Kripalu Yoga BookI had done yoga for several years using a variety of DVDs and books, and for the past year had gone to weekly yoga classes as well. However, it was only when I was fortunate enough to spend a weekend at the Kripalu retreat in Lenox, Massachusetts that I finally found a style of yoga I truly adored. My weekend at Kripalu was wonderful - my site has tons of photos and notes if you're interested - and as soon as I got home I ordered this book on Amazon to keep learning more.
This Kripalu Yoga book goes far beyond the basics of "this is a plank pose, this is a mountain pose," although it certainly does provide that in great detail. In addition, it gives you the foundation knowledge you need to know about what your body is doing and why these poses are helpful. You learn about the construction of your muscles, the way the main muscle stretches but not the tendons or ligaments. You learn about the fascia that interweaves these systems. This helps you then understand why finding your "edge" in a pose - but not pushing beyond that - is so critical.
The book emphasizes repeatedly that each person is different, the stage of life each person in differs from day to day, and when we practice yoga we should listen most of all to our own bodies. It doesn't matter what another person can do, or what the instructor can do, or even what we ourselves could do a week ago. What matters is that we're mindful of where we are today, honor that, and work with that.
The book explains how the human body needs motion and stretching to work its best. The lymph network is in many ways similar to the blood system - but while our arteries and veins have a heart to power them, our lymph system needs movement to function. Deep relaxation is when the body naturally heals. Gentle movements in the spine help keep the nerves signaling properly and the spine supporting our body without pain. These are not 'esoteric' things that only super-gurus would need. These are daily self-care activities that we should all be aware of.
There are the collection of poses with good photos, full descriptions, and modifications to fit all body situations. There are targeted "fix this issue" recommendations. There are personal stories intermingled where real, normal human beings discuss how yoga helped their lives improve.
The book goes on to try to give a sense of what the long term result can be of caring for your body, teaching your mind to focus, and cultivating a sense of mindfulness in your daily life. It talks about a "peak experience" - a la Maslow - where you are in the flow of what you are doing. Painters and sculptors find this when they're deep into a project; sports stars find this when they're in the zone. When you have trained and become one with what you are doing, sometimes everything else can fall away and you're immersed in a sense of joy, well being, awareness, almost a word without fear or doubt. You simply do what you do and feel connected with it. This is part of what yoga is helping people to find.
What readers might not love this book? Well, as mentioned, the book is about an overall life view. It is not just about doing X poses each morning for a half hour. It's about becoming more aware of your thoughts, more mindful of your actions, and taking time to think about your choices. If someone is in a mind state where they don't want to "bother" with all of the rest and they simply want to know how to do Bridge Pose, then this book will contain a lot of other fluff in their mind. Also, the book is about self acceptance and care. If someone was very competitive about yoga, and they wanted to time themselves daily to do Tree Pose for longer each day no matter what, and they wanted to do bridge pose "better" than their neighbor, this book is probably not the best fit for that. The book is anti-competition.
Still, with that being said, I think for most yoga practitioners that the information presented here will be wonderfully helpful with their yoga growth, their meditation growth, and their mindfulness growth.
I purchased this book with my own funds.
If you have any questions at all about this book or about the Kripalu retreat weekend I went on, please do not hesitate to ask.
Buy the Kripalu Yoga Book from Amazon.com
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