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21 Things to Know Before Starting an Ashtanga Yoga Practice Paperback – May 9, 2011

4.5 out of 5 stars 57 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 170 pages
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (May 9, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1461147743
  • ISBN-13: 978-1461147749
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.4 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (57 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,173,416 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A. J. Hall on July 8, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Anyone who's stuck with my blog over the years has probably figured out that I have a bit of a love hate relationship with Ashtanga ( for hate read, frustration and irritation), every now and again I tend to bang my head against it. It was during one of these ...more negative periods that Claudia brought out her book and I immediately switched over to feelin' the love again as a result of reading it, it reminded me why I love the practice.

Claudia's own passion for the practice is infectious, it's on almost every page. Yet despite that passion there's also an openness that I respect immensely. As a blogger herself Claudia's come up against questions and criticisms regarding the practice both on her own blog and those on which she contributes through comments. She's aware of what makes people uncomfortable or perhaps suspicious at times and is always respectful in her response, she is constantly exploring the practice and trying to understand it a little more herself.

In the book that translates as respect for her readers.

She doesn't just throw information about the practice at you, she invites you in, she doesn't avoid the difficult questions, she often struggles with them too. Her book is a guide to pretty much everything surrounding the practice ( and more besides ) but she's also a fellow traveller, she wants to share her view of the practice but her curiosity comes through, she wants to hear your view too.

The last section is called...

'Keep in touch'

Claudia shares.

The book is personal, she's telling you why she chose to practice Ashtanga, (that's pretty much the title of Chapter four).
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I am very pleased with this little book. I thought that a lot of it wouldn't appeal or apply to an older woman with a neuromuscular disorder which makes simple yoga a challenge, and absolutely no intention of ever going to Mysore, but at the price and with all the great reviews I gave it a try.
I am glad that I did. It is well written, (could use some proofreading for grammatical slips, nothing big) interesting, educational, and very inspiring when it comes down to urging the reader to just commit to practicing. The author definitely lives on the fringe of yoga practice, she admits to being more involved than most of us will want or be able to be, but she manages to be inspiring rather than off-putting like so many accomplished yoginis.
A valuable and fascinating read. Highly recommended.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I am somewhat new to Ashtanga yoga. I have been practicing it daily for about nine months, but I have done so without the benefit of a class or teacher. I chose Ashtanga because it is a one person practice, something one embraces, ideally, alone with oneself. All I know, I have learned from books. Of course, as soon as I saw this title, I was intrigued and thought it could help me to learn what to expect in coming months and years.
Altucher's advice, and the sharing of her own experience, is wonderful and I found a lot of self-confirmation concerning the commitment I am making after reading her work. That said, there are two issues that greatly (and unnecessarily) detract from the book. One, this work would have benefited, in a big way, by having an editor. It is literally rife with spelling and grammatical errors. Perhaps this will not bother some, but my graduate degree is in English and I am a free lance editor, so this kind of thing makes me cringe. For me, it rather takes away from the seriousness and pride of a work when it is not refined/proofread. Second, and less of an issue, is the rather lengthy section about how to find the right partner in your life. To me, yoga is about getting more acquainted with oneself. Furthermore, many of her readers are already married or in successful relationships. It is not a bad section. The advice is good, but it just seems out of place somehow.
Even with the aforementioned complaints, however, I give the book 4 stars because it is a sincere attempt to open up the possibilities of Ashtanga for newcomers. I feel more enriched after having read it and all the extra links the author provides are a bonus. Ultimately, this is a testament to the benefits of the practice and a "what to expect" for those of us who aren't yet sure just what we are getting into. If you are interested in Ashtanga, this really is a must read. It offers a wealth of resources and advice...
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Format: Kindle Edition
Before you pick up a Kindle copy of 21 Things to Know Before Starting an Ashtanga Yoga Practice, be aware that this is not a the kind of yoga book written by one of the well-known western gurus such as John Scott, David Swenson or Richard Freeman, but more like a comprehensive collection of material from Claudia Azula's blog as well as some previously unavailable content. Therefore, the overall tone of this book is slightly amateur and a little bit disjointed. But this is exactly what makes it perfect for beginners, and for `beginners', Azula includes anyone who has been practising Ashtanga for less than a decade or so. Ashtanga is most certainly not a practice to learn in a week-long intensive course at some Ashram.

Personally, I have been practising Ashtanga for just over two years, with several long injury-related breaks in between. Although I have read a few other books about yoga and Ashtanga prior to this, I found 21 Things very refreshing in its approach and Azula's simple, practical advice actually inspired to make some changes to my practice - such as trying to practice early in the morning before work.

On a few occasions, as someone with a basic knowledge of Ashtanga I disagreed with the author; for example, she advocates a rigorous practice of 6 days a week, with Saturdays off. I worry that a beginner reading this book might be put off by such a daunting schedule; even David Swenson, in his `Ashtanga Yoga Practice Manual' suggests that it is better for someone new to the practice to start with small goals and practice more regularly 2-3 times a week rather than trying to do too much to only then feel overwhelmed and give up altogether.
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