I am fascinated by the delicate yet durable structure of the bodymind; everything in us is connected in a magnificent web. The bones, joints, muscles, fascia, organs, and the body systems that connect all the parts provide a rich opportunity for learning about oneself. I teach anatomy in workshops that feature slide-shows, hands-on palpation to find and test muscles, and application of that knowledge to yoga and daily life. It’s lively and interactive, and (in my opinion) essential knowledge for anyone. Purchase my new book to learn more about my approach to Anatomy.

This exploration of anatomy climbs into your body where it belongs.

— Carrie Owerko, Senior Certified teacher of Iyengar Yoga, Laban Movement Analyst

Anatomy and Yoga: A Guide for Teachers and Students
by Ellen Saltonstall

An experiential tour of the anatomical body in yoga practice.

Anatomy and Yoga: A Guide for Teachers and Students is a valuable resource for yoga practitioners who are curious about what happens in the body as they practice yoga. Structures of the body—muscles, bones, joints, nerves and connective tissue—are described in a user-friendly style, with short, interactive practice sessions to bring the information alive in the moment. The rapidly growing yoga community needs this essential knowledge of biomechanics, especially in yoga teacher training programs.

This book presents anatomical information in a progressive and practical sequence, with chapters on each major body part that contain illustrations, yoga references, innovative exercises, therapeutic tips and study questions. Throughout the book, anatomical details are balanced with the holistic perspective of yoga as an integrative, transformational lifelong practice.

Available at fine bookstores and online, in print and e-book versions.
Distributed to the book trade by Itasca Books.

Book Excerpts

pages 20-21


pages 40-41


pages 42-43


pages 92-93


pages 118-119



“Finally an anatomy book specifically for yoga that is clear, informative, practical and enlightening! Ellen encourages the reader to not be dismayed by the abundance of terms and details….Ellen’s writing has a rich depth without being confusing or overwhelming, and there are practical tips and questions at the end of each chapter.  This book is a must for any student wanting to know more and for any serious teacher of yoga to have as a reference tool to help create informed, transformational practices that truly focus on the wellbeing of every student.” The Yoga Lunchbox

“This book presents anatomical information in user friendly format with chapters segmented by each major body part. Expertly drawn illustrations, yoga posture references, movement exercises, and tips make this book a highly recommended resource for a safe yoga practice. The book demonstrates a skillful, high level approach to teaching the complexities of anatomy for fitness enthusiasts and yogis of all levels. This is a highly recommended addition to any fitness and yoga library.” Breaking Muscle

What Readers Are Saying

“Ellen Saltonstall’s Anatomy and Yoga is a clear, comprehensive and beautiful resource for all teachers and serious students of yoga. It has a user-friendly layout, is well illustrated and serves as a great addition to a yoga teacher training course. Each chapter includes a short quiz of the material covered, as well as simple exercises to help with embodied cognition. Ellen’s fascination and love for her subject shines through on each page, making this an anatomy reference that’s engaging, fun and interactive. The book’s format make the questions and knowledge jump off the page—in fact, this exploration of anatomy climbs into your body where it belongs. I strongly recommend Anatomy and Yoga for anyone who is fascinated with yoga and the human body.”
— Carrie Owerko, Senior Certified teacher of Iyengar Yoga, Laban Movement Analyst

“This book should be required reading for all yoga teachers and dedicated students who want to know more about the bodies in which they live and practice. Ellen interweaves Tantric philosophy and includes exercises of inquiry to make this book an interactive experience for the reader. This will be a great addition to any yoga library.”
— Desiree Rumbaugh, internationally acclaimed teacher, author of DVD series “Yoga to the Rescue”, passionate advocate for the transformational power of yoga

“This step-by-step anatomy for yoga book is the best I’ve seen, with a blend of yogic wisdom and anatomical sophistication. Meticulously detailed but not obscuring the overview, relevant yet profound, the work gracefully combines many elements, like a modern (and ancient) dance. I cannot recommend any other anatomy book as highly as this one, and encourage every yogi, whether practicing for one day or a century, to read it for knowledge and for pleasure. John Karapelou’s beautiful pictures are simple (but not too simple), and unlike most anatomical pictures, they are calming’.
— Loren Fishman MD, B.Phil., (oxon.) Columbia University

“Anatomy & Yoga is a treasure trove of discovery for anyone interested in exploring the deep intelligence of the body. With compassion, encouragement and humor, Ellen Saltonstall has created a book that makes complexity graspable through explicit diagrams and down-to-earth examples. The book’s skillful mix of didactic information coupled with experiential applications will enrich the practice of anyone who teaches yoga or body-mind practices. The wholeness of the body is established as one brilliant system. Inherent in this book is learning that can continue to unfold for a long time and is truly a gift for anyone with a body!”
— Florence Meleo-Meyer, MS, MA, University of Massachusetts Medical School Center for Mindfulness, Healthcare and Society

“Anatomy & Yoga yokes the rich discernment of the asana to the engineering under the skin, reflecting yogic consciousness while giving it form. Saltonstall’s calm, disciplined voice helps the reader visualize and experience anatomy in movement. Illustrations, explanations with examples drawn from asana, and guided experiential learning segments keep both anatomy and yoga vital and immediate.”
— George Russell, chiropractor, bodyworker, trainer in yoga anatomy, technique and teaching at Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health

“Intelligent, clear and inspiring! Reading this book will engage beginners and Yoga-nerds alike with the miracle of embodiment. In Anatomy and Yoga Ellen balances biomechanics brilliantly with philosophy, inspiration and heart from the Yoga tradition. The study questions and exercises presented with each section are accessible and effective. They will provide a reliable way for newer students of anatomy to directly experience the information. I have accumulated 26 anatomy texts and nearly as many anatomy apps and webinars. I am not exaggerating to say that # 27 – Anatomy and Yoga – is definitely the one I will be using in my yoga teacher trainings from now on.”
— Karen Sprute-Francovich, M.A., Certified Anusara Yoga teacher & teacher trainer, Co-Chair Anusara Curriculum Committee

“Anatomy & Yoga is a brilliant work of clarity, elegance, simplicity, and functionality. I love it! Normally, learning anatomy is dry and boring. But through Ellen’s exquisite organizational skills and precision, I found myself devouring the pages. What’s unique about this anatomy book is how the information is so easily assimilated. Based on excellent, therapeutic alignment techniques, each chapter concludes with a summarizing quiz. I plan to use this book in my professional training courses. This book is a gift to all yoga teachers.”
— Todd Norian, founder of Ashaya Yoga ®

“Ellen Saltonstall’s book is destined to become standard reading for yoga teacher trainings. She has found a way to balance depth and sophistication with clarity and utility. If this is the first biomechanical book you read, you’ll walk away with a real understanding of how the body moves; and studied professionals will find her presentation both thought-provoking and illuminating.”
— Ross Rayburn, international yoga teacher

 “Ellen Saltonstall’s writing demonstrates her many years of knowledge and experience as a master therapeutic yoga teacher. This is a rare find: an anatomy book that can speak specifically to yoga anatomy and yoga therapeutics in an accessible and holistic way. While maintaining the clear anatomical approach, Ellen succeeds in showing the reader how deeply connected our anatomical system is. This offering is a powerful and functional tool for yoga teachers looking for clarity, connection and applicable teachings.”
— Tara Glazier, owner/founder of Abhaya Yoga

In Anatomy & Yoga: A Guide for Teachers & Students, Ellen Saltonstall generously offers her wisdom on body mechanics from decades of dance, yoga and bodywork. It is a succinct, interactive guide for yoga practitioners and teachers of any level to deepen their understanding of functional anatomy in the context of yoga practice and healthy movement. The author expertly takes an often-overwhelming subject and makes it fun and approachable with defined anatomical terminology, simple explanations, clear illustrations, exercises and practical information immediately applicable to your practice. The book is organized for the reader to focus on basic functions, or to go deeper in their body knowledge. There are interactive examples to explore in your own body, and study questions at the end of each chapter for maximum absorption of material. I highly recommend this book to all yoga practitioners, yoga teachers and yoga therapists.”
— Kelly Haas, Integrative Yoga teacher, yoga therapist, certified Anusara Yoga teacher

” With this book, all levels of yoga practitioners have a welcome storehouse of information about the connectedness of all parts of the body in yoga practice. Beginners will find the basics about how the human body is constructed and how it operates, and experienced practitioners and teachers will find interesting and thought-provoking details regarding the coordination of the parts with the whole.”
— Mel Robin, certified Iyengar Yoga teacher and author of A Physiological Handbook for Teachers of Yogasana 

This book is a rare find. It is easy to read, very clear, and an incredible resource for yoga students and teachers. It is also an invaluable tool for teacher trainings, with many examples of how to experience the workings of the body in asana practice. With Ellen’s vast knowledge and dedication to the art of anatomy and yoga, she presents a comprehensive map of the human body.”
— Jim Bernaert, certified Anusara Yoga teacher and teacher trainer

Finally! A comprehensive anatomy book especially for yoga students. Ellen’s clear and detailed explanations of the anatomy and biomechanics of movement specifically tailored to yoga practitioners are a gift to teachers and students alike. As a teacher, teacher trainer and student of yoga, I’ll refer to this book for years to come.”
— Barrie Risman,
Co-director World Spine Care Yoga Project, Montreal, Canada

Wonderfully concise and clear, Anatomy & Yoga is sure to become one of the most-used guides for yoga teachers and students alike. Ellen Saltonstall has teased out the most important concepts one needs to know when applying the complex subject of anatomy to asana practice and presented them in a format that is clear and easy to follow. The book brilliantly illustrates the interrelationships between individual parts of the body in a way that encourages critical thinking, fostering a holistic understanding of anatomy that goes well beyond memorizing names and actions of muscles. Practice suggestions provide the reader with the opportunity to immediately apply the information through movement, touch, and feeling on one’s own or another’s body. As an anatomy teacher for yoga teachers in training, I will be requiring Anatomy & Yoga as the main reference book for my classes.”
— Kristine Whittle, yoga teacher trainer, LMT, Assistant Director, Control Group Productions

“Ellen Saltonstall’s new book, Anatomy & Yoga, is comprehensive and easy to read, and it contains a full exploration of the amazing human body and its functioning for a healthy and balanced yoga practice. Ellen combines her immense wonder of the body and life-long movement study into this one gem of a book. I will definitely be using this book for the anatomy portion of future teacher training programs.”
— Julie Dohrman, yoga instructor, teacher trainer and founder of Shaktiyoga New York

Ellen Saltonstall is celebrated for her ability to bring anatomy to a level that all students can understand and apply to their yoga practices. This book is a must for teachers, teacher trainings, students and anyone else who is interested in knowing more about their bodies as they relate to yoga or other movement modalities. Well written with excellent graphics!”
— Karen Rider, certified yoga instructor, teacher trainer

This book is a masterful, user-friendly guide for any serious student/ teacher of yoga. The text and illustrations flow beautifully together to engage and inspire the reader. I would certainly recommend this book to any of my students.”
— Kali Morse, Director, Teacher Trainings, Integral Yoga Institute