“One of my goals in life is to do the slowest Primary Series anywhere… rather than the quickest”. Richard Freeman

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Ashtanga Cover Art : Beginner / Primary series books and DVD's

Kino's upcoming Ashtanga book got me thinking about cover art, what would you put on the cover? You don't want to scare anyone off but then you also want to reflect certain aspects of the practice.

Do you choose your favourite asana, the one you thing you look best in or one that best reflects the tile of the book. Key words on the cover of Kino' are Power, Strength, Flexibility, Inner peace.

Also how much input does the author have in choosing the cover art, or the title for that matter who gets the final say?

The cover below is curious ( I don't know this book) as the asana on the cover doesn't appear in any of the Ashtanga series let alone Primary ( Anon. in Comments has mentioned it's not SKPJ Ashtanga).
Lino's Miele's book, the only one here without a picture, or the authors name for that matter, kind of gives the impression of being written by Sri K. Pattabhi Jois himself (small print points out it was under his guidance, Lino's name is on the spine).
John Scott's cover art changed, I like the movement in the second cover, although I think that might have been the earlier edition. 



Gregor goes for a third series or Advanced A posture although the book covers primary series.

Jason's book, see his blog Leaping Lanka, as it subtitles, stories from beyond the mat rather than a treatment of Primary series itself. including it anyway for the cover art.



Juliet Pegum squeezes in a couple of extras asana on the cover





Matthew with  the nastiest of the Standing posture in his Primary to Advanced.


Early and later editions of David Swensons no 'power' in the title but is there a more powerful image of the practice than a deep warrior B




Another cover which tries to capture the movement of the practice
Claudia's doesn't really presentthe Primary series but I'm including it anyway as it's about Ashtanga in general and has one of my favourite covers, strength, flexibility, balance, poise non threatening wouldn't it make you want to give Ashtanga a try?. 


Tara's book, the first yoga book I started with, found in the local library.



Haven't seen a copy of Ashtanga yoga for Woman, Suzanne mentions it in the comments


and of course....



And what of the DVD's

Sharath's, practiced with this for a month or so,it's quick primary in 60 minutes and enabled me to move from David Swenson's 40 minute short practice to the full practice before work in the mornings. Eventually I just got up earlier.















Lino's Primary, I have his earlier DVD which is just a demonstration, this one I believe gives more guidance.


I was planning to add links to these but the ruddy Olympics and the BBC's excellent catch up coverage made me late starting practice this morning, so links to come and let me know if you think I've missed anything out.

Any favourites out of these? Recommendations for beginners coming to this page and wondering which book or video to start with especially if your beginning practice at home and don't have any or perhaps limited access to teacher?

My vote goes for the complete beginner is David Swenson's Ashtanga Yoga because it has a couple of simpler variations for every posture and those excellent short sequence practice sheets at the back. For Video's, the one I started with myself Mark Darby's for similar reasons. You have him doing the regular series and Nicole Bordeleau giving simpler options/variations, lots of safety tips I seem to remember to avoid injuring yourself. Long time since I watched it, I keep lending it out and have to keep begging for it back.

14 comments:

  1. The book with the "curious" cover, by Baba Hari Dass, has posture that doesn't come up in any series because the book has nothing to do with the Ashtanga Vnyasa Yoga of Pattabhi Jois.

    As for covers, most book contracts leave that in the hands of the publishers entirely. You might be able to nix something, if lucky, but I wouldn't hold my breath.

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  2. missed out Sharath's DVD, wasn't on Anazon will add it later.

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  3. Hm, good points and questions here, interesting.

    Recently I talked to Ryan Holiday (wrote Trust Me I'm Lying), he had his book published in the traditional way, and had to "fight" for the cover of the book to be what he wanted...

    I guess in you go through a publisher your options to have the cover you want are more limited... but in the self-published world then it is up to you...

    Thanks for including my cover by the way!

    I guess a combination of what reflects the practice and a picture that invites or look good is always good.

    As per recomendations for beginners I agree, I like Swenson's timeless book with all the modifications, I also like Matthew Sweeneys because of the "inspiring" "awe" factor. It really inspried me...

    and for DVDs, I did not know you started with Darby as well (I did too!) I still think it is the best in the business because of Nicole's practice next to him showing a more "human" practice.

    Kino has something similar now with her "Intro to Ashtanga" where Greg practices next to her in human form (as I call it and as opposed to "God" style or form as she does... she is quite amazing like all the certified people) and it is also narrated in English with directions AND goes ONLY to janu sirsasana... so it could be a good beginner's DVD too.

    For me however I prefer Darby cause I wanted to see the whole series at once and Kino's was not around when I started...

    OK, I am going manifesto here... oops! Enjoyed seeing this.

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  4. Fantastic blog as per usual. Personally, I found Swenson's DVD the most useful. His instruction for each asana is clear, and the pace with which he articulates is easy for me to follow.

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  5. My vote goes for Lino Miele's book. Clean, clear, intellectual-looking, void of the rather vulgar "western power" semi-nude images on all the other books and videos. ;)

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  6. Thanks Anon re the Baba Hari Dass one, have added a note to the post.

    I used to be engaged to a picture editor, that's my understanding too, cover pretty much up to her and more often than not she didn't know that much about the subject matter of the book.

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  7. Think your right Claudia, at least self publishing you get to choose your own. not always a good thing, I think yours is good but mine probably doesn't do the book any favours ( I just liked the idea of stressing the other limbs).

    That's what I liked about Darby's DVD too. Kino has the extra disc with tutorials but on Darby's the standard and simpler versions are both there on the screen side by side. Some postures you'll be fine with the standard others you'll still need to go with the simpler version. inspired approach.

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  8. thanks Zendio, I used David's 2nd series quite a bit. I've recently gone back to Richard Freeman's both his primary and 2nd, so much in both of them that you miss first time around and makes more sense later as you become more experienced with the practice. David's too I imagine, haven't practiced with it for a while.

    have added Lino's book and DVD to the post Anon, they didn't show up on Amazon when threw the post together. good reference, looking forward to his new one coming out in English.

    Not sure I agree about the others being vulgar and 'semi-nude if you look it only only tends to be the guy's who are in shorts, well apart from Kino. I practice in skimpy running shorts, don't see why she shouldn't do the same.

    ReplyDelete
  9. gah..blogger ate my comment first time..

    interesting to see these all together.

    john scott's book i like a lot. maehle is too much information for a beginner, which i definitely still am. initially, i liked ashtanga yoga for women, because it was for women (though i dont think it addresses strength issues specific to women.) and i liked the person modelling the asanas (real body) and the little photos showing what do on each inhale and exhale. john scott's gives better explanations, and seems to work for a larger range of levels of practice.

    i will probably get kino's book, because i am hoping it will be of the more accessible variety.

    as for cover art..yes, lino's is great, but the photos of john scott and kino i really like-hello bandhas at work

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  10. ...and don't forget to add Yoga Mala to the mix, for good measure!

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  11. I actually have Melanie Fawer's DVD and I like the way her two DVDs break things down. The instructional DVD breaks down the practice in ways to progress through the practice as she would teach it in her studio. It's in sections and I like that. Or if you're a bit more familiar with the whole sequence then there is the practice DVD which goes at her breath count but is nevertheless quite awesome to practice with. I have enjoyed it.

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  12. Thanks for your thoughts on these Suzanne. I agree re Gregor's book but handy when you want to look closely at one particular posture. Seems his commentary on the YS at the back is influenced by my favourite Commentary by Aranya.
    haven't seen yoga for woman but like the idea of the smaller photo's for each stage of the breath.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Have added it Anon, what was I thinking, a Japanese version in fact.

    Hi Brianna. Thank you for the mentioning Melanie Fawer's DVD, I haven't seen it good to hear from somebody relatively new to the practice and which of these is working for them.

    ReplyDelete
  14. I learned a lot of ashtanga with the book Learn How To Use Ashtanga Yoga & Meditation by Jean and Doriel Hall. It has clear instructions, with pictures of each of the asana in the
    primary series, usually on one page each. It also offers beginners variation and options to deepen the asana if you think you're ready. With this book though I learned to do a full vinyasa in between different postures and half vinyasa between left and right side.

    ReplyDelete

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A Reminder

from Kalama sutra, translation from the Pali by Bhikkhu Bodhi This blog included.

"So, as I said, Kalamas: 'Don't go by reports, by legends, by traditions, by scripture, by logical conjecture, by inference, by analogies, by agreement through pondering views, by probability, or by the thought, "This contemplative is our teacher." When you know for yourselves that, "These qualities are unskillful; these qualities are blameworthy; these qualities are criticized by the wise; these qualities, when adopted & carried out, lead to harm & to suffering" — then you should abandon them.' Thus was it said. And in reference to this was it said.

"Now, Kalamas, don't go by reports, by legends, by traditions, by scripture, by logical conjecture, by inference, by analogies, by agreement through pondering views, by probability, or by the thought, 'This contemplative is our teacher.' When you know for yourselves that, 'These qualities are skillful; these qualities are blameless; these qualities are praised by the wise; these qualities, when adopted & carried out, lead to welfare & to happiness' — then you should enter & remain in them. Buddha - Kalama Sutta
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