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a new standard set, January 31, 2011
Reviewer: Carl Vagg "goju" (coogee beach australia) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Yoga Mat Companion 1: Anatomy for Vinyasa Flow and Standing Poses (Paperback)
first three volumes arrived before time at my door securely packed, with air bags, in perfect new condition, via amazon [to australia].. large magazine size, well bound paperback, printed in canada on quality acid-free paper, 220 pages.. nice slightly heavy feel, bound to lie flat, solid cover for paperback with understated interesting pencil anatomy of bodies in asana relevant to volume content, clearly titled in large enough print, eg 'anatomy for BACKBENDS and TWISTS' on colour coded lower half of cover.. volumes look and feel good..
difficult to adequately review such a superlative ground breaking series[!] everything is well laid out appropriately to learning and enjoying these unique books.. holding/looking thru a volume while writing this, i cant get over the level of excellence in everything.. example; section 'key concepts' repeated in each volume, clearly explains 'agonist/antagonist relationships', 'reciprocal inhibition', 'the muscle spindle', 'facilitated stretches', 'key co-activations', 'bandhas', using specific asana with wonderfully clear large images together with easily digestible text explanations of exactly how, these key concepts and processes actually work in your body, and how to translate this to your own practice and investigation of the asana and concepts..
it isnt just the typical dry text, with inadequate illustrations of many attempts at yoga and stretching texts.. the imagery alone, combined with well thought out clear explanations and directions, creates or enhances your own in-brain imagery of your own muscles and joints in action as you innervate them.. this is one unique standard setting feature or these standard setting volumes.. even 'bandhas' are described and detailed in a way i have never come across before.. making bandhas interesting and accessible to my mind as real and valuable practices..
reason for ordering the four volumes was owning volI&II of 'scientific keys' by the same ray long md, orthopedic surgeon and student of bks.iyengar, shown on the website with ray long and said to have advised on the contents etc of these volumes..
i am a student of simon borg-olivier and his excellent yogasynergy teachers and also hold second dan black belt in traditional okinawa gojuryu karate which has refined stretching and so on.. im not easily impressed, yet can recognise quality in teaching material when i see it..
rather than describing everything with a long list of superlatives, my advice to anyone interested in stretching and refined body mechanics and practices is to simply go to the website; bhandayoga.com where these volumes are available, together with specific and marvelous imagery of muscles and joints in motion, plus 3D rotating figures of yogis in various asanas from 'scientific keys' and as also included in these volumes..
having attempted sanskrit i appreciate the use of sanskrit asana names together with the typical english versions, including nice sanskrit script with titles of asana sections, plus a page on pronunciations.. the 25 page anatomy section is also superb and typical.. back cover title; 'COMBINE MODERN WESTERN SCIENCE with the ANCIENT ART of HATHA YOGA' gives an idea of [successful] intention here..
without doubt one of the best works of its kind, probably the, best.. these volumes cost me $23 each, plus postage :)
this is a personal unreserved recommendation of this series and of the related 'scientific keys' for anyone with any interest in yoga, genuine martial arts, stretching and physiology, or, as a great gift for anyone with those interests..
A decent yoga instructor must have a good knowledge of the human anatomy in order to be effective. Knowing how the body moves is essential to understanding how to work with different bodies/issues.
It can be a mindboggling and overwhelming topic for anyone - and although there are some good anatomy books on the market for yoga instructors (Anatomy of Yoga by H. David Coulter in particular), these books can be rather dry. As a visual learner, I found it dreadful to try and understand the body, in specific to hatha yoga, through the small number of attainable books - which is not a critique on the books, mind you - I simply need to "see" what I am being told.
Thankfully, this book is now available for those of us who need more than words to learn. "The Key Muscles of Hatha Yoga" is a colorfully illustrated book - detailing important muscles and how they relate to hatha yoga. The pictures dramatically represent a human skeleton with specific muscles in different yoga poses - giving the reader a clear view as to how and why the muscles are working. This knowledge is key to developing a safe and effective yoga program.
This is a unique book that is very educational. It is certainly helping me to be more informed. If you want to get an idea of what this book contains, the authors have set up a website that gives a glimpse into the book's content: www.bandhayoga.com. You won't be disappointed with this fine volume.
I can't wait to see what other gems these authors have in mind.
Do not let the price of this book put you off. It is as invaluable to the serious yoga student (and to any yoga teacher) as David Coulter's 'Anatomy of Hatha Yoga' -- and it proves, page after page after page, the wisdom of the saying "A picture is worth 1,000 words."
Except, in the case of this book, the pictures are the most amazing drawings of the skeleton and the relevant muscle groups.
For those who want (or need) to know how specific yoga postures affect specific joints, ligaments and muscles, this book is a godsend.
It obvious that Dr. Long, the book's author, is not only highly skilled in anatomy, but he has a rare appreciation for yoga and how to work with each muscle group in the body. More importantly, he can (with the aid of Chris McIvor's unique and fascinating drawings) communicate his knowledge clearly and memorably.
If stranded on a desert island with only two or three yoga books, I would want this book to be one of them. It is that good, that instructive.
I was looking for just such a book, because I felt that unless we (instructors) have a very good idea about all the anatomical parts that get affected by various yoga asanas, we would not be providing mindful instruction. The book provides fantastic illustrations that explain themselves without the need for too many words. I feel that viewing the bare bones structure of the body in this manner makes me visualize the movement of a particular asana much better than if I were given a verbose description of it. So once again, much thanks to Dr. Long and Chris Macivor for an excellent work of art and science.
A couple of years ago I injured my Rotator Cuff Muscles and while going through physical rehabilitation of my shoulder, I wanted to continue a safe Yoga practice rountine. I purchased a copy of Dr.Ray Long's book "Scientific Keys Volume I - The Key Muscles of Hatha Yoga" and happily it was just the informtion that I needed to safely guide my practice. The book is clearly written, easy to understand with factual information about the key muscles of the body. The book breaks the body down into three parts (The Pelvic Girdle and Thighs, The Trunk and The shoulder Girdle, and The Upper Arms). Each part is then broken down into 'bite size' pieces of information related to the topical part. The sections are made more interesting by the wonderful illustrations of Chris Macivor. Each part of the body being discussed is illustrated and highligted. It is than made more understandable by illustrating Yoga poses that correlate to that body part. A wonderful book for those of us that have no medical training but need to know more about the muscles of the body and would like to have a book that invites us to read it because it is fun and attractive as well as a wonderful reference book.