“The reason you keep on coming back to see me is very simple; every time you have seen me your body has learned certain things, even against your desire. And finally your body now needs to come back to me to learn more. Let’s say that your body knows that it is going to die, even though you never think about it. So I’ve been telling your body that I too am going to die and before I do I would like to show our body certain things, things which you cannot give to your body yourself… So let’s say then that your body returns to me because I am its friend.”
Carlos Castaneda

Journey to Ixtlan

Yoga Anatomy – Torso

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This article was born out of necessity – so it may evolve over time as it touches on more contexts. It got started when I wanted to explain directional breathing. When I sat down to write it, I realized that I needed to establish a simple and basic description of the upper torso where active breathing takes place. So here we are.

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The image above is intended to give you some orientation and perspective on the workings of the upper body. Things to notice – scanning the image top-down:

  • A relatively fragile connection between the neck and the upper body.
  • A rather solid looking chest area – it’s a well formed structure built around the spine that fills the chest area with a ribbed structure
  • A structurally empty void in the abdominal area – this is considered a more “liquid” space – filled with internal organs. It is walled off in front by a set of abdominal muscles.
  • Then this entire system is again connected via a relatively fragile connection to the pelvis. This is the lower back where many back problems manifest.
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