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So new Ashtanga yoga book coming - Sharath Jois

So Sharath has written a new Ashtanga yoga book  (with the help of a couple of his students, whose names I didn't catch). As far as I am aware, this is his first book.

He told us about this in the conference yesterday and even made light of some of the then/ now photographs of himself contained in the book. I also believe he said it contained some health related asana -but this could be a "lost in translation" on my part.

There are lots of photographs contained in the book-some with him as a young man practising with his grandfather Sri K. Pattabhi Jois. I know this book will go on sale in the Shala in the next few weeks, but not sure when/where it will be on general sale. If you have friends currently in Mysore, get them to pick up a copy for you.

I also managed to find the courage to ask a question in that conference yesterday, but that's for another post perhaps.

Celebrities and yoga

I sometimes think that people in the public eye often get a bit of a raw deal about practising yoga. Well-known yoga students are often referred to as “yoga gurus” or are mocked for having an opinion about yoga, as if being a celebrity does not entitle you to a spiritual journey or makes you an expert on the subject.

One such personality is the model Christy Turlington. She, of course, has made a living from how she looks. She has also embarked on a yogic path and has studied and written about the subject in a very in-depth way.

Her book Living Yoga is a beautifully written and illustrated. She talks about her life, in what is considered to be a superficial profession, and how it fits in with her yogic lifestyle. She also talks about being a practising catholic and, having studied theology, she has a great deal of knowledge on the subject of religion and why it does not impose on her yoga and vice versa. She has visited Ashrams and attended The Kumbh Mela in India. From her photograph…

Yoga nidra

Yoga nidra is described by the Bihar school of yoga in India as “sleep with a trace of awareness”. It is a deep relaxation practice, dropping the conscious mind into the unconscious, bringing you to a deep meditation in which you are awake and aware… releasing tensions. It involves practising the 5th limb of yoga, pratyahara (withdrawal of senses). A sankalpa – or positive affirmation - is introduced to direct the mind. Rotation of consciousness is used to take the mind on a journey through the body, and breath awareness and visualization techniques balance the left and right sides of the brain, deepening the feeling of relaxation.

I would like to recommend a book and a yoga nidra CD by Richard Miller Ph.D.: Yoga Nidra - The Meditative Heart of Yoga

His wise guidance is clear and inspiring, and is a great tool for teachers and students alike. I always feel refreshed and balanced after yoga nidra and teach it to my prenatal students who find that it helps alleviate fears associated with …

Recommended yoga reading: Moola Bandha

For those of you who would like to further your knowledge of yoga, I would like to recommend the following book: Moola Bandha (The Master Key) by Swami Buddhananda, published by the Bihar School of Yoga.

The book is suitable for any yoga student who would like to understand more about the effects of the bandhas in a yoga practice. It is a fascintating read, describing how to use the bandhas in order to activate the arousal of Kundalini, the primal energy within.

The three bandhas are the Jalandhara or throat lock, Uddiyana or abdomen lock and the Moola, perineum or root lock. There is a fourth bandha, which is a combination of the three, called maha bandha.

Very little has been written about the ancient practice of bandhas. This book has a theoretic and practical approach to the use of bandhas, as well as covering pranic and psychotherapeutic aspects of using these locks. Practical advice is given in order to help you to find and use them effectively.

Recommended yoga reading

I heartily recommend the book Ashtanga Yoga written by David Swenson, a must-read for anybody interested in this particular style of yoga, which translates into English as follows:
Ashta=Eight Anga=Limb Yoga=Union (The Eight Limbs of Yoga)David has been practising yoga since he was 13 years old and has made a life-time study of the Ashtanga series. The book looks at both the primary and intermediate series, and also offers some short forms of the practice, which are particularly useful for when time is restricted. I love the way David has put variations for all the poses. He offers at least three different options for each pose, thus making the Ashtanga series available to all.

Having studied yoga with David back in the early 90's, I don’t think this book reflects his sense of humour, which has to be experienced by meeting the man in person. The book does, however, reflect his amazing wisdom of the Ashtanga Series as taught to him by Sri K. Pattabhi Jois.

I use this book as my yoga b…

Recommended yoga reading

I would highly recommend The Yoga Bible by Christina Brown, published by Godsfields press.

It is a very informative yoga book, with lots of great photos to guide you into positions. I would not recommend it to beginners, as I think many of the poses in the book are better suited to advanced yoga students. I have given this book to a number of my students, who travel a lot, as the pocket size format is ideal for them.

While we are not looking for perfect poses, I think the photographs in this book demonstrate very good alignment and technique, and introduced me to a few poses I had not seen before.

This book does not adhere to anyone style of yoga, but certainly comes under the wide Hatha yoga umbrella.