Malcolm McLean’s new book is a yoga routine which comes in response to the COVID-19 lockdown of 2020. A time of self-isolation for everyone, this period has redefined what it means to practice yoga at home. Acknowledging this, and choosing to go beyond online classes, the experienced yoga instructor encourages yoga practitioners to take a step back from our reliance on technology, to withdraw from the blue screens and the many threads you may venture down, and instead turn your senses inward.
Demonstrating the classic yoga exercise, in this book we can enjoy the vivid brushstrokes of watercolours from professional illustrator, Oscar-nominated movie animator, and yoga practitioner herself, Joyce Borenstein, who sought to understand the postures she was practicing and to express the intense inner landscape of her own practice in colour and shape.
The illustrations depict both the physical form of the posture and some of the subtle energies within the form and, thanks to Malcolm’s directions, we find specific instructions on how to move and place the body in each posture. Other more subtle aspects of the postures are found in italics: attitudes, impressions, and visualizations that arise through the practice of yoga.
Scattered among the frames around the postures are Mudras: hand postures with deep significance in the yogic tradition routine. Each mudra represents a positive personality trait. Maintaining a mudra, the practitioner meditates on the quality represented, thus building the neural network for the trait, so that one is further ahead towards actualizing the trait in everyday life. It is a rehearsal of sorts, a rehearsal for the cultivation of good behaviour.
This practice is intended for most practitioners and would be described as a Moderate or All-Levels class. Many of the yoga poses for beginners will increase mobility and improve balance. The sequence also has gentle movements for the spine that improve suppleness and flexibility, while warming, lubricating, and nourishing the spine. You will move in a gradual progression from sitting to all fours to standing, to balancing, then slowing down into a quiet, relaxed state. This book is an example of a one-hour yoga routine that you can follow conveniently and explore indefinitely, and it is designed to make it easy for you to fold onto the page you are practicing.