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Yoga Anatomy

4.22  ·  Rating Details ·  3,679 Ratings  ·  142 Reviews
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 redu
Paperback, 1st edition, 221 pages
Published July 1st 2007 by Human Kinetics Publishers (first published 2007)
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Monica Yes, you do want to read it. And study it, as this will explain a whole lot of things about breathing, musculature, bones, and how they all work…moreYes, you do want to read it. And study it, as this will explain a whole lot of things about breathing, musculature, bones, and how they all work together within yoga. (less)

Community Reviews

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Jenny G
Aug 13, 2008 Jenny G rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: geeks
Shelves: bed-time-stories
I can barely begin to describe how happy this book makes me.
My mom was a nurse, and I spent hours of my childhood pouring over her Anatomy books.
So to find a book of see-through people doing my other favorite thing, yoga?
To integrate these drawings and visualize what my body is doing as I strike a pose?
Hot damn! Why, that's better than peanut butter and chocolate!
or chocolate and potato chips! or anything with caramel!

I will die happy and limber.
May 17, 2012 Melissa rated it liked it
If you already have a good understanding of anatomy, you will probably love this book. I found the introductory chapters on the breath and the spine to be quite fascinating and useful in my practice, but in the breakdown of the poses, I started to get confused. The text references numerous muscles that are not labeled, which made me lose context rather quickly.

After a few more occurrences of this, I finally gave up, because I was having such a hard time following what was being said. I suppose
Oct 09, 2008 Tami rated it it was amazing
I guess I’m one of those people that likes to understand the how and why of everything I do. Therefore, whenever I workout, I find myself wondering about the purpose of each particular exercise. Am I actually working, strengthen, or stretching my muscles in a way that is beneficial to my body or am I just wasting my time? Am I doing the exercises correctly or am I setting myself up for an injury? Perhaps that’s why I love the Anatomy series from Human Kinetics. They have a number of different bo ...more
Yuki kojima
Sep 25, 2009 Yuki kojima rated it did not like it
Shelves: health
For a yoga anatomy book, I expected to learn proper alignment and details of challenges to getting into the poses. Instead, I found the book just listing muscles that are involved in the pose with the diagram. I was not impressed.
Victoria Klein
Feb 13, 2012 Victoria Klein rated it really liked it
(Worth noting: this review is based on the reading from the 1st edition of this book. Kaminoff recently released a 2nd updated version with expanded introductory chapters that I haven’t had the pleasure of reading yet.)

This is a spectacular book – if you already know a hefty amount of anatomy. If your knowledge on anatomy is slim, this is still an exceptionally useful book, but it can also be overwhelming.

Anatomy pro or no, the introductory chapters set a wonderful foundation for understanding t
Aug 18, 2012 Starla rated it it was amazing
I love trying to say all the names Sanskrit. And then remenbering how to say them later in the studio :)
Jan 25, 2017 Carola rated it liked it
Shelves: místico
Muy informativo e ilustrativo. Yoga + anatomía = conocimiento a poner en práctica. Gracias a este libro, los amantes del yoga podrán mejorar sus posturas, respiración y prevenir ciertas lesiones.

Algunas anotaciones:
1. "The ancient yogis held the view that we actually possess three bodies: physical, astral, and causal. From this perspective, yoga anatomy is the study of the subtle currents of energy that move through the layers, or “sheaths,” of those three bodies".

2. "This observation that livi
T.L. Cooper
Nov 27, 2011 T.L. Cooper rated it really liked it
Yoga Anatomy by Leslie Kaminoff discusses yoga's effect on the body and the body's effect on yoga. Kaminoff starts by explaining the dynamics of breathing and of yoga breath. This section alone is worth the cost of the book! I noticed an immediate improvement in my breathing during yoga poses and therefore an improvement in the poses after reading the section on breathing. Yoga Anatomy then goes on to show yoga poses from an anatomical view highlighting the parts of the body that should be worki ...more
Èlia Viader
Dec 04, 2015 Èlia Viader rated it it was amazing
Great book of yoga anatomy with great draws and information.
Jul 08, 2010 Anisa rated it it was amazing
Love it if you do yoga, it gives a good explanation of the poses and their inner workings.
Lauren Gerard
Jan 27, 2017 Lauren Gerard rated it really liked it
I used this book for a yoga teacher training but they didn't realize the new version came out. I was definitely sharing in class with the girls who had the newer version. I found the information was more organized and easily to follow along with
Jolie Scott
Feb 01, 2017 Jolie Scott rated it it was amazing
If you're interested in understanding what happens inside your body during yoga postures, then this book is perfect! I learned so much about proper alignment, breathing within postures, and what muscles are used during different postures.
Eric Jackson
Jan 28, 2017 Eric Jackson rated it it was amazing
Recommended by my brilliant Yoga Instructor Vikki at Discover the Wonders Yoga studio in a Dracut (

Really helped me teach muscles to my Anatomy and Physiology class.
Nov 30, 2009 Roxanne rated it liked it
Shelves: reference, yoga
Leslie Kaminoff's Yoga Anatomy is a fantastic reference and guide to the way the body moves during yoga. The drawings are incredibly detailed and really help to increase understanding of how each pose works. The introductory sections on breathing and the spine are clearly written and really helpful for comprehending how breathing functions and how the spine develops and moves. The remainder of the book is organized by categories of postures: standing, sitting, kneeling, supine, prone, and arm su ...more
Jan 21, 2016 Eire rated it it was amazing
I was impressed with all the poses they listed. Even ones seldom heard of on most yoga dvd's I have seen thus far( like scorpion pose, and lion pose. The back of this book has an index for the poses in English and sanskript. What is helpful is they also show the poses from different angles highlight which muscles are used and say if it's concentric/ eccentric etc. The book has an introduction chapter where it goes over the diapraghm the skeletal system the muscular system and joint actions.

Feb 13, 2016 Anjan rated it it was amazing
This book will be a great reference guide going forward with my practice.

I’ll dispense with my one important caveat up top: Useful book that isn’t written by an MD so keep in mind the goals and context of the book (understanding yoga movements with yoga's perspective). I don’t know how to evaluate the credibility of the author’s beyond the book in front of me, I don't bring up the credentials as a critique. I bring it up b/c the terminology in the book may not easily cross apply easily into the
Tara Tierney
Mar 06, 2013 Tara Tierney rated it it was amazing
This was assigned to me as a required resource for Shala, and I credit it for my passing of instructor training today! :) The breadth & depth of the material is amazing. It reflects so much care, work and attentiveness to detail. It really is anatomy for yogis. First of all, the illustrations are absolutely crystal clear (the amazing artist, Sharon Ellis, is a medical illustrator). The drawings show exactly what your muscles and bones are doing in each pose. The coolest part is that we get t ...more
This is a pretty solid anatomy guide for anyone that practices yoga and wants to understand the poses - what the muscles are doing, what the joints are doing, how your body is affected by stretching/pulling/breathing.
The illustrations are great, highlighting the primary muscles involved, showing how the weight should be distributed and what's anatomically going on.
I do love the explanations for each asana, how different movements change the focus and stresses on the system, and I really like th
Marko Santos
May 15, 2012 Marko Santos rated it liked it
It's refreshing to see a book about Yoga without the spiritual mumbo jumbo so common in Yoga literature. And I ask forgiveness and compassion if offend any of you who take this stuff seriously.

This book is mostly "technical" with names of muscles, bones and organs, mostly muscles. At the beginning explains interesting facts about the mechanics of breath and the spines. Then it goes through a series of poses with information about the pose's name, classification, muscles and other parts of the b
Aug 09, 2014 Syb rated it really liked it
Love this book about yoga!
It makes me think about my practice in a new way. As the author intends, the book is an inspiration to explore the own body, more so than seeing it as a final word.
I particularly likes the first two chapters about breathe and the spine. I also like the notes in the description for the postures. The anatomical part is a little confusing. But I enjoyed it nonetheless and think, it's quite interesting. To bad, I wasn't a medicine student.
I like the way, the drawings of the
Olya Chizh
Aug 20, 2015 Olya Chizh rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
A pretty useless book. Don't see why there's such a fuss.
The only good thing about it is its illustrations, so one may want to use it as a reference atlas.
Just below the picture there are muscles enumerated. How is this supposed to help?
There's hardly any advice on how to enter the poses to turn on the necessary muscles or how to avoid any undesireble action. There's some. But hardly enough.
Any serious practitioner will find the information in this book superficial. Judging by the amount of ex
Dina Begum
Mar 09, 2011 Dina Begum rated it really liked it
Shelves: gifts
Buku ini tetap menambah wawasanku walaupun aku sudah berlatih yoga selama bertahun-tahun. Sekarang latihan jadi semakin 'ngeh' karena terbayang otot mana yang sedang bekerja saat melakukan pose-pose.

Ada bagian 'Hambatan dan catatan' pada setiap pose yang memberi petunjuk masalah apa saja yang mungkin timbul saat seseorang melakukannya, sekaligus petunjuk bagaimana cara mengatasinya. Top markotop deh.

Asiknya lagi, buku ini juga bisa dibaca seperti kamus yang bisa langsung dibaca di bagian mana a
Nov 18, 2010 Amy rated it really liked it
This was the last book assigned in my yoga teacher-training program. That's fortunate, because if I read it early my head would have exploded. This is a rich reference book I will return to constantly. Most fascinating is the story behind how each diagram was achieved. The only issue to note is that the intro chapter on breathing mechanics gets some details wrong as far as muscular anatomy is concerned (attachments and insertions of the breathing diaphragm). These errors will be corrected in the ...more
MaryEllen Elizabeth Hart
May 27, 2016 MaryEllen Elizabeth Hart rated it it was amazing
Shelves: athletic
Excellent book. Everything I had hoped to find. The anatomical drawings are embarrassingly accurate and fun to see how the illustrator drew each pose! Amazing.

The discussion of muscles used and highlights of muscles used is REALLY helpful to me, so I understand which muscles I need to make more active (strengthen) in my yoga practice. The descriptions of how to make the posture is really valuable and I need to make more references to the postures more often.

The postures In this book are good f
Adrianne Mathiowetz
So it just struck me that it would be kind of absurd to keep this on my "currently reading" list for the years it will likely take me to actually consume all its information: but this has been great for refining poses. Every now and then I'll wonder: "wait, what is the point of this pose? where should I feel it?" and this illustrated book is an invaluable resource. Not necessarily the kind you read cover-to-cover, but pretty handy to have around -- even if the author does begin her introduction ...more
Nov 20, 2012 Robyn rated it liked it
Shelves: yoga, 2012
This book is probably really useful for people who want to intricately study the anatomy behind yoga poses. It was way too technical for me, and therefore pretty dry. I guess I didn't exactly understand what the book was when I bought it. It just wasn't very useful for me. I wanted more tips on how to properly do poses and how to learn the more difficult one. There's a lot of good information in here for the right person.
Sep 03, 2013 Lisa rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: anyone who finds anatomy and/or yoga interesting
Recommended to Lisa by: Annette Scott
This is not necessarily a book for "pleasure" reading. However, even though it was a textbook, I really did like this book. I've always been fascinated with how the body looks on the inside. I am definitely a visual learner and this book truly helped me with my asanas. It allowed me to be able to conjure up images of tendons, muscles and ligaments in my mind's eye when I practice. I truly believe in proper alignment and this book helps me get there.
Oct 19, 2014 Alaina rated it really liked it
Loved this book. It is required reading for my yoga teacher training and just finished it today, but will often be going back and rereading. It is interesting to learn all the anatomy and I loved the clear pictures. Also the book provides the names in Sanskrit, what the pose works, obstacles, variations and the breathing in each pose. I also especially enjoyed the chapter just on breathing. I find how the body works kind of fascinating.
David Haberlah
Feb 16, 2013 David Haberlah rated it it was amazing
An exceptionally well integrated and informative compilation of anatomy, artful drawings, and philosophy of all key yoga poses. A must read for aspiring practitioners. The classification of poses is based on the starting position and type of movement and is by itself very helpful in designing your own sequences.

Make sure to obtain the second edition co-authored by Amy Matthews for additional introductory chapters!
Jan 11, 2016 Shannon rated it it was amazing
This is a fabulous book! I've been doing yoga for a while now and wanted to learn more about it, so I grabbed the first books about yoga I came across. They were very spiritually based and not what I was looking for at all. There is nothing wrong with the spiritual side of yoga, but I was looking for something based in physiology and not existential. This book was perfect. The break down was easy to follow and the illustrations were great. I refer back to this book often.
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“It is a fundamental fallacy to think that our human bodies work like the structures that humans have built.” 2 likes
“Breathing has the dual nature of being both voluntary and autonomic, which is why the breath illuminates the eternal inquiry about what we can control or change and what we cannot.” 1 likes
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