two must have books for yogis

yin yoga yoga alignment Feb 23, 2024

In the evolving landscape of yoga, it's essential to recognize a super rich diversity and depth that traditional practices bring to the modern yoga movement.

Diversity... and influence.

This week, I want to compare two books (if you're too busy to read, you can see by who at the bottom), two seminal works stand out in showing two very different approaches to postural yoga. These two books offer super distinct perspectives that reflect the question - how should yoga poses should be done?

The Influencer

One book, often heralded as the definitive guide to postural yoga was published in 1965. The author was a pivotal figure in bringing yoga to the West. His yoga is all about precision, alignment, and the therapeutic aspects of doing poses 'well', rightly, correctly.

His book is rich with detailed instructions, cues, muscular engagements and photographs, showcasing the potential of the human body through yoga asanas. The approach is meticulous, like an engineer. Due to the charisma and sheer will of this author (you could say he was the top influencer of his age), the way yoga is practiced globally still operates in his wake... his ideas still drive teaching standards, pose standards and much of the misinformation (oops did I say that?) in postural yoga today.

He has very clear ideas on how yoga poses should NOT be done too.

Quiet but...

The other book didn't sell so well, but is by an almost equally famous yogi born in 1923... The author (against his manager's advice) took a vow of silence and apparently never spoke again (lol). His yoga work which also was on the top-seller list for a while explores yoga poses in a very different way. It's hard to find a copy (but you can for US$10 on google books).

The message of these two books go right to the heart of this...

 

In their books, both showcase Downward-Facing Dog, but one is like the top image (commonly called 'wrong, bad, misaligned, problematic...').

The other does it like the bottom photo.

I just googled down dog done wrong.... and found this type of inmage everywhere.

One book lays out an alignment-focused approach that seeks perfection in the external form of the pose.

In contrast, the second apprach would have many modern-day yoga teachers jumping to assist, adjust, improve, warm of misalignment dangers, red flags, muscular imbalances, chakra issues, energy imbalances and alllllll the dangers of the above.

Are they right?.... because this approach has become the gold standard of how to do yoga.

I was told so much only last week by a fellow yogi.

These two books showcase the two extremes of yoga pose approaches - performance vs... vs something else....

These two texts stand as beacons.... and as a massive reminder of how often the loudest voice wins.

I showcase them because they challenge us to consider who we as yogis listen to... do we listen to the loudest and most famous of yoga teachers (most yoga influencers have practiced yoga less than 10 years), but know all about the first approach.

Should we be draw to apparent precision of postural alignment. It seems so right?

Everyone seems to be shouting out in their Instagram, TikTok and Youtube class.

Adjust this, engage here, improve that... let me assist here....

Is it the right way?

I want to challenge you to think about this.

ğŸŽ§ Tune in now to listen to the full podcast: https://youtu.be/rLb77h8hcjI  

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- To start your journey (to yoga done the quiet way) with me, come take my free program: https://www.dhugalmeachem.com/livelonglivewell

P.S. The two books are written by BKS Iyengar and Baba Hari Das.

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