Western doctors make quantitative, objective observations on the bodies and the minds of others, and from such experiments are able to construct a general model of the body/mind. On the other hand, Eastern yogis make qualitative, subjective observations of their own bodies and minds, yielding a model of the body/mind with little or no apparent relevance to that of the Western doctor. This handbook attempts to reconcile these two points of view, discussing many basic aspects of physiology and then applying these ideas to the practice of the yogasanas, as well as pointing out many phenomena well known to yogis, for which Western medicine has only a feeble explanation. In the course of this study, many interesting questions are raised, and answers are put forth using modern concepts. We discuss questions such as, How can inversions lower blood pressure? Why are backbends energizing? If one has a heart condition, what is the best time of day to practice yogasana? How does yogasana practice blur the line between the conscious and the subconscious? Can practicing in colored lights intensify the physiological effects of various yogasanas? How can one balance in yogasanas without leaning against the wall? Why must one turn the femur of the forward leg outward in trikonasana but inward in parsvottanasana? Answers to these and many other questions can be found in this handbook.
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