Anatomy of Yoga: An Instructor's Inside Guide to Improving Your Poses by Abigail EllsworthAnatomy of Yoga: An Instructor's Inside Guide to Improving Your Poses by Abigail Ellsworth

Anatomy of Yoga: An Instructor's Inside Guide to Improving Your Poses

byAbigail Ellsworth

Paperback | September 23, 2010

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Remarkable computer-generated illustrations of the muscles used during the most popular yoga poses.

Yoga teachers and students can use this book as a visual reference to the muscles that are engaged by specific yoga poses. Each pose is shown in a full-color photograph opposite a detailed and annotated anatomical drawing that identifies the active and stabilizing muscles being used. By identifying affected muscles, practitioners can maximize the benefits of each pose and even design a personalized yoga routine that focuses on their specific problem areas.

Anatomy of Yoga explains the basics of yoga, breathing and the spine, concentrating on the body's core musculature. It covers:

  • Yoga warm-up
  • Standing poses
  • Forward bends
  • Back bends
  • Seated and twisted poses
  • Poses that balance arms
  • Inversions
  • Restorative poses
  • Sequences, such as sun salutation

    There are numerous asides, including "best for" information boxes that describe the muscles that work the most during each pose. Tip boxes give hints on safety and form and outline the target muscles for and benefits of each pose. The author also suggests creative ways to modify the intensity of an exercise.

    Anatomy of Yoga is an expert guide that is extremely useful for anyone interested in enhancing a personal yoga fitness routine. It will also interest yoga instructors who want a visual aid that clearly illustrates the benefits of each exercise.

Dr. Abigail Ellsworth is a certified trainer and Pilates specialist. She is the owner of the Pilates, Therapy and Wellness Center of Westchester, New York, and is the author of Pilates Anatomy and Massage Anatomy.
Title:Anatomy of Yoga: An Instructor's Inside Guide to Improving Your PosesFormat:PaperbackDimensions:160 pages, 11 × 8.75 × 0.38 inPublished:September 23, 2010Publisher:Firefly BooksLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:1554077664

ISBN - 13:9781554077663

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Rated 4 out of 5 by from Good Good explanations and colored illustrations
Date published: 2017-06-28

Read from the Book

INTRODUCTION The practice of yoga, developed in India thousands of years ago, aims to educate the body, mind and spirit. Today, this ancient system has become one of the most popular ways of both getting fit and finding some serenity in today's hectic world. Through breathing techniques and perfecting a series of poses--known as asanas--students of yoga refresh body and spirit. ANATOMY OF YOGA focuses on the physical aspect of yoga and features more than fifty asanas common to many yoga disciplines. Step-by-step photos and anatomical illustrations guide you through attaining the asanas, with the muscles strengthened in each pose highlighted. There are also handy tips that guide you as you learn to achieve and hold each asana and note each asana's focus to better allow you to target certain areas of your body. The asanas are grouped into five sections--Standing, Forward Bends, Backbends, Seated Poses and Twists, and Arm Supports and Inversions--along with a selection that helps you pull them all together in flowing sequences.

Table of Contents



Yoga Basics

Full-Body Anatomy

Warm-up and Cool-down

    Easy Pose (Sukhasana)
    Staff Pose (Dandasana)
    Downward-Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana)
    Extended Puppy Pose (Uttana Shishosana)
    Cat Pose to Cow Pose (Marjaryasana to Bitilasana)
    Child's Pose (Balasana)
    Knees-to-Chest Pose (Apanasana)
    Corpse Pose (Savasana)


    Mountain Pose (Tadasana)
    Garland Pose (Malasana)
    Upward Salute (Urdhva Hastasana)
    Awkward Pose (Utkatasana)
    Tree Pose (Vrksasana)
    Eagle Pose (Garudasana)
    Triangle Pose (Trikonasana)
    Revolved Triangle Pose (Parivrtta Trikonasana)
    Half Moon Pose (Ardha Chandrasana)
    Extended Hand-to-Big-Toe Pose (Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana)
    Low Lunge Pose (Anjaneyasana)
    High Lunge
    Warrior Pose I (Virabhadrasana I)
    Warrior Pose II (Virabhadrasana II)
    Warrior Pose III (Virabhadrasana III)
    Extended Side Angle Pose (Utthita Parsvakonasana)


    Intense Side Stretch Pose (Parsvottanasana)
    Standing Forward Bend (Uttanasana)
    Standing Half Forward Bend (Ardha Uttanasana)
    Head-to-Knee Forward Bend (Janu Sirsasana)
    Seated Forward Bend (Paschimottanasana)
    Wide-Legged Forward Bend (Prasarita Padottanasana)
    Wide-Angle Seated Forward Bend (Upavistha Konasana)
    Standing Split Pose (Urdhva Prasarita Eka Padasana)


    Upward-Facing Dog Pose (Urdhva Mukha Svanasana)
    Cobra Pose (Bhujangasana)
    Half-Frog Pose (Ardha Bhekasana)
    Bow Pose (Dhanurasana)
    Bridge Pose (Setu Bandhasana)
    Upward-Facing Bow Pose (Urdhva Dhanurasana)
    Camel Pose (Utrasana)
    Fish Pose (Matsyasana)
    Locust Pose (Salabhasana)
    One-Legged King Pigeon Pose (Eka Pada Rajakapotasana)
    Lord of the Dance Pose (Natarajasana)


    Hero Pose (Virasana)
    Reclining Hero Pose (Supta Virasana)
    Bound Angle Pose (Baddha Konasana)
    Fire Log Pose (Agnistambhasana)
    Cow-Face Pose (Gomukhasana)
    Half Lotus Pose (Ardha Padmasana)
    Full Lotus Pose (Padmasana)
    Boat Pose (Paripurna Navasana)
    Monkey Pose (Hanumanasana)
    Bharadvaja's Twist (Bharadvajasana I)
    Reclining Twist
    Revolved Head-To-Kneed Pose (Parivrtta Janu Sirsasana)
    Marichi's Pose (Marichyasana)
    Half Lord of the Fishes (Ardha Matsyendrasana)
    Twisting Chair Pose (Parivrtta Utkatasana)


    Upward Plank Pose (Purvottanasana)
    Crane Pose (Bakasana)
    Side Crane Pose (Parsva Bakasana)
    Plank Pose
    Four-Limbed Staff Pose (Chaturanga Dandasana)
    Eight-Angle Pose (Astavakrasana)
    Side Plank Pose (Vasisthasana)
    Dolphin Pose
    Supported Headstand (Salamba Sirsasana)


    Sun Salutation A
    Sun Salutation B
    Beginner Sequence
    Intermediate Sequence
    Advanced Sequence

Muscle Glossary

Credits and

Editorial Reviews

If you are at all interested in yoga, then we have an excellent resource manual that is just perfect for beginners and professionals alike.... Slugged as "an instructor's guide to improving your poses," this tome is filled with eye-catching, full-color visual references for more than 50 common yoga poses (asanas) that focus on strength, flexibility and proper breathing. A model showing the correct position accompanies each asana. What distinguishes Anatomy of Yoga from other yoga books is the creative addition of detailed, anatomical, computer-generated illustrations opposite each photograph identifying the active and stabilizing muscles being used and how each benefits the body.