Intelligent Yoga

I’m reading Intelligent Yoga: Re-educating the mind and body, by Peter Blackaby (Outhouse Publishing).

I was lucky enough to attend a weekend workshop Peter gave last year in Aberystwyth, so I’ve been waiting for the book to come out with anticipation.  It’s a wonderful book and covers all the areas he touched on in his workshop, of form and function.

I believe Peter is originally an osteopath by profession and so his knowledge of how our bodies work is profound.  He takes issue with some of the classical postures because, he argues, over time they generate shearing forces that damage the body.

He rather boldy drops most of the sanskrit names of the postures and their translations, in favour of plain speaking descriptions – Wide Stride Twist, for example,  or Stepping-Forward Forward Bend.

I remember it was at the workshop that Peter mentioned Stanley Keleman’s book ‘Emotional Anatomy’ (Center Press), which I then had to hunt down and buy.  The idea of the basis of life being a pulsating tube is repeated here, as are some of the wonderful illustrations.

I imagine Peter’s humanist approach to yoga, and his dismissal of some classical postures  as just plain dangerous will rattle a few cages. But Peter rejects dogma, and lays out a series of movements that are biomechanically sound, and invites us to inform our practice with these movements.

As a yoga teacher, I am finding this book particularly useful as I remember Peter saying at the workshop that our job was to help people move and not to hurt anybody.  That is certainly a good starting point.



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