Kathryn Budig, a Wellness Expert here at MindBodyGreen is a self-proclaimed "bona fide yoga dork." So it's no wonder her debut book, The Women's Health Big Book of Yoga is sincere, light-hearted, and totally approachable.
Reading The Big Book of Yoga is like taking one of Kathryn's classes: you're guided by a smart, funny, non-judgemental friend who offers suggestions, explains the philosophy of the practice, and encourages you to find your own path.
It's fun for yogis looking to deepen their practice or anyone thinking about taking that first step onto the mat.
Even if yoga's already a big part of your life, there's lots to learn in here. Since most yoga classes don't lend themselves to raising a hand and asking some questions, it's a great resource to get answers on unfamiliar topics or terms used in class. For instance, Kathryn discusses the meaning of word guru, "gu meaning dark and ru meaning light. When the two parts unite you have balance and they key to dispelling the darkness, which is enlightenment."
She also discusses the mudras, or hand gestures. and the purpose of each. Lotus Mudra helps you to remember your inner beauty, while Thunderbolt Mudra helps you overcome fear and self-doubt.
Newbies to yoga will find answers to all sorts of questions I remember having before I took my first class. Eat or fast before? Kathryn advises you stay away from food and liquids two hours before class. Is yoga enough exercise? If you are an MBG reader, you probably already know the answer to this one .... (It's yes!)
The main focus of Kathryn's book is yoga, and there are extensive sequence for readers to cultivate their home practice and to improve any condition, be it heartbreak, anxiety, or fatigue, to name just a few.
While Kathryn models many of the sequences featured in the book, she also brings in some amazing teachers such as Faith Hunter and Mary Clare Aeillo, to name a few. Experts from the wellness world, including Tiffany Cruikshank and and my husband, Jason, offer up perspectives on everything from men and yoga to getting started.
Another bonus: The Big Book of Yoga delivers total lifestyle and wellness guidance, all from an authentically-Kathryn voice. One of my favorite lines: "If I could bottle the amount of stress relief that yoga provides, it would sell faster than the Missoni collection did at Target!"
Kathryn's philosophy on living and yoga is summed in her motto, Aim True, which means that she starts each day, "with a clear intention to be true to who I am, who I want to be, and what makes my heart beat strong!"
How can you incorporate the A.I.M. T.R.U.E. principles in your practice and your life?
A - Asana
"Connecting your breath with the poses is like an instant hit of relaxation, and the sequence of postures strengthens and detoxes your body."
I - Intention
"Professional and elite athletes often refer to "the zone." It's an state of mind in which their focus and their intentions are completely present in that moment... The cool thing about yoga is that it reminds us to set an intention every time we unroll our mats. An intention sharpens our ability to be mindful and be aware."
"Yoga reminds us about how much powerful potential we have within ourselves. We just need to remember it's there and learn how to use it."
"Yoga nurtures flexibility along with strength, allowing us to do simples things like touching our toes or opening our chests into a back bend- things that many people cannot do. These movements feel good physically, but they also make us feel good about our physical abilities.This practice of gratitude makes us truly understand how to respect others, too."
"Remember, start by stopping. Take a breath. Let go"
The actual translation of "yoga' is yoke, which exactly what it does: Yoga unifies the body, mind, and spirit... Yoga seamlessly weaves this powerful trio together to give us the ultimate gift - contentment."
"Yoga has been portrayed for years as a dedicated and quiet discipline that should be practiced in isolation and seriousness. I'm here to tell you the complete opposite."
The Big Book of Yoga on Amazon.com