Book Recs

Oct. 13th, 2010 02:45 am
jumpuphigh: Bare-chested, tattooed man, holding a woman draped across his back with their foreheads touching. (Dance)
[personal profile] jumpuphigh
A number of books have been very helpful in the development of my yoga practice.  I just pulled some of them off of my yoga shelf and thought there may be some interest in mini-reviews of them.  These are books that I love and that I would rec to students.

Click here for five great books )
muck_a_luck: (Yoga Lunge Backbend)
[personal profile] muck_a_luck
I was just over at Amazon. Bryan Kest: Power Yoga, Complete Collection, is SUPER CHEAP today. $8.49 or something like that. Ridiculous. It's a good DVD. I recommend it.
jumpuphigh: Riddick and Kyra leaning face-first into one another. (comfort)
[personal profile] jumpuphigh
This is very exciting.  Bryan Kest is now selling downloadable classes on his website Power Yoga (as of 2009 apparently).  I really like what I have done of his thus far.  I actually did my teacher training with his brother, Jonny Kest, and want Jonny to record classes so that I can do my practice with my teacher but until he does, Bryan is the next best thing.  :D 

The downloadable classes start at US $9.95 for the audio versions.  There is a lot of other cool information on his website as well. 

muck_a_luck: (Sun Salutation)
[personal profile] muck_a_luck
I put this DVD on my Christmas list last year because I was looking for some variety in my yoga practice and Mr. Kest's DVD was way cheap.

I've commented on this DVD in other places after trying each segment, so I am modifying my first two blurbs and adding a section for the third level.

Level 1: Energize. This is a very basic beginner routine, but Mr. Kest has you hold the poses for a long time, and I was sweating hard. There were couple of poses that were new to me, including a (probably fairly simple) bind somehow related to Side Angle Pose that I had never tried before and MAN was it hard. He's got a kind of interesting teaching style. The only instructor in my (small) repertoire that spends a lot of time emphasizing the importance of ease and relaxation v. "achieving" better postures. It's good to be reminded.

In a side note, this might be a really, really pretty DVD to just watch. The class is incredibly attractive and all dressed in skimpy white outfits. Mixed group of male and female. Alas, I was, as usual, doing not watching, but that was the impression I got the times I WAS looking at the screen.

The DVD seems to be a bit of an ego trip for Mr. Kest, who seems to think he is hot stuff. *rolls eyes* If he's your type, you'll squee like crazy, though.

Also, he has a weird accent. Much heavier when he's lecturing at the beginning than when he's instructing during the exercise.

Level 2: Tone. I like Brian Kest's teaching style a lot. He spends a lot of time encouraging you to be calm and maintain a smooth flow of breath. He reminds you how important it is to only do what you can do, and yet also to challenge yourself. He walks that line much more explicitly and much better, I believe, than any instructor that I have listened to so far.

That said, the second routine is killer. He starts by making you hold Side Plank *forever* and it just gets worse from there. He's going for sweat, and of course the way to get that is to push the big muscles, and man, he does. I swear I was in a lunge for, like, A YEAR, then we switched legs and started all over again! The backbending was all Locust and Upward Bow. Argh! Another year!

Not enough forward bending in this routine for me, but I will definitely do it again because it hurt and it was challenging and I know I can develop by trying again.

Level 3: Sweat. And you will sweat. And this third section is going straight to the top of my list of favorites. Again with the holding poses for challenging lengths of time. (Again with the forever on the side plank!) He only does one iteration of Upward Bow, but I think that's because he keeps you in the pose a ridiculously long period of time. What I liked on this one is that his teaching style got me into and out of difficult poses a lot better than other teachers. Bakasana seems achievable now that he has introduced me to what he calls Elbow Balance. And somehow the way he moves into and out of Rotated Triangle made it much more doable for me. Though referring back to my thoughts after doing Level 2 (I wrote "I. Hate. Rotated Triangle."), maybe I was just balanced today. There is a very nice sequence of seated forward bends and hip openers in this one.

All three of these routines left me sweaty, shaky and wrung out (and yes, to me that's a good thing).

So, in summary, aside from thinking he's a little too hot for his own good, which you won't notice that much while doing the yoga because you won't be watching the screen anyway, Mr. Kest seems like a really excellent instructor. His constant emphasis on doing what is attainable for you, what makes you "feel something," while only going as far as you can go while feeling serene and maintaining calm, deep breathing, his reminders that yoga is not about ego, but it is about balancing strength and flexibility and calm, make this possibly one of the best discs I have done.

PS, he tries to make you do a push up between Up Dog and Down Dog in the vinyasa. OMG killer.


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