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A couple of years ago, yoga scholar David Frawley, director of the American Institute of Vedic Studies in Santa Fe, New Mexico, released a tantalizing book called Yoga and Ayurveda (Lotus Press, 1999), which explored the notion that hatha yoga could (and should) be practiced with an eye toward one’s dosha (Ayurvedic constitution). That book was insightful and comprehensive but almost too exhaustive, covering as it did not only asana but also diet, herbs, and metaphysics.
Now Frawley has joined forces with Sandra Summerfield Kozak, director of International Yoga Studies in Tempe, Arizona, to produce Yoga for Your Type, which explores in much greater depth how and why to approach asana practice from the perspective of Ayurvedic principles. It’s a handsome, accessible, clearly written, well-illustrated guide to understanding and formulating your practice so that it will promote doshic balance.
After a concise, readable introduction to the principles and eight limbs of yoga and the key concepts of Ayurveda, the authors offer a thoughtful section on “Principles of Asana Practice,” where they explore the interface between the two. “Ayurveda does not look upon asanas as fixed forms that by themselves either decrease or increase the doshas,” they write. “It views them as vehicles for energy that can be used to help balance the doshas, if used correctly.”
With that in mind, they proceed to devote the bulk of their book to an “Ayurvedic Asana Guide,” nearly 150 pages of individual poses accompanied by charts detailing how people of different doshic types should approach each pose. That section is followed by another 20-plus pages of “Asana Sequences for Your Type,” which includes advice on adapting your program as well as “Instant Change Programs” and “Long Term Dosha Reducing Programs” for each doshic type.
The poses are very capably demonstrated by a roster of models including Kozak and YJ Contributing Editor Richard Rosen (who looks really cute in a unitard); in a nice aesthetic touch, major sections are separated by artful photos of well-known teachers, including Patricia Walden, Erich Schiffmann, Angela Farmer and Victor van Kooten, David Life and Sharon Gannon, et al., in beautiful poses. In short, Yoga for Your Type is inviting, wise, and useful.