Ashtanga Yoga: The Practice Manual, David Swenson

I have been obsessed with yoga the last couple months, and an Ashtanga class at Denver’s Samadhi Yoga Uptown Studio last week really “lit” me up. I loved the repetition, the discipline, the lack of music, the challenge—I liked everything except the suggestion that one spend two hours six days a week doing it. That is probably what it takes to get really proficient, but it smacked of dogma to me. Still, I wanted to learn more and bought David Swenson’s Ashtanga Yoga “The Practice Manual, which is quite wonderful.

I’m reading through my library beginning with Swenson’s book, even though it is my most recent book purchase. The design is really terrific. Hard cover but spiral inside so that it lays flat no matter what page you are looking at as you practice the poses. He has a sweet writing style and tone and vocabulary that are a nice blend of eastern and western. I didn’t have to look up an English words (so far—I’ve only read the Primary Series and will continue if and when I begin to practice the Intermediate Series) but I did learn a few new Sanskrit terms, my favorite being Surya Namskara—Sun Salutation. Angustha means Big Toe. To misquote Steve Martin, “It’s like those yogis have a word for everything!”

The photos in the book are wonderful; author David has the perfect yoga body and it is fun to just marvel at his strength and flexibility.

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