Anatomy For Yoga with Paul Grilley.

Pranamaya; DVD; 230 minutes.

No doubt the average student doesn’t care that much about the nuts and bolts of the body—I’m always amazed by how many people don’t know where their sacrum is—and there are probably many teachers who feel the same way. But if you really want to understand the subtleties of asana and Pranayama, whether you’re a student or a teacher, a working knowledge of anatomy is indispensable. That’s why this new DVD from Paul Grilley is such a welcome arrival. Grilley is best known as one of the foremost proponents of Taoist or Yin Yoga, which combines the meridian modalities of China (for example, acupuncture) with the yogic and Tantric methods of India. But judging from this DVD, he also knows a thing or two about the Western understanding of human anatomy.

The information is delivered as a series of eight lectures to a gathering of students, each of whom apparently had a large dose of enthusiasm for breakfast. The great thing about the DVD is that the presentation, unlike the usual two-dimensional anatomy book, is visually striking and experiential. Grilley illustrates his points not only on a skeleton but on living bodies, with helpful graphic overlays to emphasize certain points. Along with an introductory overview of anatomy, he covers the relationship of the shoulder to the spine and the femur to the pelvis, along with similar specific issues. There’s a nice question-and-answer session, and the DVD also includes an interactive skeleton that the user can manipulate on-screen to examine it from different angles. Grilley comes across as
a down-to-earth guy with a keen sense of humor, someone who’ll answer a dumb question smartly and not make you feel dumb in the process. Teachers, serious students, and anyone running a teacher training program worth its salt will want a copy of this DVD.

Contributing Editor Richard Rosen teaches public classes in Northern California. He is also the author of The Yoga of Breath: A Step-by-Step Guide to Pranayama.