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An Introduction To Pranic Anatomy

I have decided to include some notes on Pranic Anatomy on this website because of requests from visitors to the website. So here goes: -

Why be interested in Pranic Anatomy?

Pranic Anatomy offers a system and language for thinking about and discussing emotional and mental aspects of one’s being in much the same way as “western” anatomy offers a system and language for understanding the physical aspects of one’s being.

Different Attitudes to Pranic Anatomy

Yoga teachers vary enormously in their attitude to the objects of Pranic anatomy. Some say they are real, part of their experience – things they can sense and interact with. Others say they are unreal – something conjured up or imagined rather than part of reality. Yet others say they offer a language, metaphors - not real in themselves, but conceptually offering a helpful means and structure for organizing thoughts and developing understanding – this is very much my position / attitude. I think it is helpful to remember that models, concepts and thoughts about reality are not reality itself. (In much the same way as a picture or description of an apple is not the same thing as the apple). This is a particular issue with Pranic anatomy since the way it is traditionally explained and discussed involves a lot of reference to culturally specific symbolism, metaphors and analogies in an attempt to develop understanding.

Developing an understanding of Pranic Anatomy

One of the difficulties that those of “western” culture can have in developing an understanding of Pranic Anatomy is that the way it is explained traditionally involves symbolism, metaphors and analogies that have come from the culture of Ancient India. These are not merely unfamiliar (alien) – to those of “western” culture, they often seem meaningless or nonsensical, off-putting or even actively distasteful.

There are plenty of books and notes around (see the recommended reading page) which describe (and to a lesser or greater degree explain) the traditional symbolism and metaphors relating to Pranic Anatomy.

However, what I am intending to offer here with these notes is something simpler – a view of Pranic Anatomy pared down to the core concepts (ideas) and interpreted (translated) into Western thinking and language styles. Inevitably this means that I am offering a personal interpretation / understanding – and in some places the ideas and views may well appear not to be in full agreement with your Yoga Teacher’s views or what books say.

In any case if you do much reading around on this topic you will find it is common for there to be many apparently different opinions on a particular aspect of Pranic Anatomy. This is in large part because Pranic Anatomy relates to things for which it is extremely difficult (if not actually impossible) to make objective observations or experiments. Thus, whatever books or other commentators have to say about Pranic Anatomy, it is your own personal experiences and sense of things that will, ideally, be your primary guide in developing knowledge and understanding of Pranic Anatomy.