I was recently asked to review a new yoga eBook, and it looked pretty cool. Darren Rhodes successfully kickstartered the Yoga Resource Practice Manual, a 360-pose guidebook that’s totally digital. You can browse everything on the computer, your phone, your Kindle, and more. Here’s the preview:
I’d seen Darren’s awesome poster (From Tadasana to Savasana) in the back of my Anusara studio, but didn’t know much about his style. The poster and the book show his love of B.K.S. Iyengar’s Light on Yoga; each presents a comprehensive index of poses, showing a range of forms the human body can take. (Darren actually created that poster as he learned to do each and every pose in Light on Yoga. Read his piece on Elephant Journal for more details.)
The book was nice to browse, I skimmed it as I planned a Saturday morning class with a friend. Each category has some important explanatory text, and a cool diagram of the main alignment cues. You can save poses to your favorites, add notes, or highlight the text. You can quickly find the alignment instructions for any pose, as well as a little piece of inspiration in the “refinement” section. I liked these personal notes a lot, and would actually like to see a book of just these details!
As a student, you can choose new poses by browsing categories and picking a photograph. It would be good for discovering new poses outside of your regular classes, and for getting all their alignment details in one organized place.
I hope that future versions let you create and save actual sequences — I saved a bunch of poses and notes, and they were all mixed together in the sidebar. Beginners might also appreciate some default sequences, or some instructions on how to sequence a home practice.
I also wanted to know why I might choose one pose versus another, so that there are goals beyond the shape. After the category intros, there’s not a lot of details on particular benefits (or contraindications).
Accommodating injuries is (still) my current challenge, so (as a side note) I’d also love to hear more about what Darren learned from his intense approach to asana, his breaks from it, and his current practice. He writes:
“Consider viewing hatha yoga as a sport instead of as a remedy for injury and health issues. In that context, when injury occurs in your practice it simply goes with the territory. The aim of hatha yoga is certainly not to injure you. Nor is that the aim of any sport. However, in both sports and yoga, injury does occur. In my view, that is not necessarily a problem.”
That seems like a healthy relationship to injury, but I still haven’t decided if I want to agree!
I’d recommend this book for intermediate students in good health, and for any teacher wanting an inspiring, comprehensive index with clear and efficient alignment instructions. Thanks Darren.