Book Review: Yoga for Beginners: Simple Yoga Poses to Calm Your Mind and Strengthen Your Body by Cory Martin
Author and fitness expert Cory Martin earned her BA in English, Creative Writing from the University of Southern California, USA. Her love of books, and writing, led her to additionally study literature at Cambridge University in England. She turned her passion for writing into a career in Hollywood by the time she was just 25 years of age.
Among her writing credits are the popular TV series “The O.C.”. Writing for that show, she drew the attention of Scholastic, the largest distributor and publisher of children’s books in the world. She went onto pen 3 successful young adult novels for them, based on “The O.C.” TV show.
Cory had always been interested in yoga, and once she started practicing it, she was hooked. She eventually became a Registered Yoga Teacher (RYT), compiling more than 500 hours of training. She is a frequent instructor of yoga at the famous Santa Monica Pier, leading their Run And Yoga program (ROGA).
She also teaches yoga throughout private and public studios in Los Angeles. It was only logical that Miss Martin combine her two passions, writing and yoga, and this culminated in her release of Yoga for Beginners: Simple Yoga Poses to Calm Your Mind and Strengthen Your Body in August of 2015.
The idea behind this book is very simple – the author wrote Yoga for Beginners: Simple Yoga Poses to Calm Your Mind and Strengthen Your Body because she found that many of the yoga instructionals for beginners were either too basic, or too advanced. They either did not deliver enough “real meat” for you to benefit from as a yoga beginner, or they assumed too much.
Cory Martin drew upon her life experiences when she was first starting out with yoga. She remembered the questions she had. She recalled the early difficulties she encountered performing (and remembering) the different yoga poses. She is well known for teaching beginner’s yoga that doesn’t confuse or seem impossible, and she wanted to share that simplistic approach with more than just her personal students.
The result is an “essential guide to getting started with yoga” that reads easy and is accompanied by step-by-step instructions and helpful illustrations. The book is available in paperback, and as immediately consumed information as a digital e-book download.
How the Book Is Laid Out
Cory Martin’s Yoga for Beginners begins with a Table of Contents. This is followed by a short piece where the author thanks her parents for their guidance and teaching. She also thanks her many students for their trust and inspiration. She ends this Thank You with a pronouncement of “Namaste“, the yoga session closing greeting which means “I honor you.”
A Preface is next. Here is where you discover the author always considered herself a very athletic person. Yet she struggled mightily to complete her first yoga class! She wondered just how “someone could become so attached to this stupid practice”.
Then, during the Corpse Pose at the end of that initial class, she started to relax. Her fretting and negative thoughts disappeared. She felt revived and energized, and couldn’t wait for her next class.
She continued practicing, improving and studying. Eventually, in a short period of time, she began to experience real happiness in all areas of her life because of what she learned from yoga. She says that you can benefit from this yoga experience as well. The author reports that yoga is all about “feeling good and making bright all the places in your life that seem dark”.
Here is where the chapters begin. The 7 chapters which form the majority of the book are as follows:
1 – Basics
What is yoga? Where did it originate? What is its history? What are some of the benefits of yoga? These questions are at the foundation of this initial chapter. The author points out that not all aspects of yoga appeal to everyone. She introduces them all, so you can formulate a yoga plan that is perfect for you. You learn the 8 limbs of yoga, the 5 yamas, and what asanas and pranayamas are.
2 – Practice
This chapter gives “real world” tips on how to customize and improve your yoga practice. For instance, the author suggests you put your mat out at night. This way, when you awaken you are positively motivated to start your day off with yoga. Involving friends, adding music and rewarding your efforts are other “best practice” examples you find here.
3 – The Essential Yoga Poses
The sub-title of the book is “35 Simple Yoga Poses to Calm Your Mind and Strengthen Your Body”. Here is where you begin practicing those poses. Illustrations and step-by-step instructions ensure even beginners feel confident in performing any of these basic yoga poses.
4 – Sequences
There are certain yoga sequences which need to be followed in a very specific order to deliver the most spiritual, physical and mental benefits. Those sequences which beginners can perform are listed in this chapter. Many can be customized or tweaked to fit your particularly unique yoga approach.
5 – Nutrition
This section of Yoga for Beginners covers what far too few traditional yoga books address. Health and fitness experts recognize that as much as 60% to 70 % of your physical fitness is determined by what you eat. Combined with a healthy spiritual and physical practice like yoga, proper nutrition can deliver all of the health rewards you are looking for.
What to eat, as well as what foods to avoid, is covered here. You also learn when to eat, and are provided with some healthy eating tips that make smart nutrition habits easier to develop than you may think.
6 – Meditation
When yoga asanas are combined with meditation and proper breathing, your experience improves. Meditation can be a powerful compliment to yoga, during your classes and also away from the classroom. This chapter explores the benefits of meditation in your life, such as stress-relief and better heart health, and teaches you to meditate anywhere, at any time.
7 – Yoga for You
The author repeatedly stresses that this book is for you to design a yoga approach that works in your life. No 2 people are alike, and it is here that you learn to craft the yoga practice that best matches your unique goals and personality.
These informative chapters are followed by a Yoga Pose Library. This provides a quick reference source for learning what each pose is named. It explains exactly how to perform and hold each pose, and the appropriate breathing techniques as well.
A yoga Glossary lists, in alphabetical order, yoga words, terms and phrases found in the book. The text is closed out by an Index, with page number(s) listed so you can hop right to the spot where a term is mentioned.
Who Benefits from Yoga for Beginners: Simple Yoga Poses to Calm Your Mind and Strengthen Your Body by Cory Martin?
If you want to start your own yoga practice, or know someone who does, Yoga for Beginners by Cory Martin is a smart purchase. It can benefit anyone just beginning yoga, or someone who has questions about this spiritual practice that delivers so many mental, emotional and physical benefits.
Inexpensively priced in paperback and e-book formats, this yoga how-to for beginners is perfect for those that like a traditional book that they can hold in their hands. It is also great for accessing from your phone, tablet or PC in digital form for instant access without waiting on a physical book to ship.
If you are unsure whether yoga is right for you or not, the price point removes any hesitation you may have about making the purchase. For the price of a couple of unhealthy coffee shop drinks, Yoga for Beginners: Simple Yoga Poses to Calm Your Mind and Strengthen Your Body can introduce you to yoga and its many benefits. Pick a copy up today for yourself, or anyone you know that may be interested in becoming healthier in mind, body and spirit.