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Teaching Yoga: Essential Foundations and Techniques Paperback – May 25, 2010

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Teaching Yoga: Essential Foundations and Techniques + Yoga Sequencing: Designing Transformative Yoga Classes + Yoga Anatomy-2nd Edition
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: North Atlantic Books (May 25, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1556438850
  • ISBN-13: 978-1556438851
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 1 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (133 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,179 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


“Whether you’re already a yoga teacher, aspiring to be one, or just seeking to deepen your understanding and practice of yoga, Mark Stephens’ thoughtful, eloquent, and thorough book would be a valuable addition to your library… In Teaching Yoga, he covers all the basic topics you’d hope to find in a comprehensive teacher training class… Stephens’ deep understanding of, and appreciation for, the practice and fruits of yoga constantly illuminate his writing. That spirit gives force to his gentle insistence that all yoga teachers must look inside to find – and share with their students – their own authentic expression of yoga.”
Yoga Journal

“Mark Stephens’s all-encompassing tome for both new and experienced teachers [offers] an exhaustive overview of philosophy, history, yoga styles, and guidelines for practice... Authoritative and engaging, but never dogmatic, Teaching Yoga will help instructors fine-tune their classroom skills and empower their personal practice.”
Yoga+Joyful Living Magazine

Teaching Yoga by Mark Stephens is a great resource, not just for yoga teachers but for practitioners of all levels. It covers everything from yoga philosophy and history to the intricacies of the poses, breathing practices and meditation... The foreword is sweetly written by Mariel Hemingway and only serves to enhance this must-read for any practicing or aspiring yogi.”
—Wisconsin State Journal

“Mark Stephens, a teacher of teachers, has created a comprehensive and inspiring guide for yoga teachers and serious practitioners alike. In these pages, he offers us the fruit of his years of rigorous practice, his deep contemplation, and his understanding of what really matters in yoga. Filled with tips and secrets for finding the inner core of asana, gently but firmly puncturing myths, this book is a brilliant merger of traditional wisdom with contemporary rigor and insight. It should be on the shelf of everyone who loves the practice of yoga.”
—Sally Kempton, Yoga Journal’s “Wisdom” columnist and author of The Heart of Meditation: Pathways to a Deeper Experience

“Comprehensive, deeply insightful, and chock full of tips and techniques for teaching and doing yoga, Mark Stephens's Teaching Yoga will be required reading for yoga teachers, teacher trainers, and serious students alike. We heartily recommend this essential new contribution to the conscious evolution of yoga.”
—Joel Kramer, coauthor with Diana Alstad of The Passionate Mind Revisited: Expanding Personal and Social Awareness

Teaching Yoga is an urgently needed manual that will be a valuable tool in the arsenal of aspiring yoga teachers to add perspective and to hone their skills. It provides a wealth of foundational information, advice, tips, guidance, and grist for the mill.”
—Ganga White, founder, White Lotus Yoga Foundation, Santa Barbara, California, and author of Yoga Beyond Belief: Insights to Awaken and Deepen Your Practice

Teaching Yoga is friendly, well thought out, helpful, clear, and tremendously thorough. Many people will benefit from this gift, it being exactly what is needed to help a growing teacher teach at his or her best. I’m glad it is finally in print and it is coming out just in time for my next teacher training!”
—Erich Schiffmann, author of Yoga: The Spirit and Practice of Moving Into Stillness

“Mark Stephens is making a real offering to yoga teachers, providing practical tools and inspiration for the path that embraces all forms of embodied yoga. There are hard-to-find gems that make this a great resource, from the section of the mythological meaning behind the asanas to teaching cues for the core asanas and sequencing tools from vinyasa krama. Enjoy this great resource and dive deep into your own transformation of teaching yoga.”
—Shiva Rea, leading instructor of Transformational Prana Flow Yoga and Yoga Trance Dance

“Yoga teachers and their students will love this book. Mark Stephens untangles the complexities of yoga philosophy, history, and energetics, offers clear and compelling techniques for teaching and exploring asanas, pranayama, and meditation, and gives teachers a rich array of practical tools for planning and sequencing classes, working with diverse students, and teaching with integrity and authenticity. Teaching Yoga should be in the hands of every teacher and dedicated student.”
—Seane Corn, yoga teacher and founder, Off the Mat, Into the World

“Yoga luminary Mark Stephens has written a book that embodies Hatha yoga itself, offering a highly informative guide for all yoga teachers. Teaching Yoga answers our questions and addresses our controversies. This comprehensive and scholarly guide is now required reading for our teaching staff.”
—Mary Lynn Fitton, founder and director of programs, The Art of Yoga Project

“Dedicated yoga students and their teachers will find Mark Stephens's comprehensive book an essential and timeless resource. Filled with profound insights presented with clarity and intelligence, Teaching Yoga is a wonderful resource that beautifully models the practice of yoga itself; it unites many diverse threads of truth into a cohesive, vibrant whole. It has quickly become an indispensable part of my teaching library.”
—Daniel Stewart, cofounder and director, Rising Lotus Yoga, Los Angeles, California

“Fifteen years after starting a successful movement to bring yoga into inner city schools, prisons, treatment centers, and veteran’s facilities, Mark Stephens is back with a treasure trove of wisdom and insight drawn from years of training teachers for success in those settings as well as more traditional yoga spaces such as studios, retreats, and conferences. Teaching Yoga is destined to be a classic that every yoga teacher and student will consult for years to come.”
—James Wvinner, yogi and cofounder, Yoga, Tribe, and Culture

Teaching Yoga is a wonderful addition to the growing collection of books being created for yoga teachers… [Stephens’] writing is friendly, clear, helpful and thorough.”

“Teaching Yoga: Essential Foundations and Techniques is the first comprehensive guide written for practicing and would-be yoga teachers and their students, covering yoga's history, philosophy, and basic teaching methods. It follows the teacher training curriculum standards set by Yoga Alliance and blends traditional yoga with modern techniques and over 150 photos and anatomy illustrations. Any new age or yoga collection must have this!”
Midwest Book Review, Reviewer’s Choice

“Mark Stephens’ Teaching Yoga offers a fantastic primer for the beginning teacher or those interested in learning more about the many facets of the philosophy and practice of yoga. Stephens is obviously a seasoned student and teacher, and even though the book is written at an expert level, it is still accessible and easy to understand. Stephens’ text offers a great gift for coming generations: what a pleasure to have all of this information in one place.”

“Steeped in the knowledge of classical yoga and modern adaptations, Stephens manages to make the practice of yoga accessible to experienced teachers, new teachers, and students.”
A Garden Carried in the Pocket

This has to be the most comprehensive book on yoga I've ever read.  It is definitely more than just your typical 'how-to' yoga book… I have been thoroughly impressed.”
Kari, Reading For Sanity

About the Author

An esteemed yoga teacher and teacher trainer who has trained over 1,000 yoga teachers, Mark Stephens conducts classes, workshops, and retreats worldwide. The founder of Yoga Inside Foundation, L.A. Yoga Center, and the recipient of Yoga Journal's first annual Karma Yoga Award in 2000. The author of Yoga Sequencing: Designing Transformative Yoga Classes (North Atlantic Books, 2012), he lives and teaches in Santa Cruz, CA.

Foreword contributor Mariel Hemingway is an actress and longtime yoga practitioner and teacher.

Customer Reviews

Very informative and well written.
I could have just used this book for that purpose, but I ordered both books at the same time and I am glad I did, as both books are worth keeping for reference.
I am currently enrolled in a Yoga Alliance certified 200 hour teachers training out of 11 required books so far I like this one best.
Tommy Girl

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

62 of 64 people found the following review helpful By mike on May 28, 2010
Format: Paperback
Okay, this is the best book out there for yoga teachers and teacher trainers, but what makes it truly amazing is that it's a great book for all of us-for students as well as teachers. Although I've been doing yoga for 12 or 13 years, I'm not interested in teaching yoga, but this book is filled with background information and insights to help deepen my practice. One of the things I like most about it is how the author has approached every topic like a scholar, asking probing questions, giving detailed references, and encouraging the reader to think rather than just accept what some guru out there says is the truth. Yet the book is also filled with spirit, giving me a real feeling for doing yoga at a deeper level. Anyone who is serious about going deeper with his or her yoga practice will definitely want to buy this book. And last but not least, it's a beautiful book!
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This masterfully crafted and beautifully designed book is the most comprehensive text written on yoga wince B.K.S. Iyengar's Light on Yoga was published in 1966. It's also practical and resourceful, for beginning and experienced teachers. But unlike Iyengar, the Indian master, Mark Stephens writes as an American yogi steeped in Western culture yet completely absorbed in the wisdom of the East. This is also a work of scholarship, a rarity in a world of yoga long on bold assertions and short on evidence, careful reasoning, and even simple references. This books contains hundreds of insights into teaching and doing yoga. The author presents a well-balanced perspective on scores of topics, then encurages the reader to thnk on his or her own. This is a truly outstanding book on yoga that will become part of every yogi's library.
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54 of 59 people found the following review helpful By G. A. BRAVO-CASAS on August 29, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
With the increasing number of training programs for yoga teachers and the proliferation of yoga studios, many people, and especially yoga students, are demanding higher standards from their yoga teachers. There have been many debates as to whether or not it is advisable to have the yoga profession, and particularly the training of teachers, regulated. In 2007, the Consumer Product Safety Commission reported that in the previous three years, around 13,000 Americans suffered yoga-related injuries as reported by doctors' offices and emergency rooms. Many injuries are the result of teaching practices from incompetent teachers. Many teachers have not received proper training or do not have any certification; it is estimated that among the 70,000 yoga teachers in the United States, only three quarters have any sort of certification. Furthermore, while there are strict training programs that demand a minimum of 200 hours of training, others provide a diploma after a few days of exposure, or just by e-mail.

In the middle of such a situation, the arrival of Mark Stephens' book is more than a blessing. The author has trained more than 700 yoga teachers and is the Director of the Teacher Training Program at Santa Cruz Yoga (CA). He has studied various yoga styles (Iyengar, Ashtanga Vinyasa, yoga therapy, and Vinyasa Flow) and is well versed in yoga history and philosophy. The book includes various practical tables for easy consultation, numerous photographs, a rich bibliography, a very helpful list of yoga teaching resources (yoga websites, yoga associations, and institutes and research centers), a comprehensive list of yoga poses, and a summary of the yoga sequences followed by six major yoga schools.
Read more ›
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By PT on October 14, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a good book if you are looking for a general orientation. Nothing will teach you how to teach yoga but an experienced teacher, time, and effort. That said- if you are new to learning about yoga or starting your 200 hour CYT, this book will provide structure and some insight.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Ash on May 26, 2010
Format: Paperback
This is a perfect book for people who are new to yoga and are trying to understand and follow their teacher's directions. Every pose is perfectly described, (There's even a detailed section on body structure and movement). I love the foreword by Mariel Hemingway... it's fun to read about her respect and admiration for the author (Mark Stephens). She writes, "He is a teacher's teacher." Beautiful book.
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21 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Kevin L. Dougherty on May 29, 2010
Format: Paperback
Admitedly, one may say that as a student of Mark Stephens, this is a biased review. I won't argue with the fact that as a student of yoga, Mark Stephens in an excellent teacher who has very popular yoga classes here in Santa Cruz, CA. He is a very friendly, approachable teacher who treats all of his students (which are many) with equal attention and equanimity. His teaching style is easy to grasp and grow upon. My own yoga practice has improved markedly in my classes at Mark's studio.
Despite all this, I own many yoga books and videos and have enough of them to understand the differences between those that are well-done, and those that aren't. This book is definitely one of the former.
Although titled Teaching Yoga, this book has obviously been written for not just the teacher, but the student (which I am), too. As a student, I'm very interested in the teaching process, what the teacher is trying to convey to an aspiring student of yoga.
Mark's book is a holistic production. Unlike many books, Teaching Yoga encompasses the whole gambit of what we in the West interpet as "Yoga". Roots, traditions, lore, history, styles, philosophies, the physical practice, what to look out for, etc. is found in this obvious labor of love.
The chapter on sequencing ideas in itself is a gem and can easily be rendered into a book itself. For those who want a home-based practice without carbon-copying what was learned in class (I believe that the truely rich realm of yoga is that of self-exploration, the ability to translate a yoga practice to that of "being" yoga.), the underlying philosophy of sequencing gives ones a template to begin with.
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More About the Author

Born in Santa Cruz, California to native California parents, Mark Stephens graduated with highest honors from the University of California, Santa Cruz, completed seven years of post-graduate studies at UCLA, and worked for many years as a community organizer, teacher, and education consultant.

After briefly exploring yoga in his teens, he started a daily yoga practice in 1991 that continues today. He began teaching yoga in 1996. The founder of Yoga Inside Foundation, L.A. Yoga Center and Santa Cruz Yoga, Stephens' writings, interviews, commentaries, quotes and quips have appeared in the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, USA Today, Yoga Journal, Yoga International, People, Health, Elephant Journal and other online and print media.

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