Anatomy of a Yogi


Anatomy of a Yogi offers a holistic experience of your body and how yoga may benefit each system. This book celebrates your uniqueness while embracing all that makes us human. The relatable, comprehensive text and more than 100 beautiful illustrations, invite you to practice yoga from the inside out.


Anatomy of a Yogi: A Beautiful Journey Through the Human Body

By Carla Douros and Christine McCabe

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An illustrated yoga anatomy book that lights the path to health and well being. Anatomy of a Yogi is an exceptional book. It simplifies the challenge of understanding your unique (and not so unique!) anatomy while opening you to a greater connection of mind/body/spirit.

This compilation will impart a profound awareness of how yoga benefits your body. It will inspire you to breathe more expansively, stand up straighter and eliminate more efficiently. It will reveal how to allow your heart to beat more effectively and help you to prevent structural injuries. It will create a greater awareness from how to conscientiously feed your body to consciously calming your emotional state. You will be introduced to psychoneuroimmunology, the study of how your emotional well being directly affects your resistance to disease. The knowledge and insight within these pages will bring you the confidence to deepen your poses and reap greater benefits from your yoga practice on and off the mat.

This book is distinctive because it offers a holistic approach to Anatomy and Physiology (A&P). All of the major systems, respiratory, cardiovascular, digestive, nervous, reproductive, endocrine, immune, as well as the traditional musculoskeletal system, are explored in comprehensive detail. Not only will you learn the function of each system, but also how they communicate within and among themselves, and how we can influence the environment of our body to create our best personal universe. It is a complete and comprehensive guide for yoga teacher trainings.

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Anatomy of a Yogi is as much a work of art as it is a holistic anatomy book - the perfect blend of art and science. Over 100 illustrations provide a clean, easily understandable vision of the topics referenced in each chapter. The illustrations were created by Christine McCabe. Christine was born with a natural ability to draw and was an illustrator for Encyclopedia Britannica for over 20 years. Her portfolio is extensive, including numerous medical and scientific drawings; her style is realism with a tender hand. The collaboration with co-author Christine resulted in the book becoming richer on many levels. The content became deeper yet more accessible for people of all levels of inquiry: yoga teachers, yoga practitioners, or anyone curious about the magnificent human body.


The Illustrator: Christine McCabe

View Christine's portfolio 


Watch the video to see the process of how Christine works to create an illustration

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Outline of Chapters

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Section 1

I. An Introduction to A&P: Learning the language

Definitions of basic anatomical terms, orientation and planes of the body to provide the student with a working vocabulary for the text.

Section 2

II. II. Nervous system: Communication highway

Structure and function of the central and peripheral nervous systems; sensory input and motor output. An exploration of the autonomic nervous system, and the delicate balance of the sympathetic and parasympathetic functions. A discussion of the areas of the brain, neurons and neurotransmitters and how asana practice, meditation and relaxation techniques affect the nervous system. 

III. Neuroendocrine System: Love is chemical

An overview of the neuroendocrine system: hypothalamus, thyroid, parathyroid, adrenal, pineal, thymus and pancreas.  How hormones regulate development and influence behavior.  Yoga and homeostasis.  

IV. Immune System: The peaceful warrior

An introduction to immune cells, tissues and organs that provide barriers to foreign invaders, recognize and disarm disease causing pathogens, develop acquired immunity, and so much more.  A look at the inflammatory response, lymphatic circulation, and yoga and equanimity.

V. Psychoneuroimmunology: The effect of your mental and emotional state on your physical well-being.

Explore the ways in which the mind/body communicates, how emotions directly affect the immune system and why the power of the mind must not be underestimated.

Section 3

Introduction to Cardiovascular and Respiratory Systems

VI. Cardiovascular System: The heart of the matter

The heart and its inherent electrical impulse to beat. Understanding how the heart nourishes itself and extends miles of vessels to feed every cell in the body. The vascular structure is discussed: arterial, venous and capillaries. A look at how the blood is responsible for gaseous exchange, nutrient transportation and immune system functions. Yoga as a key to healthy cardiac functioning.

VII. Respiratory System: Breathe! 

An overview of the lungs and the flow of breath: from inhalation to the gaseous exchange at the alveoli.  Learning to consciously control breathing can profoundly affect one’s heath. Several yogic breathing techniques are presented.

Section 4

Introduction to Digestion and Elimination

VIII. Digestive System: You are what you eat

An inquiry into the culture of eating: why, when, what, where and how we eat. The anatomy and physiology of the alimentary canal and digestion: consumption, absorption and elimination.An introduction to microbiome and the concept of the gut as the ‘second brain’. Conscious eating and the role of Yoga are considered.

IX. Urinary System: Releasing that which no longer serves

How the body excretes waste products through the skin, lungs, liver, kidneys; what urine is and how it is produced; the structure and function of the kidneys, ureters, bladder, urethra; the importance of homeostasis and hydration. How yoga may tone the kidneys and strengthen the pelvic floor.

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Section 5

X. Reproductive System: Propagation of the species

A look at the reproductive anatomy and function of females and males from puberty through the aging process.  Supporting life changes with yoga.

Section 6

XI. Anatomy of the Chakras

The seven subtle energy centers of the body are presented with a deeper understanding of what each chakra represents. Explore how to use asana, pranayama and meditation to improve the balanced flow of energy through these energy centers.

Section 7

Introduction to the Musculoskeletal System

XII. Skeletal System: Bare bones

The function and purpose of the skeleton are discussed with the major bones identified and illustrated. This chapter explains how joints work and why they need to be protected during yoga practice. Practitioners are encouraged to recognize and honor structural differences between individuals and explore how yoga may promote structural alignment and stimulate health bones.

XIII. Muscular System: Stretch the muscle -protect the joint.

An overview of selected muscles; location, shape, size and action. Importance of connective tissue, such as tendons, ligaments, cartilage and fascia. Focus on alignment, flexibility, strength and balance of bones, muscles and connective tissue both on and off the mat.

Section 8

XIV. Yoga and Healing: Exploring the healing benefits, precautions and contraindications of asana postures

XV. Glossary


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