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complex dialogue between modernity and tradition is easily overlooked. As a certified teacher within the Satyananda tradition, I have a deep respect for it, and I also see that some of the key practices arc adaptations that incorporate modern insights alongside older elements. Surya Namaskar is, historically speaking, part of the Satyananda system bccausc of Pratini-dhi's innovation, but it includes mantric elements from ancient tradition.
Satyananda did enormous work in gathering and synthesizing traditional knowledge (particularly from theTantras), but he also had his finger on the pulse of modern science and wasn't afraid to adapt accordingly. The same is true for Siva-nanda (a trained allopathic doctor).
"Traditional" doesn't mean immune from influence, as these modern practices show. So, yes, the mantras pertain to the solar deity Savitri and to ancient practices of sun worship going as far back as the Rig Veda. But the place of Surya Namaskar within modern hatha yoga sadhanas like
Sivananda and Satyananda is incontest-ably a result of modern encounters.
You get points in my book for publishing "Happy Days," the Home Practice with Lilias Folan, and "Yogi to the People," the TJ Interview with Maya Breuer (both in March '10). I am 39 and clearly remember Lilias! Toga and To« —long before sticky mats and yoga pants. With your pages full of tiny, young Caucasian models in the latest designer styles, it was good to see respect being paid to the generation responsible for bringing yoga to the United States in the first place; it was wonderful to see a wise, healthy-looking body in your pages; and it was nice to hear about Maya Brcucr's inclusive mission. Lesli Fullerton-Pacis Cobb, California
You included one of my favorite poses, Malasana (Garland Pose), in the February '10 Basics column. I was surprised to see that the article offered no alterna tive where the feet could be spaced hip-distance apart, which is more appropriate for beginners and pregnant students. Isn't "Basics" geared toward beginners? Emily Gewitz Mamaroneck, New York
MARLA APT, a senior Iyengar Yoga teacher and YJ's Basics columnist, responds: While practicing Malasana with the feet apart is a modification, doing so changes the dynamic of the actions in the feet and hips. For many people, stiffness around the feet and ankles is a challenge in Malasana. I wanted to offer modifications to lead to an understanding of how to work the feet, ankles, and hips to prepare for the final pose. Although three stages for practicing Malasana appeared in the same column, practice each variation repeatedly for weeks or even months before proceeding to the next.
SEND FEEDBACK TO Letters, Yoga Journal, 47$ Sansome Street, Suite 8 jo. San Francisco, CA 94111; email: [email protected]: (41$) 591-07}}. Include your name, city, state, and phone number. Letters and emails may be edited for length and clarity.
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