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235 of 237 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Everything I Ever Wanted In A Yoga Therapy Book
I have been anticipating the release of this book ever since I saw an ad for it in Yoga Journal. It was touted as "indispensible" and for once, an ad delivered what it promised. Written by the medical editor of Yoga Journal, Timothy McCall M.D., "Yoga As Medicine" offers so much more than a regular book of asanas.

McCall starts by going into some detail about...
Published on August 2, 2007 by Theresa Reed

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44 of 49 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good info, but chaotic organization
I'm sure there is a lot of good information in here, but I just can't get through it because of the organization of the book. Other books are so better presented (Yoga for Arthritis and other of that author's books, for example).

Yoga as Medicine is sort of a collection of different "big" yoga teachers around the world and how they approach specific conditions...
Published on May 16, 2009 by MamaDog


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235 of 237 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Everything I Ever Wanted In A Yoga Therapy Book, August 2, 2007
This review is from: Yoga as Medicine: The Yogic Prescription for Health and Healing (Paperback)
I have been anticipating the release of this book ever since I saw an ad for it in Yoga Journal. It was touted as "indispensible" and for once, an ad delivered what it promised. Written by the medical editor of Yoga Journal, Timothy McCall M.D., "Yoga As Medicine" offers so much more than a regular book of asanas.

McCall starts by going into some detail about the science behind yoga - giving examples of how yoga can help heal the body. Although he is clear to state that yoga should not take the place of a doctor, he invites the reader to complement their current treatment with yoga. The author also gives good common sense strategies to doing yoga safely (I especially like the cautions about hands on adjustments - I have witnessed people being injured by overly assertive yoga instructors trying to "bend" people into a pose before the body was ready). I also enjoyed reading the chapter on choosing a style and a teacher. Here, McCall lists some of the most well known styles and gives some really good advice to help the reader choose a system that is suited for them.

The third part of the book is the real 'meat'- there are twenty chapters on specific health issues (ex: asthma, IBS, obesity, MS). For each chapter, an experienced yoga teacher (ex: Judith Hanson Lasater, Gary Kraftsow, Patricia Walden) gives their perspective on the issue and how they may have dealt with a student who had the condition. Real life examples are in the book but the author also states that these approaches may not necessarily be right for your condition (for instance, on page xii, he states that Lasater, who wrote the chapter on back pain, was using a case study with sciatica as her example - and may not recommend the featured routine for another student with back pain). Speaking of routines, each chapter also has a specific yoga routine for each condition with full illustrations as well as contraindications, modifications, suggestions, and an overview of the condition from a Western doctor's perspective. These details make the book comprehensive and well rounded.

Other nice features: an appendix on avoiding injury, details on anatomy, a plan for starting your home yoga practice, meditation techniques, and a sanskrit glossary. I also liked that he used not only famous yoga instructors, but a few lesser known but equally valuable teachers. McCall studies with Patricia Walden and there is a bit of a slant towards Iyengar style yoga, but other styles that have a therapuetic bent such as Viniyoga and Anusara are featured here too.

I heartily recommend this book not only to yoga instructors but to any practitioner, new or old! There is not another book like it and I'd rate it 10 stars if I could!
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121 of 122 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A comprehensive medical approach to yoga, August 26, 2007
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This review is from: Yoga as Medicine: The Yogic Prescription for Health and Healing (Paperback)
Dr. McCall is the medical editor of Yoga Journal and many readers are familiar with his excellent articles in that prestigious publication. In 2002, Yoga Journal asked Dr. McCall to write a book on yoga therapy, but he was already working on Yoga as Medicine for two years. The author is a board-certified specialist in internal medicine and was a practicing physician for more than 12 years in the Boston area. At the beginning, Dr. McCall says that he approached yoga "in the same spirit that I'd brought to salsa dancing and tai chi", but then, as he was deepening into his practice, he began to notice important changes in his posture, his breathing, and many other aspects of his daily life. In 2000, he decided to devote himself full-time to investigate the value of yoga as a therapeutic instrument. He has visited many yoga centres and ashrams in the United States and India, exploring, asking students and instructors about the therapeutic value of their yoga practice, and collecting valuable information that is very difficult to access.

The book consists of three parts. Part 1: "Yoga as Medicine", makes a succinct presentation of the scientific basis of yoga and its contributions to health care. Part 2: " The Practice of Yoga", has numerous tips on how to establish a safe practice, how to choose a safe yoga style, and how to select a teacher. Part 3 " Yoga Therapy in Action", has 20 chapters devoted to a large array of conditions (arthritis, asthma, back pain, cancer, depression, diabetes, HIV/AIDS, multiple sclerosis, and many others). Dr. McCall, with information provided by leading yoga therapists, offers a brief overview of each condition, discusses in detail the scientific evidence of the contribution made by yoga to the treatment of the condition, and concludes with a series of recommended exercises appropriate for each condition, highlighting the benefits and the contraindications of each exercise. An appendix is devoted to the prevention of yoga injuries.

This book offers an unusual view of yoga. Dr. McCall uses crisp and clear language, his book is lucid and easy to understand, and scientific proofs are fully documented. Being both a competent physician and a skilled yoga practitioner who has explored many yoga traditions, Dr. McCall has the authority to disregard false claims from both sides and insists that a correct perspective is to recognize the complementarities of both approaches. He insists that yoga therapy is not a "magic bullet", but asserts that the characteristics of such therapy (being holistic, with increased effects over time, positive side effects, requiring patient's participation, major emphasis on prevention, etc.) makes yoga therapy ideal for the treatment of some chronic problems, such as diabetes, or arthritis. Dr. McCall is not hesitant to use many of the classical yoga terms (asanas, Pranayama, nadis, etc.), but he alerts us by affirming: "If notions like chakras and prana turn you off, just think of them as metaphors. We use this kind of metaphorical thinking in the West all the time... Good metaphors can help us understand, as yogis put it, 'what is' ". Many people remember his sense of humour from the video, Yoga Unveiled, which has a section on "Yoga as Therapy"; he mentions that on one occasion he was asked: "Will smoke get in the way of yoga?" and he replied "No, but if you are a smoker, yoga might get in the way of smoking."

The book is a treasure of information. It contains photographs of the exercises recommended for each condition. It has a comprehensive index, a list of Sanskrit words and names for the asanas, and a comprehensive list of sources of information, including the web sites of yoga therapists and institutions. This work is the best of its kind and it is the principal source of reference for those interested in discovering the therapeutic value of yoga. On the front cover of the book you will see the opinion of Dr. Mehmet Oz, Director of the Cardiovascular Institute of the New York Presbyterian Hospital: "Read this to find out why we teach our patients YOGA".
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75 of 81 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I'd like to stop the world and finish reading this book., August 2, 2007
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This review is from: Yoga as Medicine: The Yogic Prescription for Health and Healing (Paperback)
I've found an incredible tool here--one that gives hope to a middle-aged, out of shape person that there are real alternatives to western medicine. The scope is encyclopedic but not daunting. The individuals who demonstrate the exercises and poses did not step off a fashion runway; there are real people of all sizes. And unlike the recent article about yoga in Vanity Fair, McCall clearly recognizes that African-Americans practice yoga too. Perhaps if more people read Dr. McCall's book, the failing health system Michael Moore documents in his most recent film would at least be failing a smaller number of people. Thank you, Dr. McCall, for what will be an invaluable resource.
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27 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Exceptional book for integrating yoga into general health and wellness, March 27, 2008
This review is from: Yoga as Medicine: The Yogic Prescription for Health and Healing (Paperback)
Dr. Timothy McCall is a Western-trained physician and medical editor of Yoga Journal. In this book, he has put together an excellent book detailing the use of yoga as part of a holistic approach towards health and wellness. While his enthusiasm about the positive benefits which can be derived from yoga is strongly persuasive, and given his medical training, he makes a real effort to lay a scientific foundation for the efficacy of yoga.

The heart of Yoga as Medicine lies in Part 3, "Yoga Therapy in Action." In this section, Dr. McCall addresses twenty specific health conditions and concerns, ranging from Anxiety and Panic Attacks to Overweight and Obesity. For each chapter, Dr. McCall has chosen a yoga expert to present a potential approach to that condition. Many of the teachers he has selected are well-known names, including Judith Hanson Lasatar for Back Pain, Gary Kraftsow for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, and Rodney Yee for Headaches. In addition to the featured instructor, every chapter also includes "Other Yogic Ideas," which range from insights by other yoga instructors to supplementary yoga tools, and "A Holistic Approach," a boxed and bulleted segment which talks about combining yoga practice with various other factors in managing the conditions.

Overall, this is an exceptional, extremely well-done book which provides a compelling argument for integrating yoga into a holistic approach towards health and wellness; highly recommended!
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26 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Valuable reference, September 23, 2007
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yogamama (Atlanta, GA USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Yoga as Medicine: The Yogic Prescription for Health and Healing (Paperback)
As a yoga instructor, I am always looking for new reference material to help me become a better teacher. This book is indispensible. It focuses on many of the problem areas that students in my classes have approached me about. It is clearly written, and easy to understand. The photographs and drawings are helpful, and the anatomical and physiological information is thoroughly presented.
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44 of 49 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good info, but chaotic organization, May 16, 2009
This review is from: Yoga as Medicine: The Yogic Prescription for Health and Healing (Paperback)
I'm sure there is a lot of good information in here, but I just can't get through it because of the organization of the book. Other books are so better presented (Yoga for Arthritis and other of that author's books, for example).

Yoga as Medicine is sort of a collection of different "big" yoga teachers around the world and how they approach specific conditions. I just prefer a more straightforward approach of 'this is the issue, these are the facts, and here's what you can do about it.' I don't like the story/case study style that seems very limiting to me. Also, I don't like the collection style where one author is writing the overall book but referencing the information as "So and so says this" and "Gary recommends this pose for...." I find it disjointed and disorganized. I just want to read the information and learn and I don't care who said it and for whom the series was created.

In summary, you have to do a lot of work in getting through the book. I've read some pretty huge "technical" yoga, anatomy and physiology books so I'm not afraid of the effort. I just think there are better options out there.
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A complete yoga medical text in almost 600 pages, June 22, 2008
This review is from: Yoga as Medicine: The Yogic Prescription for Health and Healing (Paperback)
This book is really the complete text on how to use yoga for almost any major ailment. The author, MD Dr. McCall (also the medical editor for Yoga Journal), writes from a scientific perspective. He quotes and footnotes his volume extensively, and merges science with ancient wisdom in 568 pages.

The book opens with an overview of what yoga is and is not, discusses briefly the various forms you can follow (ashtanga, iyengar, etc), and moves quickly into the physical and mental ailments yoga has been observed to help.

Yoga models of various body types illustrate the most helpful poses for anxiety, obesity, diabetes, heart disease, IBS, MS, HIV, headaches, stress, depression, menopause, back aches, cancer, insomnia, infertility, high blood pressure, chronic fatigue, carpal tunnel, fibromyalgia, arthritis and asthma.

Contraindications for each condition are provided, along with research notes, holistic approaches to treatment and tons of yoga exercise options (with black and white photos).

Quotes and passages from such well-known yoga instructors as Rodney Yee and Patricia Walden are incorporated into each section as well.

An important chapter in the back cautions practicing yogis to avoid new injuries through incorrect postural alignment and overeager stretching.

I appreciated reading the author's summary at the end about how our society could benefit from incorporating yoga therapy into mainstream medicine. I agree we should be teaching yoga in schools, to the aged in nursing homes, to the chronically ill, and in community centers everywhere. He suggests doctors and nurses themselves should practice yoga, both to lessen the stress in their professions, and also to be able to see first-hand the health benefits of yoga as both preventative and restorative medicine.

Overall, this isn't a sit-down-and-read book, although flipping through it is enjoyable. It's a fantastic reference source to keep in your yoga or medical library. Anyone can benefit from this information - we all get headaches, back aches, stress and anxiety. We all all know people with asthma or incipient heart disease who might be helped by sharing this information.

Highly recommended!
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Proof Any Body Can Do Yoga, November 17, 2009
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This review is from: Yoga as Medicine: The Yogic Prescription for Health and Healing (Paperback)
Different from the standard yoga books that instruct on basic or common poses and sequences, this book allows everyone to do yoga. There are poses to aid people who suffer from various health issues, from headaches to AIDS; the diversity of ages, body sizes and ethnic backgrounds reinforces the assurance that yoga can be for everybody.

Although the poses may be basic or known to those whom practice, understanding which poses assist for what health issue and the particular sequence is important to helping the problem being addressed. There is much written information, but the layout of the book makes it easy to go directly to the ailment you wish to deal with; by following the pictures one can quickly asses the poses that can help.

A great reference for yoga instructors, personal trainers, physical therapists and those that have practiced yoga. It may be a bit confusing and overwhelming for those that are beginners or have previously not tried yoga.
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Best Yoga Book Out There, September 15, 2007
This review is from: Yoga as Medicine: The Yogic Prescription for Health and Healing (Paperback)
I thought this was going to be another yoga book with the same information that's already out there. This book is simply the best yoga book I have ever read. Dr. McCall explains the "why" of yoga and "how" it heals the body and mind in easy to understand scientific and clinical terms. A must have for anyone interested in yoga and healing.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A no nonsense approach to yoga, June 3, 2008
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This review is from: Yoga as Medicine: The Yogic Prescription for Health and Healing (Paperback)
For someone like me that isn't into all the esoteric jargon involved in yoga, this book was perfect for me. Written by a western MD, it has practical, everyday suggestions for incorporating yoga into your daily routine. Highly recommend!
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Yoga as Medicine: The Yogic Prescription for Health and Healing
Yoga as Medicine: The Yogic Prescription for Health and Healing by Timothy B. McCall (Paperback - July 31, 2007)
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