Tuesday, 9 June 2009

Book review. The complete book of Vinyasa Yoga by Srivatsa Ramaswam

Link to Amazon where you can LOOK INSIDE

This arrived yesterday and it's great. Srivatsa Ramaswami, I love this guy! Love how he writes, his lightness of touch, his gentleness. He suggests things ....' I suggest three minutes at first.' he recommends ' First choose a comfortable seated pose. It would be good to take a Yogic pose- the following are some I recommend.' He encourages, ' Slowly and surely both these parameters will improve. You will stay with the breath longer.'
Use the LOOK INSIDE feature on Amazon and get a taste for his style, it's charming and delightful.

Ramaswami seeks to present a fuller treatment of Krishnamachariya's teaching, with whom he studied for over thirty years. The book presents around 900* asana divided into sequences, so you have the standing sequence, seated sequence, inverted sequence etc. If we take the Asymmetrical seated sequence, he begins with a vinyasa into Dandasana and then works through all the one legged poses you can think of, the Marichi's, Eka pada's Bow pose, Heron pose etc, then you vinyasa out and in and start on the other leg, this is basically the idea for all the other sequences. There are something like 1100 pictures.

He's very concerned with the breath, long inhalations and exhalations in the poses and a strong focus on Bandhas. It's very familiar to this Ashtangi, yet softer. I don't feel like giving up my Ashtanga practice just yet but should I become injured in any way this would be the book I would turn to. It makes me think that if I ever get too old or my life became too complicated to practice Ashtanga I would still be able to practice Vinyasa yoga (this is something that had worried me). It's already made me think that it would be nice to practice this method one day a week. Maybe not at the moment as I'm too into my present practice but I was tempted.

Although I'm not going to be switching to his method anytime soon (I love my Ashtanga), I think I'll be incorporating some of his suggestions and recommendations. His slowing of the breath for instance and he's the first guy I've read who makes me want to take Moola Bandha more seriously. Best of all he has a wonderful section at the end called 'Winding down', which is basically Pranayama and meditation. The whole book is nery well presented but this section is particularly good, very approachable. I added it on to the end of my practice this morning and loved it so much that I'll be adding ten to fifteen minutes of Pranayama to my practice every morning.
I ordered another of his books, Yoga beneath the surface just before writing this post. http://www.amazon.com/Yoga-Beneath-Surface-American-Philosophy/dp/15692429

* Although the publishers say 900 or so asana a couple of hundred of those will be the same asana but with a different leg.

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