Friday, February 1, 2013

"Must Read" Book Review ~ Asanas: 608 Yoga Poses by Sri Dharma Mittra

Review by Leslie Holden 

Asanas: 608 Yoga Poses was lovingly made in devotion by Sri Dharma Mittra. Written in a divinely inspired state, Asanas imparts on the reader a sacred science from an experienced teacher. This small yet powerful book depicts a lifetime of knowledge through photos of asana, and can be put into the hands of any aspirant.  In fact, many of those that have found their way to Sri Dharma Mittra state that it was this book that inspired them to find him. Without over-complication, the entire text forms the foundation of yoga and it will move and inspire in the deepest of ways.

The Dedication page at the beginning of the book displays profound examples of Dharma Mittra the Karma Yogi and perfected teacher. It is shown through his virtue of leading by example rather than through lecture and further displayed through his devotion, practicing non-attachment and the offering of each action to the Almighty one.

As Sri Dharma says, “Rest your mind on Him alone,” and indeed, each time I read the opening prayer I am sent into feelings of Bhakti and reverence. If one never made it past this point in the book one may still have a clear understanding of the goal of Yoga: knowledge of the true Self.

The chapter “guidelines for practice” is concise and appropriate for the modern Yogi. Anyone who has read the Hatha Yoga Pradipika will have experienced the need for an update to the lifestyle of a Yogi in the West and this chapter allows all aspirants to implement the simple ideas into their home practice with maximum results. And above all, we are asked to keep in mind “to be nice to all.”

Sri Dharma’s introduction is a clear and experiential account of the path of a sincere Yogi told in a loving way.  We are reminded that asana, the physical poses, are only one part of an eight-stage process in the search for enlightenment. The principle of meditation is incorporated in this section, thus offering a gentle invitation to follow the thread and find the ultimate goal. Additionally, the ethical rules are simply and clearly explained.  

Sri Dharma Mittra comments on the need for a Guru because it is “someone who has gone the route,” but even the student with no access to a teacher will find the tools in this book to evolve his/her practice. Then, as Sri Dharmaji says, “mysteriously things all fall into place!”

This book truly is an amazing offering and an amazing feat! To even attempt to comprehend the state that these photos were taken in will lead to a feeling of Bliss! 

Sri Dharma Mittra adds a sprinkling of information about each pose along the way, reminding us in the same quiet way that he teaches that it is up to the student to copy the teacher. With the absence of ego, Dharma offers this perfected collection of information and asana variations that are absolutely humbling to look at and majestic to take in.  

To see more of the beautiful asanas featured in this book, check out DYNYC's online library

Leslie (Surya Om) Holden has completed the Dharma Yoga "Life of a Yogi" 200 Hour Teacher Training and is in the Internship phase of her 500 Hour Teacher Training. Raised in British Columbia, Leslie began yoga as a centering and strengthening practice to help her as a professional equestrian. She had her first encounter with Sri Dharma Mittra while living in Hawaii in 2006. Immediately knowing she had found her teacher, she began to dedicate herself to the practice while living in British Columbia studying Holistic Nutrition and attending college for Chartered Herbalism. She finished school and relocated with her husband, a native New Yorker, to New York to continue full time studies under Sri Dharma Mittra. She now teaches Dharma Yoga on Long Island. "Sri Dharma has guided me to realize my fullest potential, I have been transformed by this practice. My highest joy is to share this practice with others."

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