Last year R. Sharath Jois published his first book, Aṣṭāṅga Yoga Anuṣṭhāna. It’s a very detailed Aṣṭāṅga practice manual, which sets out the entire sequence of Primary Series, including the correct vinyāsa count (flow of breath and movement) and dṛṣṭi (gazing point) for each āsana (posture), as well as a section on the yamas and niyamas (behaviours and principles), some practice notes and mantrāḥs (chants).
The book was published in March 2013 and wasn’t widely available to purchase outside of India, so many people queued up at the shala shop in Mysore this season to purchase a copy.
However, in January 2014 he released a 2nd edition. Shock, horror! He announced this at conference one Sunday, so lots of students promptly hurried to the shop to get their updated copy, many asking if they could have a refund on the 1st edition. As I suspected, this was met with a resounding “No”! Best to just accept it and call it a collector’s edition I reckon.
So, the question on everyone’s lips now is: “What’s the difference between the two editions?” Well, you’re in luck because that’s exactly what I’ve taken the trouble to find out. Lakshmish told us in Saṁskṛta (Sanskrit) class one day that much of the Sanskrit text was grammatically incorrect, so he painstakingly checked through the entire book again to make the necessary corrections.
I thought I’d do the same thing, comparing the editions to determine exactly how they differ. “Why on earth would you do that?” I hear you cry. Well, maybe because I love proofreading and ‘spot the difference’ competitions, maybe because I’m an anal retentive, or maybe because I just wanted to show some empathy for Lakshmish.
Whatever the reason, I’ve done it (and thoroughly enjoyed it I might add), so if you’d like to see for yourself what the differences are, just click below to open the PDF.
Incidentally, Lakshmish also mentioned that many mistakes are commonly made in writing the asana names in Sanskrit, including in many well-known books by senior teachers. Some of the most common spelling mistakes include: marīcāsana (not marichyasana); paścimattānāsana (not pashimottanasana); pūrvattānāsana (not purvottanasana). If in doubt, refer to Lakshmish’s chanting sheet or p.26 of the 2nd edition of Aṣṭāṅga Yoga Anuṣṭhāna (there are in fact some slight differences between these two sources but they’re largely the same).
I hope you’ve found this guide useful and if you ever need a proof-reader, give me a shout!