February 22, 2011 on 10:00 am
Dear Spiritual Explorer: Could you recommend for me a book about the structural aspects of Hatha Yoga? Ron Spires, Indianapolis, IN
Key Poses of Yoga – Volume 2
Dear Ron: As a former massage therapist and yoga practitioner, I heartily recommend Key Poses of Yoga – Volume 2 by Ray Long, M.D. It’s kind of an “everything you ever wanted to know” book about the body, especially the muscles and bones and their performance in the body. Written by Dr. Long, a board certified orthopedic surgeon, you also benefit from his study of Hatha yoga for over 20 years, traveling to India to study with B.K.S. Iyengar and other leading Yoga masters.
What also bring to life this extraordinary book of Hatha yoga are the illustrations by Chris Macivor who has digitally reproduced what he calls “the biomechanical perfection of the human body.” Other than being an inimitable book for yoga practitioners, this is a book for anybody who has wished to know the “inside and outside” of their own bodies so they might reclaim the inherent wisdom within them. If not often explicitly said, sometimes being caught up in achievement, practitioners sometimes forget that Hatha Yoga aims for control and mastery of the body to achieve balance not only in the body, but in the mind. When one can achieve this balance of the body through Hatha yoga, one can hope to still and quell the restless longings of the mind which take us from our serenity and peace.
Part one of the Key Poses of Yoga is about the science behind the biomechanics and physiology of yoga. Part Two, wonderfully illustrated, is learning about the specific poses. Part Two is also the practice of yoga which includes familiar poses and additional chapters devoted to “hip openers,” “forward bends,” “twists,” back bends,”etc., each one showing the form and function of the different muscles and how they activate the joints and bones. Appendix A is a reference for individual joint movement and Appendix B reviews muscle and bone names and locations on the body.
No longer content to just do mindlessly the postures of Hatha yoga, practitioners now desire to become more mindful of the function of their muscles as they exercise them. This book on yoga should be a required subject for both yoga teachers and practitioners.
Thanks for writing, Spiritual Explorer
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