̒Open̓ and ̒Closed̓ Models of the Human Body in Indian Medical and Yogic Traditions

in Asian Medicine

Most Indian and western commentators and scholars, following the Yoga Sūtras of Patañjali (c. third century CE), have assumed the Hindu yogic body to be a closed, self-contained system. However, a significant volume of data from a variety of sources—ranging from the classical Upaniṣads down through the Tantras (and including passages from the Yoga Sūtras themselves)—indicate that an 'open' model of the yogic body has also been operative in Hindu philosophical, medical, and mythological traditions. In these open models, the mind-body complex is linked, often via 'solar rays', to the sun and moon of the macrocosm, as well as to other mind-body complexes, which yogins are capable of entering through their practice.

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̒Open̓ and ̒Closed̓ Models of the Human Body in Indian Medical and Yogic Traditions

in Asian Medicine

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