125 of 130 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Extremely Detailed
"Yoga Anatomy" by Leslie Kaminoff, is a must have book for yoga instructors and practitioners. Although there are a few books on yoga anatomy currently available to choose from, I was pleasantly surprised by Kaminoff's offering. First of all, the illustrations are absolutely crystal clear (the amazing artist, Sharon Ellis, is a medical illustrator). The drawings show...
Published on August 2, 2007 by Theresa Reed
67 of 74 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars After the first two chapers, it's a great resource.
This was assigned to me as a required resource for Shala (Yoga Teacher Training). Having no background in anatomy, I am really struggling to tie the written descriptions in the first two chapters to the illustrations. Perhaps there is an assumption by the author and illustrator of a certain level of anatomy knowlege that this reader doesn't posses. I find that the...
Published on January 26, 2008 by K. Tombrella
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125 of 130 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Extremely Detailed,
"Yoga Anatomy" by Leslie Kaminoff, is a must have book for yoga instructors and practitioners. Although there are a few books on yoga anatomy currently available to choose from, I was pleasantly surprised by Kaminoff's offering. First of all, the illustrations are absolutely crystal clear (the amazing artist, Sharon Ellis, is a medical illustrator). The drawings show exactly what your muscles and bones are doing in each pose. The coolest part is that we get to see some (not all) of these poses from interesting angles - not just the side view and front view - but also from the bottom and top, which really adds a lot (the author accomplished this by shooting pictures of the models from below, using a large sheet of plexiglass suspended by two ladders!). For example, imagine seeing "Bakasana" (Crane Pose) from underneath! You can see the Serratus Anterior and Iliacus at work - two things that may be difficult to view in traditional yoga anatomy books.
For each pose featured, Kaminoff provides information on the joint actions, what parts of the body are working, what is lengthening and what obstacles you may encounter. Sanskrit and English terms are provided along with pronunciations of the Sanskrit. The author also gives a very detailed chapter on the Dynamics of Breathing as well as a chapter on the Spine. These additions are invaluable and very clear. So much information is presented, it is almost overwhelming - but unlike other anatomy books, it doesn't feel dry or boring. This would be a great manual for any yoga teacher training program as well as for anyone who would like to "see" what is happening in each asana.
88 of 96 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The book I've been waiting for,
This book is a godsend for anyone who studies or teaches yoga. It reflects so much care and work and attentiveness to detail. It really is anatomy for yogis. I've been studying yoga for close to 40 years and have been exposed to a variety of corrective allignment forms of body work. So when I'm having trouble in a posture I often refer to standard anatomy books but they can be overwhelming and aren't geared towards helping me understand what is going on in a given posture. Despite taking several anatomy classes including a wondrous anatomy dissection class, I still don't have enough knowledge to translate what I read or see in an antomy text into what I'm doing and not doing in a given yoga posture. There are books that aim to be more inclusive, like Mel Robin's book on the physiology of yoga--but I just get overwhelmed by that much information. This book helps me see the main muscles working in a given posture and the main reasons I might be having difficulty with that posture. Of course I would like even more--how can I strengthen or lengthen the muscles that I'm needing to employ in a given posture. But that is asking for too much and I think really requires work with a well trained teacher. This book is just the right size, user friendly and chocked full of information. The illustrations are remarkable, showing postures from different angles and reflecting the author's extensive study of both anatomy and yoga. I highly recommend it.
67 of 74 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars After the first two chapers, it's a great resource.,
This was assigned to me as a required resource for Shala (Yoga Teacher Training). Having no background in anatomy, I am really struggling to tie the written descriptions in the first two chapters to the illustrations. Perhaps there is an assumption by the author and illustrator of a certain level of anatomy knowlege that this reader doesn't posses. I find that the illustrations of the thoracic cavity (lungs, central tendon, diaphram) and the spinal column (discs, tendons, vertebrae) more confusing than helpful. I needed to consult with my Shala yoga instructors and 3 different anatomy books to understand what the author was trying to teach me. Chapter two is no better. The illustrations of the spine, tendons, discs are all superbly drawn, yet don't quite sync up with the written text if you're a newcomer like myself.
After these two chapters, it's a great resource. As the other reviewers have stated, the illustrations of the muscles used during different asanas are right on and quite helpful. This is a resource I'll keep and use again. However I'd like to see the first two chapters revised so the illustrations are presented better for the novice.
22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Yoga Anatomy for the Rest of Us!,
Rest assured, you can relax and breathe easy as you meander through the pleasant pages of this book! Other great books connect yoga and anatomy, including the highly regarded titles, Anatomy of Yoga, by H. David Coulter, and The Key Muscles of Hatha Yoga, by Ray Long. However, Yoga Anatomy is so user-friendly even those of us who drift off during yoga anatomy workshops can enjoy absorbing the wisdom in this book.
There were no anatomy books specifically designed for yoga teachers when I studied anatomy at the Iyengar Yoga Institute in San Francisco in the `70s. I was already overwhelmed just learning how to place my feet in Triangle Pose and could not get my head into the daunting standard anatomical textbooks used at the time. If this book had been available, I might not have gotten a D in anatomy!
The beautiful illustrations by award-winning medical illustrator Sharon Ellis are based on photographs of various models. As others have mentioned, some perspectives illustrated are quite unusual because they were shot from underneath. The book shows a photograph of a photo shoot where the model is balanced in Crow Pose, on a long piece of plexiglass secured between two ladders. The photographer is lying on his back on the floor, shooting the pose from below.
The sight of this photo prompted me to do something I have not done in 30 years of practicing Downward-Facing Dog. I placed a sturdy mirror, one foot wide and four feet long, in the center of my yoga mat. I went into downward-facing dog in such a way that my hands and feet were pressing on the mat, and I could see the pose reflected in the mirror. I turned to the book, and there was a picture of the view I had just seen in the mirror.
I am fond of telling my students to turn the pages of yoga books sideways and upside down so that they can better see the connection between the various poses. The views shown in Yoga Anatomy make this concept crystal clear and help you see yourself and your students with X-ray eyes. Yoga Anatomy is definitely an essential resource that will illuminate your practice for years to come!
Suza Francina, author, The New Yoga for Healthy Aging, The New Yoga for People Over 50, and other books. [...]
27 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential reference guide,
As a yoga practioner and teacher, I have always been in search for an easily understandable anatomy book on yoga-- and Yoga Anatomy by Leslie Kaminoff provides that. Each asana (pose) that is explained shows the following:
- a beautiful illustration of the pose showing the muscles and bones that are used in the pose (joints and organs are shown some asanas too)
- the English and Sanskit name (along with the pronouncitation)
- Classification and Level
- Joint Actions
- Working (muscles being used)
- Lengthening (muscles being stretched)
- Obstacles and Notes (mucscles, bones or joints that may hinder the yogi to coming into the pose, and provide helpful hints to overcoming that)
- Breathing (suggestions on how to use the breath and where to direct the focus of the breath)
Leslie Kaminoff explains many of the most commonly practiced asanas--including standing, sitting, kneeling, supine, prone and arm support poses. There is also a chapter on the breath and another on the spine.
My complaint is that the muscles mentioned in the text weren't completely identified in the illustration. For example, if there are 40 muscles involved in the pose, only 10 or less are pointed out in the illustration. This can get slightly frustrating because unless you are an anatomist or physical therapist, I do not memorize all the muscles, bones and joints and their placements. It may be asking too much to show each and every muscle mentioned into the drawings, so I refer to another book, Anatomy of Movement by Blandine Calais-Germain for reference (this book provides a breakdown of body parts and the muscle groups). But nevertheless, the illustrations are invaluable in providing a deeper understanding of the pose.
Overall, this is the best anatomy book on yoga I've read so far. I have read H. David Coulter's Anatomy of Hatha Yoga, and a book as thick as the bible is sure to overwhelm. Yoga Anatomy provides a fairly easy-to-understand format, however it is not for newbies. This book is more for serious yogis and teachers who already have a basic knowledge of anatomy and would like to learn more.
19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a missing link has been found,
excellent book... well-organized by asana. first book i have seen that applies so clearly and crisply per pose: alignment, detailed notes on anatomy involved, joint & limb actions, muscular actions, risks, levels of difficulty, notes, sanskrit translations, and crisp drawings based upon photographs from multiple angles. primary focus approached via breath and the spine. this is a treasure trove and not a million pages either - each pose is one to three pages - digestible in mini-sittings and at a glance.
39 of 44 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Every yogi should have one,
This is a great book, thorough & easy to read, with wonderful illustrations. Leslie Kaminoff has a wealth of knowledge to offer: knowledge of the body, of the dynamics of the breath, and of the asanas. This is the kind of book that instructors & practitioners alike should own for reference. The breadth & depth of the material is amazing.
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent work on yoga anatomy for a very reasonable price!,
Yoga anatomy is a detailed work on how the various yoga asanas impact us at an anatomical level. For a variety of standing, sitting, kneeling, supine, prone and arm support yoga poses the key anatomical structures, joint and limb actions, working and lengthening of muscles and breathing involved in the pose are described. The obstacles to getting into the poses are also described. I found this to be extremely useful. The diagrams are detailed and by looking at it one would know what muscles and joints are involved in the yoga posture. Getting into a posture is not very difficult for many; but the question is if they are doing it the right way by involving the right muscles and joints. For example the book clearly mentions that in Uttanasana (standing forward bend) hip flexion is the main joint action but if the hamstrings are tight then spine flexes to compensate for it. By being aware of this fact, one can focus on flexing the hip and correctly get into the pose without flexing the spine much. By being aware of the correct muscles groups/ joints my yoga practice has benefitted immensely. My hip has opened easing pressure on my spinal muscles and my back pain has eased considerably because of that. For some poses, the book does not pictorically depict all the muscles mentioned in the description. The book talks about latissimus dorsi lengthening in Utkatasana but the illustration does not show that. Overall, this is a great book for a very reasonable price!
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Yoga Anatomy,
This book is a great tool for yoga teachers and anyone wanting to further their knowledge of yoga and anatomy. The drawings are incredible. The notes accompanying the drawings are exactly what I need to deepen my understanding of yoga anatomy. The layout for each asana is clear and easy to understand with everything I would want to know about that posture. The text about the Breath in general is thorough. The text about the breath in each posture is not something I have found in other texts. What an incredible resource!!
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Kindle Version - access to Color Diagrams,
This review is from: Yoga Anatomy (Kindle Edition)
As many others have already talked about the content quality of this book (excellent), this review will specifically focus on how it fares on the Kindle.
Yes, the pictures are in black and white on the actual Kindle device. However, you can also view the book in color when you open it on your computer (through the Kindle for Mac/PC application). I would love to just get the book in full color on my Kindle, but this is a great option while technology lags behind.
The book is as valuable for its text as it is for its pictures. If you download the sample of the book, you can judge the text's quality for yourself (I found the explanations extremely helpful). The diagrams are understandable in black and white, but some are harder to understand without color. In these instances, I open up the book on my computer and examine the pictures in full color.
If the book is better in color, why not just buy the non-Kindle edition? For me, it's a matter of utility. I wouldn't carry this around as a paperback as I already have a ton to carry every day, and I rarely have time to sit down with a book and just read for several hours at home. Having it on my Kindle means that if a pocket of time suddenly opens up in my day, I can sit in a cafe or library and study anatomy. This ensures that I'll actually be able to read the book. When I buy paper books of this sort, they usually sit around at home and either don't get read or don't get read for a long while--not because I don't care, but simply because it's hard to make the time once I get home.
The descriptions are thorough and will peak your curiosity about the pictures. While again, ideally, the pictures would just be in color on the actual Kindle device, I do find myself interested enough that I will take a look at the pictures on my computer once I get home. I feel that having the book on my Kindle and having a color option at home helps me get the best out of both worlds. For that, five stars.
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Yoga Anatomy by Leslie Kaminoff
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