There is no wealth like knowledge, and no poverty like ignorance.
— The Buddha

Whether you’re a yoga teacher or a novice, finding good yoga textbook is both challenging and overwhelming. 2,100 Ananas is an ambitions project. No text covers this amount of anasa between a single set of hardback leaves. The 736 page tome measures at 22.2 x 5.1 x 25.4 cm and weighs in at a heavy 2kg. It catalogues the believed full spectrum of asanas to exist and their modifications beginning from easiest to hardest.

The Table of Contents are organised simply and logically with the asanas divided into the eight major categories and their corresponding family of poses:

A brief introduction into the fundamentals of how to approach your yoga practice.

  1. Standing Poses
  2. Seated Poses
  3. Quadruped Poses
  4. Backbends
  5. Arm Balances
  6. Inversions
  7. Prone Poses
  8. Supine Poses

Put together by Daniel Lacerda, a.k.a Mr Yoga , and modelled by 55 beautifully athletic yogis and yogis, each page is clean and clearly set out. The focus of this book is on the fundamentals of the poses, stripped of jargon and wordy descriptions. There are no lengthy descriptors on how to sequence yourself into or out of each pose.

Along with an aesthetic photograph, each pose is identified by:

  • it’s english name,
  • the Sanskrit name and its pronunciation,
  • its modification (which is really a simple anatomical descriptor),
  • pose type (a bit repetitive as you know this by the ToC and the section you are in),
  • and drishti point (this is a good point to have as not many books make the obvious link).

A nice touch is that each pose is accompanied by an icon representing which chakra point activated by the pose. You would need to familiarise yourself in the introduction with what each chakra lotus represents as they are not name throughout the book.

The male-female model ratio throughout the book are greater than the average display of yoga practitioners in the West. Of the 55 models, 11 are male all with an athletic build thereby doing away with the ‘yoga body’ typecasting that seems to pervade the western yoga subculture. Similarly, the female models are both beautiful and athletically feminine in their physique.

Intermittently, a key pose is given a lengthier step-by-step description on how to perform the pose. There is a glossary and an index of both the English-languaged names of poses and their corresponding Sanskrit name.

Daniel Lacerda makes every attempt to make this compendium of yoga poses as modern and accessible as possible whilst maintaining cultural authenticity to the historical practice each pose is grounded.

My favourite set of poses are the variety of Squats dedicated to the Goddess Kali. She is the personification of empowerment, shakti (in sanskrit). Interestingly, in Tantric practices, Kali is the the highest Universal Principle (the Ultimate Reality) in the universe which is known as the Brahman (translated as the Utmost). It is important to recognise that the practice of yoga is about deepening both your physical and spiritual connection with our masculine and feminine aspects within all of us. This is a practice of balance both psychologically and physically. Be that as it may, the Kali Squat series are every woman’s dream when carving out their boodyliciousness. The Kali Squats are strength building and fun if you’re willing to have a play.

The symmetry in the evolution and global impact yoga had made is illuminated by the national diversity of the models, each acknowledged by their national flag toward the end of the book.

Its refreshing to have a yoga textbook so clear and concise; the introduction gives you just enough for you to understand the roots of the practice and touches upon some of the spiritual practices. However, this encyclopaedia of yoga asanas is just that. If you’re serious about extending your physical yoga practice (Hatha) then this is the book should be on your shelf!  But if you’re not interested in the spiritual of things you are not assaulted with jargon and dogma.

A note on narcissism: Buddhist psychotherapist Dr Mark Epstein says that yoga and meditation attracts the narcissistic personality. We ought to be mindful of our tendencies in this way. As we deepen our practice, our bodies positively respond – and if we connect, find our drishti (both inner and outer balance) then we can begin to grow and develop our higher self. 2,100 Ananas is a beautiful book depicting beautiful people. When researching the author, I was acutely aware of an image being maintained rather and invitation to connect. Modern yoga has the tendency to focus on the external image rather than the interconnection. Tools such as this book must be seen as part of our toolkit rather than the next New Wave.

If you are interested in deepening your understanding of yoga and meditation philosophy and spiritual practices, follow us. We will be delving in deeper.


Reference:

Epstein, M. (1995 ) Thoughts Without a Thinker. Basic Books: New York.

Kinsley, D. (1988)  Hindu Goddesses: Visions of the Divine Feminine in the Hindu Religious Tradition. University of California Press.

Lacerda, D. (2015). 2,100 Asanas: The Complete Yoga Poses. Black Dog & Levanthal: New York.

www.mryoga.com

© Hope Bastine 2016

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