Knowing what’s going on in a pose is still a work in progress for me. Though I learned to queue the typical poses used in a yoga practice and can sequence fairly well, I still struggle with remembering all the exact benefits of the asanas, the Sanskrit names, and the contraindications. I’ve never taken anatomy and am honestly not the greatest with those parts of it.
In the world of yoga, I may not be able to give you a good workout or get you in touch with the spiritual side, but I can definitely relax you and clear out the clutter in your head. That’s been the most beneficial part about yoga for me, although the workout is still pretty fair.
Nevertheless, I’m the kind of person that likes to know more about a subject of interest all the time and these are the anatomy of asana books that I’ve been using. One book is the Anatomy of Fitness: Yoga by Goldie Karpel Oren and the other is Science of Yoga by Ann Swanson. I intend to get some more, but haven’t quite gotten through these books yet. I do also use Namaslay sometimes too. It’s part memoir of Candace Moore and part asana study. There’s a lot of good stuff in there, but it’s from an instructor perspective and doesn’t dive too deeply into anatomy. Not as much as I’m currently interested in at least.
I started working on the note cards last Fall and kinda stopped over the Winter with some other things going on and coming out of hiatus. They were a big help and I honestly need to get back to them. I have everything out of Science of Yoga that I was looking for at the time on the cards and was working on memorizing them. I just have to add Anatomy of Fitness: Yoga notes to them now.
I love the therapeutic effects of yoga and I sometimes debate on making yoga therapy a second career. As it is, I get a lot of questions from the guys at work about what I think is a good stretch for this or that ailment that they have. For that, I turn to these books. It’s a reminder that though yoga is so much more than asana, asana really is an important part of it all.
These detailed breakdowns are my favorite parts of both books. Anatomy of Fitness: Yoga has a lot of information about the muscle groups and what’s getting worked. There’s great detail on how to get into the asanas too. It opens with an explanation of yoga and why it’s good to do, along with an introduction on breath exercises, mudras, and nutrition to maximize your home practice.
Science of Yoga adds in which muscles are engaged in each asana as well as which are getting stretched and which are doing both. There are alignment queues and little tips on when to do some of the asanas. It opens with a lot of information on anatomy, like a breakdown of each of the major systems in our body, and then has a great Q&A at the back.
I could honestly do with reading both once a year, just to refresh, on top of having the asana information memorized. Though I’m a certified instructor, I’m not practiced at instructing, so I’m still working through being able to talk about the poses and benefits and variations while doing them. I learned a lot about all of that in class, as well as some great sequencing, but it’s the talking that messes me up, as it has with everything else in life. Well, and a fear that I’m going to give someone something to do one day that they can’t do and hurt them.
As it is, my son and some coworkers are usually the only people joining me in practice so far. I took the class thinking I’d be an instructor and I’m still not sure that’s the right path for me. Learning about something I’m this passionate about isn’t a waste, though. The information I learned in the instructor class is still useful in almost every practice, whether I have company or not. Enough so that I’m trying to take the RYT300 even if I don’t teach.