Yapana is an ancient Sanskrit word meaning ‘the support and extension of life’. In her book Restorative Yoga Therapy: The Yapana Way to Self-Care and Well-Beingcertified instructor, Leeann Carey presents her readers a practical course of instruction in Yapana which she offers as a way to physical well-being.
Her book is divided into three distinct stages or phases of asana work.
- Doing or dynamic
- Being or relaxing and
- Still, the final state of relaxation
As a way of aiding the work Leeann Carey includes the use of such ‘props’ in her exercises as large cushions, balls and small folding chairs.
Whilst not commonplace in yoga work the use of these tools is advocated and employed by the author as a way of helping the student to enter into, and maintain, specific and important postures. She suggests that they are used not only by beginners to yoga but also by regular practitioners and advanced teachers.
Leeann explains how yoga is increasingly forming a part of the fitness program of sportsmen and women; as well as those suffering from physical, emotional and even spiritual injuries. She also feels that masseurs can benefit from the application of some yoga routines.
One of the yoga props that the author suggests using is the mat and she explains how these are available in a variety of styles and that they can be obtained fairly inexpensively from many sources.
In addition to the mat the author also advises her readers on the way to adapt folding metal, or tubular chairs, for use in yoga practice whilst even more unorthodox props can include a variety of differing blanket types folded into varying shapes, tennis balls etc. The way that these tools can be adapted and used is explained in depth in the book.
The first of the series of yoga poses described in the book utilizes a blanket and is a ‘Basic Matsyasana’ position—otherwise known as the Fish Pose of which the author offers a number of variations.
These early and unadvanced postures are categorized under the heading ‘Awakening Back Bends’. Later practices are classified under Unwinding Twists, Compressing: Inversions Calming: Forward Benss.
Other Pose Options follow with some advanced strategies which work upon such areas of the body as the waist, hamstrings, back and shoulders.
For thoses readers who are keen to integrate yoga into their meditation work the author also details the Yapana way to mindfulness—a popular meditation technique that includes focussed thought and regular breathing techniques.
The book concludes with a section on Purposefull Practices and a pose index
Restorative Yoga Therapy is a book of two distinctly differing characteristics.
This includes a part of it that informs and educates in both a clear and open way but also includes a part of it that is riddled with poorly written narrative, inconsistencies and confusing instructions.
Firstly, the books’ positive points.
As a publication it is very well considered in its composition. The exercises are well thought-out and follow on from one another in a logical fashion. The inclusion of a generous amount of photographs showing clearly the pose that the author is expecting her reader to enter into add significantly to the value of the information that she offers.
Now with regards to the books’ negative points they are, for me, serious enough to completely undermine the otherwise high quality of the overall product.
The most blaring defects here is the author’s writing style which I found to be so erratic and confusing that on ocassions I had to read and re-read over and over even the simplest of sentences in order to get any sense of wht the author was trying to communicate.
Confusion regularly arises from statements such as:
…individual poses in a sequence can be switched with other poses to make adjustments.
Prop support encourages students to investigate and organize themselves mindfully rather than following hard-and-fast rules of destination and time.
In any manual of physical instruction, and incorrect practice of yoga can create as many physical injuries as its heals, the correct instructions must be made clear to the student at all times. With this in mind the constant inarticulate advice on offer in this book regarding the use of poses is simply not just confusing but it is often wrong and invariably dangerous.
Statements such as
Prepare for what’s next and
breathe and relax add little to the readers understanding of the advanced techniques on offer in the book.
Also, it should be noted that the book contains page references that points the reader to important advice on how to exit poses safely using page numbers that are incorrect or which lead nowhere.
This is a pity for, whilst the book has much to commend it, it clearly would benefit from a complete rewrite and more judicious edit.
Until then I feel unable to recommend it to anyone who might be looking for a safe, simple and easily understandable introduction to yoga.
Sadly, Restorative Yoga fails to offer the sort of professional instruction that one needs at this level of yoga work.