Yoga Anatomy and Philosophy: Paul Grilley

About this Episode:

Joe and Paul discuss concepts in anatomy and philosophy as they relate to yoga. Paul details his thoughts on “the rebound”, which is a key concept in his teaching of physical yoga. As the conversation deepens, Paul explores deeper concepts of yoga philosophy and shares his own personal beliefs.

About Paul:

In the spring of 1979 Paul Grilley was inspired to study yoga after reading Autobiography of a Yogi by Paramahansa Yogananda. After two years’ study of anatomy with Dr. Garry Parker, he relocated from his home in Columbia Falls, Montana, to Los Angeles to continue his studies at UCLA. While in L.A., Paul furthered his study of yoga and began to teach.

Paul’s personal yoga practice took him into Ashtanga, where he experienced the joys (and consequent dangers) of doing too many drop backs into urdhva dhanurasana (the Wheel). He also ran a Bikram’s studio and studied that form of practice. One day, Paul stumbled across a locally televised martial arts interview that featured Paulie Zink. While Paulie’s martial arts demonstration was impressive, what really caught Paul’s attention was his flexibility. Paul contacted Paulie through the TV station. Paulie invited him to attend an ongoing class. It was Paulie who introduced Paul to the basics of Doaist Yoga.

While Paulie Zink whetted Paul’s appetite to learn more about Daoism, his understanding deepened when, in 1990, Paul met Dr. Hiroshi Motoyama. Through Dr. Motoyama’s teachings Paul began to see the connection between the asana practices he had been doing and Dr. Motoyama’s theory of the meridians. Paul went to Japan to learn more about the way our body’s physical and energetic structures are connected through the chakra system.

Paul combined the knowledge he had been given on anatomy, Daoist Yoga, and the meridian theory into the core of his Yin Yoga teachings. His teachings resonated with many people who recognized the benefits of the practice and related to the model of the body/mind/soul Paul offered. One student, who found this practice compelling and highly beneficial to her meditation practice, was Sarah Powers.

From 1998 to 2000 Paul took a sabbatical and relocated to Santa Fe where he earned a master’s degree from St. John’s College in the study of the Great Books of the Western World. In 2005 he received an honorary PhD from the California Institute of Human Science, founded by Dr. Motoyama. He currently teaches yoga and anatomy worldwide with his wife Suzee.

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About the Author:

Joe is the Founder of Icewater Yoga. Fascinated by the intersection of yoga and sport, his goal is to help athletes develop a consistent yoga practice. He lives in Claremont, CA with his wife, Jill.