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The Harvard Medical School Guide to Yoga: 8 Weeks to Strength, Awareness, and Flexibility

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An Easy, Accessible Yoga Program for Health & Wellness

Are you looking for a new health practice to enhance your day-to-day routines? Have you been interested in trying out yoga, but are too intimidated by the seemingly fancy and challenging poses? The Harvard Medical School Guide to Yoga is your guide to the true healing heart of yoga, sharing the techniques that Marlynn Wei and James Groves have used to tremendous success with their clients. In this simple, science-based eight-week program, you'll learn about the countless benefits of this proven practice,

Complete with illustrations, dozens of yoga breathing and meditation techniques, adaptable sequences, and principles of yoga safety, The Harvard Medical School Guide to Yoga will guide you to health and wellness.

336 pages, Paperback

First published January 1, 2017

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About the author

Marlynn Wei

2 books2 followers
Marlynn Wei, MD, JD is a Harvard and Yale-trained psychiatrist, certified yoga teacher, and writer in New York City.

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5 stars
39 (38%)
4 stars
50 (49%)
3 stars
9 (8%)
2 stars
0 (0%)
1 star
3 (2%)
Displaying 1 - 15 of 15 reviews
Profile Image for Viv JM.
694 reviews153 followers
December 10, 2017
This is a really excellent book. It is well written with lots of research cited on the physical and mental health benefits of yoga. The poses are explained exceptionally clearly with illustrations rather than photographs. There are also detailed chapters on breathing and meditation. As well as the 8 week programme, the authors also describe how to put together your own routines in a safe and balanced way. Highly recommended for anyone interested in learning more about yoga.
Profile Image for Makayla.
18 reviews
February 27, 2019
Great information, perfect for someone who wants a deep thorough intro to yoga (or a pleasant review of information)
Great simple instructions on the Asana
Profile Image for AP.
438 reviews
March 1, 2018
An ideal book to introduce and deepen yoga practice. This book provides a clear and thorough introduction to yoga and includes more than the physical poses (asanas) but also breathing, meditation. I especially appreciate their careful discussion on injury prevention. Reading this book is like having knowledgeable, wise yoga teachers give you private lessons at any time.

Each pose (asana) is presented with both English and Sanskrit names. The illustrations and explanations of each asana include the breath, gaze, alignment, and biomechanics. Their instructions provide modifications and teach the smooth transition or flow of going from one asana to another.

The book has a guide to a yoga practice encompassing asanas, breathing exercises, and meditation. The guide provides an 8 week course of advancing yoga practice for the serious yogis. The only weakness is that the yoga sequences do not flow easily. Sometimes the recommended order of asanas was awkward.

I have been a long-time skeptic who is repelled by floral, spiritual platitudes from yoga teachers and books. I have also been injured in yoga class with poor instruction. I really appreciate finding this book, which has concise and helpful information which will enable a rigorous and safe yoga practice.
Profile Image for Noemi.
11 reviews
February 28, 2020
Manuale molto completo che affronta tutti gli aspetti dello yoga dal punto di vista scientifico da parte di due medici psichiatri che lo praticano o insegnano.
E' diviso in tre parti:
- la prima evidenzia i benefici dello yoga supportata da ricerche scientifiche spiegando perché dovremmo praticarlo e il contesto storico, i rami dello yoga e i chakra.
- la seconda spiega i principi dello yoga e come non farsi male praticando.
- la terza è quella pratica in cui spiega le diverse tecniche di respirazione, le posizioni, i mudra, la meditazione, condensando infine tutto in un corso pratico per costruirsi una propria pratica casalinga personalizzata.
Perfetto per chi non conosce questa disciplina e vuole approcciarsene andando oltre alle sole asana, conoscendo integralmente il mondo dello yoga. Spiega molto dettagliatamente moltissime asana dividendole per tipologie.
Personalmente, l'ho trovato molto utile, offre molti spunti, insegnamenti pratici e strumenti per addentrarsi in un mondo fantastico e variegato come quello dello yoga.
Profile Image for Mahmoud Awad.
49 reviews30 followers
March 4, 2018
Not bad, but very vague!
-Adequate instruction in hatha yoga. If you want to pose on a mat without injuring yourself, to lose weight and feel better, you'll enjoy this book.
-Despite Harvard Med gimmick, the writing is lighter than the typical Psychology Today article.
-Various in-depth tables comparing traditional subcontinent and Chinese medicine to Western equivalents

-Authors are both MDs in psychiatry . not physical therapy, endocrinology, or orthopedics, so take their authority on the subject with this in mind.
-Yogas as "limbs" and not overtly sequential steps to samadhi, easily misleading a reader who lacks an obsessive interest in Vedic literature.
-Cites 1970 Swami study but not Kox or Kozhenikov, despite being a new release? This doesn't pair well with the airy, vague direction of writing. It's not wrong but it's not right either, and seems dishonest to the "Yoga 101: Western Science Vindicates Everything" selling point, because the mechanism of various meditation technique efficacy is not explored at all.

3/5 May downward dog again, I guess.
Profile Image for Micaela.
23 reviews
January 24, 2020
Assolutamente deludente. Leggo Harvard Medical School e mi aspetto un inquadramento scientifico ampio e rigoroso dei benefici di yoga, pranayama, meditazione. Mi ritrovo invece con un'introduzione molto superficiale e banale a chakra, mudra, elenchi schematici di stili di yoga e tecniche di meditazione come se fossero menù del take away, una serie di sequenze per principianti, consigli buttati lì senza approfondimenti, una serie infinita di "sembra che", "secondo una ricerca pare", "praticate con un insegnante", e gli indispensabili avvertimenti riguardo a patologie e gravidanza relegati frettolosamente in appendice. Temo che non riuscirò mai a trovare qualcosa all'altezza dei libri di BKS Iyengar https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/5... (che non aveva pretese di rigore scientifico ed in alcuni passaggi deve essere preso con le pinze, ma resta il testo più completo e coinvolgente sul tema).
Profile Image for Jean.
339 reviews14 followers
January 24, 2020
I've read many books that outline the benefits of yoga, and demonstrate how to do asanas (yoga poses). This is the only one that actually goes into the scientific backing behind the claims of reducing stress, promoting flexibility, etc. The excellent illustrations are also more detailed than a simple snapshot photo of a pose, as it details where all parts of the body should be in the pose. So as someone who wondered if my back foot should be turned in or parallel in Warrior I pose, or where I should turn my gaze in the twisting poses, or if my arm should be inside or outside my ankle in the lunge, this guide explains where all the body parts should be. Excellent!
76 reviews
June 4, 2022
Solid book which is useful to fresh new practitioner and those with some exposure to yoga. It covers pranayama and also asanas, plus even the hand gestures (mudras). As someone who did yoga for years, I hardly knew anything about it haha. I thoroughly appreciated the 8 weeks program though I couldnt continue as I had to return the library book. But I made a note to come back to this book sometime and finish it.
Profile Image for Hannah Barkey.
11 reviews7 followers
August 30, 2017
A great read for anyone wanting to explore the benefits of yoga, whether you're a beginner or simply seeking to cultivate awareness in your practice. It's easy to read, grounded in current research, and a great handbook for your yoga journey, a tool to help you revisit basics as you deepen your practice.
Profile Image for Jason.
533 reviews45 followers
May 26, 2018
Excellent primer. Covers everything in depth. The best part is at the end where the authors have included an 8-week guide including sequences to get you going. This is a great place to start your Yoga practice and will answer many of your questions.
9 reviews2 followers
November 9, 2018
Excellent guide to yoga and includes more than just the physical practice. There are good diagrams and cues for each posture and sequences to use for practicing at home.
2 reviews
January 18, 2020
Articulate, compassion, and supportive,. Excellent book for people who want a well-rounded view of yoga and building their own practice.
Displaying 1 - 15 of 15 reviews

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