yoga book corner yoga book spacer yoga book spacer yoga book corner
yoga book spacer

THE BIG BOOK OF YOGA: SUBTLE ANATOMY 101

yoga book spacer yoga book spacer yoga book spacer yoga book spacer
yoga book spacer yoga book spacer
yoga book spacer yoga book spacer   yoga book spacer yoga book spacer     yoga book spacer
yoga book spacer  

SUBTLE ANATOMY 101

Hatha Yoga Anatomy Jungle

When entering into any new foreign land, one of the first things to do is to find and study a map of the territory. And this doesn't just apply to expeditions in far-off lands - it goes for new things that are close to home, as well. By the time most folks enter medical school, for instance, they've been living, breathing, and walking around in their own bodies for at least 20-something years - and yet the first required class is often Gross Anatomy, the comprehensive study of the physical body and its organization. After all, how many of us know exactly where the spleen is located, or where the sciatic nerve begins? There's a good deal about our bodies about which many of us are relatively ignorant.

Point being, here we are, delving into a deep and ancient science of the body, mind, and spirit - so we'd be remiss to leave out at least a basic primer on anatomy and physiology according to the Yoga tradition. There's no question that the modern physical sciences have done an excellent job in mapping out the ins and outs of the human body at a physical level; as such, we won't spend too much time on that here. It is a good idea to at least have a basic understanding of how your own body is built when entering into a physical practice like Hatha Yoga, not only to increase your awareness of what's happening in your practice, but also as a means to avoid injury and undue strain.

yoga book spacer yoga book spacer

Anatomy of Hatha Yoga

For a good introduction to the anatomy and physiology involved in the Hatha Yoga practice, check out David Coulter's Anatomy of Hatha Yoga, or Leslie Kaminoff's Yoga Anatomy.

Many of the important results that develop from the proper practice of Hatha Yoga are actually considered to occur on the subtle levels of the being. Now we're talking more about things like channels of prana, currents of force, and energetic focal points on the body that operate according to their own "subtle anatomy". These, even more than the strictly physical elements of the body, are of primary concern to the early sages who wrote the user's guides to Yoga. Sound a bit funny? Well, it is! - from the viewpoint of a modern mindset, at least. Most of us have been trained to think of the material world as the only reality that exists. As the old scientist's adage goes: "If you can't count it, then it doesn't count, and if you can't kick it, then you can't count it."

The question of whether this framework of subtle anatomy is describing anything that's actually objectively real, or whether it's all just a series of pretty metaphors, is a highly contentious one. Different traditions sometimes say different things in this regard, and much of what is proposed lies outside the reach of our current methods of scientific inquiry. There has been a good deal of research conducted to-date, which has attempted to ascertain the validity of these supposed fields and subtle forces of Yoga. That's all a bit outside the scope of this general introduction, but as we expand the Big Book of Yoga, we'll introduce a section which addresses research efforts in this direction.

In this chapter, we aim to describe this Yogic vision as it exists in the various systems and traditions of Hatha Yoga. As to whether

  yoga book spacer
yoga book spacer yoga book spacer
yoga book spacer yoga book spacer
yoga book arrow Previous Page yoga book arrow Previous Chapter
   
Next Chapter yoga book arrow Next Page yoga book arrow
  yoga book spacer
yoga book corner yoga book corner
yoga book spacer