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Structural Yoga Therapy(tm) - Adapting to the Individual

by Mukunda Stiles

listed in yoga

[Image: Structural Yoga Therapy(tm) - Adapting to the Individual]

Many years ago when studying for my yoga teaching diploma I borrowed a book from the local library wherein I found the answer to many of my yoga queries. The book was called Yoga - the Key to Life and was written by James McCartney, but try as I might to obtain a copy of this book my efforts were in vain. So when starting to explore Structural Yoga Therapy by Mukunda Stiles, I was overjoyed to discover a similar approach to the one I had found in James McCartney's book.

The Koshas, the Chakras, Ayurveda, also the three Gunas, which are the building blocks of all creation, and many other spiritual aspects of yoga are explained in an easily understood way. Coupled with this is an immense area delving into bodywork, the muscles that we use in various postures, how to correct bad postural habits and increase joint freedom and flexibility.

Don't expect glossy photographs: this is a functional book and the illustrations are simple sketches which are easy to understand. Common misalignments with posture caused by khyphosis, lordosis and knock knees are shown and are easily recognised. There are two full page figures showing the muscular system, anterior and posterior views. The joint freeing series (parvanmuktasana) starting with the feet and ankles, moving up to knees, hips, torso and spine and finally the neck are easy to follow, showing flexions, extensions and rotations. Muscle strengthening using the pavanmuktasana series follows and finally there are classic yoga asanas. Approximately twenty five postures are illustrated and dealt with in great detail, with precautions and benefits being given and the meanings of the Sanskrit names explained. The importance of pranayama is very well defined with the lungs clearly illustrated. There is also advice on diet which is so logical one wonders why everyone is not eating sensibly.

He advises how to find a teacher to suit the individual, the importance of which cannot be over emphasized, as he says "the consciousness of the teacher elevates the student", helping students to become attuned to their true self and so find their own sense of peace and contentment. His descriptions of different forms of Hatha Yoga are clear and precise, covering Ashtanga Yoga, which is so quickly gaining popularity today, and other forms including Kripula Yoga which has influenced my own practice since the day I was lucky enough to work with Amrit Desai.

Mukunda Stiles is a renowned yoga therapist who has been involved with yoga since 1969, training under many well known teachers including BKS Iyengar. In 1976 he created Structural Yoga Therapy(tm) and since 1978 has given courses in Structural and Ayurvedic Yoga for teachers and therapists; there are several interesting case studies of some of the people with various posture problems he has been able to help. He has now produced this invaluable book for serious students of yoga - those who wish to go more deeply into the various aspects of this science of living. For teachers, however advanced, it is a must, especially if there is a weakness in their knowledge of anatomy, which Mukunda covers in such great depth.

The contents are arranged showing the six parts into which the book is divided with an introduction to each part. The bibliography is comprehensive, opening the door to more reading for the enquiring mind.

Enjoy this well indexed book, both as a text book and for reference. I feel sure you will find an extra facet of the diamond that is yoga.

Jeanette Macturk
Samuel Weiser Inc. USA.

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