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?

Yoga for Headaches

I’ve been running across a number of friends who’re complaining of problems with headaches lately. Sometimes here in Southern California, the Santa Ana winds bring them on. I pulled together a few suggestions from various yoga manuals and put them into a single pdf. Feel free to contact me if you need more help with them.

Yoga for Headache Relief

7 Part Set for Addictions, Eating Disorders, and Compulsive Behavior

I came across this set  in a text that described the set but didn’t include instructions for people to do the exercises, so I collected previously published instructions for each exercise where possible, and added new photos and text where I couldn’t find the instructions.

Update, January 2015:
I received the following threat from the author of the book, so have removed it. I still have to run across anyone else who’s done the set. The book isn’t written as a manual, so that’s probably the real problem. My recollection was that it had more of a clinical orientation.

Mr. Arthur O. Kegerreis,
Today I noticed your link below and your post to your blog with my copyright-protected 7-part specific sequence using Kundalini yoga meditation (“Treating the Addictive, Impulse Control, and Eating Disorders). This is a strict violation of my copyrights, with the copyrights clearly stated in both of the W. W. Norton & Co., Inc. books where I have this published, and no doubt where you obtained the material. It does not matter if you use your own pictures and wording. You are still violating the copyright by republishing the sequence. I hope you are aware of that. I pursue all people with my attorney when my copyrights are violated. I am requesting that you take this down immediately. If you do not, I will pursue you legally for financial damages and the violation of my copyrights. 

David Shannahoff-Khalsa

Update, May 2014: A couple of people have asked what the exact title of the book this came from is. I first found it at Golden Bridge Yoga, but didn’t see it today when I returned to get the details. Golden Bridge has scaled down their bookstore significantly since their relocation. After a bit of web sleuthing, I’m pretty sure I originally found the set in “Kundalini Yoga Meditation: Techniques Specific for Psychiatric Disorders, Couples Therapy, and Personal Growth” (Hardcover) by David Shannahoff-Khalsa.

The book didn’t include diagrams for the set, so I put the pdf download together myself, as most of the postures, mudras, and short kriyas that comprise it are available in other manuals. I tried to match the typography style of other similar manuals as well. I’ll have to update the title page to credit the authors of the book and manuals.