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Yoga Anatomy Paperback – June 20, 2007

4.4 out of 5 stars 167 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


About the Author

Leslie Kaminoff has more than 20 years of experience and is an internationally recognized specialist in the fields of yoga and breath anatomy. He is cofounder and head instructor of the Breathing Project, a New York City-based yoga studio dedicated to the teaching of individualized, breath-centered yoga practice and therapy. He currently practices yoga therapy and teaches anatomy in New York City and Great Barrington, Massachusetts, and advises various yoga schools on the anatomy content of their national certification program. He has led workshops for many of the leading yoga associations, schools, and training programs in the United States, and he has helped organize international yoga conferences and symposia. Kaminoff is the founder of the highly respected international yoga list
e-Sutra, and he has been a featured yoga expert in Yoga Journal and the New York Times, as well as online at WebMD, FOXNews Online, and Health.com. Kaminoff resides in Great Barrington, Massachusetts, with his wife, Uma, and their three sons.

About the Illustrator

Sharon Ellis
has worked as a medical illustrator in New York for more than 25 years. Her award-winning illustrations have been exhibited at the New York Academy of Medicine, the Society of Illustrators, the Association of Medical Illustrators, the Rx Club, and the Spring Street Gallery in Soho. Ellis is a member of the Association of Medical Illustrators and has received the organization’s Best Illustrated Surgical Book award. She was also awarded a grant from the New York Foundation of the Arts, and her work has appeared in many medical books and magazines. Ellis holds a master’s degree in medical art from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School and a master of fine art from the State University of New York. She resides in New York City.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 232 pages
  • Publisher: Human Kinetics; 1 edition (June 20, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0736062785
  • ISBN-13: 978-0736062787
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 0.4 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (167 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #108,707 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
"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.
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Format: Paperback
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.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
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.
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Format: Paperback
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.
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