacher, other sidebars suggest how to bring this knowledge into the classroom. Your Upper Body, Your Yoga can be used as a resource when specific questions arise, as a textbook to be studied in detail, or as a fascinating coffee-table book to be browsed at leisure for topics of current interest.

About the author

Bernie Clark loves learning about and then sharing the things that fascinate him. As a child, he enjoyed studying the world and how it works, and as a teen, he loved thinking about the mind and the soul. The seemingly contradictory interests in science and spirituality continued to shape his philosophy of life well into his adult years. With one foot in the commercial world of space and computer technologies and another in the realm of meditation and yoga, he sought bridges between Eastern and Western maps of reality. These maps and bridges are described in his teachings and writings with the hope that others who share his fascinations will be able to enjoy what he has learned, without having to go through the labor of detailed research.

Bernie has a degree in science and spent 30 years as a senior executive in the high-tech/space industry. He embarked upon meditation in the 1970s and began teaching yoga in the 1990s. He conducts yoga teacher trainings several times a year in Vancouver, Canada. To stay informed of Bernie’s activities, visit his website,, where you can subscribe to his Yinsights newsletter.

Other books by Bernie Clark:

  • Your Body, Your Yoga: Learn alignment cues that are skillful, safe and best suited to you
  • Your Spine, Your Yoga: Developing Stability and Mobility for your spine
  • The Complete Guide to Yin Yoga: The Philosophy & Practice of Yin Yoga — Second Edition
  • Shiva Dancing at King Arthur’s Court: Exploring Yoga Stories & Western Myths
  • YinSights: A Journey into the Philosophy & Practice of Yin Yoga

Purchase the book

Your Upper Body, Your Yoga is also available in print & ebook from the following distributors


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