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Customer reviews

5.0 out of 5 stars
2

on January 8, 2013
This book has everything. I have been doing pilates for 4 years and this not only has a complete compilation of moves, but also sections for ailment relief as well as an entire section devoted to children's yoga. It is a fantastic resource.
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on August 25, 2011
I've bought a number of books about yoga & Pilates over the years, but Pilates_Yoga by Smith, Kelly & Monks is one of the few that I've found myself consistently working out of, instead of just reading & then putting it on the shelf.

The book is broken up into three sections, each of which is independent of the others. So it's easy to start with one style of exercise & then branch out into other parts of the book as you get more comfortable and proficient.

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The section on yoga is written by Judy Smith and focuses on Iyengar yoga which is a style developed & popularized by B.K.S. Iyengar. Iyengar yoga focuses on postures, paying close attention to details within those postures & aligning the body correctly. Some of the earlier Iyengar books (such as Light on Yoga: Yoga Dipika, the first yoga book I ever picked up) were challenging to work out of if you're not naturally flexible and had never tried yoga before. In later years Iyengar realized he would have to include a lot of intermediate poses and scale back the lessons plans (Light_On_Yoga included a lesson plan that covered 100+ weeks), and Smith's teachings on yoga reflect this.

There are a little more than 30 poses (asanas) in Smith's yoga section. All of them are basic Iyengar poses - Tadasana (mountain pose), Vrksasana (tree pose), Janusirsasana (head to knee pose), etc. All of the poses have multiple photographs showing the beginning of the pose, end of the pose & transition phases. Many of the poses also show modifications you can use if you cannot achieve the full pose yet -- such as using pillows to support the head & back if the reclining hero pose (Supta Virasana) is too difficult, or using straps to help with some of the leg extension poses such as prone leg stretch (Supta Padangusthasana I & II).

Each pose (asana) also includes lots of text explaining what the goal of the pose is, how long to hold it, etc.

Many advanced yoga students will likely consider this almost too simplistic, but most beginning & even intermediate students will find plenty to work on. There is no suggested workout plan and there is only one page devoted to pranayama (breathing exercises which are a whole yoga discipline in themselves). The lack of a suggested workout might leave complete beginners a bit confused as to where to start. Intermediate students might get snippy about how brief the section on Pranayama is. Those are the only complaints I can see.

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The section on Pilates is written by Emily Kelly & is the longest section of the book. In addition to Pilates exercises, it includes general information on fitness such as nutrition and diet, developing a cardiovascular program, and brief standing or sitting exercises that can be done in an office environment to help counteract the tension and bad posture that typically result from sitting in a front of a computer all day. And as with all Pilates books, there are a number of pages devoted to the importance of core strength & how it interacts with posture and overall phyical well-being.

Exercises include warm-up & mobility exercises, basic stretches, abdominal & back exercises, and upper & lower body exercises. Again, all the poses included here are ones I recognize from other books as basic & essential Pilates exercises, such as The Hundred, Swimming, Rolling Back, etc.

Each of the exercises is accompanied by multiple photographs, text explanations, diagrams showing muscles groups of the body are being used, and suggested phases to work in as the student first learns the exercise and gradually becomes stonger & more flexible.

Also included are two sample exercise programs, one that is estimated to take 25 minutes and the other estimated to take an hour, as well as tips on how to design your own exercise program.

Honestly, the Pilates section of Pilates_Yoga is the one I have worked out of the most. I have other books on Pilates, I buy them, read them, have grand ambitions, and then put the book on the shelf and re-read it in about a year or two. Pilates_Yoga is the one I've kept lugging around with me & working out of -- and for that alone I think the book is worth five stars.

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The last section of the book is about a fusion of yoga & Pilates dubbed yoga-Pilates, and it is written by Jonathan Monks.

Many of the postures Monks & his assistants show are more advanced -- requiring quite a bit of strength *and* flexibility -- than the postures in the preceding two sections of the book. There are some simpler exercises too, but even those should be done with a mirror, a friend, or when the student has already worked on Pilates and/or yoga for a while as the simpler exercises focus on body awareness and subtle points of posture & muscle tension.

Monks has numerous photos for each exercise, including many close-ups if he wants you to focus on a particular body part such as being very careful of how much you arch your lower back when standing or paying close attention to raising your arm *without* raising your shoulder as well.

Monks also has multiple short exercise programs: Relaxing Sequence - Warm Up 1; Resting Rocket Man - Warm Up 2; Standing Sequence - Warm Up 3; Earthing Sequence; Energizing Sequence; Strength Sequence; and Relaxing Sequence.

I haven't read or worked out of any other books about yoga-pilates so I don't have much to compare this section with, but it seems to be as strong in the fundamentals & as well-written as the previous two sections of the book.

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The book also has an excellent index.

Definitely five stars overall.
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