by Kara-Leah Grant
Know what I love about this book?
It delivers exactly what it promises.
The tagline, on the top of the cover, proclaims: “Insights and inspiration for a personal yoga practice.”
And since reading Sharing Sadhana, my home yoga practice has been inspired, I’ve had several ‘a-ha’ moments of insight, and I’ve even been inspired to write a book on how to create a home yoga practice and stick to it.
Not bad eh?
And yet when I started reading it… I was doubtful. Maybe because I’d been asked to review the book so had my critic’s hat on.
The introduction wasn’t so much about Sadhana, as it was about the author’s process in deciding to write the book, along with some background on the yoga practitioners landscape.
Yet once I got into the book – which consists of 14 interviews with known yoga teachers, distilled down into one chapter each, I was hooked. Victoria goes to meet with all the teachers, where possible does a class with them, and then grills them about their sadhana.
What do these yoga teachers do when they practice yoga at home? Has it changed over time? How important is it for a yoga teacher to have a sadhana?
Victoria does a good job of finding a cross-section of teachers – not all are focused predominantly on asana, and they come from all kinds fo backgrounds and yoga traditions.
I was disappointed though that not a single teacher revealed an exact formula for home yoga practice. There was no laundry list of asana, no specified length of time, often not even a particular time or place detailed out.
Instead, what Victoria offers in her interviewing of these teachers, and allowing them to speak in their own, often wordy, words, is an understanding that sadhana is a deeply personal thing. Often it’s more about an intention or attitude held throughout the day, regardless of whether one is on the mat or not.
For many of the teachers, sadhana has become about meditation. And asana or pranayama was simply what was done to keep the body functioning well – kinda like brushing your teeth every day.
I found this fascinating.
It both showed the progression of yoga toward more meditative practices, but also suggests that asana is necessary to maintain the body.
Of all the teachers interviews, Erich Schiffmann’s interview was the most important for me, shedding light on my own practice. And this is where Victoria’s book really comes into it’s own.
While it doesn’t tell you what to do in your home yoga practice, it does offer enough perspectives on sadhana that you’re bound to identify with a particular teacher, and therefore garner some guidance on how to approach your own home yoga practice.
This makes it’s the perfect book if you’ve been thinking about starting a home yoga practice, because it can free you of the idea that it needs to be like this, or look like that.
It’s also the perfect book if you do have a practice and want to be inspired again… like me. I’m stoked to add it to my bookshelf, knowing I’ll likely pick it up and dip in to random pages, just to read the words of other yoga teachers.
Victoria has mostly let the yoga teachers speak directly on to the page, with little editing. And while this is great in some ways, adding to a sense of an intimate conversation between you and the teacher, it also means that it can be difficult to read sometimes.
The way we speak and the way we read are two different things! There’s lots of long-winded and complex sentences, adverbs, and it’s easy to lose the thread of a sentence… but that’s ok. I could deal with that. And it did force me to slow down as I read… like a good thing for this speed reader!
Mostly though, I was grateful for the books depth of knowledge and insight. Not only did it re-invigorate my own practice, but between starting it and finishing it… I wrote a book of my own, on home yoga practice. (Coming January).
Now that’s an awesome result! Thank you Victoria Bailey.
What about you? Do you have a home yoga practice? Do you wish you did? Have you got a favourite book for home yoga practice?