The ideal yoga manual

In my last post I complained a bit about the binding of the Sadhana Guidelines manual:

The more I practice, the more I realize I want things that most manuals just don’t offer.

Durability is one of the first issues that comes to mind; the Sadhana Guidelines manual isn’t the only one that falls apart quickly. You need to be able to leave your manual lying open while you follow it, and the plastic bindings also tend to fall apart, or the pages tear.

Set length: One of the first things I want to know is how long the set takes, and there’s never a total time duration given in any manuals I’ve seen. I’m sort of baffled that no one has addressed this.

Maybe it’s my virgo moon, but I really want to sort my sets by the things they’re supposed to target. That’s really hard to do in a manual that includes lots of different types of sets. Once I get a pile of manuals, it’s hard to remember which one had a certain set I liked. I deal with this by xeroxing the table of contents from all of them, and then I can look through those pages to find things more easily.

A lot of 3HO newsletters included sets in them, but it’s even more difficult to find sets among them, and you can’t really pull the set out of the newsletter. You could xerox each one and keep them in a folder, which I sometimes do, but that’s not terribly efficient either.

Music: Time and time again, a set will refer to a piece of music that was used when the set was taught. A lot of them are impossible to find, or collecting them is prohibitively expensive. I really wish the manuals would give you the option of buying a CD with the music used in the sets in the manual! Now, of course, this is where teachers really get to apply their creativity; frequently the music they choose instead is much more interesting, but I’d still like to know what the original selection was.

Shorthand for teaching: Once you learn a set, you don’t need to read all the instructions each time; you really just need a name for the pose if there is one, or an illustration, and a duration. The older teachers frequently used shorthand notation, like BOF or LDB (breath of fire, long deep breathing) for their personal notes, which makes a lot of sense.

Physical limitations or alternatives: some teachers have added alternative exercises for people with injuries, and this is a great practice.

What else do YOU think an ideal manual could offer?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *