Yoga Anatomy
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Product Description

See inside every yoga pose! With clear, expert instruction and full-color, detailed anatomical drawings, Yoga Anatomy depicts the most common asanas to provide a deeper understanding of the structures and principles underlying each movement and of yoga itself.

From breathing to standing poses, see how each muscle is used, how slight alterations of a pose can enhance or reduce effectiveness, and how the spine, breathing, and body position are all fundamentally linked.

Whether you are just beginning your journey or have been practicing yoga for years, Yoga Anatomy will be an invaluable resource—one that allows you to see each movement in an entirely new light.

Author Leslie Kaminoff is a recognized expert and teacher in anatomy, breathing, and bodywork. He is the founder of The Breathing Project, New York City’s premiere yoga studio dedicated to the teaching of individualized, breath-centered yoga practice and therapy.

Customer Reviews:

  • Excellent!
    Absolutely excellent book! I even went back to purchase another one to give as a gift!

    I've already started recommending this book to my yoga students so that they'll understand which muscles are activated during a pose.

    I highly recommend! ...more info
  • Excellent Book
    This is a very well researched anatomy book. I find this book helpful in my yoga practise....more info
  • yoga Aatomy
    Wonderful, wonderful illustrations from the ground up literally. I loved the explaination of the other two diaphragms as it is key in understanding how the breath moves in the body. Maha Mudrasana is a prime example of the immediate cognition one gets as the base point of the asana is shown from a unique observational perspective. It is one of the most powerful asanas at moving energy, and from this diagram, it is clear why. Cat/Cow is the greatest vinyassa we can master in my view and the section on primary and secondary curves is very informative. I was happy to see they had included Simhasana. Another ancient asana that is overlooked in modern day asana classes.Maybe because it is so subtle.
    I will use this book a lot I think. Thankyou. Camella Nair - author of "Aqua Kriya Yoga".
    ...more info
  • A fantastic tool for understanding muscle involvement in Yoga postures

    Yoga Anatomy

    I have been taking yoga lessons for about 2-1/2 years, mainly to help with lower back pain (I am in my late 60's). And, the yoga helps tremendously; the stiffness pain is bearable, and only occasionally do I have to resort to taking Tylenol. But, I wanted to understand just which muscles, tendons, and perhaps nerves were being strengthened, stretched or protected by the various yoga postures, including some postures that my physician as well as a few yoga instructors urged me not to assume. This wonderfully inexpensive and yet high production quality soft cover book gave me the information that I needed, and the graphics are beautiful. My only criticism is that it was difficult to find the illustration for the one posture that gives me the most relief, "Pigeon." I finally found it, but only after diligent searching, and as a sub-heading for another posture. I just re-checked, and it took me about 10 minutes to find it once again (note to self: better insert a bookmark), but as a variation to "One-Legged Royal Pigeon Pose," in the Kneeling Poses section where I would not expect to have found the Pigeon pose that gives me (and sciatica sufferers) so much relief. So, my recommendation to the authors would be to develop a much more extensive and descriptive index in future editions, one where the beginner would not be handicapped by an lack of familiarity with the author's sense of asana (pose) classification....more info
  • Yoga anatomy
    This is an excellent resource for building a thoughtful yoga class or practice. Many students have issues with specific muscles and this book helps you respond with good and in-depth understanding of which poses are a good choice for them....more info
  • Yoga Anatomy
    I am learning Anatomy and Physiology as part of a course on Ayurveda. Yoga is also a component of the course. When I saw this book, I was very interested to purchase it as it shows clearly the parts of the body which are active (stimulated) during yoga asanas. A great help for my studies. ...more info
  • Looking Hatha yoga
    Very good handbook, the anatomical details are very good thruly realistic.
    In a further edition the handbook must be developed on sitting poses with more images. It is usefull for beginers, intermediates and advanced yogis....more info
  • The Best!
    This text is TOTALLY well prepared. If you do yoga, it is a must have. If you like naked women without their skin, then, well, this is most interesting!
    Seriously, as a yoga student who is nearly 60, it's been MOST useful.
    HikerBob...more info
  • Great investment
    I bought this book in preparation for a yoga teacher training course, and have found it to be quite helpful in offering exactly what is happening in the body for each pose. This book has a good number of asanas, but they are more basic. A great read for being able to offer modifications to a class or to know how a pose might affect an injured body. Definitely worth the $$....more info
  • Excellent purchase
    I was extremely pleased with this book. Great biological-physical explanations of what happens in your body and how it works with yoga practice.
    Full of nice illustrations which really exemplify and support what you're reading, so it becomes really much easier to understand stuff.

    Not complicated at all, but still very explanatory. If you're into yoga and would like to know a litle bit more of what happens to your body, which muscles you work in different asanas, and how its beneficial to you , then I really recomend you get this. You won't be dissapointed....more info
  • Yoga in 3-D
    I own and use many anatomy books, from Gray's to the coloring book. Could another book really offer anything new and interesting? Yes!!! Yoga Anatomy brings the subject to life, making muscles relevant not just to yoga, but to every day activities, too. The illustrations are cool and make you want to get down on the mat and practice and feel.
    --Anita Boser, author of Undulation Exercises and Relieve Stiffness and Feel Young Again with Undulation...more info
  • Yoga Anatomy for the Rest of Us!
    Rest assured, you can relax and breathe easy as you meander through the pleasant pages of this book! Other great books connect yoga and anatomy, including the highly regarded titles, Anatomy of Yoga, by H. David Coulter, and The Key Muscles of Hatha Yoga, by Ray Long. However, Yoga Anatomy is so user-friendly even those of us who drift off during yoga anatomy workshops can enjoy absorbing the wisdom in this book.

    There were no anatomy books specifically designed for yoga teachers when I studied anatomy at the Iyengar Yoga Institute in San Francisco in the `70s. I was already overwhelmed just learning how to place my feet in Triangle Pose and could not get my head into the daunting standard anatomical textbooks used at the time. If this book had been available, I might not have gotten a D in anatomy!

    The beautiful illustrations by award-winning medical illustrator Sharon Ellis are based on photographs of various models. As others have mentioned, some perspectives illustrated are quite unusual because they were shot from underneath. The book shows a photograph of a photo shoot where the model is balanced in Crow Pose, on a long piece of plexiglass secured between two ladders. The photographer is lying on his back on the floor, shooting the pose from below.

    The sight of this photo prompted me to do something I have not done in 30 years of practicing Downward-Facing Dog. I placed a sturdy mirror, one foot wide and four feet long, in the center of my yoga mat. I went into downward-facing dog in such a way that my hands and feet were pressing on the mat, and I could see the pose reflected in the mirror. I turned to the book, and there was a picture of the view I had just seen in the mirror.

    I am fond of telling my students to turn the pages of yoga books sideways and upside down so that they can better see the connection between the various poses. The views shown in Yoga Anatomy make this concept crystal clear and help you see yourself and your students with X-ray eyes. Yoga Anatomy is definitely an essential resource that will illuminate your practice for years to come!

    Suza Francina, author, The New Yoga for Healthy Aging, The New Yoga for People Over 50, and other books.

    ...more info
  • disappointed
    The book is great for referencing basics of where muscles are in certain poses. Maybe it's because of the style of yoga I study, but based on ashtanga, they left out a number of muscles being contracted....more info
  • Incredible resource
    "Yoga Anatomy" by Leslie Kaminoff is a precious gift to the postural Yoga community. Leslie's wealth of knowledge of anatomy, breathing and bodywork shines on every page.
    This book is easy to understand and beautifully illustrated and comes complete with Sanskrit and English terms and a chapter on breathing. "Yoga Anatomy" is an invaluable book and one I would highly recommend for teacher training programs.

    Brenda Feuerstein
    co-author of "Green Yoga" and "Green Dharma"
    ...more info
  • A master teacher!
    Leslie Kaminoff is a master teacher - I heard him speak at the Yoga Therapy (SYTAR) conference and his ability to explain anatomy is superb. This book is clear, easy to follow, ties anatomy theory into yoga practice and was a joy to read. It links some more subtle yoga theory with anatomy concepts without getting lost in esoterics
    and is less intimidating than Coulter's excellent book on Anatomy for Yoga. I am a yoga teacher-trainer and teach the anatomy for our program. I believe all yoga teachers should have a strong foundation in anatomy and that students also will benefit from a basic understanding of the human body. Our program will utilize this excellent text from now on. ...more info
  • Incredibly detailed but too technical
    I am very curious about which muscles do what in my yoga poses, and why some poses hurt more than others, and what I should be doing with my back muscles in certain poses. I had hoped that this book would provide some answers, but I discovered that the book was written about yoga from an anatomy perspective rather than the other way around. I don't understand 90% of this book, because I don't know which muscles are being referenced and what the motion is that he's talking about. Adducted? Trapezius? I'm totally lost.

    If I bought some kind of anatomical dictionary and used it to translate this book, I've no doubt the book would be wonderful. The illustrations are amazing, and I can tell that the text and the breakdown of each pose are thorough and not at all dry. Nevertheless, I'm going to have to ask a friend who's an RN for some help reading it. Yogis, be warned: you'll need some knowledge of anatomical terminology to understand this book. ...more info
  • Great starting point, excellent illustration but leaves a bit to be desired
    The diagrams are beautifully presented and the format is concise and thorough in most regards. A great starting point for the dedicated practitioner or those interested in one day teaching. That said, I feel it falls short in other areas, particularly in that the author doesn't do much to explain the various therapeutic effects or contraindications of each pose. Because I fear his audience may include a fair few absolute beginners, I think it the responsible thing to do to advise which poses are to be avoided in cases of high blood pressure, insomnia, glaucoma, etc. Similarly, providing a short list of conditions each pose can help to alleviate (e.g., menopause, asthma, indigestion). Either would have only taken a few lines of additional space/text and would have added so much value. If you are looking for scientific or medical explanations of the various therapeutic effects of hatha yoga, I highly recommend Coulter's Antaomy of Hatha Yoga. It's a hefty read, perhaps more tailored to yoga teachers than the casual practitioner....more info
  • Clear and easy to understand
    Being new to yoga, I wanted to see the muscle use in each pose. It helps me to understand when I don't have an instructor around to point out the correct muscle alighnment during poses....more info
  • Very technical for the casual yoga practicer
    I bought this book on the rave reviews but agree that if you just want to learn more about yoga poses and benefits, this book might be too technical. While I like the breakdown of the muscles used for certain asanas... the text refers to many parts that are not defined in the illustration.

    It is an extremely "neat" book just to see the illustrations. I would recommend it if you have a good grasp of anatomy and are a teacher.

    If this book could be improved for the layman, I would suggest labeling all the parts referred to in the text portion -- into the illustration. ...more info
  • Yoga Anatomy by Leslie Kaminoff, Amy Matthews, and Sharon Ellis
    This was the book I had wanted to write myself!

    Having read Strength Training Anatomy by Frederic Delavier when I studied for a Gym Instructor's course, (ironically so that I could go on an Exercise Referral course which I felt would help me when I teach Hatha Yoga to people who have problems;) I was certain there was a need for a similar book that would show clearly the major muscles involved in different asanas.

    It is clear. The diagrams are excellent and it will help any hatha yoga teacher who is seriously interested in helping students who have particular physical problems.

    Well done and many thanks. I will certainly be recommending it to my students.

    Helen Lloyd Jones Cardiff Wales...more info
  • Yoga book
    Not exactly what I spected but I supose If you have enough knowledge about yoga you will find it usefull....more info
  • Totally Wonderfu!
    This text is a wonderful way to educate the patient's and families about the benefits of yoga to strengthen and sustain muscle mass and agility....more info
  • yoga anatomy
    A detailed book showing just what muscles are effected by each yoga movement. Alot of detail and excellent graphics...more info
  • A lot of work
    There is a fantastic amount of work in this book, and any teacher, or trainee teacher will find it a very useful book. The section on breathing is particularly good and explains well the complex relationship that exists between the thorax and abdomen. The asanas are wonderfully illustrated, but I felt a little frustrated that muscles that are working, and those that are stretching are not clearly differentiated, it would have been easy to do them in different colours for instance. However, If you want to find out what muscles do what when you practice the asanas he describes, this is probably the best book around.
    It doesn't set out to make judgements about the validity of the asanas described, and that probably needs to be understood when you read it, because understanding what is happening to you when you practice doesn't always mean that what your doing is good for you....more info
  • What a neat book
    Never would have thought I'd find something like this! Very cool book. Explains yoga and anatomy...showing what is stretched and how and where with info about the yoga move itself!...more info
  • Misses the point of the practice of yoga
    I was first attracted to yoga without knowing anything about it. I found that there is a profound spiritual empowerment in it. Having practiced contemplative meditation I found a great affinity with the yogic arts. I know the title of the book is called Yoga Anatomy but not to mention the spiritual side to yoga is incorrect. To use the analogy of Mr Kaminoff about the car and its engine. It is like having a great engine, steering, transmission and breaks but having no destination, nowhere to go. Remember Mr Kaminoff that we are living in a much too physical era. We have lost the link (yoga) with our own consciousness....more info
  • Yoga anatomy
    I think it is very interesting to be able to know what your body is really doing while you move and stretch....more info
  • An excellent body of work for regular yoga practitioners or medical professionals
    This book strikes me as a labor of love - immense and incredible detail pours forth on every fully illustrated page.

    Serious yoga practitioners will glean useful insights on joint actions, breathing, and the precise inner workings of their bodies, in poses from savasana to scorpion. Excellent color drawings show where your intestines curl up to in poses like shoulderstand (they take up a lot more room in the torso than we realize), what parts of the body hold up weight in inverted poses, and even what our illustrated musculature looks like from underneath, in, for example, turtle pose (the publishers photographed yogis underneath suspended glass slabs). There is a lot of neat stuff here.

    The "Joint Action," "Working" and "Lengthening" paragraphs detail what parts of the body are under stress or responding to gravity. The arms, legs and spine are given extra attention.

    "Obstacles and Notes" includes where one might feel restrictions, try variations or deal with bodily congestion.

    "Breathing" offers tips on how the breath might be restricted and how to align each pose to more comfortably/fully breathe.


    Beginners won't really know what to make of this book. Besides the "oh, cool!" factor, it's difficult to figure out what beginners could do with this information. It's not a pose book per se. It's not causal reading. It's a serious texbook for serious yogis.

    While the top of each page provides both Sanskrit and English pose names, the text refers to the Sanskrit, forcing yoga beginners to fumble around between pages to catch what the references are.

    Proper names of muscles, bones and tendons are used: if reading about adductors, flexors, rotators, erector spinae, multifidi and rhomboids that "work eccentrically" are confusing, this book might not be altogether helpful.

    That said, this book is a must-have for the libraries of yoga instructors and yoga therapists. Doctors and medical professionals endorsing yoga for health/fitness will likely enjoy this reference tool.

    Intermediate to advanced practitioners with a working knowledge of anatomy and Sanskrit names should find exploring Yoga Anatomy an - ahem - illuminating experience. :)
    ...more info
  • A welcome addition to any fitness library
    Leslie Kaminoff's book is an excellent owner's manual for anyone who has a body! "YOGA Anatomy" not only provides practitioners and instructors with a quick, concise source of information about muscles groups, but it is an excellent reference for anyone who is thinking about adopting any type of exercise routine outside of yoga. As a Yoga, Tai Chi, Nei Gong and Qi Gong instructor, I keep this book in my kit bag and use it whenever I need to make a fine point about alignment or strength. Dancers and martial artists will be excellently served and advised by Amy Matthews' clear and precise descriptions of kinesiology, or muscle/joint interaction. The notes and obstacles section of each posture also offers insight on the range of muscle movement and its effect on skeletal alignment. The fine and detailed illustrations provided by Sharon Ellis help round out this wonderful book. I highly recommend this book! You will be satisfied. ...more info