Monthly Archives: February 2006

The Most User-Friendly Yoga Book Ever


“99% Practice ~ 1% Theory” – K. Pattabhis Jois

That pretty much sums up what I like so much about Ashtanga Yoga, The Practice Manual by David Swenson, an Ashtanga yoga teacher from Texas.

David’s book was the first one published back in 1999 and it is still one of the best in a crowded field of books about the Ashtanga Primary Series.

This book is perfect for a little help when I practice at home. With over over 650 photos, it’s no wonder that people call it “The Most User-Friendly Yoga Book Ever Produced”.

David devotes two facing pages to each posture in Surya Namaskara A & B, the Standing Sequence, Primary Series, Intermediate (Second) Series and the Finishing Sequence. Each page has a little verbage about how-to-do-it, including drishti (the point of gaze) and crucially, photos of variations.


Virabhadrasana B
Note the directions regarding what page comes next at the bottom right.

What’s especially nice is the spiral binding, which means that the book stays open flat while I practice.

Swenson-book-primary-series.JPGThe Practice Manual staying
put on my living room floor

Plus, this practice manual has “cheat sheets” for each section of the practice, so I don’t have to turn a page after each posture (I almost always forget some part of the sequence). I’ve even photocopied these pages for travel.

Ashtanga Yoga, The Practice Manual also has a hard cover, so it should hold up well through years of daily practice.


Everyone’s favorite, Marichyasana D

Finally, I should mention that in the Full Flow section of Ashtanga Yoga, David also includes three short Ashtanga yoga sequences for the “time-challenged” (15, 30 and 45 minutes).

Rain, Rain Go Away!

Our rain here in the San Francisco Bay Area is nothing compared to a really rainy day in places like Bangalore, a city near Mysore, India, the location of Pattabhis Jois’ yoga shala.

When it rains in the tropics, it really rains.


Mysore Highway, October 2005

Our friend, Bala, a student at Yoga is Youthfulness in the San Francisco Bay Area, sent us these photos of the heaviest rain in decades (PowerPoint presentation) taken in October 2005, which includes a few photos from Mysore. It rained 9 inches in one day. Thank you, Bala.

(If you don’t have PowerPoint, you can view these photos with a PowerPoint viewer. It’s free.)

The AshtangaNews official recommendation regarding rain is: Teva-style sandals are better than flip flops, which can fall off your feet and float away or get stuck in mud.


Teva sandal


Flip flop