- Paperback: 368 pages
- Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin; 1 edition (Jan. 14 2002)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0312273312
- ISBN-13: 978-0312273316
- Product Dimensions: 20.3 x 1.9 x 25.4 cm
- Shipping Weight: 1.1 Kg
- Average Customer Review: 21 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #412,655 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Yoga: The Poetry of the Body Paperback – Jan 14 2002
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Rodney Yee, named the "stud-muffin guru" by Time magazine, is one of the most sought-after yoga instructors in the world, packing classrooms in Hawaii and California and selling millions of copies of his 17 videos. Yoga: The Poetry of the Body is his first book, and is as much a compendium of practical instruction on the most common poses as it is a dialogue on Yee's philosophy of yoga.
Yee decided to write The Poetry of the Body to give in-depth information that's impossible to include in his videos, and this is where the strength of the book lies. He delves into exquisite detail about the proper posture, breath work, and positioning for the 45 most common yoga asanas, devoting several step-by-step photos to each one. (However, sometimes the book goes overboard on the detail--there are more than 400 pictures, and the photo meant to illustrate where the groin is located is hardly necessary!) Yee includes eight yoga practices--the "playful practice," "relaxation practice," and those based on "grounding," "falling," "breath," "resistance," and "movement"--each a series of a dozen or so poses designed to help the reader "self-study" and discover the ways in which the mind and the body interact.
Although the poses in these "practices" are nothing out of the ordinary, Yee's incredibly muscular and supple physique may intimidate rather than inspire novice practitioners, and his sincere but frequently corny instructions on how to fully embrace the poses may well be a turn-off ("Surrender the seed of your body into the earth, water it, and let it blossom"). Diehard fans will also be disappointed that much of the book is devoted to the opinions and contemplative creative writing of his coauthor, Nina Zolotow, one of Yee's students. --Erica Jorgensen
About the Author
Rodney Yee is the Co-Director of the Piedmont Yoga Studio in Oakland, CA, where he teaches public classes and a 1 1/2 year teaching training program. He is featured in two top-selling lines of yoga instructional videos: the Yoga Journal Practice series videos and the Gaiam yoga videos. He lives with his family in Piedmont, California.
Nina Zolotow is a writer as well as a yogi. She has 20 years of experience as an instructional writer but also writes intense, playful micro fiction. She studies yoga with Rodney Yee and other teachers in the San Francisco Bay area.
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In addition to talking about his craft, Yee offers eight varied yoga practices appropriate for beginning students; each practice focuses on a theme, such as "falling" or "breathing." Beautifully simple black and white photographes of either Yee or his wife, Donna Fone, performing the poses accompany each practice. In the last section, "Posing and Reposing," each of the 45 poses utilized in the practices is photo-illustrated and described in detail. Although this book is aimed at beginners, it will stimulate the thought of any aspiring yogi. Highly recommended!
The mysticism of yoga is absent, replaced by caring detail. For instance, in the second section, Getting Ready to Practice, the parts of the body likely to be referred to in the book or videos are pointed out, clothing is suggested, props are explained and illustrated details are provided to improvise them, right down to how to properly fold a blanket. This sort of detail, the anticipation of each tiny question has been attended to in all parts of the book.
The third section, Falling Into Yoga, is my favorite. It begins with a summary of the 8 practices included, briefly discusses timing, breathing and the like and then proceeds to the practices. The first practice, A Playful Practice, is very gentle with flowing movements for stretching, twisting and opening followed by relaxation. Each pose has a photo and "Instructions" and "One Thing" to the right of them. The "One Thing is usually a metaphor, visualization or something to help you get it. I like this level of attention and thoughtfulness. As an aside, if the prose in these makes you snicker, move on and pay attention to the instructions. Some will find them helpful and others will not. They do not detract from the book either way. Anyway, following the details of the practice are two pages with tiny photos of each asana to facilitate practicing without flipping back and forth.
The conversations with Ms. Zolotow reveal Rodney Yee as a real person, not a celebrity or mystic. He has a personal life, a wife and children and the concerns that come with living, of having experienced a childhood and of being in this world. That he speaks so openly and modestly increased my respect for him tenfold.
I have many yoga books and tapes but I can't imagine finding another as accessible as this one.
And now Yee has a book out, and I didn't have to think long before bying it. For someone like me, who is just beginning, and maybe a little intimidated even, this book is bound to be a great resource for learning the basic poses. I'm already trying out some of the first practices. One review mentioned that beginners might be a bit intimidated by Yee's physique, but the book is pretty true to the comforting and encouraging manner that comes across in his videos, that tends to put even the beginner at ease. I've never attended one of his seminars or retreats, but if I ever have the opportunity, I will. In the meantime, this book is helping me get started.
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