The Beauty of the Sequence: A Photo Essay of the Ashtanga Yoga Primary Series is a collaborative project using photography to explore the connections within the postures of the Primary Series of Ashtanga Yoga. Behind the camera, Kristie Kahns brings years of experience as a dance photographer, dancer, and a yoga student, while Alexia Bauer shares her beautiful practice, demonstrating years of dedication to the Ashtanga Yoga tradition. Their skills come together to create a truly unique photo essay, clearly depicting every asana of the Primary Series, to illustrate the intelligence of the sequence and the connections between many of the postures, revealing the beauty of the Ashtanga Yoga practice.
A successful Kickstarter campaign brought the book to life in the fall of 2012. Subsequently, the book project has been featured in Yoga Journal in the United States, Australia, and Japan.
To purchase the book, click HERE.
From the book introduction, by Kristie Kahns:
Ashtanga yoga is characterized as a rigorous, physically demanding style of yoga, which simultaneously creates openness and builds strength within the body. Though it is not a physical journey in the sense that you move from one point to another, the Ashtanga Primary Series is an intense physical journey inward, in which the practice becomes a tool to not only purify and strengthen the body, but also to focus and fortify the mind, slowly removing layer after layer of stress, emotional baggage, insecurities, and mental clutter, in order to see one’s true Self. This is the practice of yoga.
Admittedly, it was the unforeseen physical challenge that hooked me into practicing the Ashtanga style. But as I have progressed through the Primary Series, and done my best to establish a consistent practice, I have been inspired by the elegance, efficiency, and intelligence of the sequence. As my body has memorized the sequence, my mind is able to focus on the breath and techniques of each asana. And through this comes deeper understanding of each asana and its purpose. With each practice, I continue to discover the beauty of the sequence, and enjoy its methodical, choreographic structure. Each asana carefully and steadily opens, stretches, and strengthens the body, and contains a key to locked doors that will be encountered further down the path. My own practice and study of the asanas of the Primary Series have revealed some of these connections, between the lessons of one asana and the application of those lessons in asanas that are later in the sequence. These connections I have found within the practice also revealed what I believe to be the anchor of my practice and perhaps the Ashtanga practice in general: a diligent and passionate approach to one’s practice is absolutely essential. There is no room for laziness. This idea can be found in the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, in Sutra 1.14: “When that practice is done for a long time, without a break, and with sincere devotion, then the practice becomes a firmly rooted, stable and solid foundation.” Beginning with the very first sun salutation, I am preparing my body - and my mind - for what is coming later on in the Series. Each and every vinyasa and asana has a purpose, and this is what makes the practice so empowering and beautiful to me.
The Beauty of the Sequence, my collaboration with Alexia Bauer to explore the Primary Series through photography, is inspired by these discoveries I have made in my own practice and study of the postures. By photographing each asana of the Series, clearly and exquisitely demonstrated by Alexia, I hope to reveal the intelligence of the sequence and the connections between many of the postures.