Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Book Review: Moving Toward Balance: 8 Weeks of Yoga with Rodney Yee

Establishing a home practice is one of the most important things a new yogi can do for themselves. Yes, studio classes are great and important, but most of us can't afford to go to a studio class every single day. My situation is definitely not the norm: not only is there an amazing yoga studio with an amazing teacher just 15 minutes from my house, but it's unbelievably affordable.

But probably one of the most important things that someone can learn from yoga is that you MUST take the time for yourself every day to practice, even if it's just for fifteen minutes. And if you're like me, you've discovered that developing and maintaining a home practice can be really, really hard.

So, I was thrilled to bits to get a wonderful surprise in the mail a couple of weeks ago from a friend in Arizona - a copy of Moving Toward Balance: 8 Weeks of Yoga with Rodney Yee.

I wasn't sure what to expect when I opened this book, but I was pleasantly surprised. When I first started practicing yoga, it was at home, from videos. Two of the original three yoga videos I started with were by Rodney Yee, so in a way, it felt like I was coming full circle in my yoga practice.

What you can expect from this book is a clearly outlined, illustrated, and photographed program for anyone to create their own home practice. For yogis of all levels, there are three variations on all the poses, along with detailed information about the anatomy of each pose: which muscle groups are being used, which muscle groups are relaxing, and where your breath should be in each pose.

There are eight weeks of unique daily practices (five per week, plus one day of meditation/breath awareness practice), all clearly photographed and laid out in two pages so that you can lay the book flat in front of you and practice from it. (It would have been nicer if the book had been a spiral-bound, like my Ashtanga practice manual, but, okay, I just use a weight to keep it flat while I practice.)

More than just the practices, this book is full of essential information like how to get started with a home practice, equipment and props, methods for motivation, and my favorite chapter, Creating a Personal Practice.

For complete beginners, this is an easy way to start developing your own home yoga practice. For more advanced yogis or for those of us who have no idea what to do when we roll out the mat at home, this book is not just a fabulous refresher course, but also a guide for moving your practice forward when you can't be at the studio every day.

The bottom line: I love this book. If you're a beginner, this is the perfect guide for you to get started in your poses and practice. For more advanced practitioners, read it with an open mind and see what else you can learn about anatomy and flow.

And make sure you check out the blog of my wonderful friend, SaraBeth Cullinan, who sent me this book! Namaste.

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