Namaste Book Club's Blog

Meditate on This!

Congrats to @yosoykia @bikerunyoga and @bobweisenberg for winning the contests!

Namaste Book Club and our #yogadork friend @gomelissago are holding a Twitter Meditation Month.

We love how yoga has gained acceptance because of its health benefits and know many of our members enjoy the physicality of their practices. But sometimes we all need to remember that part of yoga is spending time looking inward as well. With that in mind, we are encouraging our members to engage in one month of a daily meditation practice. We ask you to tweet the hashtag phrase #ncbmm once daily along with a tweet about your meditation. Everyone can follow the other participants by searching for #ncbmm, which will encourage us all to meditate as well. We plan to collect the names of tweeters who do this for a month and throw them into a yoga mat bag for some prizes.

Winners: Everyone who participates will win by including meditation in their daily lives. We will all take a moment to slow down and look inward.

Yet, two lucky and randomly chosen tweeps will win either (random as well)

1. Your browser may not support display of this image. Yoga Dork T-shirt (donated by @gomelissago) from @yogadork ‘s site


2. A paperback copy of The Blooming of a Lotus: A Rev. Ed. Of the Classic Guided Meditation for Achieving the Miracle of Mindfulness by Thich Nhat Hanh

The contest will run officially from Sept. 10 – Oct. 10 although we hope to make it a perpetual trending topic and practice for all our members. Look inward, take time and meditate on this idea. Thanks to the lovely and fantastic Melissa for getting the meditation timer started for all of us!


Chat #7 Transcript Now Available

In case you missed our chat tonight or wish to revisit a wonderful dialogue, the transcript for our chat over Yoga Sutras, chapter 1 is now available at

Our next chat will be next week, August 22nd, from 6pm to 8pm CST. We will begin reading our second selection: Yoga in America. The chapters we will cover will be announced on Monday (8/17).

Namaste, Jenny and Nancy

Discussion Questions for Chapts 11-14

Here are some discussion questions for Chapters 11-14, Chat #5. More to come…

How has yoga changed your awareness of your interactions with others? Has yoga changed only your awareness of these interactions, or has it also changed the interactions themselves? In what ways has it done so? In what ways has yoga changed your relationship with your self?

In your own life, do you incorporate an awareness of the Yamas and Niyamas? In what ways? Is there one in particular upon which you focus?

How do you attempt to ready your ind for Dharana? (Asana, meditation, etc). Do you have a meditation practice? If so inclined, describe it to us.

Which of the 9 obstacles is most present in your life or recurs most often? In what ways to do you attempt to overcome this obstacle? What has proven most helpful in doing so?

Chat #4 Transcript

Chat #4 Transcript is available on the site in the Forums section. Once again it was an enlightening, inspiring conversation. Thanks to all that joined and to those who had technical difficulties we hope they can be ironed out by next week.

Next chat Sun Aug 2 6-8 pm CST on Chapters 11-14. Namaste, Nancy and Jenny

Tweet Contest Finalists

Congrats to our two tweet contest finalists (you know who you are)! You will each win a copy of Yoga in America, our second book. For the rest of you, you still have a chance to vote for which of these two gentlemen will be the lucky grand prize winner and selector of book #3. Their tweets are listed below, please vote A or B in the poll to the right by Aug 1.

To the grand prize winner: Your choice must be a book that is style specific from one of the following styles (or another approved by us first). After picking a style please give us an email w/ two books, your first choice and an alternative so we can make sure it is accessible for all club members and available to get worldwide. If you are interested, you can also be in charge of leading chats and discussion questions for your chosen book.

Style choices:


The tweets to vote on are here:

A.) heart of yoga gets to the heart of it in a simple easy to read style a must read for any yoga practitioner or teacher


B.) The knowledge of Yoga is infinite like the Universe Desikachars ‘Heart of Yoga’ reveals its true essence by inspiring the practice of Yoga

Chat #4 Chapters 8-10 Discussion questions

Here are some discussion/thought questions for chapters 8-10. Feel free to add your own in the comments section. Happy reading! Namaste, Nancy and Jenny.

1.) How do you define yoga? If all of TKVs definitions of yoga contain “change,” how have you seen change become present w/doing yoga?

2.)How are parninamavada and satvada present in your practice? How do you encourage them?

3.) Which of the four forms of avidya dogs you most? How do you counteract it and is yoga a part of that process?

4.) Do you find yourself focusing on the steps to something, or merely the results? For example, do you relish the thought that you have done a headstand successfully, or do you enjoy the power, strength and presence that got you to that pose?

5.) TKV does not think gurus/swamis are the way, he definiesdhyana” as strengthening self-sufficiency and says that “Yoga makes us independent.” (pg 83) How does this conflict/compliment your approach? How can yogis that follow gurus/swamis work within this defininition/description?

6.)How in your practice do you work to reduce tamas and rajas?

7.) Have you noticed an increase in your sensitivity to suffering/issues as a result of your practice and dhuka? In other words, TKV says that those that are aware are more sensitive, do you find this about yourself and has yoga changed/helped/hurt this? (pg. 88)

8.)How do you encourage parivrtti in your practice? Do you go to different teachers? Do you go to different studios? Do you change your location w/in the studio/home?

9.) How does your practice allow you to see the difference between purusa and praktri? Do you suffer from samyoga? (pg 94) What can you do in your practice to clarify things?

Chat #3 transcript

Chat # 3 transcript is now available in the forum section of the ning site ( . We did not post it here because it is so long. Chatting was terrific! Next chat is next Sun 7/26 6-8 pm CST on chapters 8-10. Hope to see you there! Namaste’

Discussion Questions for Chat #3: Pranayama and Bandhas

1.) What sort of pranayama do you use in your practice? Do you use it in the beginning, middle or end of your practice as Desikachar suggests?

2.) What styles of pranayama do you find useful? do you dislike? do you think certain students should use (why?) or not (why not?)?

3.) Do you generally practice the idea that inhale and exhale lengths should be the same? Desikachar suggests trying a breathing count of twelve using our hands, have you tried this? succeeded or not?

4.) What role does pranayama play in your practice? Does it serve as a focusing point, does it serve to raise energy?

5.) What aspects of pranayama did you feel his discussion lacked? Do you think that doing it only under the guidance of a teacher is appropriate or too cautious?

6.) How do you use bandhas in your practice? Do you combine them with pranayama or not?

7.) Are you able to engage the bandhas (all three or individual ones)? Can you do it through a sun salutation? An entire practice?

8.) How does your style of yoga emphasize pranayama and bandhas? Are they important or secondary to asanas?

chat transcript #2

here is a transcript from chat #2… it is only from the first half of the chat as the second was more personal reflections/experiences with asanas. We hope next week to utilize a community chat application that will facilitate easier transcripts.

Some key points from chat:

my favorite quote was “yoga is not external.” the breath leads the way, when you feel that the breath changes, you know you’ve gone too far in the pose

i like the way he suggested to start classes with gentle warm up movements and then to start focusing on the breath and movement coordination to bring the students into focus

as an ashtangi and a vinyasa yoga person, i definitely am big on using the breath not only to guage where i am and where i should go, but also to dictate the pace of my class

i like to start with savasana, and do a one minute savasana after pranayama, but i don’t usually like doing a mini savasana between poses

Shavasana- depends how strongly the class has been working and it can be a good place to refocus especiallt for beginners

i wanted to mention the order of TKVs sequence he laid out bc i thought he placed inversions in a rather interesting place

I agree. Inversions can be huge for people. But I guess it is an interesting concept to add them in the middle

he standing savasana was at the end of a “power meditation” class, and he wanted us to be grounded to be able to go about the rest of the day

Well it like Desi said respect the classic asanas

desi says that you should always start standing

No always savasana with some full yogic breath then warms then into the classic postures

i mention it b/c he is sort of rigid about this… always start standing, but then he’s into everyone getting out of their practice what they need

i did my training in ashtanga/ vinyasa and the “flow” was generally standing -> seated -> twists -> supine/ on the floor or back

Jaime he’d like that sequence! i think perhaps the more trad styles like Ashtanga would fit his model, but the more ecclectic ones like my flow classes wouldn’t?

He seemed to suggest that it was better to warm the whole body up ith the standing poses before moving into postures that focus on one area or another

byron baptiste’s power yoga starts with child’s pose, and i like that as a centering, connecting with your body exercise.

here’s another vinyasa krama book by another of krishnamacharya’s student – he breaks down the flow of postures in it as well, and offers difeerent kinds of sequencing…

Does anyone else have trouble with rigid sequencing? I like to keep my classes varied, and sometimes the class needs to get going right away, and sometimes they need to center and warm up slowly. Depends on everyone’s mood.

That was my one problem with TKV. Lots of other good stuff in the book, though.

Finding the balance between rigid Sequencing and suporting how the students are on any given day is a real skill

TKV says on pg 40 that our teacher is our guide to get us out of looking at ourselves the same way all the time

did anyone else find his discussion of how you breathe (not the breath and movement part) a little difficult?

Jodi, his breathing was backwards from the way most of us learned, filling chest rather than abdomin first. Is that what you mean?

yes his backwards breath , the reasons he gave for doing it that way seem to be the same reasons for doing it belly to chest

it’s described a weird way, but it is a way to fully exhale. i find that if i do it his way… then i am able to get more breath out

tkv’s way feels more natural to me on the exhale, but wrong on the inhale. I had to sit and try it for awhile to figure it out.

I think it’s most natural to me to belly breath, starting with the abdomin on both the inhale and the exhale. Probably not using my chest enough.

another thing i loved that he said was that our starting point is “the condition of our entire being at the present moment”

i enjoyed TKVs discourse on variations of asanas

ashley i also liked the variations discussion.. had never heard of a forward bend w/ a chair

i used to teach classes at an institute where people were sometimes really ill, and they’d try to come to class, but could only sit

I liked the forward bend in the chair suggestion. I have a number of elderly students who can’t get on the floor, so I’ve been working on some chair yoga stuff. I’d never thought about forward bends, though.

another thing i liked from ch 4 was about counterposes, he said “it’s not enough to climb the tree, we must know how to get back down”

hey i’m back and just catching up. i see the point of varying things and changing sequences in class – i started with ashtanga, veered off into power/ vinyasa coz i found ashtanga too rigid, and now back to ashtanga again and fallen in love with it.

agree jenny. i think props are helpful, especially when it helps students who eg., can’t touch the floor in trikonasana

I am a very big fan of “reformed” ashtanga teachers. Ashtanga seems to give them a good background to vary from.

ashley i’m glad you do that too. sometimes i get caught up in the tradition and i went so hardcore into doing ashtanga 6 days a wk and i just don’t think my body was ready for it, which is partly why i’m now injured and can’t practice at all

but i think even within a fixed series of poses, you can shift your focus, sometimes concentrating/ being more aware of bandhas, sometimes more aware of the breath…

but i think even within a fixed series of poses, you can shift your focus, sometimes concentrating/ being more aware of bandhas, sometimes more aware of the breath…and notice how that changes your practice (even if it’s the same sequecne)

Thanks everybody i’m off toteach a class, its been lively and a great experience. I’m going to start the class lying on their bellies and try some of Desi breath variations Chat next week namaste

so what do you guys think TKV would say about Ashtanga and Bikram? would he like the consistancy? or would he balk at the doing it the “right way”

nancy i think that he would probably say that it’s the right yoga for the right person, you know?

i’ve seen people practising the ashtanga sequence but modifying for their bodies, and i think that works too. it’s only the hardcore traditionalists who’d turn their noses up at that.

but in a way i think TKV is a traditionalist b/c i think he pushes classic postures

i know we talked about this last week, but one thing that i think is something to remember and that is that TKV really pushes for 1-on-1 teaching so some of his thinking might not apply to the classes we are all used to…

like on pg 38 he talks about brmhana and langhana and using those to help students with certain issues

I think that is where he came from… the 1 on 1 thing… not something we ‘westerners’ can easily do

🙂 Jamie: langhana to fast or reduce (like lengthening the exhalation

brmhana lengthening inhalation

i guess jodi , but he talks about it in a very one on one way… “your student needs help b/c they have some issue w/ abdomen teach langhana”

my teacher says if you cant breathe in a few classes to tell him and he will sit and breathe with you till you get it right

Just joining in… I agree that Desikachar typically refers to 1:1 as he is the origin of practices like viniyoga and yoga therapy style teaching

i guess i was wondering if when we read some of this should we keep in mind whether these techniques can be applied to varied student classes

i think the beauty of the book is he is calling up Krishnamacharya’s teachings and K taught sooooo many different styles and variations on this same “skeleton” of yoga basics

I cue breath on the sun salutaton, and moving into a pose for example, but while in a pose leave the breath to the individuals

i wonder maybe we could talk about poses we like? dislike? why? TKV talks about some of the poses, but really only a few

I sometimes remind them it is my breath.. and often I’ll do a countdown of 5, 4, 3, 2 1, which doesn’t seem very yogic but they know they are coming out soon

i think it if you’re starting off with headstand, it helps to go against the wall, but also just be aware that eventually becomes a crutch so you gotta move away from it soon.

Kris I like your thoughts about teaching the internal focus of poses, rather than focusing on alignment and all. That’s what has drawn me to tantra, and away from Iyengar… though there are no tantra teachers here.

Yoga Dorks love Namaste Book Club

Well, now we really feel like we’ve made it: we’ve had a series of shout outs from terrific yoga blogs, and even Yoga Journal’s Buzz Blog has mentioned the club. But we know the club’s going places when one of OUR favorite blogs posts about us. Yoga Dork ( just posted an excellent discussion of our club, our first chat and also mentioned the terrific books we are reading. You can read it here:

Be sure to follow Yoga Dork on Twitter @yogadork and become their fan on Facebook. You will not be disappointed as this blog is funny, smart and very yoga. Namaste and Thanks to Yoga Dork!