Sunday, August 16, 2009

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

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

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?

Monday, July 27, 2009

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

Sunday, July 26, 2009

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


The knowledge of Yoga is infinite like the Universe Desikachars 'Heart of Yoga' reveals its true essence by inspiring the practice of Yoga

Thursday, July 23, 2009

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 definies "dhyana" 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?

Monday, July 20, 2009

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'

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

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?

Monday, July 13, 2009

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.

Friday, July 10, 2009

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!

Monday, July 6, 2009

Thought Questions for Chapters 3-5: Asanas!

Here are some questions to get you thinking as you read chapters 3-5:

1.) What does Desikachar say about sequencing? How in your personal practice does sequencing of asanas play a roll? If you teach how do you arrange the asanas and why? How do you prefer to start/end classes (standing, supine, on the mat)? What do you think Desikachar would say about styles that have the same sequence (such as Ashtanga and Bikram)?

2.) What do you think about alignment assistance? Does Desikachar's viniyoga use it? Would he approve or does it go against his idea that individual approach is great? What about use of props?

3.) What poses do you most like and why? What poses do you dread and why? Do you believe the idea that every pose has a purpose and that those which dog you are the ones you most need?

Terrific First Chat: what we gained and learned

Thanks to everyone who attended the first chat. It was really a work in progress and so overall we were really happy with the result. We had a nice turnout considering many people don't have the book yet and it was a holiday weekend in the USA. At no time in five hours did we have less than 10 people watching, observing, chatting and attending. The attendees changed throughout the five hours so we had lots of different folks participating. The conversations about the book were thorough, though provoking, insightful and sometimes moving. We learned a lot about each of our different approaches, joys and problems with our practices. We shared personal reflections and spoke globally about concepts. Considering that it was only on two chapters, we were really impressed with the breadth of what we covered.

We also came away with some ideas and suggestions about how to change/improve the next chat. We apologize in advance for the lack of a transcript of last night's chat. We both attempted to do it and were unsuccessful. We hope to resolve this before next week, if we can't we will take a survey of whether this is desired and may have to move to a diff chatting format to do so. So, here's what we learned:

1.) A shorter chat time and one hour later seemed to be the preference. The first three hours were rousing conversation and fewer people could attend later. We really are trying to accommodate many different time zones and locations so this may change again. For now the chats will be on Sunday evenings from 6-9 p.m. CST.

2.) Guided chats would be nice. In other words, suggesting thought questions we could cover during our chat for people to have prepared/think about while reading/chatting. We will be offering some for chapters 3-5 later today in a new blog post.

3.) Chat transcripts/review are great. We had a couple people join us later (one even from her job in Australia... thanks Jamie!) and they would have liked to review what we had already covered. The Ning chat would not allow us to do that. We are working on fixing this option if possible.

If you partook in the chat, if you observed or if you wanted to be there and weren't but still have ideas for improving it let us know here! This is your club, help us steer it in the direction you'd like. Thanks again for all the yogic love and chat. Namaste... Nancy and Jenny

Friday, July 3, 2009

More blog shout outs!

Here's Debbie's (@truenorthyoga) wonderful reflections after re-reading the book for the club:

Gotta love Twitter and the internet: our little book club that could is really taking off in cyberspace. We've had another blog mention us and we send huge "thank you and Namstes" to (or @flylibrarian on Twitter). We definitely appreciate the "press."

Check it out:

Also a terrific yoga blog has posted about our club: Check out Roseanne's witty notice and also her list of recommended books. Thanks Roseanne!

We hope to see everyone at our discussion/chat website for our first chat about "Heart of Yoga." It will be this Sunday 7/5 from 5-10 p.m. If you haven't already joined you can do so at any time! We will be announcing our choice for book #2 and also an exciting contest! Stay tuned... Namaste Nancy and Jenny

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Namaste Book Clubs Inaugural Tweet Contest

We are thrilled to announce our inaugural tweet contest at Namaste Book Club.

Tweet your Heart of Yoga out!

The Contest specifics (and here's the rub...):

What to do: Between 7/5 and 5 pm EST 7/26 you may submit ONE 140 character Tweet to us at our email: It must contain some reflection, poem, commentary, criticism, or the like from our first selection, "Heart of Yoga." The top five tweets will be posted on Twitter and here on the blog on 7/22 and we will have a five day poll/vote for the best.
Winner selection: The winner of this contest will win a free copy of our selection for book #2, and the great honor of choosing a style of yoga and representative book for #3. The two runners up will receive free copies of book #2.
Rules: The submission must be 140 characters and it MUST be an email and NOT a public Tweet. This way we can keep the identity of the author private to the general public. We want the winner to be chosen on the merit of his/her words after all.

The Tweet must be about the book but MUST NOT contain direct quotes from the book. The 140 characters must be your own words, thoughts, silliness, seriousness and the ilk.

Twitter shorthand is of course accepted.

Special shout out and thanks to Deborah @florianyoga for the generous donation. Be sure to check her website on how you can help troops and firefighters. She does great stuff! Can't wait to read your book Deb!

Yoga Book Club Selection #2

We have chosen book #2 for the club thanks to a wonderful donation by @Florianyoga or to you non-Twitterites, Deborah Bernstein. Deborah has donated to our club several copies of her new book:

Yoga in America: Passion Diversity and Enlightenment In the Word's of Some of Yoga's Most Ardent Teachers.
ed. D. Bernstein and B. Weisenberg

We love this book because it covers a broad spectrum of yoga styles, and is straight from the mat of yogis like ourselves. It is a wonderful introduction to a series of "style" focused books as you have requested. We hope that this book will help us as a group decide future reads, and allow us to have fruitful discussions about many different approaches to yoga. Best of all, Deborah donates a portion of the profits to firefighters and soldiers. She does great work and we are happy to suppport her efforts. For more on Deb, check out her website at

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Join us at our Ning site for first chat 7/5/09

Hey all... please join us and invite your fellow readers for our first Heart of Yoga chat at . We'll do it from 5-10 p.m. on 7/5/09. Let's chat about the first couple of chapters. What is your experience so far? How do you like the book? What really grabs you? What do you find helpful for your practice? Have you learned new things/techniques? What do you take away most after reading?

Also, we'd love feedback on what you want out of the club. Finally, stay tuned for a fun contest to win book #2. We have an excellent selection and can't wait to share it with you. More on the contest soon...

Chat with you this coming Sunday. Namaste.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

The Book #1 Winner is....

Ladies and gentlemen, yogis and yoginis we have a first book. Thanks first of all to the nearly 50 people who voted. Pretty great turn-out for a little book club that was starting only a week ago. All three choices were dynamite, but one was clearly the favorite. So, starting one week from today (to give you all a chance to get the book if you haven't got it) we will begin reading together Heart of Yoga by T.K.V. Desikachar.

Here are some locations to get it, but of course in the interest of reduce, reuse, recycle we always encourage visiting your local library or borrowing it from a friend. Also some great used bookstores still exist and supporting local businesses is terrific. But, if you can't find the book at any of those locations here are some on line sources:




Barnes and Noble:

Stay tuned for for details on how we will do the club. Send us any and all suggestions here, via email at, or on twitter @namastebookclub. Be sure to join us at our ning: and become our fan on Facebook.

Thanks again to all who voted and we can't wait to have you join us as we go to the heart of yoga together. Namaste.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Yoga Journal blogged about us!

Thanks to Yoga Journal for blogging about our book club and suggesting people follow/join! We love the press and welcome all new folks to join us on the journey. Check it out:

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Join us at so we can chat/discuss

Be sure to join us at so we can chat and have discussions about the books. see you there once we've got our first pick. Don't forget to vote!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Tada! The final three!! VOTE!

Here are the final three candidates for Namaste Book Club's first book. These were chosen on the basis of comments, tweets and emails. Please vote (at the right) and we'll announce the winner on Sat. 6/27/09. We will begin the book club exactly one week later so everyone has time to get the book and get going. You can also click on the links below to get more info on each choice so your decision is an informed one. Happy voting!

Yoga Mala

Heart of Yoga

Light on Yoga

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Book #1 options

We are really excited because it seems like some serious interest in joining us on this reading/learning journey. So here's what we're thinking: let's give it a week or so to decide upon book #1. We've had several book suggestions. Let's get some feedback then next Saturday we can announce our first book and go from there. Sound good? If you have alternative book suggestions please post them in the comments (you can do so anonymously if you wish).

Initial suggestions:

Yoga Sutras:

(if we chose this we could do it in sections as an addition to another book or alone. we'd need to pick a version, so: different versions, which do you like best?....) B.K.S. Iyengar Geshe Michael Roach and Lama Christine McNally Sri Swami Satchidananda

Alternative Books
: Gregor Maehle Judith Anodea
T. K. V. Desikachar
Richard Rosen
Multiple authors incl T. K. V. Desikachar
S.K.Pattabhi Jois Michael Stone Eckhart Tolle Stephen H. Phillips B.K.S. Iyengar
Janice Gates and Linda Sparrowe Leslie Kaminoff

We welcome all feedback on these books and also on how you think best to conduct the club so everyone can enjoy it.

     And so it begins:  a book club for yoga fans, practitioners, teachers and explorers.  It has been suggested that perhaps the best place to start is with the Yoga Sutras.  A challenge for sure, but a great way to share our passion.  Look here for an update on this and feel free to comment if you are interested.  We are looking for any input into how best to conduct an "on-line" book club.  

Some thoughts:

1.) Different people take on the task of "leading" the discussion of our books.  One month someone is the main blogger, another month another blogger and so on.  That way the wealth is spread evenly. 

2.) Discussion could take place in the form of comments.  How is the book affecting you? Are you using it in your practice?  Do you use it when teaching?  What did you learn that is new?  What is not great about it? What would you recommend/not recommend about it?  and so on

3.) If a book is really gripping us we can focus on it for longer.  Perhaps to start a month/ book.  

Let me know your thoughts!  Excited to have this journey with you all... Happy Reading and Namaste!