on January 14, 2004
I have been practicing yoga for several years now and have read tons of books on the subject. This is an excellent book on the basics. It covers 70 poses not including variations. Countrary to my assumptions, not all of the posture's described are 'beginner's poses', there are a few more difficult poses that are common to certain schools of yoga. The descriptions on how to do the poses are pratical - not so much detail that you're doing a 100 point check list. Simplier modifications are often given, useful if one is not as flexible or strong as required to do the final form (or injured, or tired, etc.). One addition I greatly appreciate is that counterposes are given for each posture, this gives a beginner some idea of what to do next. In fact, for each pose, the following details are listed: counterpose, drishti (what you should look at), physical benefits, mental benefits, and countraindications (injuries or health problems that may prevent you from practicing a posture or require a simpler variation).
The routines in the back of the book are short, but extremely helpful for how to build a routine. There are routines for a gentle practice, flexibility, some examples of vinyasa segments, and both sun and moon salutations.
I really am enjoying this book.
on March 24, 2004
Hello. I am a bodybuilder/weightlifter and long distance runner who started doing Yoga in 2002 (I practice 6-7 days a week, at least 90-120 min. daily)after surgery to repair the L5-S1 disc in my back, which I blew out while running with a cold and coughing intensely (coughing, sneezing, and laughing allegedly places tremendous pressure on your spine). I have read or purchased at least 15 books on Yoga. This one is by FAR the best (9.5.04). One pet peeve of mine has been hairy, anoerexic-looking, freaky looking Yogis showing off incredibly difficult poses that take years and years to master, if at all. These authors and models are very normal looking and easy on the eyes. This book does indeed display difficult poses, but also shows important modifications for those less accomplished. The book shows the Sun Salutations of course, and dozens of other standing, seated and twisting, forward bends, reclining, arm balances and inversions. Each has a thorough description of the benefits and instructions with fantastic photos for all levels of practioners. You will develop more lean muscle mass, lose weight, and increase flexibility and balance if you are serious about your training (obviously combined with a healthy eating style). The authors summarize several different workouts in a one-two page layout at the back of the book.
Another nice feature in my opinion, the authors don't ramble on about the horrors of eating meat, simply saying that it is an intensely personal decision. Moreover, the authors refrain from outlandish promises that I have found to be either completely inaccurate, scientifically unproven, and/or lies. Yoga is like any other form of fitness. You get out of it what you put in. Rather than making wild, unproven claims, the authors offer responsible descriptions of "potential" benefits. I found this measured approach to be very refreshing.
Because I have read so many Yoga books, I have endured the many wild and completely irresponsible claims by many Yogis and even Yoga Journal magazine (weighing in on the dangers of genetically modified foods [tell that to starving people in Sub-Saharan Africa], peacefullness, and non-violence, yada, yada, yada). The authors achieve a perfect balance in this regard.
This book is PERFECT for anyone from beginners to advanced practioners.
Also, thank you again to Amazon.com for offerring this book at a great price and of course perfect service.
on January 13, 2004
I am a 42 year-old male in better than average physical condition but when my ankles, knees, and shoulder recently requested that I abandon the jump rope for another regular excersize, I decided to check out yoga. So far I've explored roughly 15 books on the subject and have found Hatha Yoga Illustrated to be the keeper. I came to this conclusion when I noticed that I was comparing and cross-referencing the other books to this one, and that it contained virtually ALL of the important information from the others, collectively. There are many good books on the subject, but I found this to be the most comprehensive.
Hatha Yoga Illustrated will get you started immediately, and also offers advanced information should you need a more intense program in the future. The book features detailed and well-organized instruction for all of the major poses, complete with variations and counterposes. The two authors are a man and a woman so it favors neither gender, as with some of the other books I've read.
My only two criticisms are extremely minor: The women in the illustrations are very good-looking which, as petty as this sounds, can serve as a temporary distraction (that's a criticism?!) Also, there could be a little more info on routines. This is somewhat of a moot point however, because you'll probably want to build a routine to suit your own specific needs and abilities, and this book certainly provides you with the tools to do that.
In conclusion I'm forced to use the old "if you can read just one book - this is the one!" cliche, but only because it is so appropriate in this case. I highly recommend Hatha Yoga Illustrated, and congratulate it's authors on a job very well done.
on September 3, 2008
I just started my home practice about 3 months ago when I purchased this book. Overall, it is a very good guide for beginners. Here are some PROs and CONSs.
* Excellent step-by-step instructions accompanied by lots of photos demonstrating each pose.
* Very organized since poses are grouped by standing, twisting, sitting.
* On each pose, the book explains how each pose affects each part of the body, as well as giving counter poses
* Also, a gentle version or advance version is accompanied with most poses
* Finally, the book gives a brief history about yoga and the different types practiced around the world.
* Wish the book was spiral-bound like David Swenson's Ashtanga Yoga Series. It would be worth the extra money in my opinion.
* Would have like to have seen some more variations on a couple poses such as, Supta Padangusthasana, Janu Sirsasana, Prasarita Padottanasana, to name a few.
Other than those minor complaints, I think the book is a great asset to any home practitioner's library. Highly recommend along with David Swenson's book, Ashtanga Yoga: The Practice Manual: An Illustrated Guide to Personal Practice.
on June 26, 2006
I am new to yoga and really enjoying the classes. My instructors are great at explaining the poses but this book also helped me with detailed pictures of the poses and explainations of the breathing used through the poses. One feature I also like is that each poses includes gentle versions and a list of contraindications. I have spinal and joint issues that make this important.
While I think that a class is the best way to begin your yoga journey this book is also a great help. Allowing you to review poses you learned in a session and expand your knowledge of this wonderful practice.
on May 12, 2007
I've been using Rodney Yee's Moving Toward Balance as my main yoga guide. It's a wonderful book if you like a very structured approach to learning yoga. But it doesn't always provide enough detailed information about how to get into some of the more complex poses. And if you're a yoga rookie like me and have never seen the poses performed before, just looking at a photo of Rodney Yee looking perfect doesn't always help you figure out how to bend yourself into same shape. So I looked around for something to supplement Moving Toward Balance and selected Hatha Yoga Illustrated. It has both pictures and a step by step description of how to enter and exit a fair number of commonly used postures. It has certainly helped me decipher the lyrical but vague instructions occasionally encountered in Moving Toward Balance. But it doesn't have all of the postures I encounter in yoga class or in Moving Toward Balance, which considering how many there are, is to be expected. However, it does have a short selection of yoga practices (for flexibility, strength, sun salutations, etc.) that are easy to follow.
Hatha Yoga Illustrated is a helpful supplement to whatever other methods (yoga classes, other yoga guides, etc.) you may use. It might be a little light to be used as the sole guide for a complete novice. Are there better choices out there? Maybe.
on November 17, 2007
I am a yoga teacher, and I highly recommend this book. It explains each pose in very clear detail, with some of the best pictures & descriptions that I have ever seen in any yoga book! It is an excellent book for beginning students, as well as a great reference even for those who are more advanced. An essential book to have in your yoga library.
on January 18, 2007
I found this book very helpful because I had recently started a yoga class at my gym. I have problems with various part of my body which just kept getting sorer although I enjoyed to yoga class in general. I stuck it out for a while getting worse and worse and am so glad now that I've looked into the various poses myself. The book was very well illustrated and gave contraindications for the poses and showed alternate ways of doing each. This information was not given to me in class even though I told the instructor of my problems ahead of time. I have a whiplash injury, so this information would have been much appreciated prior to my messing my neck up even more.
I am not much for classes and the like. Last year when I decided to join Weight Watchers and amp up my work out schedule I decided to try Pilates, so I bought a fantastic book called The Pilates Body by Brooke Siler. I found that it was amazing for building my core, but I wanted to add a yoga dynamic to get me focused and balanced (literally and figuratively). I bought this book, and six months later, I have learned to incorporate nearly all of the moves into a Pilates/Yoga fusion that has greatly improved my muscle tone, breathing, focus and balance.
Not only does Hatha Yoga Illustrated offer photographs of various poses (and the succession in which you need to achieve them) but also offers in-depth descriptions about gentle variations (for beginners or people with injuries etc. that may not be able to achieve a pose as is), breathing, and the ailments that each pose has the potential to relieve. The book also offers a bit about the philosophies of yoga. Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, the book offers, at the back, a number of yoga sequences/routines you can put into practice once you are familiar and comfortable with the individual poses.
At the age of 38, I am literally in the best shape of my life. Through Pilates and Yoga I have been able to achieve a toned and slender body without the use (and potential injury factor) of weight training. This book has proven invaluable to me and I recommend it to anyone who is looking for an introduction to Yoga. I've never been more limber, flexible and focused. And all this from two books (The Pilates Body and Hatha Yoga Illustrated). If you work well on your own and are motivated to change for the better, you need look no further than this book for a terrific start.
I would suggest buying a yoga mat if you don't have one already...
on October 29, 2013
Since there are two versions available for Kindle, which could cause confusion, I thought I'd try to help clear things out. I purchased both to check out the differences, but only kept the one I liked best.
The Kindle version with the 2005 publication date is actually based on a 2006 version of the book. The photos are clear and crisp, and the ebook contains links that the reader can use to navigate to relevant parts of the book.
Conversely, the Kindle version with the 2010 publication date is based on an older version of the book (2003, I believe). The photos are somewhat grainy, and there are no links in the text. I actually liked the way the text was formatted in this version much better, but the links and better-quality photos in the other version were worth the aesthetic sacrifice in my case.
Note that my comments above are true as of my writing them, but Human Kinetics may fix this issue in the future.