Home Institution

Illinois Wesleyan University

Publication Date

Fall 2019

Program Name

Nepal: Development, Gender, and Social Change in the Himalaya


Yoga has become a widely-recognized form of physical activity as well as an effective therapeutic intervention. It is a self-discipling way of life, taking advantage of the powerful effects from the combination of breathing exercises (pranayama), physical postures (asanas), and meditation on calming the nervous system and balancing the mind, body, and spirit. However, over time, the contemporary definition of yoga, especially in the United States, has decreased the emphasis on the religious spirituality component and increased the emphasis on physical activity. Although one may argue that this is not the traditional yoga, this change not only breaks down the assumption that one must be religious to practice yoga, but also allows individuals to develop their own sense of spirituality that agrees with their own essence.

I intend to provide an alternative visual aid to demonstrate the holistic effects of yoga. This book, containing hand illustrated asana poses and descriptions, provides a greater understanding of yoga through an anatomical lens. Each illustration consists of the following: the Sanskrit and English name of the pose; highlighted and labeled muscles that are activated by the position; an explanation of how the muscles and other bodily systems are activated by this position; the overall benefits resulting from continuous practice of the position; and precautionary explanations about how to perform the position safely and effectively.


Anatomy | Asian Studies | Book and Paper | Graphic Design | Illustration | Nonfiction | Philosophy of Mind | Religious Thought, Theology and Philosophy of Religion


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