Gregor Maehle’s Ashtanga Yoga Book

Hi all,
I have been wanting to write about this book – I don’t know how many of you have read it/skimmed through it but I think it’s a pretty good book. It is divided into 4 parts, the fundamentals, the primary series asana practice, the history and lineage of yoga and the yoga sutras. I haven’t gotten through the whole book but I like how he tries to explain certain postures from not only the sequence in terms of vinyasa but also the explanation of what different muscle(s) do in certain poses etc. I find his tips quite helpful in my own practice (at least what I’ve tried so far,) and I like the fact that there is more than asana practice in the book – it’s a nice handy book to carry around with everything in it..

Anyway, I was reading it the other day and found the following passage very nice (especially since I was looking for a perfect world in my practice in the recent past and having read this helped me understand how perfection just leads to an end.)

“Mythological background — Perfect World
Lord Subramaniam, second son of Lord Shiva, also known as Skanda the fierce lord of war, once went to vist lord shiva and complained that the current world, which was created by Lord Brahma, was imperfect – full of corruption, crime and injustice. Shiva suggested that he create a better world. Subramaniam then defeated and incarcerated Brahma, and destroyed his world. Then he created his own better world.
After some time Lord Shiva visited Subramaniam and look at this perfect world. In it nothing moved or lived or changed, as everything was arrested, frozen in the static state of perfection. There were not even sentient beings, as their essential nature is to stive for perfection and, if perfection is reached, life has come to an end. Liberated beings are not reborn. The Buddha, after reaching Mahaparinirvana, never came back. That is why bodhisattvas avoid perfection: they are thus able to continue to server others.
Shiva pointed out to subramaniam that this world was not a world at all, but only a frozen image of perfection. The purpose of a manifest world is to supply being with the right cocktail of pleasure and pain, which eventually leads to self-knowledge. For the purpose it has to be in constant flux, and hence imperfect. Seeing the flaw in his world, subramanium freed Brahma to reinstall his old imperfect world.”

Hope you enjoyed this as much as I did!


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