David Keil, Yoga Anatomy

Functional Anatomy of Yoga: A Guide for Practitioners and Teachers by David Keil

Book Review by Yours Truly

I don’t know why I’m writing this because according to my Facebook feed, every single one of my (targeted) friends has already received their copy of David Keil’s new book, Functional Anatomy of YOGA, and is busily devouring.

Still, I’ll assume there’s at least a few of you out there who, for some reason unbeknownst to me, has yet to order. It’s hard for me to imagine this, but stranger things have happened, I suppose.

Or not happened, as this case may be.

But now that I think more about it, maybe this book isn’t for you … I mean, just maybe there are some of you who actually shouldn’t add this to your library. In fact, I’ll try to imagine who you are and therefore save you the trouble and the expense.

For example, do NOT get this book IF …

  • You never use a small word when a diminutive one will do. That’s right, if you just love engaging in mental masturbation, using latin words and medical jargon only doctors understand, then David’s very practical and easy-to-understand way of explaining anatomy will probably insult your (inflated) sense of intellect. Best to leave for us mere commoners.
  • You don’t practice yoga. Because then all that practical information David includes, like how the body works in yoga postures like forward bends, hip openers, twists, arm balances and backbends – well, those would be just wasted pages full of useless information for students and teachers who don’t actually practice.
  • You like to sleep. You see, that’s exactly what most books on anatomy do: put me to sleep. Instead, I found myself up late at night doing strange things like trying to feel the tendons of my hamstrings moving behind my knee … or on all fours, playing with the way my scapula sticks up or rather, shouldn’t … or even looking for my psoas. (Note to self: do not do this with a full bladder, just saying’). So if you’re looking for a good nighttime snoozer, this ain’t it.
  • You live in a world of absolutes and have no intention of leaving. In other words, if you are one of those people who love a good dose of right and wrong, black and white, and just love a good ol’ lecture from the pulpit damning the other side – then I’m afraid David’s ability to include different body types and scenarios in his explanations and even his delight in exploring the (gasp!) exceptions and adaptations –  will only end up making your mind more flexible and expansive and who the hell wants that?
  • You have no sense of humor.   

(Btw, this is also something you shouldn’t watch with a full bladder as I nearly peed my pants watching this!)

  • Everything you eat comes from a spoon.  David tells you right up front, it’s critical for you to explore your body deeply and on a daily basis. Self inquiry is the name of the game in learning anatomy.  “I want you to understand what you will learn by practicing.” Yeah, and he even gives you plenty of actual activities on the mat throughout the book to reinforce understanding. Geesh. The guy makes you work for it.
  • You either prefer dense paragraphs or love coloring books. Either way, again – not the book for you. The book is written as if David is sitting right there in your living room having this engaging conversation with you about your anatomy.  (I know, because I’ve had these conversations with him IN MY LIVING ROOM and they really do sound the same). But David also includes illustrations of himself in various positions revealing the anatomical patterns, muscles, and bone structure – unfortunately they are already in full color so no crayons necessary.
  • You think anatomy is all there is to yoga. David’s a bit of a trickster even in person, that way. You go in wanting to talk pelvis and spine and instead, end up waist deep in breathing, self study, and meditation.

Now, if none of these things apply to you and you STILL don’t have this book – then I’ll just assume you’re living under a rock and just didn’t know it was available yet OR the recent snow has delayed your copy.

Functional Anatomy of YogaI’m not kidding however when I say: This is the best damn book on anatomy and yoga I have read.  Get it.

The End.