Book Review: Myths of Asana and Yoga for a World Out of Balance

Someone recently told me that in 50 years books would be non-existent and replaced with technology. EGAD! I shiver at the thought. I am, after all, a self-proclaimed book-aholic! If there’s one thing I’m never without, it’s a good book. This then leads to piles of unread titles, but that’s just fine by me. I like to think of my “must read list” as yoga asana–lots of variations with unlimited possibilities. So, naturally I’m always looking for good reads to enhance my yoga practice and teaching. Most recently I finished two very excellent titles and just had to share.

First up is Myths of the Asanas: The Ancient Origins of Yoga by Alanna Kaivalya & Arjuna van der Kooij. This spectacular read takes you through the ancient world of Hindu mythologoy, elegantly explaining how certain postures came to get their names. Ever wonder why the splits pose is name Hanumanasana or what’s up with all those variations of Virabhadrasana (Warrior pose)? Well, it’s all here in this one little book.

I’ve had the pleasure of taking Ms. Kaivalya’s Myth’s of Asana workshop,when she came to Pure Prana a few years ago and it was G-R-E-A-T! However, there was a limited amount of time to talk about each posture. With this book, I’m able to go back and refresh myself on what we learned at any time. Clearly, experiencing yoga is the first step, but if you’re curious as to where all those crazy positions came from, check it out. Understanding the tradition and lineage of yoga is key in enriching and evolving your own personal practice. I think this book is a great addition to any yoga library!

The second book is Yoga for a World Out of Balance by Michael Stone. This was the first time I’ve read any of Stone’s titles and I was not disappointed. With this book, Stone works with Master Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra and applies them to modern day. He expertly examines the state of our world and society through the lens of  the yamas (Ahimsa, Satya, Asteya, Brahmacarya, Aparigraha). With each limb, he encourages our responsibilty as humans to make change.

What I love most about this book is the way Michael Stone takes ancient knowledge and applies it to every day living. Often, as we study the past, we forget that the yoga lineage is alive right now and is as applicable to today as it was 5000 years ago. There’s much to examine in this book, but I think, given the state of things, it’s all worth consideration.

Looking for more great reads? Check out my reading list under Favorite Reads.

Read any good books recently? Please share!

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