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Anatomy of Yoga: An Instructor's Inside Guide to Improving Your Poses Paperback – Sep 23 2010

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Anatomy of Yoga: An Instructor's Inside Guide to Improving Your Poses + Teaching Yoga: Essential Foundations and Techniques + Yoga Sequencing: Designing Transformative Yoga Classes
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Firefly Books (Sept. 23 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1554077664
  • ISBN-13: 978-1554077663
  • Product Dimensions: 22.2 x 1 x 27.9 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 635 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #85,024 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description


Right from the start I was not disappointed.... What makes this book unique and valuable is the color photos of a model completing the pose and rendered images of a very believable model and the musculature needed to complete the poses... Anatomy of Yoga is an expert guide that is extremely useful for anyone interested in enhancing a personal yoga fitness routine. It will also interest yoga instructors who want a visual aid that clearly illustrates the benefits of each exercise. (Sky Yoga Studio, Naperville, IL 2010-10-25)

If you love yoga, but don't know your rectus femoris from your rhomboideus, here's a new book for you. Anatomy of Yoga: An Instructor's Guide to Improving Your Poses by certified trainer Abigail Ellsworth is a primer on the 50 most common poses or asanas found in yoga. Each pose is described, along with modifications for individual body differences, tips for improvement and ways to minimize the potential injury. What makes this book special is the extensive use of anatomically detailed illustrations opposite full colour photographs of a model demonstrating the exercises. In the cobra poise, for example, one can see the deep stretch given to the transversus abdominus, the obliques and pectoral muscles, and the simultaneous strengthening of the trapezius and gluteal muscles. It gives you a full picture of the power and the beauty that lies beneath your skin while practising yoga. (Valerie Berenyi Calgary Herald 2011-01-20)

For the yoga enthusiast on your list here's a book with vivid color illustrations showing the body's underlying musculature as various poses are being performed. Abigail Ellsworth's guide also includes a muscle glossary and a section on breath control. (Darla Carter Louisville Courier-Journal 2010-12-09)

If you are at all interested in yoga, then we have an excellent resource manual that is just perfect for beginners and professionals alike.... Slugged as "an instructor's guide to improving your poses," this tome is filled with eye-catching, full-color visual references for more than 50 common yoga poses (asanas) that focus on strength, flexibility and proper breathing. A model showing the correct position accompanies each asana. What distinguishes Anatomy of Yoga from other yoga books is the creative addition of detailed, anatomical, computer-generated illustrations opposite each photograph identifying the active and stabilizing muscles being used and how each benefits the body. (Laura Anne Rega-Crossan Natural Bodybuilding and Fitness 2011-05-01)

About the Author

Dr. Abigail Ellsworth is a certified trainer and Pilates specialist. She is the owner of the Pilates, Therapy and Wellness Center of Westchester, New York, and is the author of Pilates Anatomy and Massage Anatomy.

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Most helpful customer reviews

By V.Wilson on July 17 2014
Format: Paperback
I liked the book. I picked it up in a store, browsed through it quickly and bought it. At home, I browsed through it again and began reading and, as a yogini of 30 years, found myself 'liking it'. Why? because it provided clear visual images that provide 'quick' reference to the postures in Sanskrit and English and also a simple anatomical perspective. I have hundreds of yoga books, including , Light on Yoga by B.K. S. Iyengar, and they are all wonderful books. Would I recommend this one? definitely! For beginners, or for teachers who just want a quick reference to a posture , for whatever reason, this is a good book to have.
V. P. Wilson
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I had a hard time getting it back from my teacher who borrowed it from me. She liked it better than the anatomy book she learned from.
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a great book alongside the other anatomy books in my library
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3 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Truth Seeker on Nov. 25 2010
Format: Paperback
It is a shame that 45 years after BKS Iyengar wrote the best-selling and definitive guide to yoga asanas (poses), Light on Yoga, that there are still books being written with odd made-up poses or poses that are limp versions of the real asanas. Look for example at Ellsworth's Garudasana (eagle pose). This bears little resemblance to the pose in Light on Yoga. The foot should wrap around the opposite calf and the arms should be intertwined. Warrior II and Revolved triangle are similarly watered down quarter poses that are lifeless and ineffective. I see Dr. Ellsworth runs a Pilates centre and describes herself as a trainer, not a yoga teacher. The book is also described as an aid to yoga teachers who want to understand "creative" ways to modify poses. In my opinion it is another example of people coming from other disciplines and muddying the waters of an ancient tradition codified by a living master. Time Magazine recognized Iyengar's contribution to yoga, making him one of the 100 most influential people in the world. I wonder how history will assess Ellsworth's contribution. I would highly recommend any of Dr. Ray Long's books on anatomy and asana, which depict models in recognizable classic asanas. In case you rush to dismiss my opinion as that of a biased Iyengar Yoga teacher, I recall for you the words of Beryl Bender Birch, author of Power Yoga's Light On Yoga. She told me Ashtanga Yoga teachers could not do the poses correctly without reference to Light on Yoga. Power Yoga: The Total Strength and Flexibility WorkoutThe Key Muscles of Yoga
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 29 reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Great for a Beginner March 22 2011
By Amazon User - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Those new to the practice will find this to be an awesome tool. This book does not have every pose in the world, but it has what I believe to be the basics. The graphics are big and show each pose very well. Illustrations have both a live model demonstrating the poses and a computer generated model in full color depicting the muscle groups being used.

As a newbie to the practice, I appreciate the fact that the author included pronunciation and meaning of each pose, level each pose is suited for, practice avoidance, and the benefits of the pose. Also included, which are winners for me, are step-by-step instructions on how to do the poses as well as HOW LONG. During my limited research of yoga books, many explained the poses, but the ones I came across never had a time of how long to hold each position.

There are about five yoga sequences included in the back of the book. These sequences range from beginner to advanced levels. Again, more advanced users may complain that these sequences are lacking, but for beginners it is a great illustration of how to implement the practice and provides examples of how different poses can be grouped together.
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
Another anatomy book Nov. 24 2010
By L. King - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
There are plenty of yoga anatomy books out on the market right now. I probably have them all. This one isn't bad, but the content isn't particulary in depth. What I really like about this book are the illustrations. Great pictures. Love those!
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
An enjoyable workout Feb. 12 2011
By Callaea - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I recently began taking Yoga. I did not understand the reason for some of the poses and what they were supposed to do for your body. This book gives very detailed instructions as to what, why and the results. Great book for an instructor and even better for the beginning Yoga student.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
All the muscles Nov. 29 2010
By T. McVey - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is all about muscles and yoga. The illustrations are well done and make it easy to see exactly what muscles are being used in what pose. The book is a good addition to any yoga anatomy library, but if you are looking for an overall yoga anatomy book, look elsewhere.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Great reference for yoga teacher training Aug. 18 2011
By Booknut - Published on
Format: Paperback
I've used this book several times in preparing sequences. as the muscles used in each pose are illustrated well. It's also been helpful with learning sanskrit and pronunciations.