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by Emily Slonina
Hunter House, 2010
Review by Beth T. Cholette, Ph.D. on Feb 21st 2012
Anywhere, Anytime, Any Body Yoga is subtitled A Practical Guide to Using Yoga in Everyday Life. However, the true focus of this book is more on accessible rather than "practical." In her Introduction, author Emily Slonina points out that many people are unable to touch their toes or to transition easily to the floor. She maintains that one does not have to be particularly flexible in order to do yoga, nor does one have to have to have a lot of time. Her goal is to show that yoga can have many benefits, both physical and mental, without being intimidating.
A final point Slonina mentions is that the models used to display the postures in the book were specifically chosen to be "regular, everyday people." These 14 men and women (plus one school-aged child practicing with his mother) are mostly older, and some are dealing with chronic health conditions. They perform the postures with the assistance of common household items utilized as props, including desk and other chairs, a golf club, a foot stool, a scarf, and even each other (i.e., a few partner poses are included).
Slonina opens with some very basic yogic concepts, including setting an intention and focusing on the present moment. She also introduces several simple yoga breathing exercises. Prior to the yoga poses themselves, Slonina offers two excellent chapters on warm-ups, the first of which includes seated neck and shoulder stretches (great for loosening up at the office!) and then a series of warm-ups for the feet, ankles, hands, and wrists.
For the yoga postures themselves, two sequences are offered. As Slonina explains, the first one is completely modified, allowing the entire flow to be performed from a seated position. The second series does require some standing. In many instances, there will be an inset photo with the model displaying the more "traditional" (i.e., unmodified) version of the pose as an additional option--e.g., traditional downward-facing dog, traditional side angle pose, traditional tree pose, etc. Slonina concludes the book with a few specific ideas for relaxation, including the Sa-Ta-Na-Ma Meditation, a Meditation for Insomnia, and several other meditations as well.
This book would probably be most appropriate for someone of limited mobility: the modified postures shown would be ideal for the yoga practitioner who uses a wheelchair (as model Marlene does), requires the assistance of a cane, or has other similar restrictions. However, Anywhere, Anytime, Any Body Yoga would certainly have utility for others as well, including those recovering from an injury, those brand-new to yoga, and those short on time. Some yoga purists might object to seeing the models practicing the postures wearing shoes (and even business clothing!), but throughout this book, Slonina stays true to her mission of making yoga accessible to everyone.
© 2012 Beth Cholette
Beth Cholette, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist who provides psychotherapy to college students.