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Yoga: the Poetry of the Body
by Rodney Yee with Nina Zolotow
2002

Rodney Yee's book does offer instruction on basic Asana postures but, as its title says, it's really about poetry and the body. If you've ever practiced Yoga to one of Yee's videos, you probably have an idea of what this means - in Cobbler's Forward Bend, for example, he urges you to "Release from the wideness of your back muscles, broadening from your spine, like grass in a field lying down in the wind." The book is sprinkled with lyrical descriptions like that, and chapters are introduced with verses from poets such as William Carlos Williams and Gary Snyder.

Although Yoga: the Poetry of the Body doesn't dig into Yoga's spiritual philosophy, it does speak to the spirit, not only with Yee's poetic descriptions but also in the dialogues between him and his co-author, Nina Zolotow, which accompany every chapter. Their conversations are enlightening, sometimes feisty and often quite intimate in nature - Yee and Zolotow both talk about very personal aspects of their home and family lives. Zolotow also includes her quirky, one-paragraph, one-sentence micro-stories.

Getting back to Yoga, there are eight short asana sequences - a playful practice, a grounding practice and six others. There's a chapter on breath and a lengthy chapter that illustrates and explains most of the basic Asanas (the black and white photographs of Yee and his wife, Donna Fone, incidentally, are beautiful). With this book Yee has attempted to explain not only the physical side of Yoga, but also to embrace the mind's role in the practice. Whether he's successful depends on your own approach to Yoga - if you're the prosaic type who just wants the facts, this book will probably leave you confused and unsatisfied. But if you have poetry in your soul and know there's a connection between that and your Yoga practice, you will be enchanted by Yee's imaginative approach.

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