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Ashtanga Yoga: Practice & Philosophy [Kindle Edition]

Gregor Maehle
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (51 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Ashtanga Yoga: Practice and Philosophy is the first book of its kind, presenting a comprehensive guide to all eight limbs of Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga. Join author Gregor Maehle, a seasoned yogi and compassionate teacher, as he guides you through:
• the history and lineage of yoga
• the fundamentals of breath, bandhas (energy locks within the body), drishti (the focal point of the gaze), and vinyasa (sequential movement)
• a detailed breakdown of the asanas of the Ashtanga Primary Series, following the traditional vinyasa count
• a lively and authentic rendering of the complete Yoga Sutra of Patanjali, yoga's ancient sacred text
• a glossary of yoga terminology
In the asana section, Maehle describes each posture with clear, meticulous instructions, photographs, anatomical illustrations, and practical tips. Information on the mythological background and yogic context of specific postures brings further insight to the practice. In the philosophy section, Maehle illuminates the Yoga Sutra using the major ancient commentaries as well as his own insights.

This volume makes the entire path of Ashtanga Yoga accessible to modern practitioners. Both practical guide and spiritual treatise, Ashtanga Yoga is an excellent introduction to the eight limbs of yoga and an invaluable resource for any yoga teacher or practitioner.

Editorial Reviews


“Gregor Maehle's Ashtanga Yoga weaves philosophy and integrated knowledge of anatomy into our yoga practice to keep us centered in the heart of a profound tradition.” — Richard Freeman, founder of the Yoga Workshop in Boulder, Colorado “A much-needed new tool for practicing yoga with greater safety in the physical form and with much greater depth in the inner form of the practice. A valuable contribution to the evolving understanding of this profound system and method of yoga.” — Chuck Miller, Ashtanga Yoga teacher, senior student of Shri K. Pattabhi Jois since 1980 “If you want to keep only one book on yoga in your shop, this is the one to have.” — New Age Retailer

From the Author

From the same author: Ashtanga Yoga The Intermediate Series and the latest release Pranayama The Breath of Yoga

Product Details

  • File Size: 6456 KB
  • Print Length: 320 pages
  • Publisher: New World Library; 1 edition (February 9, 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004O4CZOC
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #88,249 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
38 of 44 people found the following review helpful
By Zenpunk
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
My thoughts and feelings on this book are mixed, hence the two-star rating. I've been practicing Ashtanga Vinyasa for about 10 years, and I remember when this book initially came out, I was excited to see what it had to offer. Here are my thoughts for now:

What do I like:

(1) Practical tips on how to research certain postures to work on physical problems common to Western students (e.g. tight hips, quadriceps, shoulders, etc).

What I do not like:

(1) The author's use of anatomy to analyze postures is tiresome and oftentimes inaccurate. Maehle does not take into account how muscles and joints function in relation to gravity. It seems as if he has researched what the standard muscular action is based upon a body being in anatomical position, and then he translates that knowledge to whatever position the body is in regardless of its orientation to gravity. For example, he says that the hip flexors pull the spine forward in a seated forward bend (paschimottanasana), which may or may not be the case depending on the relation of the body to gravity. If you are doing a standing forward bend, the hip flexors are usually not concentrically shortening; rather the muscles that are controlling the movement are the eccentric lengthening of the spinal extensors. The same holds true for seated forward bending.

(2) The author has a subtle form of self-promotion in this book. He argues that the Yoga Korunta, the apocryphal text upon which the Ashtanga Vinyasa system is based, was originally bound together with the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali and the Yoga Bhyasa. There is little evidence to support the existence of the Yoga Korunta, much less to support such a combination of the text.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gem of a book March 28, 2010
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
There are books that you read and others you treasure. This one is definitely in the latter category. Every time I read it, I get 100% of the "1% theory" aspect of my practice. This book has it all - the philosophy, the anatomy and of course, the practice. Thank you for a wonderful gift that will last a lifetime
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent resource tool for the yogi. December 13, 2007
This is not just another 'how to do yoga yourself' book, but a thorough study of both the postures and philosophy of Ashtanga yoga. At a time when almost every well-known teacher has their own 'brand' of yoga, Mr. Maehle goes back to the source to both explain the foundation of the practice and the philosophy that supports the physical practice.
Almost all western practictioners come to yoga as a form of excerise and are unaware of the philosophy from which the physical practice developed. This book covers both in accessable language and explanation. Serious student will want to have this as a resource and serious Ashtangis will find it invaluable along with D. Swenson's Practice Manual. Ashtanga Yoga: The Practice Manual: An Illustrated Guide to Personal Practice
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book! January 7, 2010
By Z
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book should be read by everyone who is doing Ashtanga yoga seriously. It includes wonderful details about the practice itself, that you won't find anywhere else.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outer Structure Inner Freedom February 12, 2012
By Bliss
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The perfection of an asana (posture) requires an all round attention to details, anatomy, drishti (gaze), breath and attention - the establishment of outer structure and inner freedom. This book is such a perfect asana. It provides a perfect blend of mythology, philosophy and the mechanics of asanas. The complexity has been reduced to the simplest possible syntax. No words need to be added, none need be subtracted. It opened up for me a whole new dimension for articulating the inner workings of asanas through anatomy and the subtle balance of antagonistic muscles. It provides important tips on how to achieve maximum results in each asana and how to protect oneself (knees for example). Moreover it establishes the practice within the context of a systematic method for enlightenment as outlined by Patanjali. Great inspiration for my self-practice. Highly recommended.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars good fundamentals September 24, 2011
By jenn
Most yoga books drive me crazy with intricate and woo-woo explanations, mysticism, or hype. And while there is still a lot of mystical fluff in here, there are also really solid step-by-step (or breath-by-breath) discussions of the poses in the Ashtanga series, as well as anatomical illustrations and good photos. Definitely a worthwhile book, regardless of the yoga style you might be interested in.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ashtanga Yoga: Practice & Philosophy June 22, 2009
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is an excellent book for any Ashtanga Yoga practitioner, whether beginner or advanced. It breaks down each and every asana and vinyasa and gives specific information about the anatomy of each posture. Patanjali's yoga sutras are included in the back. This book was a required text for a college yoga class which was taught by a student of Sri. K. Pattabhi Jois.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Worthy of years of study October 1, 2014
Format:Kindle Edition
I've been borrowing this from our local library, placing holds as soon as the loan runs out. Just completed the entire book and am restarting to go through the beginning on vinyasa and asana. Having recently become motivated to deepen my own practice, I'm a firm believer that study is a key component of a complete practice. In yoga, there are many and somewhat complex concepts to absorb. Frequency is a key in solidifying them for use by the mind, until we can be free of it. This book in my opinion is worthy of study, being based in ancient and authentic treatises with the necessary explanation from an adept, modern mind to bridge the cultural gap.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Very good book! Useful, easy language!
Published 2 months ago by Nina from Bulgaria
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book for yoga students, enthusiasts, and practitioners
Required reading for my YTT looks like a great book, haven't gotten to reading it yet, but I look forward to it, and know I will reference it often.
Published 2 months ago by Candice Marie
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent!
I have read many ashtanga books and this is one of the best books I have read on Ashtanga. It re-ignited my fire for Ashtanga.
Published 4 months ago by Annettebroy
5.0 out of 5 stars this excellent book is a great complement to my daily guidance ...
Only 4 months into my Ashanga yoga practice, this excellent book is a great complement to my daily guidance in studio by my teacher (who actually recommended this book). Read more
Published 6 months ago by Gary Hubbell
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 9 months ago by Jeannine A.
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
a great learning tool for Ashtanga Yoga. I bought a second copy for my friend!
Published 10 months ago by TricLa
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Arrived on time, product as advertised.
Published 10 months ago by James B Hecht
4.0 out of 5 stars Great book
Really great book! Great for learning alignment and sequence.
Published 11 months ago by KMF
3.0 out of 5 stars Poor design.
I've spent my career in publishing. It is a shame that this book is so poorly designed. It really needs *professional* help — getting photos + illustrations to align in a... Read more
Published 11 months ago by RobSchlapfer
1.0 out of 5 stars License Limit Exceeded
I'm not exactly sure what that means, but I bought this as a reference book. I have read much of it, but usually I use reference books as needed. Read more
Published 12 months ago by Marlana
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