Deepen Your Practice with Yoga Anatomy

Yoga friends: If you are interested in going a bit d eeper in your
yoga practice, you may have already picked up the first or second
editions of the book, “Yoga Anatomy”. First published in 2007,
Yoga Anatomy has become a classic, explaining the breathing
process and yoga asanas with words and concepts from
traditional anatomy instruction in a way that thoughtfully
challenged traditional yoga instructions. Its authors, Leslie
Kaminoff and Amy Matthews, provided precise verbiage and
innovative illustrations to bridge scientific/medical school
understanding and yoga’s just as esoteric concepts of chakras,
bandhas and breath control. Inside/Out Yoga was indeed lucky to
host Mr. Kaminoff and his partner Lydia Mann for weekend-long
instructions in 2015 and 2017.
The new edition, just out, contains many of the same themes, but
is heavily supplemented with new instructions and informative
illustrations. By precisely dissecting the joints, muscles and
tendons activated in each of the major asanas, the authors
provide insight as to how to gently perform them in unison with
the breath, while at the same time demonstrating the dangers of
over-extension and overly repetitive motions. The book not only
acknowledges that “all bodies are different” but also gives many
examples of why those differences are important, and how they
can be recognized and incorporated into an individual’s practice.
One of Mr. Kaminoff’s most interesting themes involves the
“intrinsic equilibrium” of our anatomies (such as in the spine,
pelvis and rib cage) and how the practice of yoga should allow
and promote that equilibrium. My favorite excerpt from the book:
“Maintaining an inefficient relationship with gravity requires a
constant expenditure of muscular energy to fuel habitual,
unconscious exertions of which, for the most part, we are
unaware until they produce suffering. Thus the reduction of effort
can be associated with a tremendous feeling of relief and
liberated energy. It is tempting to mistake the emergence of

intrinsic equilibrium for the awakening of a mystical source of
energy because its discovery is frequently accompanied by
profound, sometimes overwhelming sensations of increased
vitality in our body. To put an anatomical spin on what is
otherwise considered to be a mystical topic, yoga practice
certainly helps us identify and reduce inefficient muscular effort,
which can liberate tremendous stores of our body’s intrinsic
potential energy and support.”
Ah, who can hate a few overwhelming sensations of increased
vitality? Our congratulations to the authors for this inspirational
edition and we hope you come practice a little intrinsic equilibrium
with us soon at Inside/Out Yoga’s new studio!
Kerry Wilson 1.7.2022

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