OK, first a little backstory. I got into yoga about four years ago while recovering from some moderately serious health problems. Yoga wasn’t the biggest part of my recovery, but it really did help. I loved it, it felt great, and I thoroughly enjoyed practicing it and the company of other practitioners. I even started taking classes to start teaching. Then I hurt my wrist. The injury really shouldn’t have completely stopped my practice, but it kept me from doing almost all of my favorite poses and I let that keep me off of the mat for a full year. My wrist has finally healed (after a good bit a physical therapy) and I’m ready to hit the mat again. Unfortunately, but unsurprisingly, I’ve lost a good bit in a year. Not just flexibility, but the breathing techniques and ability to relax into poses like I could before. It’s making it very hard for me to get back into yoga.
My brother gave me this book for Christmas this year as a boost back into my practice – it’s pretty darn cool. The book breaks down a series of yoga poses and shows the reader which muscles, joints, organs, etc are most involved in the pose using illustrations like the one on the cover. There are nice little callouts for each illustration pointing out individual muscles and giving their proper anatomical names. Which brings me to my only real complaint…not all the muscles named in the text are pointed out in the illustrations. To get the absolute most out of the book possible, you pretty much have to have a copy of Grey’s Anatomy next to you to help you pick out all the muscles mentioned.
It’s a great book, though. I’m finding it helpful to pinpoint poses to work on for muscles that are particularly tight. I’m not 100% sure that I’d recommend it for true beginners. It might be a little intimidating to see just how turned around your sciatic nerve can get in some of these poses… but I suppose it couldn’t really hurt. It’s great for anyone with a general interest in anatomy.
It’s really mostly a reference book…not really a cover-to-cover read. I’m glad I’ve got it in my collection to reach for when I need it!