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Yoga Anatomy

4.26  ·  Rating details ·  5,833 ratings  ·  224 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
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Francisca Hoces Hello. This book is very well if you want to continue with the practice of asanas (yoga postures) and understand more about them in an anatomical way.…moreHello. This book is very well if you want to continue with the practice of asanas (yoga postures) and understand more about them in an anatomical way. However, I would recommend a different book if you want to start your practice. Yoga asanas is just a part of an eightfold path, and as you continue with your practice your mind will also alter in a positive way, as there is meditation involved. As a yoga teacher I constantly witness the effects of asana and breathwork in my students, and I see how stress and sometimes physical pain starts to be released. I hope you find this useful.(less)
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 toget…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)

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Average rating 4.26  · 
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 ·  5,833 ratings  ·  224 reviews

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Jenny G
Aug 13, 2008 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.
If you are curious to understand exactly what your body is doing when you practice yoga, a book like this one is an invaluable reference. Most yoga books include a brief descriptions of the effect of various asanas on the body, but rarely do they do in great details; “Yoga Anatomy” focuses specifically on the effects of yoga on breathing and spinal health, but they also give detailed information on all the musculoskeletal actions, as well as plenty of notes on how to get into the poses and work ...more
Oct 09, 2008 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
Sep 25, 2009 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 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
Sep 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: decolonize-yoga
If it looks like a textbook and it smells like a textbook, it is a textbook. For better or for worse, Yoga Anatomy has become a popular text for numerous reasons. One of them being that the book takes photographs of yogis in poses to show the joint actions of bones and muscles in each pose. It is important to remember that everybody's bodies are different and that impacts how we come into an asana pose, so these are general benchmarks.

Another source of its popularity lies in the introductory ch
Nov 21, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: health
Meh. Felt that there were iffy scientific principles being espoused. Very detailed in their descriptions of the muscles and joints actions for each posture. But also a bit too much detail to the point where it was unnecessary and not valuable. Limited number of postures covered.
A.M.G. ☮Hippie/Fantasia☮
Feb 22, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone looking to do yoga and know what it's physiologically for
Shelves: nonfiction
Rating: 5 / 5

Having read through the dense biology of this book (which I was not expecting) and now using it primarily for different images of what yoga poses look like so I don't have to search up the poses on my phone, I'd say that this book has served its purpose. The reason why it's taken me so long to read when a lot of it turns out to be illustrations?

Well....the last time I took biology was in grade 11. Literally the only exam in my life that I ever stressed out for, as it had a LOT in te
Tara Tierney
Mar 06, 2013 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 to se ...more
Aug 18, 2012 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 :)
May 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, yoga
I think this is more useful as a reference book than as a book that one would read straight through. I found the introductory chapters really hard to get into. They just didn't interest me. However, the sections on the individual poses are really great and I would imagine that anyone going through teacher training would want to have a copy of this on hand to refer to when learning to teach/cue/adjust any of the postures. It's worth having a copy of this book for that alone. ...more
Jun 19, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book provides a thorough examination of the musculoskeletal system, breathing, spinal alignment, bones, and joints. Standing, sitting, supine, arm supported, and kneeling yoga postures, identified with both English and Sanskrit names, are accompanied by detailed illustrations to indicate which systems of the body are involved.
Tom Weissmuller
Apr 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Outstanding resource to keep in the studio to aid practitioners.
Jan 25, 2017 rated it liked it
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
Jun 15, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Much of the information is medical verbiage and yoga speak, which I do not know. What I found helpful was the graphic pictures showing which muscles are engaged in each pose. The book did give info on how to do the pose and where focus should be directed.
Togo Jalika
Dec 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
YOGA ANATOMY is one of a series of anatomical guides from the Human Kinetics; Each manual in this series provides detailed, full-color illustrations of the muscles involved in particular movements. What is particularly unique about the wonderful anatomical illustrations is that they are based on photographs of actual yoga poses, some of which were shot from above or below as the yoga models perched on a suspended piece of acrylic (see Page 68 of the text for details).

This 2011 version is actuall
T.L. Cooper
Nov 27, 2011 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
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
Olya Chizh
Aug 20, 2015 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
Jan 11, 2016 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. ...more
Sep 15, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Purchased through Barnes & Noble

I found this book to be a wonderful reference book for those seeking a better understanding of what is going on in the body when achieving different poses and the proper use of breath. I wouldn't advise this book to be anything read straight though in one sitting; it really is something to look back on as you advance in your own personal yoga practice.
Nov 02, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: reference
One of yoga’s better anatomy manuals, Kaminoff offers enough key poses and variations to give asana practices a handle on what’s happening. Each pose provides a few pictures with detailed explanations of which muscles are working, which are stretching, what each joint is doing, and how to surmount common obstacles. I use this in tandem with Blandine Calais-Germain’s “Anatomy if Movement” when I want a deeper understanding of the practice and how to teach it.
Mar 08, 2020 rated it liked it
I thought this book was okay. I loved the opening few sections regarding breath, and the systems. However, once it got into the poses my thoughts changed. I was looking for more information regarding structural differences. I don’t teach most of these poses because of how advanced they are. A majority of people I work with couldn’t do most of these poses. I would like to see variations in structure.
Feb 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing
A definite must read (and study) for any and all yoga teachers, even more so if you have taken only a weekend yoga course. This is meant to show you what muscles are engaged and when, plus how the breath affects the musculature and the bones.

IT IS AN ABSOLUTE MUST in every yoga teacher's library.
Hannah Barkey
Jan 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Super helpful for my practice! I'm not well versed in anatomy, so I had to read this book with my computer by my side, searching terms I didn't know and seeking out extra information when I was curious; this made for a slow read, but it was worth it. This is a great handbook to have around for anyone who practices yoga. ...more
Amy Suto
Feb 16, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I was hoping this book would go more into the benefits of the different poses, but instead it's more dry and focuses only on what's being activated in different poses. There's not as much info as I'd like about how to safely practice each pose, either. Just a very basic textbook, helpful but not as helpful as it could be. ...more
Cinthia F
I marked this book as read but I should really say "glanced." It was way too technical for me. I enjoyed reading about the parts of the body that are affected by breathing but after than and even in that section I got uninterested in the detail. Real science nerds and yoga aficionados may enjoy it. I needed the children's version. ...more
Jul 06, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
I was hoping for more discussion on how adjusting your anatomy in each pose can affect the pose, good or bad. The notes section for each pose did this a little bit but it's definitely not the focus. Great illustrations! They mostly focus on listing and labeling the muscles being used for each pose. A good book to have in your yoga library, but wasn't exactly what I was looking for. ...more
Jun 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I found that after I read and studied this book for a few days I learned proper breathing techniques, easier ways to hold positions and exactly what muscles were being used. I recommend this if you are wanting more info about yoga and what it actually does this is the perfect book.
Aug 11, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: yoga, anatomy
Wonderfully illustrated guide of many basic and advanced asanas. The illustrations portray the skeletal and muscular detail of the poses, and provide a great tool for personal practice.
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“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.” 3 likes
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