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Yoga: The Poetry of the Body Paperback – January 14, 2002

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Editorial Reviews Review

Rodney Yee, named the "stud-muffin guru" by Time magazine, is one of the most sought-after yoga instructors in the world, packing classrooms in Hawaii and California and selling millions of copies of his 17 videos. Yoga: The Poetry of the Body is his first book, and is as much a compendium of practical instruction on the most common poses as it is a dialogue on Yee's philosophy of yoga.

Yee decided to write The Poetry of the Body to give in-depth information that's impossible to include in his videos, and this is where the strength of the book lies. He delves into exquisite detail about the proper posture, breath work, and positioning for the 45 most common yoga asanas, devoting several step-by-step photos to each one. (However, sometimes the book goes overboard on the detail--there are more than 400 pictures, and the photo meant to illustrate where the groin is located is hardly necessary!) Yee includes eight yoga practices--the "playful practice," "relaxation practice," and those based on "grounding," "falling," "breath," "resistance," and "movement"--each a series of a dozen or so poses designed to help the reader "self-study" and discover the ways in which the mind and the body interact.

Although the poses in these "practices" are nothing out of the ordinary, Yee's incredibly muscular and supple physique may intimidate rather than inspire novice practitioners, and his sincere but frequently corny instructions on how to fully embrace the poses may well be a turn-off ("Surrender the seed of your body into the earth, water it, and let it blossom"). Diehard fans will also be disappointed that much of the book is devoted to the opinions and contemplative creative writing of his coauthor, Nina Zolotow, one of Yee's students. --Erica Jorgensen

About the Author

Rodney Yee is the Co-Director of the Piedmont Yoga Studio in Oakland, CA, where he teaches public classes and a 1 1/2 year teaching training program. He is featured in two top-selling lines of yoga instructional videos: the Yoga Journal Practice series videos and the Gaiam yoga videos. He lives with his family in Piedmont, California.

Nina Zolotow is a writer as well as a yogi. She has 20 years of experience as an instructional writer but also writes intense, playful micro fiction. She studies yoga with Rodney Yee and other teachers in the San Francisco Bay area.


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin; 1st edition (January 14, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312273312
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312273316
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 0.8 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (86 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #626,663 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

50 of 52 people found the following review helpful By Caldermobile on January 17, 2004
Format: Cards
Rodney Yee's yoga card set is wonderful. Each of the cards (well made on thick, coated cardstock) has a wonderful, clear photograph of Mr. Yee in the pose, the name of the pose, recommended time for each pose, and a description/reminder of what one should be looking for in the pose. (Part of the "Feel" listing for Happy Baby Pose: "Keep your feet directly over your knees, and let them be awake and vibrant. Keep your chest broad...") The back of the card has a mediative quote. The cards are numbered and placed in order of groupings: preparatory, standing, twists, back bends, seated, forward bends, and restorative. The deck also includes suggested sequence cards for continuing your practice.
The deck has been perfect for travel.
While these cards are wonderful and easy enough for a beginner, I would encourage ANYONE beginning their yoga practice to seek out a class in their area. Taking classes with a qualified instructor (even if only a few) will help you greatly in your practice. Body awareness is a key to long, injury-free practice, and that 'understanding' is impossible to get from a dvd, book or card set. No matter what you age, size, or level of ability I encourage you to try yoga. It will change your life. Good Luck!
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63 of 69 people found the following review helpful By M. Dalrymple on January 15, 2002
Format: Paperback
First of all, I should tell you the quality of the paper alone is worth the price-- high quality pages with lots of artsy photos, and a cover designed to lay open. It's silly, but I was struck by that when I got the book home and began to flip through it. It's made to be read and read and carried around and abused.
Second of all, despite Oprah's adoration of Rodney Yee ;o), after doing 'A.M. Yoga' a couple times and reading a couple other yoga books, I wasn't that impressed with "Rod". I felt like he was serving it up really watered down, if you know what I mean, even for a beginners' tape.
But this book has given me a lot of respect for him, and Nina Zolotow. Between each yoga set there is an unusual thoughtful qoute and then a transcript of a conversation between the authors. I found these conversations to be really helpful in my quest to get into a regular yoga practice, both from the aspect of making me want to practice every day, and encouraging me not to be so critical of myself during practice.
Also, with the tape I didn't feel like I was be given the ability to do yoga on my own-- I felt like I needed the tape, when I dreamed of going off into a field, laying out my mat next to a lake and practicing. The book is a nice break from that, I feel like it gives you the skills to practice without a voice directing every movement. (and you take a book into the fields much easier than a TV, he he).
So, yes, I highly recommend this book. It has changed my opinion of Rodney Yee, made me glad I was introduced to Nina Zolotow and her 1-sentence stories, and really helped me to learn more about yoga, as well as help me to dedicate time to regular practice. Excellent for beginners, and great for those with some familiarity as well.
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34 of 35 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 6, 2004
Format: Cards Verified Purchase
This deck has helped me stay with more yoga practice more than any other tool;more than videos, books, tapes. I can design a practice that is very short for busy days or an intensive practice when I have the time. I can also spend as much time on one asana as I like before moving on, a limitation of video tapes. I used this deck when I recently traveled to a third world country where electronic equipment was not available. The cards concept is a wonderful idea for any practice.
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40 of 45 people found the following review helpful By A O Cazola on January 18, 2002
Format: Paperback
In the yoga world, Rodney Yee is a legend. his videos sell zillions of copies and his Oprah appearance was extremely successful. Yet, as a beginning yoga practitioner, Yee has never been accessible to me.
Now, with his first book, I can finally incorporate his vast knowledge into my life. Yoga: The Poetry of the Body is an excellent guide for beginners (like me). based on 45 basic yoga positions, the book has helped me build a foundation for my yoga life.
The useful photos and exercise descriptions, alone, would make this a 5 star book, but with all of the added content from Yee and co-author Nina Zolotow, the book is a must-have. The teacher-student dialogues sprinkled throughout the book are engaging, intelligent and realistic, Yee and Zolotow answered a lot of my questions and recognized some of the insecurities I had about starting yoga (even though I didn't know I had them!!)
And for the expert practitioner, the philosophy is uniquely Yee and the book can become an excellent way to hone th craft. I can't say enough about how great this book is!!
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29 of 33 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on January 23, 2002
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I didn't know what to expect from this book, considering Mr. Yee's popularity. Being part of the latest craze and adored by Oprah could polute the good intent of even the most devout but I found this book remarkably candid and thorough.
The mysticism of yoga is absent, replaced by caring detail. For instance, in the second section, Getting Ready to Practice, the parts of the body likely to be referred to in the book or videos are pointed out, clothing is suggested, props are explained and illustrated details are provided to improvise them, right down to how to properly fold a blanket. This sort of detail, the anticipation of each tiny question has been attended to in all parts of the book.
The third section, Falling Into Yoga, is my favorite. It begins with a summary of the 8 practices included, briefly discusses timing, breathing and the like and then proceeds to the practices. The first practice, A Playful Practice, is very gentle with flowing movements for stretching, twisting and opening followed by relaxation. Each pose has a photo and "Instructions" and "One Thing" to the right of them. The "One Thing is usually a metaphor, visualization or something to help you get it. I like this level of attention and thoughtfulness. As an aside, if the prose in these makes you snicker, move on and pay attention to the instructions. Some will find them helpful and others will not. They do not detract from the book either way. Anyway, following the details of the practice are two pages with tiny photos of each asana to facilitate practicing without flipping back and forth.
The conversations with Ms. Zolotow reveal Rodney Yee as a real person, not a celebrity or mystic.
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