Book Report by Maxwell Crispo
Author: Baron Baptiste
This book is written with the intention of teaching the reader how to achieve a “personal revolution,” through a 40 day yoga practice. In the beginning of the book, Baron Baptiste discusses twelve laws of transformation; these are the foundation of a revolution. He writes a chapter on each law discussing how they are integral to the true practice of yoga. In brief, these included: seeking the truth, allowing yourself to come apart, committing to growth, shifting your vision, dropping what you know, relaxing with what is, removing the rocks, not rushing the process, being true to yourself, being still and knowing, and understanding that the whole is the goal. I liked the aspect of there being these twelve definitive “guidelines” for development within in your practice.
The book provides a step by step, weekly guide to a full-aspect yoga practice.
Each week the asana practice evolves, starting with standard standing postures and simple forward bends in the first week, progressing through to headstands and more complex twists in the final weeks. The asana practice has a very physical focus on proper alignment. There are pictures for each pose in these weekly asana guides. The corresponding text gives instructions concerning the physical aspects of the posture only, and how to connect to the next pose through vinyasa. This was very useful for gaining a working knowledge of the necessary physical details of a pose. I would have liked there to have also been spiritual or energetic focuses for the poses as well. It seems fitting, considering the journey to personal revolution clearly has a spiritual component.
The book also teaches the basic components of meditation practice, and each week has an accompanying meditation practice to the asana practice. Baron Baptiste did a very good job of breaking down the parts of a meditation, so that beginners could learn how to develop their own meditations independently. Each week has a specific theme (ex. Presence, Vitality, Centering, etc.) and so the practice is reflected by that, both in asana and meditation. I think the weekly themes are an excellent structure for this type of practice, as it focuses on building the specific aspects of the self, one at a time.
There is a nutrition component to each week as well, such as new principles to cleanse the diet along with guided eating plans for different times of the year and to one’s specific body. I was pleasantly surprised to discover this section of the guide for each week. It is so often a neglected part of the practice of yoga in books and classes and so I was happy to see that it had been brought to light in a book that will have decent popularity due to the author.