The Art of Vinyasa: Awakening Body and Mind through the Practice of Ashtanga Yoga (Paperback)
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A radical presentation of the most rigorous form of contemporary yoga as meditation in motion
The Art of Vinyasa takes a unique look at Ashtanga yoga as meditation in motion that produces profound inner change. Two of the most well-respected teachers of the Ashtanga style of yoga, Richard Freeman and Mary Taylor, explore this rigorous practice not as a gymnastic feat, but as a meditative form. They reveal that doing the practice—and particularly the vinyasa, or the breath-synchonized movements—in such a deep and focused way allows practitioners to experience a profound awakening of the body and mind. It also develops an adaptable, flexible practice that can last a lifetime.
Freeman and Taylor give an in-depth explanation of form, alignment, and anatomy, and how they work together in the practice. They also present a holistic approach to asana practice that includes an awareness of the subtle breath, and seamlessly merges yoga philosophy with practical technique.
Unlike other books on Ashtanga, The Art of Vinyasa does not follow the linear pattern of the sequences of postures that are the hallmark of Ashtanga yoga. Instead, it interlinks the eight limbs: yama and niyama (ethical practices), asana (postures), pranayama (breathing), pratyahara (nongrasping of the senses), dharana (concentration), dhyana (meditation), samadhi (harmony, insight)—and shows how to establish an internally rooted yoga practice.
About the Author
Richard Freeman has been a student and practitioner of yoga since 1968. He is one of the first students of Sri K. Pattabhi Jois to be certified in the Ashtanga tradition and teaches workshops and seminars on yoga asana, philosophy, pranayama, and meditation throughout the world. He is the author of The Mirror of Yoga.
Mary Taylor began studying yoga in 1972 and became an avid Ashtanga practitioner in 1987 after her first trip to Mysore, India, to study with Sri K. Pattabhi Jois. She is the cofounder, with Richard Freeman, of the Yoga Workshop, which they started 1988. Mary travels and teaches Ashtanga yoga throughout the world, in addition to working with programs that focus on bringing yoga practices into the health care system.
“More than just a book, this is a body of work that proves that yoga is a spiritual path, and that the body is not reducible to mere bones and muscles. I strongly recommend this book to all sincere students of yoga.”—Kino MacGregor, author of The Power of Ashtanga Yoga
“Mary Taylor and Richard Freeman are a dynamic duo merging their collective energies to create this powerful book. The pages are filled with their esoteric, practical, philosophical, visual and compassionate insights presenting yoga in its myriad layers of physical endeavor, intellectual pursuit, theoretical expression, and ultimately a spiritual path.”—David Swenson, author of Ashtanga Yoga: The Practice Manual
“The Art of Vinyasa is nothing short of miraculous. Without the advantage of living with an enlightened master (I can’t find one), this book is the next best teacher—and I for one am deeply indebted.”—Rodney Yee, author of Moving Toward Balance
“The Art of Vinyasa is an extraordinary book, illuminating the rare and precious path into the inner (and most powerful) dimensions of yoga practice. Study and savor it, contemplate it––most importantly, unearth and practice the gems you find within its pages.”—Rod Stryker, founder of ParaYoga and author of The Four Desires