The origins of this book date from twenty-five years ago when I was teaching various neuroscience, microscopic anatomy, and elementary anatomy courses in the Department of Cell Biology and Neuroanatomy at the University of Minnesota. At the same time 1 was learning about yoga in classes at the Meditation Center in Minneapolis. During those years, Swami Rama, who founded the Himalayan Institute, often lectured in Minnesota, and one of his messages was that yoga was neither exercise nor religion, but a science, and he wanted modern biomedical science to examine it in that light. One of his purposes in coming to the West was to bring this about, a purpose which is reflected by the name he selected for the institute that he founded—The Himalayan International Institute of Yoga Science and Philosophy. The idea of connecting yoga with modern science resonated with me, and the conviction grew that 1 could be a part of such a quest. Soon after I communicated my interest, Swamiji called and suggested that I pay him a visit to talk about writing a book on anatomy and hatha yoga. And that is how this project began in 1976.
Apart from several false starts and near-fatal errors, I did little writing on this subject between 1976 and 1988, but still I benefited from students' questions in courses on anatomy and hatha yoga at the University of Minnesota (Extension Division), more comprehensive courses on yoga anatomy for graduate students at the Himalayan Institute in the late 1980s, anatomy and physiology courses in the mid-1990s for the Pacific Institute for Oriental Medicine (NYC), and from 1990 to the present, teaching anatomy for students of Ohashiatsu®, a method of Oriental bodywork. These courses brought me in touch with many telling questions from students interested in various aspects of holistic medicine; without them, the seed planted by Swamiji would never have matured.
And so it went, from a working draft in the summer of 1976 to 1995, when after many gentle and not-so-gentle nudges, Swamiji insisted that my time was up, 1 was to finish the book, finish it now, and not run away. If I tried to escape, he avowed, he would follow me to the ends of the earth; what he would do upon finding me is better left unsaid. Happily, he saw an early but complete draft of the text a year before his passing in November of 1996.
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