The Psychophysical Lab – Table of Contents

The Psychophysical Lab

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Table of Contents




  1. Practical Explorations
    • Explorations for all Levels
    • Explorations for Intermediate And Advanced Practitioners

Appendix 1. Further Instructions for Selected Asanas

  1. Developing Mental and Physical Capacities Through Yoga Practice
  2. A Brief History of Psyche and Soma (Soul and Body):

From Socrates to the Present and back to Aristotle

  • A Historical Survey of Psyche-Soma Relations
  • Contemporary Approaches to Mind-Body Relations
  1. Practice Sequences (with marked mental effects)
    • For Confidence Building (and reducing anxiety)
    • For Emotional Balance (and enhancing sattva)
    • For Optimism and Joy (and countering tamasic mood)
    • For Calming and Pacifying (and countering rajasic mood)
    • For Restoration (and recovering from fatigue and exhaustion)

Appendix A. My Path to Peace: A Yogic Journey Through Dystonia

Appendix B. Glossary of Sanskrit Terms


Asana Index


Chapter 1                                                                                                            

Practical Explorations


Guidelines for practice

A Note About Practicing During Your Period

A Note On The Use Of Props

A Note On Breath

1.2 Explorations for all levels

Standing Asanas

Exploration A.1: Attending to the chest and spine in Tadasana (Mountain Pose)

Exploration A.2: The foundation of Tadasana (Mountain Pose)

Exploration A.3: Joining vs. spreading the legs in Tadasana (Mountain Pose)

Exploration A.4: Doing Tadasana (Mountain Pose) on blocks

Exploration A.5: Activating the arms in Tadasana (Mountain Pose)

Exploration A.6: Using one arm to stretch the other

Exploration A.7: Stabilizing Urdhva Hastasana (Arms Overhead Pose):

Belt around the elbows and block in between the palms

Vrksasana (The Tree Pose)

Exploration A.8: Stabilizing Vrksasana (Tree Pose) – vision and balance

Exploration A.9: Stabilizing Vrksasana (Tree Pose) using focusing

Exploration A.10: Mountain and tree

Sitting positions

Exploration A.11: Creating space in the chest

Exploration A.12: Using imagery for extending the spine

Exploration A.13: Focusing outward and inward

Exploration A.14: Using the breath

Exploration A.15: Atma Anjali Mudra – joining the palms in front of the chest

Exploration A.16: Embracing the base in sitting

Exploration A.17: Effects of crossing alternate legs

Exploration A.18: Using a belt to open the chest

Exploration A.19: A block on top of the head

Exploration A.20: Vajrasana – sitting on the heels

Exploration A.21: Comparing different types of support

Exploration A.22: Comparing different sitting positions

Exploration A.23: Relaxing in Adho Mukha Virasana (Child’s Pose)

Exploration A.24: Stretching in Adho Mukha Virasana (Child’s Pose)

Supine (reclining) Positions

Exploration A.25: Supporting the chest on blocks

Exploration A.26: Supporting the chest on a bolster

Exploration A.27: Comparing leg positions

Exploration A.28: Comparing belt usages in Supta Baddha Konasana

(Reclining Bound Angle Pose)

Exploration A.29: Comparing arm positions

Exploration A.30: Experiencing withdrawal of the senses (Pratyahara)

in Shavasana (Relaxation Pose)

Exploration A.31: Changing focal regions in Shavasana (Relaxation Pose)

1.2 Explorations for Intermediate and Advanced Practitioners

Standing Asanas

About Standing Asanas

Exploring Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward-Facing Dog Pose)

Exploration B.1: Elevating the feet/hands in Adho Mukha Shvanasana

(Downward-Facing Dog)

Exploration B.2: Elevating Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward-Facing Dog)

Exploration B.3: Arms and shoulder-blades in Adho Mukha Shvanasana

(Downward-Facing Dog)

Exploration B.4: From Uttanasana (Standing Forward Bend) to Adho Mukha 

                                     Shvanasana (Downward-Facing Dog) with block between the thighs                81

Exploration B.5: Uttanasana (Standing Forward Bend) on blocks

Exploration B.6: Focusing on the rear leg in standing poses

Exploration B.7: Awakening the shoulder blades in standing asanas

Exploration B.8: From Dharana to Dhyana in Utthita Trikonasana

Exploration B.9: Grounding the standing asanas

Exploration B.10: Shifting awareness in Virabhadrasana II

Sitting Asanas

Exploration B.11: Compacting the legs in Dandasana (Staff Pose):

Belt from sacrum to heels

Exploration B.12: Compacting the pelvis in Dandasana (Staff Pose):

Belt embracing the pelvis

Exploration B.13: Sensitizing the base of the pose:

Dandasana (Staff Pose) with buttocks and heels on blocks


Exploration B.14: Checking the stability of Shirsasana (Headstand):

Hanging a belt from the toes

Exploration B.15: Using imagery in Shirsasana (Headstand)

Exploration B.16: Shirsasana (Headstand) facing the wall

Exploration B.17: Opening the chest in Shirsasana (Headstand)

Exploration B.18: Focusing on a line stretching forward:

A belt under the top of head

Explorations B.19: Doing a pose before and after Shirsasana (Headstand)

Exploration B.20: Exploring the effect of timing in Shirsasana (Headstand)

Exploration B.21: Exploring different supports in Sarvangasana (Shoulder Stand)

Exploration B.22: Overcoming fear in Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Full Arm Balance):

Bolster against the wall

Forward bends

Exploration B.23: Stabilizing Supta Padangushthasana I

Exploration B.24: A soft and supported Paschimottanasana

Back Bends

Exploration B.25: Supporting the chest on a block

Exploration B.26: Chest and pelvis awareness in Ushtrasana (Camel Pose)

Exploration B.27: Comparing different hand orientations

in Urdhva Mukha Shvanasana (Upward-Facing Dog Pose)

Exploration B.28: Comparing Viparita Dandasana (Upward Facing Staff Pose)

with Setu Bandha Sarvangasana (Bridge Pose)

Twisting Asanas

Exploration B.29: Bhardvajasana I (Simple Seated Twist Pose) on chair with

and without anchoring the pelvis

Exploration B.30: Fixing the gaze in Bhardvajasana (Simple Seated Twist Pose)


Exploration B.31: Comparing Ujjai inhalation with Pratiloma

Appendix 1: Detailed instructions for some poses

1.1 Placing the body in Shavasana (Relaxation Pose)

1.2 Basic instructions for entering Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward-Facing Dog Pose) 150

1.3 Using a platform for Sarvangasana

Chapter 2

Developing Mental and Physical Capacities Through Yoga Practice


2.1   Dealing with Light Depression, Fatigue, and Feeling Down

2.2      Flexibility and Agility

2.3      Confidence and Courage

2.4       Joy

2.5      Effort Management

2.6    Handling Stress, Pain, and other Difficulties

2.7      Stability and Balance

2.8     Tolerance and Equanimity

2.9      Persistence and Ardency

2.10    Awareness and Sensitivity

2.11 Motivation and Surrender or Acceptance without Stagnation

2.12   Concentration and Meditation

2.13     Relaxation

2.14    Ahimsa and other Yamas

2.15   Truthfulness and Sincerity (Satya)

2.16 Observing and Transforming Tendencies

2.17   Extending the Practice Beyond the Mat

2.18 Pursuit of Long Term Goals and Modesty in Realizing Them

2.19    Non-Competitiveness

2.20 Some Additional Words About the Practice of Yoga


    Chapter 3

A Brief History of Psyche and Soma (Soul and Body):

From Socrates to the Present and back to Aristotle


Part I

Psyche–Soma Relations Form Socrates to Kant

  1. Socrates and Plato: The Beginning of Philosophy and the Dualistic Model
  2. Aristotle and the Unitary Model of Psychic and Somatic Capacities
  3. Plotinus on Soul and Body, Good and Evil
  4. Augustine and the Reconciliation of the Platonic Soul with Christianity
  5. Thomas Aquinas and the Reconciliation of the Aristotelian Soul with Christianity
  6. Descartes: The Rise of Early Modern Philosophy and the Making of the Current

Mind-Body Problem

  1. The Aftermath of Descartes’ Dualism: Three Major Responses
    • Spinoza: Naturalis
    • Malebranche and Occasionalism
    • Leibniz: Pre-established Harmony

(and the spiritualization of matter)

  1. Kant: Skepticism about the Soul and the Fallacies of Arguing

for its Immortality

Part II

Contemporary Approaches to Mind–Body Relations

  1. A Quick Tour from Descartes to the Twentieth Century
  2. Behaviorism and its Shortcomings
  3. Chomsky’s Critique of Behaviorism and Methodological Naturalism
  4. Methodological Naturalism: Some Current Instances
  5. The Contemporary Philosophical (and Scientific) Scene
    • Searle’s ‘Biological Naturalism’
    • Functionalism
    • Mind as Machine, Cognitive Science, and Artificial Intelligence
    • Can Machines Think?
    • An Evolutionary Approach to the Emergence of the Mind
    • Daniel Dennett
  6. Is the Mind–Body Problem Soluble?
  7. Our Approach
    • Wittgenstein’s Attack on the Cartesian Picture
    • Can There Be a Private Language?
    • How Do We Use the Word ‘Mind’?
  8. Some Consequences and Discussion
  9. Conclusion

Appendix: The Debate Between Dennett and Chalmers


    Chapter 4

Practice Sequences (with marked mental effects)

4.1    For Confidence Building (and reducing anxiety)

4.2    For Emotional Balance (and enhancing sattva)

4.3   For Optimism and Joy (and countering tamasic mood)

4.4   For Calming and Pacifying (and countering rajasic mood)

4.5    For Restoration (and recovering from fatigue and exhaustion)

11 replies
  1. anitha
    anitha says:

    Hi Eyal

    When I went to preorder, it shows that shipping to US will be $17. Is there any other way to get the book? Many thanks for putting together such a great content.

    FOO CHOY PENG says:

    Hi, Eyal. Thanks very much for all your books. They help me a lot in my practice.

    I searchec Amazon and other online bookstores for The Psychophysical Lab. It is not available. When will it be available ?

    • Eyal Shifroni
      Eyal Shifroni says:

      At the moment we are the only sellers of the book (also it’s not ready yet, but will be in two weeks).
      We plan to have a Kindle version, as well as publish it through Amazon, but this may take several months.

  3. RB
    RB says:

    Hi Eyal, thank you for your sincere and beautiful contributions to the yoga world. I love your books and am using them in my own studies and practice and teaching. Looking forward to your new release soon. Just wondering if you will be authoring on backbends and twists anytime. Blessings and Joy!

    • Eyal Shifroni
      Eyal Shifroni says:

      Thank you so much for these words!
      It would be nice if you could write a review on my books in Amazon.
      I hope you’ll find the new book that is coming out, interesting and inspiring!
      Currently I am working on a new edition of “A Chair for Yoga” and as soon as I’ll finish that, I will start writing “Props for Yoga” Vol. IV, about backbends.

      • RB
        RB says:

        What a wonderful news! Thank you Eyal Ji! I’m looking forward to your new releases and future editions. Reading and deepening my learnings and practice through your books is just like having a private tutoring, feeling blessed to have dedicated and sincere Teachers like you imparting your own learnings and knowledge selflessly to so many.Thank you so much for inspiring me and others in the teaching path to share what we learn selflesslyand to teach in a conscious and safe way. And yes I will write a review on Amazon. Thank you again. Blessings! Namaskar.

        MARCIA NEVES PINTO says:

        Dear Eyal, what a wonderful news!
        Your books on practice are a source for my personal practice and self study. Besides, they always help me with my physical pains and limitations, fisrt because they give me material to experiment and have fun even when I feel very limited and second because they gave me the path (and the freedom to look outside the box) to make my own investigations, observations and discoveries.
        Thank you!


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