Subtle-body practices are found particularly in Indian, Indo-Tibetan and East Asian societies, but have become increasingly familiar in Western societies, especially through the various healing and yogic techniques and exercises associated with them. This book explores subtle-body practices from a variety of perspectives, and includes both studies of these practices in Asian and Western contexts.

The book discusses how subtle-body practices assume a quasi-material level of human existence that is intermediate between conventional concepts of body and mind. Often, this level is conceived of in terms of an invisible structure of channels, associated with the human body, through which flows of quasi-material substance take place. Contributors look at how subtle-body concepts form the basic explanatory structure for a wide range of practices. These include forms of healing, modes of exercise and martial arts as well as religious practices aimed at the refinement and transformation of the human mindbody complex.

By highlighting how subtle-body practices of many kinds have been introduced into Western societies in recent years, the book explores the possibilities for new models of understanding which these concepts open up. It is a useful contribution to studies on Asian Religion and Philosophy.

General Introduction Part 1: Subtle Bodies in China and India Introduction to Part One 1. The Daoist Body of Qi. 2. The Subtle Body in India and Beyond 3. Subtle-Body Concepts in the Work of Indian Dais. Part 2: Subtle Bodies in Tibet Introduction to Part Two 4. Of Souls and Subtle Bodies: A Shamanic Perspective 5. On the 'subtle body' and 'circulation' in Tibetan medicine 6. Magical Movements: Ancient Yogic Practices in the Bon Religion and Contemporary Medical Perspectives Part 3: Subtle Bodies in Europe and Islam Introduction to Part Three 7. Sex, Athleticism and the Soul: Physical Philosophy in the Ancient Mediterranean and South Asia. 8. In the Light of the Sphere: The Vehicle of the Soul and Subtle Body Practices in Neoplatonism. 9. The Subtle Body in Sufism. Part 4: Subtle Bodies and Modernity Introduction to Part Four 10. Subtle Reality in Early Modernism and the Occult Revival. 11. Magical Consciousness: Relationships with the Natural World, Animals and Ancestors 12. Invisible, Dispersed and Connected: The Cultural Plausibility of Subtle Body Models in the Contemporary West 13. Subtle Subjects and Ethics: The Subtle Bodies of Western Post-Structuralist and Feminist Philosophy 14. Subtle-Body Processes: Towards a Non-Reductionist Understanding.