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Cool Yoga Tricks
by Miriam Austin
2003

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to do more advanced Yoga postures such as Upward-Facing Bow or Peacock Pose? Or are you having a hard enough time getting the alignment correct in Downward Facing Dog? Or is even Downward Facing Dog too much for your inflexible body? Miriam Austin's book has something for all of you.

Cool Yoga Tricks digs into the details of many popular Yoga poses, and explains how to refine your alignment. Alignment is more important than many Yoga enthusiasts who are early on in their practice might think. Alignment is not about esthetics, or about getting the pose perfect; it's about doing the pose so that it offers the most benefit to your body and avoids injury. Austin herself suffered injuries during the course of her own Yoga practice, both from teachers who pushed her too far and from times she pushed herself past the edge. As a result her book takes a mindful approach and starts from square one - becoming aware of the corners of your feet in Mountain Pose. From there, she explores the finer points of poses such as Downward Facing Dog, Standing Forward Bend, Seated Wide-Angle Pose, all three Warrior Poses, Bridge, Handstand and many more. She also helps define terms that may have mystified you. What exactly does "ground the femur bones" mean? How about "rotate your upper arms inward"? Austin's instruction will make it clear. If you are interested in learning more advanced poses, Austin gives you step-by-step instruction so you have a path to follow.

Since Austin is well versed in Iyengar Yoga, you will be using quite a few props throughout the book - straps, blocks, chairs, blankets, the occasional bolster and sometimes even another person. Props can be helpful or a distraction, and Austin's excellent presentation assures that they are always the former and never the latter. The book's photographs also help, and thankfully Austin has used real people - many of them her own students - instead of models to illustrate the poses and their modifications. While there is no discussion on other aspects of Yoga (there's nothing on pranayama or spirituality, for example), this book isn't meant to be comprehensive - its purpose is purely to create excellent form effectively. Cool Yoga Tricks is a very practical guide for anyone who wants to progress in the physical aspects of their Yoga practice, from slightly advanced beginners to more advanced Yoga enthusiasts.

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