Top critical review
9 of 12 people found this helpful
Some Useful Information, But Not Much That's New
on January 30, 2004
This book contains an incredibly useful piece of information: holding yoga poses cultivates prana, one's intrinsic energy or life force; however, that force is dissipated by moving statically from one pose to another. But when you link the poses with a connecting movement called a vinyasa, the prana is amplified and strengthened. I never understood before why Ashtanga and Ashtanga-based yogas emphasize vinyasa. That said, this is a good basic book on Ashtanga-based yoga by a gifted practitioner. Whether I would choose this over, say, Power Yoga, is a hard question. Apart from the vinyasas, much of the information is basic stuff contained in a dozen other hatha yoga books. If you're looking for the best book on classical Ashtanga practice, I recommend skipping this one in favor of David Swenson's (Doug's brother) masterpiece ASHTANGA YOGA, THE PRACTICE MANUAL. David Swenson's videotapes also are excellent and, having had the good fortune to take a class with David, I can tell you he's also a very nice guy. Caveat: if you are in fact looking for a book on Ashtanga yoga or Ashtanga-based practices and cannot find a good teacher, videos are a must. You have to see the movements and the coordination with the breathing to understand it. So, if you are a collector of yoga books, Doug Swenson's MASTERING THE SECRETS would be a fun addition to the collection. If you are seeking a text to learn from, it's a good book but you'll need supplemental materials and are probably better off with his brother David's most excellent book--so good, it's even bound to remain opened to whatever page you're using as you work out so you can refer to it easily. Doug's book is nice. David's is a truly great work on this subject.