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Review: Yoga Anatomy by Leslie Kaminoff & Amy Matthews

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Updated December 04, 2012

Review: Yoga Anatomy by Leslie Kaminoff & Amy Matthews

Yoga Anatomy by Leslie Kaminoff

Courtesy of Human Kinetics
What a great addition to the yoga canon! Leslie Kaminoff's Yoga Anatomy (2007) offers a truly unique opportunity to look at yoga poses from the inside out.
Kaminoff is the founder and director of the Breathing Project, a yoga studio focused on breath-centered practice, and is an expert in yoga and breath anatomy. Yoga Anatomy begins with a section on the dynamics of breathing that is easy to understand and helpfully illustrated. An introductory chapter on yoga and the spine is very informative, especially for those who suffer from back pain.

What Makes This Book Different?

The illustrations of yoga poses are what really makes this book special. Each drawing began as a photograph. Medical illustrator Sharon Ellis then added in the underlying anatomical structure (bones and muscles). The muscles and organs involved in each pose were then highlighted. The result is a wonderful combination of a photo-realistic drawing and an X-ray. This book answers the question, "What muscles are used in this pose," for more than 60 of yoga's most commonly taught asanas. The chance to see inside the poses is a great tool for yoga teachers and students at all levels. Detailed written explanations of how the body is working in each pose as well as breathing instructions further illuminate the subject. This book makes a valuable addition to any yogi's library.

[Update: In the second edition of Yoga Anatomy (2012), Kaminoff and co-author Amy Matthews expand their coverage on the workings of the spine, the bandhas, the skeleton, and the muscular system of the body. It includes more illustrations, more poses, and more variations, making it about 50 pages longer then the first edition. A great book just got better.]

Disclosure: A review copy was provided by the publisher. For more information, please see our Ethics Policy.
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