Yoga Physiology
From an 1899 yoga manuscript in the Braj Bhasa language

Yoga physiology are the descriptions of the human body, its layers, and the energy channels running through it used in various yoga systems.


The Sarira theory posits that human life simultaneously exists in two parallel dimensions, one "physical body" (sthula sarira) and other "psychological, emotional, mind, non-physical" it called the "subtle body" (suksma sarira).[1] The roots to this theory are found in Samkhya and Vedanta which attempt to conceptualize the permanent soul and impermanent body as interacting in three overlapping states: the gross body (sthula sarira), the subtle body (suksma sarira), and causal body (karana sarira). These ideas emerged to address questions relating to the nature of body and soul, how and why they interact while one is awake, one is asleep and over the conception-birth-growth-decay-death-rebirth cycle.[1][2] The subtle body is energy, while the physical body is mass. The psyche or mind plane corresponds to and interacts with the body plane, and the theory posits that the body and the mind mutually affect each other.[3]

They are often equated with the five koshas (sheets), described in the Taittiriya Upanishad[4][verification needed]


Yogin with six chakras, India, Punjab Hills, Kangra, late 18th century

Chakras are energy centers or vortices in the subtle body. Their name derives from the Sanskrit word for "wheel" or "turning". Chakras are not part of the physical body, but instead are psychic and spiritual centers of the subtle body. The chakras exist along energetic pathways known as nadis through which the life force (prana), or vital energy moves. Various scriptural texts and teachings present a different number of chakras. There are many chakras in the subtle human body according to the tantric texts, but there are six chakras that are considered to be the most important ones.


N??i (tube, pipe") are the channels through which, in traditional Indian medicine and spiritual science, the energies of the subtle body are said to flow. They connect at special points of intensity called marmas.

In normal biological reference, a nadi can be translated into "tube" in English, meaning a nerve, vein, artery, lymphatic channel, etc. In yoga, however, a nadi refers to an energetic pathway (not an anatomical structure). Texts traditionally teach that three of these nadis are the most important for yoga practice: Ida, pingala, and sushumna. Ida lies to the left of the spine, whereas pingala is to the right side of the spine, mirroring the ida. Sushumna runs along the spinal cord in the center, through the six central chakras, ending at the sagittal suture known as the brahmarandra. It is near the base of this sushumna where the Kundalini lies in three and a half coils, in a dormant or sleeping state.

See also


  1. ^ a b Arvind Sharma (2006). A Primal Perspective on the Philosophy of Religion. Springer. pp. 193-196. ISBN 978-1-4020-5014-5. 
  2. ^ Friedrich Max Müller (1899). The Six Systems of Indian Philosophy. Longmans. pp. 227-236, 393-395. 
  3. ^ James G. Lochtefeld (2002). The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Hinduism: A-M. The Rosen Publishing Group. p. 137. ISBN 978-0-8239-3179-8. 
  4. ^ David Frawley, Yoga and the Sacred Fire: Self-Realization and Planetary Transformation, p.288


  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



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