" Figure drawing is arguably the most difficult subject an artist commonly encounters, and entire classes are dedicated to the subject." I agree and I always approach life drawing with trepidation. So why do it, right? Because I need/want to continue practicing my drawing and observation skills. It really helps to have a good model and this week ours was FANTASTIC, what I would call a real professional. You could tell she had experience and understood the importance of good (challenging) poses. Some people think you just plonk a nude in the room and that's it, but having a bad model (lazy, inexperienced) can be really frustrating.
My approach to drawing a live model is anatomical and I use modeling to get a sense of the muscles and the bony landmarks to get a sense of proportion. You may notice that I don't bother with the face of the models. That is intentional since my main focus is getting the structure of the human form rather than a portrait of a model per se.
Figure Drawing LAB Guide to Human Anatomy: Skeletal...Muscular
Art Glossary for Artists