Does not buying it make a difference, probably. These days, buying online, we're a little in the dark as to what we're going to get. Amazon helps with it's preview but it's not like going into a bookshop picking a book up and flicking through before we buy. I've had books arrive that have been a real disappointment and others that have been a delight.
With a free copy in your area of interest your hardly going to be disappointed, however it turns out.
That said I would happily have paid full price for this book, it's a beautifully produced, glossy, hardback and a great deal of thought has gone into the design. The publishers are Yogawords and these are the people behind Donna Holleman's excellent Dancing the flame of Life and the John Scott DVD. So thank you to Zoe for sending me a copy.
There is a lot going on in this book!
Lets take a page, here's the section on Kukkutasana.
M's first thought was that the book was more about Petri than about Ashtanga. There are full page pictures of Petri in the asana on every spread, a smaller picture would have allowed for a larger print. And yetKkrishnamacharya did the same thing, Pattabhi Jois too in Yoga Mala. Krishnamacharya says in Yoga makaranda to look carefully at the pictures.
That's a little worrying.
I asked Ramaswami earlier today about this as in his book Yoga beneath the surface he mentions Krishnamacharya teaching nauli but preferring kapalabhati as a kriya, he was kind enough to get back to me on this right away.
"In Yoga the belief is that just as the skeletal muscles need exercise, the internal muscles and organs also need exercise. In Kapalabhati and mulabandha, the moderate thrust comes from below to exercise the uterus. In Uddiyana bandha especially in Tatakamudra the thrust is anterior pressing the uterus from the front on to the spine working on the anterior and posterior muscles. In Nauli, the rectus abdominis muscles on either side of the navel are made to relax alternately so that the uterus is pushed side to side enabling massaging the sides or the lateral muscles of the uterus. Thus all these exercises may be practiced to massage the uterus. As you mention excessive force used in nauli (and to some extent the other procedures) could harm the organ and sometimes lead to excessive bleeding during periods (menorrhagia)or twisting the supporting muscles leading to hernia or prolapse of the uterus". Srivatsa Ramaswami.
Looking at the full page spread above ( and we tend to get a full page spread for every asana ) on the left there is a vinyasa table. this is supposed to be for quick reference although it is small. I thought at first it was ridiculously small but then i realised it's supposed to fit on the outside column of the page for reference purposes.
The column has a key illustrating which bandha and which drishti.
In Krishnamacharya 1934 Yoga Makaranda ( back when K. was teaching the young Pattabhi Jois) and even later in Ramaswami (reflecting Krishnamacharya's teaching in the 50'-80's), the head tends to be down in most of the forward bends. There is a light Jalandhara bandha that can be engaged more fully to allow for the kumbhaka Krishnamacharya indicates in these postures. In the hidden asana before the bend the head is up with kumbhaka after the inhalation and so we have a balance through the vinyasa. The kumbhaka after the inhalation as the head goes up before folding into the asana then the head goes down, head to knee, kumbhaka after exhalation while in the asana. Head comes up again as we come out, kumbhaka after inhalation...wonderful wonderful breath work, quite subtle and yet profound, but all this is lost in the current representation of the system. Obviously that's fine for the beginner but I think Petri here is wanting to present the Primary system for the experienced practitioner as well as the beginner, a definitive guide, I would have liked more on this. What we get in the current presentation and Petri is of course only reflecting that is head up, head up, head up, look towards the feet (in most forward bends).
|Thank you to Linda for this image from her blog http://meandmyyoga.wordpress.com/|