Ashtanga Yoga: Primary Series with Mark Freeth

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158 Cubbington Rd., Leamington Spa, Warwickshire CV32 7AH, U.K.; +44 019 26 88 85 56; 2 CDs; 100 minutes;

This session follows the standard Ashtanga vinyasa primary series sequence, which consists of two versions of Sun Salutation, a long (19-minute) standing-pose sequence, seated forward bends and twists, backbends, Shoulderstand and variations, Headstand, Lotus and variations, and relaxation. Because of the relatively rapid pace of the sequence, there isn’t much time to provide detailed instructions, but that really isn’t what this type of offering is all about anyway. As Freeth himself mentions in his liner notes, this CD is intended as a guide only, to be used as a supplement to class instruction.

That said, Freeth does make the most of this, with clear and intelligent physical instructions, attention to alignment, the appropriate cautions, and constant reminders–so important in this style of practice–for proper breathing, gazing (drishti), and the application of locks (bandhas). If you’re an Ashtanga enthusiast (or thinking about becoming one) and want an authoritative yet friendly voice to lead you through your practice, I highly recommend this CD set to you.

Richard Rosen, who teaches in Oakland and Berkeley, California, has been writing for Yoga Journal since the 1970s.