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36 of 37 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Ashtanga Primary Series for new and yet also long term practitioners.
I was so looking forward to this book that I contacted the publishers to ask for an advanced review copy for my Home Ashtanga Blog. This review is based on the copy they sent me last week.

If you are already familiar with Kino's teaching, take a moment and think what you were expecting and hoping Kino's book would be like.......yep, it's EXACTLY like that...
Published 23 months ago by A. J. Hall

versus
2.0 out of 5 stars The pictures were dull and I hurt my knee during the first 30 ...
The pictures were dull and I hurt my knee during the first 30 mins of beginning . Not pleased and have sold it back to the trade in store.
Published 5 months ago by Celtic * Angel


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36 of 37 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Ashtanga Primary Series for new and yet also long term practitioners., 5 Jun. 2013
By 
A. J. Hall "grimmly2007" (London UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Power of Ashtanga Yoga: Developing a Practice That Will Bring You Strength, Flexibility, and Inner Peace--Includes the Complete Primary Series (Paperback)
I was so looking forward to this book that I contacted the publishers to ask for an advanced review copy for my Home Ashtanga Blog. This review is based on the copy they sent me last week.

If you are already familiar with Kino's teaching, take a moment and think what you were expecting and hoping Kino's book would be like.......yep, it's EXACTLY like that. Every posture crammed full of the tips, hints and encouragement we've come to expect from her DVDs and YouTube videos. Plus some surprises. Home Ashtangi's will love it, shala students too but teachers perhaps for the seemingly endless supply of ideas to help their students. This is Kino at her best.

Complete beginners might find the detail Kino goes into in the posture descriptions intimidating or overwhelming at first glance and yet these descriptions are made of step by step instructions and suggestions for making the full expression of the postures possible but more importantly safe. Read through them, take note of the cautions and explore the different suggestions and finer points of technique as you develop your practice.

This isn't a glossy picture book but a serious treatment of the nature, attainment and purpose of asana in the Ashtanga practice of the Krishnamachaya/Jois lineage. It has a strong focus on the spiritual or mindful dimension of the practice, of the energetics of practice, of the breath and the bandhas (as well as how to actually go about engaging and employing them).

No surprise to anyone who's followed Kino's work perhaps but yes there is a section on jumping back and through, the technique in Ashtanga for moving from one posture to the next with grace and elegance, including the challenging lotus jump back from postures like Kukkutasana and padmasana should you choose to explore it. This is found in a chapter on Strength : The Yoga of true power, where Kino looks more closely at the bandhas, the network of interlinked techniques, that can make a radical difference in all areas of your practice.

"...Over time you will be able to activate this whole network of movements in one fluid contraction". p175

Chapter 10 on Strength also includes a subsection on The Quiet Strength of a Woman's body.

"Contemporary dogma of what is possible for men and women contribute to what yoga practitioners believe is possible for male and female bodies. If you are a woman, you may wonder whether you are the wrong shape, size, weight, gender to be able to catapult your hips through the air and resign yourself to being just flexible. But this type of thinking undermines a true sense of the power for either gender.
In yoga there is an unfair assumption that all men effortlessly perform gravity-defying lifts and all women snake their way into positions a contortionist would envy. While the mind-set of teachers and students often perpetuates some traditional gender roles, reality tells a different story. There are men who are hyper mobile and unable to lift their butts off the ground, and there are women who are stiff as a board but can balance unwaveringly". Kino Macgregor -The Power of Ashtanga yoga p172

Kino is an enabler. This book is all about what is possible and, more practically, how it's possible as well as the possibilities this practice opens up. This enabling feeds through the whole book, every posture has a wealth of tips and hints for engaging X, facilitating Y and achieving Z. It's very much a hands-on book, the focus is on helping you not just to get into an asana but to achieve greater comfort and steadiness (in life as well as in practice). As such I find myself asking 'Who isn't this book for?' It's ideal for the beginner whether starting at in a shala or studio with a teacher or at home with a book and a dvd (she mentions the home practitioner, myself). But it's also for somebody who has practiced for a number of years and wants to not just tidy up the alignment of a posture but to achieve greater facility at every stage of the practice. Many of the instructions or rather suggestions that Kino includes I've come across before, most no doubt from her own Youtube channel and tutorials but never so many in one place and in and for every posture. As such this is also strikes me as an excellent resource for the teacher.

The Amazon preview shows the Chapter heading but not the subsections, these include

My yoga Journey
The heart of Ashtanga
Practical guidelines for yoga practice
Getting started in your practice
Listening to the wisdom of your body
The ancient origins of Yoga poses
The origins of Ashtanga Yoga
Ashtanga Spiritual practice
Ashtanga Physical practice
Finding your teacher
The heroic Healing journey of Yoga
How yoga poses really work
Drishti; single pointed gaze
Gazing with the lamp of knowledge
The Magic of the breath
Relax and breath into it
Ujjayi: The breath of life
Granthis
The ritual of Vinyasa
The Ashtanga yoga diet
The hidden power of food
Ahimsa; The Yogic Diet of Nonviolence
Ayurvedix Guidelines
Cleansing and Purification
Practice yoga. heal the planet. The spiritual Journey of Asana: Yoga beyond bending
Stretching your mind
Walking the spiritual path
Life lessons on the yoga superhighway
Revela your true self
Complete healing
Strength: The yoga of true power
The quiet strength of a woman's body
Bandhas
Mula bandha
Udiyana bandha
Foundation
Direction in strength
How to jump back
How to jump through
How to jump back from lotus position
Chakrasana
Opening mantra
Closing mantra
Sanskrit vinyasa count

Some examples here's

Kino on the breath...

"If you focus solely on attaining the asanas when you practice, you will most likely sacrifice the breath for the form, but the ends do not justify the means in Yoga. In fact, the means themselves are the ends. Yoga is about the journey and the process and if there is no space to allow a deep inhalation and exhalation to be your guide, there may never be space for you to be calm in your life" p27

"Each breath has four distinct components; the inhalations, the space between the inhalation and exhalation, the exhalation and the space between the exhalation and inhalation. It is important to give a gentle pause between the breaths so you float effortlessly for a moment between each inhalation and exhalation. When you advance to more in-depth breath work that includes holding or retaining the breath the space between breaths will be crucial." p28

Kino on Method

"The Ashtanga yoga practice recommends that you practice six days a week. traditionally, this practice was meant to be done in the Mysore style" in which you follow your own breath and movement rather than the guidence of a teacher leading a class through the same movements....Memorising the postures allows you to focus internally, which is the real goal of yoga. When you do not know what you are doing next your attention will always be on your teacher rather than within yourself. Once you memorise the sequence of postures that your teacher determines is right for you, the entire practice moves to a deeper, subconscious level" p12

...and on a Six day practice

"Taking a six-day- a-week practice is often hard for for new students, so I usually recommend that they begin with three days. Once they establish that level of regularity, they can add one day every six months until they reach the full six days a week. To make the transition from a fitness orientated approach to yoga to a devotional one, you need to practice consistently and regularly. A daily spiritual ritual in which you take time to connect internally to a deep sense of yourself requires dedication. The six day requirement is meant to develop the kind of mental, spiritual and devotional determination needed to progress along the internal path of yoga" p12

The Amazon preview looks mostly at the first couple of chapters but lets take a look at how the asana are treated in Part 2 of the book..

In many if not most of the postures, Kino is addressing Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced practitioners. In Ashtanga we all do Primary series on Friday's whatever series we may be practicing the rest of the week. Marichiyasana D, a deep twisting posture is a good example of this, Kino includes beginner modifications, a standard intermediate expression of the asana as well as the advanced version of the pose with both sit bones down on the mat. This is a unique feature of Kino's book I think, it's a reminder that we can approach this first series of Ashtanga as Intermediate and advanced practitioners. And besides, some Yoga practitioners may have no interest, for now at least, in exploring the more advanced Ashtanga series, Kino provides options for taking a more advanced approach to the Primary series.

I should perhaps also mention that the asana sections each have an introduction outlining the characteristics of the group of postures. So there's a Surynamaskara section, Standing section, seated, backbends and finishing.

There's also an appendix outlining the vinyasa count for every posture, showing which movement for which stage of the breath, nice and handy having it in a separate section. There's a practice cheat sheet at the back too of just the photos of the postures in the sequence and a nice, quite extensive, glossary too with a strong focus on how Pattabhi Jois would introduce these terms

This book is very much part of and of the tradition and yet not in anyway dogmatic, that's a neat trick. There is a lot going on in the book, it's smart but approachable. Kino seems to have a knack for presenting the practice in a way that draws you in yet without dumbing the practice down.

I'll be coming back again and again to the asana descriptions of course, I haven't been able to flick through the book without wanting to jump on the mat to try out one or more of the of the hints and/or suggestions, and as soon as I finish my practice I find I want to grab the book again to check how she approaches a particular asana or vinyasa that I may have felt could have been a little better in practice that morning.

But I'll also be coming back to it for the ideas around the physical elements of practice, many of them will strike you as surely obvious as if they are things we've known all along concerning the practice of Yoga yet never verbalised, timely and well put reminders of what is perhaps most important in the practice .

"If you approach your practice from the perspective of attaining the perfect asana, sooner or later you will fail. even the strongest and most flexible person will get injured or grow older one day. Eventually a new generation of stronger, more flexible students come through. When all this happens, it is not time to quit or punish yourself. Moments of perceived failure are often when the most yoga happens. Sometimes we have to gain the perfect yoga body and the perfect yoga poses just to 'lose" it to injury or age; thus, we see that the whole point of the journey has nothing to do with asana after all. Yoga asks you to tap into a place within yourself that has faith in results that are not immediately evident. " p52
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant book, 10 July 2013
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This review is from: The Power of Ashtanga Yoga: Developing a Practice That Will Bring You Strength, Flexibility, and Inner Peace--Includes the Complete Primary Series (Paperback)
Big fan of Kino on u-tube @ this book does not disappoint. Excellent diagrams on asanas & informative info on all other parts of yoga which I had not read before. Highly recommend this book
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must read!, 28 Jan. 2014
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This review is from: The Power of Ashtanga Yoga: Developing a Practice That Will Bring You Strength, Flexibility, and Inner Peace--Includes the Complete Primary Series (Paperback)
Absolutely love it, best yoga book ive read. Very detailed with some very useful tips and tricks. If you are a fan of Kino then you will know what to expect from this book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great handbook and guide., 27 Feb. 2014
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This review is from: The Power of Ashtanga Yoga: Developing a Practice That Will Bring You Strength, Flexibility, and Inner Peace--Includes the Complete Primary Series (Paperback)
I love Kino!...thats the simple fact.
I have met kino and participated in her classes and a teacher training emmersion. I have also read yoga mala and watched many of Kinos online videos as well as those about her teachers.
The Ashtanga methods awsome healing potential continues to amaze me and this book I use alongside Kinos Dvd to enrich my practice.
This book helps to unlock the secrets of Astanga yoga. The book inspires a more confident and informed practice because of the wealth of information Kino shares.
I like the way Kino explains the techique with language that expresses her direct experience.This is a great manual to use to enrich the daily practice which is so carefully broken down within this book.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The Perfect Guide to get started with Ashtanga Yoga, 17 July 2014
This review is from: The Power of Ashtanga Yoga: Developing a Practice That Will Bring You Strength, Flexibility, and Inner Peace--Includes the Complete Primary Series (Paperback)
I love this book! Kino writes about her experience with yoga which spans for over 14 years and over multiple continents. She explains all of the benefits and traditions of yoga in such an accessible way, she is so relatable in writing and in her youtube and instagram videos which is where I originally discovered Kino MacGregor. An amazing inspiration and a great yogi to look up to and learn from. She provides exact directions on how to successfully complete each yoga pose in the traditional primary series of Ashtanga Yoga invented by K. Pattabhi Jois. (Yoga Mala by K. Pattabhi Jois is also a great guide to Yoga to have)
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant, 12 July 2013
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This review is from: The Power of Ashtanga Yoga: Developing a Practice That Will Bring You Strength, Flexibility, and Inner Peace--Includes the Complete Primary Series (Paperback)
To say that I love this book would be an understatement. I covers some of the history of Yoga, the philosophy, diet, and of course excellent photos and descriptions of each asana in the primary series. I use this in conjunction with Kino's primary series DVD. A very well written carefully thought out book. Love it!
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4.0 out of 5 stars Great guide to deepen practice, 30 Nov. 2014
By 
Eve (Northants, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Power of Ashtanga Yoga: Developing a Practice That Will Bring You Strength, Flexibility, and Inner Peace--Includes the Complete Primary Series (Paperback)
Very clearly written, and the details on how to get into each posture have increased my connection to them, while her writing on how yoga fits in life has me considering aspects such as the gaze. Plus, I'm now following the advice to practise daily, and it's amazing how that and knowing more precisely what I'm aiming to achieve has paid off already. Really useful for when you feel ready to deepen your experience of yoga, but haven't found the right class or other instruction.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A must for any Ashtangi !, 23 Oct. 2014
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This review is from: The Power of Ashtanga Yoga: Developing a Practice That Will Bring You Strength, Flexibility, and Inner Peace--Includes the Complete Primary Series (Paperback)
I'm a big fan of Kino, so when I came across this book my expectations were high! I was not disappointed, she writes clearly with an easy to follow narrative. Her instructions are detailed & offer modifications & suggestions for both beginner & more seasoned practitioners. The photographs are beautifully taken, the book also provides historical information as well as a detailed overview of Ashtanga yoga & yogic living! A must for any Ashtangi!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent resource for those looking to explore the Primary Series in greater depth, 27 Mar. 2014
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This review is from: The Power of Ashtanga Yoga: Developing a Practice That Will Bring You Strength, Flexibility, and Inner Peace--Includes the Complete Primary Series (Paperback)
This book has been so useful for me in developing my own self practice. It provides detailed description and photographs of each of the asanas in the Primary Series which ensure you're able to progress safely and at your own pace. The introductory chapters provide an excellent overview of the practice of Ashtanga Yoga as a whole, which I think is particularly useful for beginners such as myself. Cannot recommend this book enough!
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5.0 out of 5 stars This book is written in an easy to read way, 23 Feb. 2015
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This review is from: The Power of Ashtanga Yoga: Developing a Practice That Will Bring You Strength, Flexibility, and Inner Peace--Includes the Complete Primary Series (Paperback)
Kino provides an in depth teaching of the practice of Ashtanga Yoga. In this book she explains many of the things that you cant see when you watch her at work. The combination of physical locks ( bandhas), Asanas. Breathing and focusing your gaze in the right direction to enhance the posture. This book is written in an easy to read way. The information is priceless.
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