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The Little Yoga Book
(1999)
The Little Pilates Book
(2001)
(Warner Books)

Writer Erika Dillman was a very active individual who often pushed herself beyond her physical limits. So when she was diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Immune Dysfunction Syndrome, it was devastating. She barely had the energy to eke out an existence - forget running, her favorite form of exercise. In her battle to regain some form of normal life, Dillman eventually turned to Yoga and then to Pilates. Both disciplines helped her body to grow stronger and her mind to become more positive. Dillman has distilled what she learned from Yoga and Pilates into two concise, informative and extremely user-friendly little books.

Dillman discovered Yoga first and in the introduction and first chapter to The Little Yoga Book, she details her journey. She comes across as a practical, no-nonsense (and very likable) individual. The rest of the book, which explains the basics of Yoga, offers over 40 poses, and suggests various workout routines, is just as practical. In spite of the book's brevity, Dillman is very thorough about explaining what goes into Yoga, including breathing and structuring a practice. The instructions for the poses are clearly written, include good illustrations and offer both benefits and cautions. The sample workouts range from 5 minutes to 40 minutes in length, and Dillman also suggests poses for various sports and minor afflictions. It's obvious she's done her homework, and she expects you to do so, too - she wisely recommends that the reader take a few classes and not rely solely on the written word. The Little Yoga Book is perfect for the beginning to intermediate Yoga enthusiast.

What Dillman has done for Yoga, she also does for Pilates. The Little Pilates Book points out the benefits of this form of exercise - strengthened core muscles, a flatter abdomen, and firmer glutes and thighs - along with giving a short history of creator Joseph H. Pilates. Dillman carefully explains alignment, includes a glossary and has instructions on the basic mat exercises (many of which are far more challenging than they appear to be!). Once again she advises the reader to take some Pilates classes to make sure the form is absolutely correct. Of particular interest is the chapter on getting started. Those who are new to Pilates will find much of this information invaluable.

These compact paperback books are meant to be taken along to the gym, the beach or the office for instant reference. Both are excellent, and both are highly recommended.

To Order:
The Little Yoga Book
The Little Pilates Book

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