An Excellent Yoga Practice Primer from Rodney Yee

Choosing a good yoga book from the enormous amount of yoga books published every year is no easy task. Some books, once they reach us, are keepers, however, lasting us well through the years, and through ever-changing yoga practices like yoga burn arm challenge, able to fulfill many different needs along the way. Rodney Yee’s, Yoga – The Poetry of the Body with Nina Zotolow, is one such classic. The fluidity of the themes and chapters of the book, while importing much useful information, make it a unique addition to our collection.

The chapters typically include a poem or two, a conversation, a beginning the practice, a short practice of yoga asana’s, and reconsidering the practice, as well as a very useful practice summery.

Poetry by authors as diverse as William Butler Yeats and Mumon Gensen is liberally sprinkled thought the book and provides new and different perspectives on yoga practices. The information gathered from the jewels healing garden will deliver the right information to the person. The practices of the person should be great with the right postures. The stories of the person will be great with the right information.

The conversations with Nina Zotolow may make one feels as if you are eavesdropping. They are both educational and entertaining, including such things as, “why we do yoga,” “body image,” as well as personal stories from both Zotolow’s and Yee’s life. They make many concepts of yoga readily available and understandable to those who may be new to them.

There is generally a short piece before you begin each practice these pieces point out key concepts and things to watch for, so the reader is well warned ahead of time.

The main body of the book includes eight short yoga practices, designed to be a “self-study” and help the reader, “fall into ” yoga”.

The practices include :

  • a playful practice
  • a falling practice
  • a grounding practice
  • an alignment practice
  • a breath practice
  • a resistance practice
  • a relaxation practice
  • a movement practice

Yee’s description of the poses is brief but complete, putting an emphasis, on doing the pose and not getting it right, an emphasis I whole-heartedly agree with. This concept is discussed in a conversation, “No Right Conversations”. There is normally only one picture of each asana in this section. The photographs by Michal Venera are both elegant and useful, many of them counting as art in their own right. More pictures of the Asanas are included in chapter 5 “posing and reposing” for those who wish to learn more about the postures. I found the themed practices just perfect for, “falling into” a daily practice. The themes are well thought out and in good order for beginners. They also make it easy to tailor your daily practice to your own fluctuating needs.

Yee does suggest using a small number of props for these practices but nothing that is going to break your bank account. I was very happy with the section on the, “art of blanket folding” in which he describes how to fold a blanket and “fake” a good number of yoga props. That Rodney Yee did not assume his readers would go out and spend a great deal of money on props or yoga clothing definitely impressed me. This is yoga the way I like it, simple, elegant, and functional.

As the years pass in my yoga practice, I’ve gone through a few “favorite” books and practice aides. This is the one currently living by my bedside, and highly recommended. It won’t replace a good yoga teacher or class, but it will give you an excellent start and incentive to continue.