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Myths of the Asanas [Paperback]

Arlana/van der Kooij , Arjuna Kaivalya
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
RRP: 14.99
Price: 10.49 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Product details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Mandala Publishing (3 Aug 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1601090579
  • ISBN-13: 978-1601090577
  • Product Dimensions: 25.3 x 18.1 x 1.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 34,261 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

This charming collection of the stories behind the names of our favourite yoga asanas is perfect for all yoga teachers. Practitioners around the world reap the physical benefits of yoga, assuming poses and frequently calling them by their Sanskrit names. While many know that hanumanasana is named for the deity Hanuman, few understand why this is the case. Behind each asana and its corresponding movements is an ancient story about a god, sage, or sacred animal, much like Aesop's fables or European folk tales. Myths of the Asanas is the first book to collect and retell these ancient stories. The myths behind yoga's spiritual tradition have the power to help students of all levels realise their full potential. Meditating on the tolerance of trees while standing in tree pose can help one become more tolerant. Learning how the disfigured sage Astavakra came to be the teacher of a king can liberate us from anxieties about our external appearance and our self- imposed limitations. Marvelling at Hanuman's devotion to Rama can serve as a source of spiritual strength and determination. With more than sixty beautiful illustrations to frame the stories, Myths of the Asanas will add a new dimension to your practice and study of yoga.

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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book ... 3 Oct 2010
By Pete
... I bought this for my wife, a yoga teacher, who gives more attention to her yoga books than she does to her obedient and less-bendable husband. It is actually a very well written and fascinating book for anyone that has an interest in yoga at all. The stories behind each of the asanas brings them to life. As an additional bonus, they would be great to read to your children as bedtime stories, so two great reasons to go out and get this book.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting background for the asanas 30 Aug 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Interesting myths and legends which tie to many of the common asanas that we use. It gives them that extra something and students have told me it helps them to remember poses and sequences.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book 21 Jun 2013
By mamaste
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book is great. It gives a clearing and interesting explanation of the Asana's. I use it a lot as an inspiration for my classes. A must have for every Yogateacher or praticionar.
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0 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Book Review 31 Oct 2011
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
"Book review". Excellent service and would use the supplier again. The title of the book is very apt for the contents and, although I have only scanned through it at present, I'm looking forward to reading it and hoping to use it as an additional aid when compiling Yoga lesson plans....
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.6 out of 5 stars  38 reviews
28 of 28 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A reader recommends "Myths of the Asanas: the Ancient Origins of Yoga" 10 Nov 2010
By Mr. E - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
After reading an excerpt from "Myths of the Asanas: the Ancient Origins of Yoga" in the October 2010 issue of "Yoga Journal" magazine, I got online and ordered a copy of the book from Amazon.com. A student of the works of Joseph Campbell and Carl Jung, I immediately recognized the authors' understanding of, and respect for the mythic tradition. The writing, like magic realism, is reminiscent of children's literature, yet contains deep truths relevant to those in all stages of life. The book is a collection of short stories: synopses of the myths which correspond with the asanas or postures familiar to contemporary practitioners of yoga. Highly informative, but not patronizing, each short section is a relaxing read which gives those who practice yoga a greater understanding of the longstanding tradition in which we take part.
I have enjoyed the book and recommend it to anyone who practices yoga or is interested in mythology/collective consciousness. My only complaint is, however, like so many things "yoga" the presentation is uber-feminine, specifically the cover art. Not everyone who practices yoga is female. Is it too much to ask the marketing gurus to take a more androgynous approach?
41 of 44 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A disappointment 27 Jun 2011
By all.j - Published on Amazon.com
It is good that the writers are honouring the tradition of Yoga by linking the asanas to the myths. I also liked the fact that they recognise the links between the myths, asana practice and the development of personal qualities like loyalty, faith, generosity and persistence. If you are looking for a children's book, or if you just want an easy read on the myths, or perhaps (if you are a yoga teacher) an easy reference point for stories to mention in class, then this could be the book for you.
However, if you want more, if you really want to delve into the meanings of the asanas, then you need to know how to do it. For this, there are much better books on the market.
Swami Sivananda Radha's 'Hatha Yoga; the Hidden Language' brings the ancient yoga myths and the symbolism of nature together with the asanas in a more helpful way. It helps you to move to a deeper level, to take the asanas as reflective and meditation postures, observe how each one affects the mind and the body, make connections between what you are experiencing as you do your asana practice and your daily life. It also helps you to move towards deeper understanding, making your own discoveries.
Another book worth mentioning is Swami Lalitanada's 'Inner Life of Asanas'. This is a more personal illustration of working with asanas. She takes many of the poses covered in 'Myths of the Asanas' and explores insights she has had from her practice. Swami Laltananda provides instruction and takes yogic themes (such as developing awareness, exercising choice and moving towards union) to demonstrate by example, how to bring the teachings and our experiences together in our practice.
24 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful book! 23 July 2010
By Kathleen Sausman Judd - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Highly recommended for yoga students and teachers or anyone interested in learning more about the stories behind the poses. I've always found these stories to be a bit confusing and hard to remember, but this book is written in a way that makes them very real and relatable. The graphics are lovely as well. This is a book to return to time and time again.
14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great for teachers 10 Sep 2010
By Thyme Management - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Yoga teachers have to read a ton of information and sometimes it becomes overwhelming (the yoga practice! the spiritual growth!) This book does a great job of summarizing many of the asana's origins in a light hearted way without dumbing it down. You'll find yourself enjoying the poses a little more and maybe even smiling a bit when you hear them called out in class.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fun addition to a yoga class 25 Sep 2010
By brazzabuzz - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Myths from this book enrich a yoga class, giving students a sense of connection to the past in their yoga practice today. Good book for a teacher to have.
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