Thursday, February 14, 2008

Yoga Therapy

Yoga Therapy by AG Mohan and Indra Mohan is a truly wonderful book. It describes a "true" Yoga; not one that forces and demands. A Yoga rooted in breath and honor of the body and mind.

The style is Viniyoga, one of my personal favorites. This style emphasizes a therapeutic approach and stressed the need for individual classes. As popular as group classes are in the West, a personalized class becomes even more important when dealing with specific therapies.

I think this book is a wonderful collection of suggestions that can be applied to any practice or style. The first chapter is an introduction followed by the second chapter detailing breath and asana. Here's a quick example demonstrating how your breathing affects posture:

Start your inhales from the top of the chest and then continue inhaling all the way down to the navel. Emphasize the chest expansion. This helps to straighten out rounding in the upper back. As you exhale, begin in the belly and then work your way up to the collarbones. Focusing most of the exhale in the belly brings length to the low back and prevents sway back or over-arching the lumbar area.

Chapter 3 suggests methods of assessing a body. When developing a personal practice, assessment guides you away from what you just "like" and into what will provide you with the most benefits. This is key is creating a successful practice and injury prevention.

Next comes sequencing, which is a whole topic unto itself. I've worked in a Iyengar, Anusara, and Ashtanga--all with differing opinions on sequencing. What I've learned is that no one really knows for sure the best route. Some things, like ending with a symmetrical posture, make sense; but each situation is different. One thing unique to Viniyoga, and paramount in my opinion, is to rest periodically between postures. Take mini-savasanas ever so often to release tension before moving on.

Chapter 5 is about personalizing the practice and taking into account someone's fitness level, age, and condition. Next comes pranayama followed by Ayurveda, covering diet, doshas, and the mind.

Chapter 8 is a collection of case studies. Personally, I prefer the case studies in Gary Kraftsow's book, Yoga for Wellness; because Gary outlines why each and every posture/movement is chosen. Mohan's do this to some extent, but not as thoroughly.

Overall a great reference to gaining a deeper and practical understanding of breath and movement.

Love Much,


Today is the first day of the rest of your life!

1 comment:

rand(om) bites said...

Kris, thanks for posting about this book! I was looking at buying it. I was told to start studying Viniyoga to help my studies with Yoga Therapy. I hadn't really come across Viniyoga until a month or two ago.