Yoga anatomy books are a great investment for any yoga teacher or teacher in training. Human anatomy is a vast topic but it is very useful for a yoga instructor to have an understanding of how the body moves and functions.
There are many great anatomy books out there dedicated to the subject of anatomy focusing on yoga asana. Here are five to consider for your bookshelf.
5 Great yoga anatomy books for yoga teachers
The thing I love about Yoga Anatomy is the fact that it is the perfect goldilocks size. Not too big, nor too small but just right. It is a paperback format book that covers a great deal and is not instantly overwhelming! As a teacher training favorite, it is easy to read and presents a great deal of information in a very understandable way.
The opening chapters cover breathing, the spine, and the muscular and skeletal systems. I particularly like the breathing chapter which covers use of the diaphragm in depth. Each asana is grouped logically by type and broken down into 4 sections – the skeletal joint action, muscular joint action, breathing in the pose and a useful notes section relevant to the asana.
The diagrams are clearly illustrated and show the relevant muscles and bones that are key to the pose. For me, if you are going to invest in a yoga anatomy book, this is a good place to start.
I came across a ‘favorite anatomy book’ survey on a Facebook yoga teacher group recently and Ray Long’s range of books were at the top of the list. This book does exactly what it says on the cover and shows you the key muscles of hatha yoga across a range of poses. Big, clearly labelled illustrations show the inner workings of poses clearly and coherently. As well as a brief but helpful chapter on the skeleton, there are also chapters about joints, ligaments and tendons clearly illustrated with easy to grasp descriptions.
The poses are illustrated in skeletal format with muscles shown in isolation. This is accompanied by helpful information to describe the body’s physical rotation and flexion and extension in a particular pose. Brief sections on breath and bandhas are worth a look. This is one of the clearest books on muscle use in yoga and I can see how it is the yoga teachers book of choice. Ray Long has also published a number of other yoga anatomy books that are super helpful to yoga instructors.
it is very useful for a yoga instructor to have an understanding of how the body moves and functions…
I love every book written by Judith Hanson Lasater and this is not an exception. However, it is a more intense read. The approach to anatomy is taken from the physical region of the body as opposed to the yoga asana. Each region is analyzed by bones, joints, connective tissue, nerves and muscles with a dedicated section on kinesiology (the mechanics of body movement). The information presented is comprehensive and in depth but takes a little extra focus. Closing each chapter is a helpful section demonstrating how to put what you’ve learnt in to practice as an instructor in a yoga class. If you are looking to learn anatomy in a little more depth this book is a good investment.
Although not strictly an anatomy book dedicated to yoga this is a very useful book for those working in movement practices like yoga. There is a useful chapter discussing the ‘core’ of the body, a term more common to pilates but nevertheless interesting to anyone wanting to understand more about yoga anatomy. This book explores the movement of the body and the affect of movement. Worth a look if you are a teacher who also practices different disciplines such as dance or pilates.
There are many versions of anatomy coloring books available on the market. I’ve owned my workbook published by The Princeton Review for many years and have referred to it often. Simply a coloring book that encourages you to learn as you color. It is a useful tool to have in addition to any of the anatomy books listed above as a way of reinforcing your understanding.
In summary, all five of the above books are incredibly useful resources for yoga instructors wishing to understand more about anatomy. The benefits of having even a basic knowledge of anatomy can support your teaching skills and provide valuable additional information for your asana explanation and demonstration.
Which books have you found to be incredibly useful in your understanding of yoga anatomy?
please know that I am an affiliate and may receive a small commission for anything you may purchase via yogaskinny but at no additional cost to you 🙂