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About the Book: Yoga: Going Within

Beginner yoga routine at home

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.

Book Reviews

Carina Roter
Carina RoterYoga Teacher, Vancouver
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“It is absolutely beautiful. Your description of the poses is fabulous. The illustrations are out of this world fantastic. This whole project is superb. Bravo!”
Pauline Michel
Pauline MichelPoet Laureate of Canada (2004-2006)
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« Bravo pour la publication de ce livre et pour ces cours que tu donnes durant la pandémie. Je suis certaine que ça aide beaucoup de monde à passer au travers cette période difficile. »
Terry Cochran, Professor at Université de Montréal
Terry Cochran, Professor at Université de Montréal@username
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"Finally, a yoga book that teaches and shows us how to become a yogi with elongated grace."
Elizabeth Lewis, Filmmaker and Teacher, Algonquin Highlands, Ontario
Elizabeth Lewis, Filmmaker and Teacher, Algonquin Highlands, Ontario@username
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"I enjoyed the book so much that it inspires me to get back into Yoga practice. As the author points out, it is especially important in this stressful time of Covid to be able to decompress in isolation. The colourful and soothing illustrations accurately depict each of the poses. I hope to pull out the old yoga mat and, with this book, relieve my body and mind."
Catherine Mavrikakis, Professor at Université de Montréal
Catherine Mavrikakis, Professor at Université de Montréal@username
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"These striking images, playful and precise, interwoven with practical guidance and artistry, make for a wonderful introduction to the yoga body and mind."
Charles Leibovitch, Social Worker, Vancouver, B.C.
Charles Leibovitch, Social Worker, Vancouver, B.C.@username
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"The book, the text and illustrations are awe inspiring and a doorway and window to better coping with the isolation and loneliness of COVID."
Michel Faure, Writer, Montreal
Michel Faure, Writer, Montreal@username
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“In our days of social isolation, this introduction to Yoga proves useful and timely. Clearly written and beautifully illustrated, this book should provide a sense of calm and serenity to its readers”.
Ed Harker, Filmmaker, Los Angeles
Ed Harker, Filmmaker, Los Angeles@username
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“A remarkably inspired imagining of the nexus between the physical and spiritual aspects of the human body”
Steve Stober, Photographer, Toronto
Steve Stober, Photographer, Toronto@username
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"Some say yoga is not for everyone. Yoga: Going Within by Malcolm Mclean, with illustrations by Joyce Borenstein, dispels that myth. As someone who has flirted with and practiced yoga consistently for over twenty years, I still consider myself a beginner. Yet I found this book to be accessible to everyone and a joy to read. It is geared for a home practice, for all levels of practitioners. The words describing each pose are encouraging and non-judgmental and the illustrations accompanying each are simply beautiful and powerful, just as the poses themselves are. I highly recommend this book to anyone seeking guidance and direction in their home practice."
Teresa Cobrin
Teresa Cobrin@username
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"While I am not a yoga practitioner, I must say I found Yoga: Going Within to be very informative. It gave me great insight into yoga theory and its practice. It’s a good resource for lovers of yoga."
Eric Angen, Teacher, Montreal
Eric Angen, Teacher, Montreal@username
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“This book on yoga inspired me to write a haiku : Easy to follow, Radiating energy, A labour of love."
Debra Black is a Toronto-based CYA-E-RYT-550 who specializes in teaching yin yoga and mindfulness meditation.
Debra Black is a Toronto-based CYA-E-RYT-550 who specializes in teaching yin yoga and mindfulness meditation.@username
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“What a delight for the heart, the body and mind. "Yoga: Going Within A Practice for a Time of Isolation" is a textual and visual treat that provides a yoga student — both a beginner and a more seasoned practitioner -- just what is needed in this time of great uncertainty — a practical guide to dig deep into one’s practice, offering a well-thought out sequence of poses and tips. It is the kind of book that will no doubt resonate for many yogis long after Covid-19 has come and gone as we all know isolation can come in many forms.”
Sheilagh Simons
Sheilagh Simons@username
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"Candy for the eyes! Makes me want to take up yoga again too!"
Michaele Mark, Ceramist and Teacher, Jerusalem, Israel
Michaele Mark, Ceramist and Teacher, Jerusalem, Israel@username
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"The illustrations inspire me to do yoga surrounded by these paintings. Soft and flowing both in movement and colour, the paintings have depth and rhythm, like soothing dreams. I see the circular motion as a reference to the mandala. It is so nice to flip through them over and over."
Norma Sherman, Lecturer at McGill University Music Faculty, Montreal, Quebec
Norma Sherman, Lecturer at McGill University Music Faculty, Montreal, Quebec@username
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"I discovered yoga almost twenty years ago, I discovered Malcolm around fifteen years ago, I discovered Joyce a few short years ago, and NOW, look what I’ve discovered: a WONDERFUL BOOK that combines ALL THREE!! I feel so lucky!!"