Course Title: Introduction to Body, Breath and Movement

Part A: Course Overview

Course Title: Introduction to Body, Breath and Movement

Credit Points: 12.00

Course Code




Learning Mode

Teaching Period(s)


Bundoora Campus


150H Health Sciences


Sem 1 2008,
Sem 2 2008,
Sem 1 2009,
Sem 2 2009,
Sem 1 2010,
Sem 2 2010,
Sem 2 2011,
Sem 2 2012

Course Coordinator: Simon Borg-Olivier

Course Coordinator Phone: +61 2 9387 5431

Course Coordinator Email:

Pre-requisite Courses and Assumed Knowledge and Capabilities


Course Description

You will gain an overview of the body from both Eastern functional and Western reductionist perspectives. Topics include nine major joint complexes; introduction to the acupuncture meridian system; Eastern concepts including chakras, marmas, bandhas, mudras and kriyas and their Western counterparts; principles of balance in the body systems; safety issues and contraindications for various dynamic exercises and static postures; breathing techniques and their effects on physiology; the nervous system, nerve tensioning and relationships to mudras, bandhas and meditation; and the use of yoga postures to enhance energy, joint stability, strength, flexibility and relaxation. Home practice is encouraged.

Objectives/Learning Outcomes/Capability Development

The course is designed to provide you with the skills to identify the major muscle groups and joint complexes in the body and to develop practices that enhance their function and that of musculoskeletal function in general.

You will develop the ability to discuss the functional anatomy and physiology of the body from Western and Eastern perspectives and to use this understanding as a basis for further study in yoga instruction, massage and other therapeutic modalities.

On completion of the course, you should be able to:

  • Use the terminology of yoga to discuss the principles of applied anatomy and physiology
  • List and describe the anatomical body as a simplified model of 9 main joint complexes, 20 opposing muscle groups and 20 opposing joint movements
  • Describe the 3 main nerve reflexes and plan exercises that elicit these reflexes
  • Describe the four main states of opposing muscle groups around a joint complex and describe their benefits and disadvantages
  • Explain the benefits of the yogic bandha (co-activation of antagonistic muscle groups across a joint complex) and the yoga mudra
  • Describe the main mechanisms for the generation and circulation of energy and information (consciousness) through the body
  • Explain the different phases of breathing, the basic physiology of breathing and the physiological effects of various breathing exercises
  • Instruct others on how to achieve activation and co-activation of specific muscle groups
  • Make judgements about the appropriate use of specific exercises to increase strength, flexibility and stability and/or regulate the circulation.

Overview of Learning Activities

Reading the prescribed text: ‘Applied Anatomy and Physiology of Yoga’ by Borg-Olivier and Machliss, 2007
Watching PowerPoint Presentations available through myRMIT
Watching video presentations located in myRMIT
Online discussion forums
Completing optional practical exercises.

Overview of Learning Resources

You will be able to access course information and learning materials through MyRMIT at 

  • Online learning package
  • Powerpoint Presentations
  • Videos
  • Lists of relevant references and texts
  • Library resources
  • Links to freely accessible Internet sites will be provided. Weblinks are provided throughout the Learning Package
    so that you can directly access these resources.

Overview of Assessment

The assessment is designed to ensure that you can demonstrate the above outcomes. To help you meet the assessment requirements, interactive online activities and discussions will provide opportunities for self-assessment and feedback from staff and/or other students throughout the course. Formal assessment may include reflection exercises, participation in group discussions and examinations.