David sent me a copy of his book to take a look at, I've had it for a little over a week now....
|Link to the book on Amazon.com|
This is not so much a review as a guided flick through the book, there is no LOOK INSIDE feature on Amazon as yet, so this will perhaps suffice for the time being and perhaps help you decide if you'd like to pick up a copy.
There are however some excellent images from the book on David's web page as well product details, 336 pages, 10.8 x 8.4 x 0.6 inches, that kind of thing, and also interviews with David about the book.
Before we take a look, let me say right off that I think it's an excellent book. If you've seen any of David's video's on youtube or have his DVDs ( HIGHLY recommended) then you'll know that David has a gift for explaining anatomy, probably because he helps us to see why it's useful to know this stuff and that keeps us listening. You'll be glad to know that he writes in the same way he speaks/teaches.
NOTE: I don't think it's a case of should I get the book or the Yoganatomy DVD, they complement each other , watch the DVD with the book beside you and the remote control.
The book then is highly readable, it's engaging because we can see the point of it, this is functional anatomy, it's not just about bones and muscles and joints in the abstract but rather why they do what they do... and sometimes won't do and how you can directly employ this knowledge in your asana practice.
David is a yoga practitioner himself ( an Ashtanga practitioner at that ) as well as a well respected, and very much in demand Anatomy teacher on teacher trainings and other courses/workshops. He knows what we as practitioners are interested in because he is one of us. He's also taken our questions at the end of his presentations, he knows what we struggle with, which concepts we need extra help with, where we need examples, where we need to see the application.
I was asked if this book directly applies to Ashtanga practice, it does and to any other asana practice for that matter.
Will it help you get into a posture your struggling with? It might, but more importantly it'll probably prevent you from hurting yourself while you keep working towards it.
I particularly like the Introduction where David questions whether he should be teaching anatomy in the first place.....
Here's a look at the Contents page
To be honest I'd have liked to have seen more detail here, it's a reference book after all, perhaps a second content page that goes more into detail of the sections within sections, it would help us find our way around.
A good Index though
It was a nice surprise to find that I'd been sent not one but two books... inside the same cover
This is similar to the approach taken in his DVD set
We can read it cover to cover or treat it as a reference book, we'll probably end up doing both.
As I've mentioned, David is highly readable, we can read it straight through, it's almost like a novel, a Russian novel with new characters introduced on every page that interact with those we've met before, and in that interaction we discover ever new aspects of both central and minor characters...
The secret of course of a good Russian novel, as well as an anatomy book, and , why not, society in general, is that there are no minor characters we all, as well as our bones, muscles and sinews, impact upon/influence each other.
lets take an example of the Knee, we have the basic structure
the bones and joints
...but then best of all David integrates our newly acquired anatomical knowledge with our practice.
So, we can read it in a linear fashion, cover to cover or jump to the particular area of interest, the knee, hip, the foot perhaps and read that whole section.
But we can also jump about, there's almost a hyperlink aspect to the book, let me show you what I mean.
This blog started out as being called 'Ashtanga Jump back at home' so indulge me and lets take a look at the jump back and through.
Now it's a little hard to find a first ( see my comment at the beginning re a fuller table of contents) but the jump back is an arm balance, we can find it there in Part II, the Anatomical Patterins in Asana.
And that's important because as we read the section we see that David relates the jump back pattern to other arm balances
...and goes so far as to send us back to to our first sury and the hand/shoulder pattern.
This is because of the anatomical structure of the shoulder, so he links to there also...
we can jump back (sorry) to Part I of the book. Functional Anatomy and look more closely at the structure and then again at the functionality and interrelations.
Which extends to the bandhas
and the bandhas to the breath.
Did I say it's a Russian novel, I take it back, it's a detective novel, it's Raymond Chandler, Dashiell Hammett .
So this is a wonderful treatment of the subject that may well leave you wanting more, a sequel, a second series perhaps and if so I'd strongly recommend Simon Borg-Oliver and Bianca Machliss''s, Applied Anatomy and Physiology.
See my earlier review
The nine bandhas (yes Nine) in the APPLIED ANATOMY & PHYSIOLOGY OF YOGA of Simon Borg-oliver and Bianca machliss
I'm probably going to be away from the blog for the next couple of weeks as I'm flying back to the UK as well as to Russia to sort out Visa's and present workshops, the first of which is at IndabaYoga in Central London, Saturday 15th November. On the Sunday, 16th November I'm returning to Leamington Spa and Stone Monkey.