Champaign, IL—No two people are exactly alike. And, according to Ingrid Yang, coauthor of the forthcoming Hatha Yoga Asanas: Pocket Guide for Personal Practice (Human Kinetics, 2012), the ability to modify postures to meet individual abilities is what sets yoga apart from other physical activities. “Being flexible enough to plant your forehead on your shins, sit in lotus, or wrap your legs behind your head is not indicative of good yoga practice,” Yang explains. “Instead, a sense of calm, contentment, and focus in each pose is the true foundation of yoga practice.”
According to Yang, to fully experience the benefits of yoga, practitioners must listen to their bodies and breathe, regardless of level of ability. “As with any physical activity, improvement comes with practice,” Yang says. “Range of motion, mental alertness, strength, stamina, and focus will all improve with regular and dedicated practice.”
She stresses that yoga is a practice and not a science or strict regimen. “There is no finish line or complete product,” Yang explains. “It is simply the daily practice of awakening to each moment and discovering what comes up.”
In Hatha Yoga Asanas: Pocket Guide for Personal Practice, Yang and coauthor Daniel DiTuro have designed an accessible reference of more than 150 classic hatha yoga asanas depicted by four-color photographs. Each pose is identified in both English and Sanskrit and is accompanied by short and simple steps for performing the movements. The asanas range from gentle yoga for beginners to more advanced forms and cover a variety of hatha yoga styles, including ashtanga, vinyasa, and iyengar.
Yang believes hatha yoga helps to unify people regardless of shapes and constitutions. “Humans share the link of humanity and collective yearning to discover the truth within themselves,” Yang says. “That truth can be uncovered through the practice of hatha yoga, because how you relate to your inner self can be revealed through outer expression.”
For more information, see Hatha Yoga Asanas: Pocket Guide for Personal Practice.