There is a recent addition in the shala’s library: in the true sense of the word an esthetic book about Ashtanga Yoga, actually a book of photography.

About Richard Pilnick

The author and photographer is Richard Pilnick, an Englishman, originally a fashion photographer. On a trip to India, he discovers yoga, and simultaneously the ability to use his camera for looking into the depth of a person. He abandons his career as a fashion photographer and concentrates on portrait photography.

He discovers Ashtanga Yoga in 2014. His book, published in 2019, is ”a photographic celebration of Ashtanga“. Richard wants to inspire and he achieves this goal. He dedicated the bookfor all those who practice, and all those who are yet to practice“.

About the book’s content

In his book, you will find a picture of the individual positions and their names in Sanskrit – both in transliteration and in the devanāgarī script for the sun salutations, the standing sequence, the first four series (traditionally called Primary, Intermediate and Advanced A and B) and for the finishing sequence). It is not Richard’s intention to explain the details of each position or the vinyāsas. His intention is to show the beauty of the practice.

As “models” for the pictures, Richard was able to recruit leading Ashtanga teachers:

for the sun salutations David Williams (check out In search for yoga“),

for the standing sequence Gingi Lee,

for Primary series John Scott,

for the Intermediate series Dr. Ronald Steiner,

for Third series Laruga Glaser,

for Fourth series Kino MacGregor and

for the closing sequence Danny Paradise.

There is also one picture of Richard in a position, with typical British understatement – in śavāsana.

Ron Steiner practicing mayurāsana and nakrāsana, p. 126, 127 © Richard Pilnick

The book lives primarily through the pictures – therefore there is no absolute requirement for English. Having said that, I will add that the few texts are also excellent, for instance the pages written by Dr. Matthew Clark of SOAS University of London with a concise overview of the development of yoga and the different yoga styles.

In addition, the book contains a personal poem about each of the models“. They were written by Eric Standop, a face reader (most interesting talent). They are very poetic and to the mark at least for the four persons whom I know personally.

The picture book has been produced“ at a very high quality, beautiful covering, print and gild edge, resulting in a relatively high price of 30 £ respectively 36,07 €. Still, if you love Ashtanga and beautiful books – and if you still have space on your  bookshelf -: it is really a photographic celebration and an inspiration.

Yoga has the ability to heal and to bring peace

To round the review off in Richard‘s own words:

„Yoga has the ability to heal. Yoga has the ability to bring about peace. So, the more people we can inspire to practice, the happier and healthier this world will become.”

Therefore: see you soon on the mat!