As hatha yoga approaches the "Granola Standard" of public acceptance -- it's not just for aging hippies and health nuts anymore --there's a growing need for foundational work in the anatomic and physiological effects of the discipline. It may still be a while before our leading medical schools issue texts examining yoga in detail, so former anatomy professor and dedicated yogi H. David Coulter, Ph.D. has done them a favor (and they, along with every HMO, hospital, and preventive-care clinic in the country should order copies now). In this exhaustive guide to the ups, downs, twists and turns of most fundamental asanas (and a few advanced ones), Coulter tells you a lot more than your recently certified yoga teacher may know about exactly what's going on with your body during the yogic experience. (Yoga teachers, you should order now too!) And the author has the seasoning to issue knowledgeable warnings about the fact that, poorly practiced, yoga can certainly be bad for you: "Cultivate a frolicsome enthusiasm in the morning to counter stiffness, and cautiousness in the evening to avoid hurting yourself. And at any time, if you start feeling uncommonly strong, flexible, and frisky, be careful. That's when it?s easy to go too far."
In these days when most books are more cheaply made than ever, it's nice to see a volume like this that's built to last; the glossy text paper gives the book the physical heft and authority to match the value of the content. The pricetag is what you're used to seeing on the latest computer books, but when you consider that this tome will be timely for years instead of months, it's a real bargain. -- P.MILLER for the FEARLESS REVIEWS