I love books. Walk into my house and you will immediately see books everywhere you look. I have a hard time reading one book at a time. I flutter from book to book taking what I can use to improve my life.
Most of the books I read are non-fiction and centered on spiritual and personal development (shocker, I know!). There are some books I come back to again and again because the content is so useful. The Yoga Handbook by Noa Belling is one such book.
The Yoga Handbook: Great for Teachers and Students
This book was assigned in my 200 hour Yoga teacher training with West East Yoga in St. Louis. We used it in class along with a few other resources to break down each Yoga position for study and reflection. It is a great tool for teachers, but I also see it as a welcome mat companion to anyone who is developing their home practice. I often refer it to my students to help them take their learning to a deeper level.
Grouping Postures to Learn with Efficiency
The most helpful feature of this book is the layout. It is color coded by asana families. Asana is the Sanskrit word for Yoga positions, or postures. An asana family is a grouping of postures that share a similar theme. For example, the book groups several back bending postures in the section title Back Bends. There are also seated postures, forward bends, standing poses and so on. It helps give someone who is new to Yoga a way to remember the alignment for postures not simply one-at-a-time, but as a posture family.
Meeting Yourself Where You Are
There are also plenty of variations and safety precautions listed in this book. One of the things I worry about with new students is them taking things too fast and accidentally harming themselves. In Yoga we do things gradually and with respect for the current state of the body and mind. This book help a beginner Yogi adjust the postures to meet their needs and reminds them about proper warm-ups and proper relaxation as part of the balanced Yoga practice.
An Ancient Practice
It also includes a brief history of Yoga which helps the new Yogi connect to the roots of the practice. Yoga has withstood the test of time and continues to help humankind better themselves. I think it is important to take a moment to appreciate the influence Yoga has had on humanity for centuries.
More Than Just Poses
Finally, their is a section called Yoga Principles that explains how Yoga differs from other forms of exercise. This section helps one cultivate the mindset of a Yogi and can set you up for a better experience of the asanas.
If you are new to Yoga I hope you order yourself a copy of this book. Let me know how it works out for you!