Yoga as Medicine: The Yogic Prescription for Health and Healing
Yoga as Medicine: The Yogic Prescription for Health and Healing

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Product Description

The definitive book of yoga therapy, this groundbreaking work comes to you from the medical editor of the country’s premier yoga magazine, who is both a practicing yogi and a Western-trained physician.

Beginning with an overview of the history and science of yoga, Dr. McCall describes the many different techniques in the yoga tool kit; explains what yoga does and who can benefit from it (virtually everyone!); and provides lavishly illustrated and minutely detailed instructions on starting a yoga practice geared to your fitness level and your health status. Yoga as Medicine offers a wealth of practical information, including how to:

•Utilize yogic tools, including postures, breathing techniques, and meditation, for both prevention and healing of illness

•Master the art of becoming more in tune with your body

•Communicate more effectively with your doctor

•Adopt therapeutic yoga practices as either an alternative or a complement to surgery and to expensive, sometimes dangerous medications

•Practice safely

Find an instructor and a style of yoga that are right for you. With twenty chapters devoted to the work of individual master teachers, including such well-known figures as Patricia Walden, John Friend, and Rodney Yee, Yoga as Medicine shows how these experts have applied the wisdom of this ancient holistic practice to twenty different conditions, ranging from arthritis to chronic fatigue, depression, heart disease, HIV/AIDS, infertility, insomnia, multiple sclerosis, and obesity. Defining yoga as “a systematic technology to improve the body, understand the mind, and free the spirit,“ Dr. McCall shows the way to a path that can truly alter your life.

An indispensable guide for the millions who now practice yoga or would like to begin, as well as for yoga teachers, body workers, doctors, nurses, and other health professionals.

Customer Reviews:

  • A comprehensive medical approach to yoga
    Dr. McCall is the medical editor of Yoga Journal and many readers are familiar with his excellent articles in that prestigious publication. In 2002, Yoga Journal asked Dr. McCall to write a book on yoga therapy, but he was already working on Yoga as Medicine for two years. The author is a board-certified specialist in internal medicine and was a practicing physician for more than 12 years in the Boston area. At the beginning, Dr. McCall says that he approached yoga "in the same spirit that I'd brought to salsa dancing and tai chi", but then, as he was deepening into his practice, he began to notice important changes in his posture, his breathing, and many other aspects of his daily life. In 2000, he decided to devote himself full-time to investigate the value of yoga as a therapeutic instrument. He has visited many yoga centres and ashrams in the United States and India, exploring, asking students and instructors about the therapeutic value of their yoga practice, and collecting valuable information that is very difficult to access.

    The book consists of three parts. Part 1: "Yoga as Medicine", makes a succinct presentation of the scientific basis of yoga and its contributions to health care. Part 2: " The Practice of Yoga", has numerous tips on how to establish a safe practice, how to choose a safe yoga style, and how to select a teacher. Part 3 " Yoga Therapy in Action", has 20 chapters devoted to a large array of conditions (arthritis, asthma, back pain, cancer, depression, diabetes, HIV/AIDS, multiple sclerosis, and many others). Dr. McCall, with information provided by leading yoga therapists, offers a brief overview of each condition, discusses in detail the scientific evidence of the contribution made by yoga to the treatment of the condition, and concludes with a series of recommended exercises appropriate for each condition, highlighting the benefits and the contraindications of each exercise. An appendix is devoted to the prevention of yoga injuries.

    This book offers an unusual view of yoga. Dr. McCall uses crisp and clear language, his book is lucid and easy to understand, and scientific proofs are fully documented. Being both a competent physician and a skilled yoga practitioner who has explored many yoga traditions, Dr. McCall has the authority to disregard false claims from both sides and insists that a correct perspective is to recognize the complementarities of both approaches. He insists that yoga therapy is not a "magic bullet", but asserts that the characteristics of such therapy (being holistic, with increased effects over time, positive side effects, requiring patient's participation, major emphasis on prevention, etc.) makes yoga therapy ideal for the treatment of some chronic problems, such as diabetes, or arthritis. Dr. McCall is not hesitant to use many of the classical yoga terms (asanas, Pranayama, nadis, etc.), but he alerts us by affirming: "If notions like chakras and prana turn you off, just think of them as metaphors. We use this kind of metaphorical thinking in the West all the time... Good metaphors can help us understand, as yogis put it, 'what is' ". Many people remember his sense of humour from the video, Yoga Unveiled, which has a section on "Yoga as Therapy"; he mentions that on one occasion he was asked: "Will smoke get in the way of yoga?" and he replied "No, but if you are a smoker, yoga might get in the way of smoking."

    The book is a treasure of information. It contains photographs of the exercises recommended for each condition. It has a comprehensive index, a list of Sanskrit words and names for the asanas, and a comprehensive list of sources of information, including the web sites of yoga therapists and institutions. This work is the best of its kind and it is the principal source of reference for those interested in discovering the therapeutic value of yoga. On the front cover of the book you will see the opinion of Dr. Mehmet Oz, Director of the Cardiovascular Institute of the New York Presbyterian Hospital: "Read this to find out why we teach our patients YOGA".

    ...more info
  • Not a Book to be Missed
    I liked this book a lot. Anyone who likes Yoga should enjoy this book. I will be giving this book to friends who I think can benefit from Yoga. I am also giving a copy to my M.D. son. I think every doctor should read it. ...more info
  • A great addition to any practice
    I have really enjoyed this book. It provides a very thoughtful view at using yoga as a part of a long term health program. I think most of us who practice view yoga in this way, but the book helped me see that I need to consciously think about how yoga fits in and what specific components in my practice are helping me reach my goals. It also helped me to see that my "good for me" yoga may sometimes get in the way of my goals.

    The book is accessible to a large range of people, though I think it would be best for someone who has established a practice already as they will have an experience basis that will allow an appreciation of the items discussed (could be wrong, but I think I get it a lot better now than I would have before beginnig practice). But I don't think you need to be in teacher training or anything like that to benefit from it (I am not any where near that in my practice)....more info
  • Everything I Ever Wanted In A Yoga Therapy Book
    I have been anticipating the release of this book ever since I saw an ad for it in Yoga Journal. It was touted as "indispensible" and for once, an ad delivered what it promised. Written by the medical editor of Yoga Journal, Timothy McCall M.D., "Yoga As Medicine" offers so much more than a regular book of asanas.

    McCall starts by going into some detail about the science behind yoga - giving examples of how yoga can help heal the body. Although he is clear to state that yoga should not take the place of a doctor, he invites the reader to complement their current treatment with yoga. The author also gives good common sense strategies to doing yoga safely (I especially like the cautions about hands on adjustments - I have witnessed people being injured by overly assertive yoga instructors trying to "bend" people into a pose before the body was ready). I also enjoyed reading the chapter on choosing a style and a teacher. Here, McCall lists some of the most well known styles and gives some really good advice to help the reader choose a system that is suited for them.

    The third part of the book is the real 'meat'- there are twenty chapters on specific health issues (ex: asthma, IBS, obesity, MS). For each chapter, an experienced yoga teacher (ex: Judith Hanson Lasater, Gary Kraftsow, Patricia Walden) gives their perspective on the issue and how they may have dealt with a student who had the condition. Real life examples are in the book but the author also states that these approaches may not necessarily be right for your condition (for instance, on page xii, he states that Lasater, who wrote the chapter on back pain, was using a case study with sciatica as her example - and may not recommend the featured routine for another student with back pain). Speaking of routines, each chapter also has a specific yoga routine for each condition with full illustrations as well as contraindications, modifications, suggestions, and an overview of the condition from a Western doctor's perspective. These details make the book comprehensive and well rounded.

    Other nice features: an appendix on avoiding injury, details on anatomy, a plan for starting your home yoga practice, meditation techniques, and a sanskrit glossary. I also liked that he used not only famous yoga instructors, but a few lesser known but equally valuable teachers. McCall studies with Patricia Walden and there is a bit of a slant towards Iyengar style yoga, but other styles that have a therapuetic bent such as Viniyoga and Anusara are featured here too.

    I heartily recommend this book not only to yoga instructors but to any practitioner, new or old! There is not another book like it and I'd rate it 10 stars if I could!...more info
  • Very good information
    This book is perfect for Yoga teachers. It has helped me to give information to one of my students with high blood preasure. Another with knee problems. This book will give you lots of information from the medical point of view without losing the yoga. I always suggest my students to consult with their doctors since I'm not one, but also give them the additional information I find in this book for them to share it with their doctor. I'm learning a lot more about the human body through the practice of Yoga and this book is complementing every step of the way....more info
  • Exceptional book for integrating yoga into general health and wellness
    Dr. Timothy McCall is a Western-trained physician and medical editor of Yoga Journal. In this book, he has put together an excellent book detailing the use of yoga as part of a holistic approach towards health and wellness. While his enthusiasm about the positive benefits which can be derived from yoga is strongly persuasive, and given his medical training, he makes a real effort to lay a scientific foundation for the efficacy of yoga.

    The heart of Yoga as Medicine lies in Part 3, "Yoga Therapy in Action." In this section, Dr. McCall addresses twenty specific health conditions and concerns, ranging from Anxiety and Panic Attacks to Overweight and Obesity. For each chapter, Dr. McCall has chosen a yoga expert to present a potential approach to that condition. Many of the teachers he has selected are well-known names, including Judith Hanson Lasatar for Back Pain, Gary Kraftsow for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, and Rodney Yee for Headaches. In addition to the featured instructor, every chapter also includes "Other Yogic Ideas," which range from insights by other yoga instructors to supplementary yoga tools, and "A Holistic Approach," a boxed and bulleted segment which talks about combining yoga practice with various other factors in managing the conditions.

    Overall, this is an exceptional, extremely well-done book which provides a compelling argument for integrating yoga into a holistic approach towards health and wellness; highly recommended! ...more info
  • I'd like to stop the world and finish reading this book.
    I've found an incredible tool here--one that gives hope to a middle-aged, out of shape person that there are real alternatives to western medicine. The scope is encyclopedic but not daunting. The individuals who demonstrate the exercises and poses did not step off a fashion runway; there are real people of all sizes. And unlike the recent article about yoga in Vanity Fair, McCall clearly recognizes that African-Americans practice yoga too. Perhaps if more people read Dr. McCall's book, the failing health system Michael Moore documents in his most recent film would at least be failing a smaller number of people. Thank you, Dr. McCall, for what will be an invaluable resource....more info
  • Your prescription for wellness
    Combining his knowledge of Western medicine with that of ancient yoga, Dr. McCall confirms what we as yoga teachers have always felt was true: That yoga is as equally important to our health care and maintenance as going to the doctor for regular checkups and medical intervention when required. Its thoroughness and ease of understanding makes this book a necessity for anyone in physical distress ... and for yoga teachers who want to help them. I highly recommend Dr. McCall's book. Reviewed by Sam Dworkis, author of ExTension Yoga (Simon & Shuster), Recovery Yoga (Random House), and The Mechanics of Yoga, accessible free online at [...]....more info
  • Yoga as midicine - The yogic prescription for health and healing
    Outstanding!!! This book is a must for anyone interested in yoga, not just therapists or teachers. As a yoga student, I hightly recommend it....more info
  • Wicked
    I thought this book was wicked cool and is a great read, I bought the bolster and do the restorative poses taught here and he is a pretty smart guy. Reading this will help people to avoid yoga injuries too....more info
  • Excellent Yoga reference book
    This is a good all around Yoga book with descriptions on various types of Yoga and how it relates to the use in helping with various illnesses. Even if you don't have a particular illness described in the book, the book offers benefits of Yoga and ideas to use that will help in keeping with a healthy life style. I use it as a reference guide and I came away with new ideas on how to incorporate Yoga and meditation in my life....more info
  • Bridges the gap between Yoga and traditional medicine!
    As a yoga instructor who works with "special needs" populations (limited mobility, chronic illness/pain, post-surgical rehabilitation, etc.), as well as a nursing (RN) student, I am so happy to see this book available. It helps illuminate the medical/therapeutic benefits of yoga practices, while also detailing important contraindications/considersations and/or adaptations for specific conditions. Many in the traditional medical community remain resistant to recommending yoga and related holistic practices for their patients. Hopefully, this book will be a step forward in the education process that it doesn't (and shouldn't) be an "either/or"; rather, each has an important role in addressing patients' holistic wellness -- and here's the medical documentation to support yoga's many health benefits. ...more info
  • Great Book
    The book Yoga as medicine is realy good. It gives you a better insight on how to do several asana's with people who'm have a dissease or trouble doing some asana's......more info
  • Elizabeth Essenfeld
    Elizabeth Essenfeld says: This book is very informative. Offers many alternatives to tradional medicines for all sorts of illnesses and ailments....more info


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