What I know about Yoga

What I know about Yoga

(Go to last update 14 Oct 2022)
First published 4th of November 2017

Yoga Journey
Back in 1995, when I was in college, a friend told me about Yoga. She practised it at home, every morning at 6am and she said it had made her stronger and happier.

I was wondering around town one day and walked into a bookshop, where I saw Yoga book on the main display, by Beryl-Bender Birch. The book was actually called ‘Power Yoga’, it was a trend at the time, popularised by Madonna. I bought the book and have been doing Yoga on and off since then, always at home. Since then I have gone through a few videos and read a few Yoga books.

I posted this on Facebook back in 2009

Yoga DVD recommendations
A few friends have asked for recommendations regarding Yoga DVDs, and here they are:

Yoga Journal: Yoga for Morning Noon & Night [DVD] [2008] is perfect for beginners, it has three 20 minute sessions, for morning, afternoon and evening – it’s all very gentle and good for people with back injuries/pain (as Jason himself suffered a back injury)

Power Yoga Total Body and Intermediate Yoga by Rodney Yee. It’s sweaty for the first 30 mins, and then it mellows out and it’s very relaxing! The Intermediate one isn’t as intense as the Power Yoga one, but there’s a 15 min session on headstands.

Rodney Yee has a few vids on YouTube

Next, is Astanga Yoga 1st Series with David Swenson DVD, the session is 90 minutes long – this is the Yoga I got started with and the one I practice regularly: Ashtanga Yoga. It has a good intro explaining/teaching the heat-generating breathing technique used in Ashtanga Yoga, the locks and then it goes through the Primary Series.

David Swenson has been doing yoga since he was 13 and is one of the most respected yogis in the West.

To accompany this I also bought the book written by David Swenson, which I highly recommend – it has shorter sessions at the back (15, 30 and 45 minutes). The Primary and Intermediate series are here. The best thing about the book is that you don’t need a DVD player to practice the poses and you can read about each position and modifiers in detail.

Ashtanga Yoga – The Practice Manual [Illustrated] by David Swenson (Author) [2007]

Finally, here’s my very first Yoga book – this is where I learned the breathing, sun saluations, Standing, Primary series and closing sequence: Power Yoga: The Total Strength and Flexibility Workout by Beryl Bender Birch [1995]

I’ve been back to practising Ashtanga Yoga (Primary Series) once a week since May 2017 as a therapeutic/restorative activity, to balance out Capoeira, HIIT and jogging.

Here’s a brief overview of Bandhas, very important!

I also found Ashtanga Yoga Primary Series with Jessica Kass and Fightmaster Yoga which I alternated with David Swenson’s until I made my own video moulded to my practice (for example, I added extra time for handstands after Navasana and also some poses from advanced series such as Shalabhasana A, Dhanurasana, Ushtrasana and Laghuvajrasana to the end of the Primary series – and removed a couple of poses). Note: I’m not a Yoga instructor, nor am I claiming to be. But I think anyone who knows their body, studies the subject and follows videos can practice Yoga at home, FOR FREE!

Here are the poses I practice my weekly session:

Samasthiti – Standing still
Surya Namaskara (A & B) – Sun salutation, 3 to 5 each, 3 to 5 breaths in Adho mukha śvānāsana (downward dog)
1.Padangushtasana – Big toe posture
2. Pada hastasana – Foot to hand posture
3. Utthita Trikonasana – Extended triangle posture
4. Parivrtta Trikonasana – Revolved triangle posture
5. Utthita Parsvakonasana – Extended side angle posture
6. Parivrtta Parsvakonasana – Revolved extended side way angle posture
7. Prasarita Padottanasana (A, B, C & D) – Expanded feet intense stretch posture
8. Parsvottanasana – Intense side stretch posture
9. Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana – Extended hand to big toe posture
10. Ardha Baddha Padmottanasana – Half bound lotus intense stretch posture
11. Utkatanasana – Fierce posture
12. Virabhadrasana (A, B & C) – Warrior posture

PRIMARY/SEATED SERIES – Vinyasa between sides and/or poses
1. Dandasana – Staff or Stick posture
2. Paschimottanasana (A & B) – Western intense stretch posture
3. Purvottanasana – Eastern intense stretch posture
4. Ardha Baddha Padma Paschimottanasana – Half bound lotus western intense stretch posture
5. Janu Sirsasana A – Head to knee posture
6. Marichyasana A – Dedicated to Marichi (son of Brahma)
7. Eka Pada Sirsasana C – One foot to the head posture (one hand shoulder)
8. Marichyasana C
9. Navasana – Boat posture (5x with handstand in between + 10 breaths on handstand at the end)
10. Bhujapidasana – Shoulder pressure posture
11. Kurmasana – Tortoise posture
12. Garbha Pindasana – Womb embryo posture (hold the roll on it 6-10 times)
13. Baddha Konasana – Bound angle posture
14. Upavistha Konasana – Seated angle posture
15. Supta Konasana – Sleeping angle posture
16. Ubhaya Padangusthasana – Both feet big toe posture (roll backwards then vinyasa into)
17. Shalabhasana A – Locust posture
18. Dhanurasana – Bow posture
19. Ustrasana – Camel posture
20. Laghu Vajrasana – Little thunderbolt posture

1. Urdhva Dhanurasana – Upward bow posture x3
2. Paschimottanasana C – Western intense stretch posture
3. Salamba Sarvangasana – Whole body supported posture
4. Halasana – Plow posture
5. Karnapidasana – Ear pressure posture
6. Urdhva Padmasana – Upward Lotus posture
7. Pindasana – Embryo posture
8. Matsyasana – Fish posture
9. Uttana Padasana – Extended leg posture
10. Sirsasana A & B – Head standing posture
11. Baddha Padmasana – Bound Lotus posture
12. Padmasana – Lotus posture
13. Tolasana – Scale posture
14. Savasana – Corpse posture

And a speedy version of it that I made in Nov 2020 (for fun but also a quick way of revising the poses – I’m trying to memorise them)

AshtangaYogaChart - Primary Series
AshtangaYogaChart – Primary Series

Anga – limb/body
Angustha – big toe
Asana – posture
Ardha – half
Baddha – bound
Bhuja – arm or shoulder
Chakra – circle or wheel
Danda – stick or staff
Dhanura – bow
Eka – one
Garbha – womb
Hala – plow
Hasta – hand
Janu – knee
Karna – ear
Kona – angle
Kurma – tortoise
Laghu – little or small
Matsya – fish
Mukha – face
Nava – boat
Pada – foot
Padma – lotus
Parivrtta – revolved
Parsva – side
Paschima – western
Pida – pressure
Pinda – embryo
Prasarita – expanded
Purva – eastern
Salamba – supported
Sarva – whole/all
Shalabha – locust
Sirsa – head
Supta – sleeping
Tri – Tree
Tola – scale
Ubhaya – both
Upavistha – seated
Urdhva – upward
Ushtra – camel
Uttana – intense stretch
Utthita – extended
Vajra – thunderbolt

There are many types of yoga, here are 14 types explained


14th of October 2022

During lockdown I started exploring online Yoga and other exercises online. These are some of the Yoga channels I tried:

Five Parks Yoga with Erin Sampson
If you want a Yoga that will make you sweat, look no further! I found Five Parks Yoga while looking for Ashtanga/Power yoga, but didn’t want over an hour of it (I already have access to full Primary Series Ashtanga) and this one delivered:

There are also gentler and more specific classes, today I did a hip/lower back class which I enjoyed.

Most classes are outdoors in beautiful parks, but there are indoor classes too – there are A LOT of classes in there, from 10m to over an hour in duration. Very impressive! Five Parks Yoga playlist. Erin is my regular virtual Yoga instructor – I like the timing of her voice and the delivery of the instructions.

Yoga with Adriene
A few people I know do Yoga with Adriene and I ended up trying too. It’s a safe Yoga to do at home, ideal for beginners.

Here’s one of the classes I tried:

Yoga with Adriene playlists

Yoga by CC
As Erin Sampson stopped publishing videos I started looking around and recently found Yoga by CC (published in Yoga Dose) which is challenging, she often follows Ashtanga Yoga to create a dynamic flow and there’s plenty of balancing poses, which I’m all for. This is her own playlist, as she doesn’t seem to have her own channel, as mentioned before, she released her videos under the Yoga Dose channel.

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