Alison Zak is an animal, author, yoga teacher, anthropologist, and executive director of the Human-Beaver Coexistence Fund. She lives in Northern Virginia with her husband, Vishu, and a few beloved beyond-human beings. Learn more at www.alisonzak.com and on Instagram @animal_asana.
Alison Zak is the author of Wild Asana: Animals, Yoga, and Connecting Our Practice to the Natural World. Originally from Tampa, Alison studied anthropology at the University of South Florida and then earned her Masters from San Diego State University after studying crop-raiding monkeys in Indonesia. Now, she runs the nonprofit she founded called the Human-Beaver Coexistence Fund. Alison also works as the event manager at The Open Book in Warrenton and teaches yoga at Sun and Moon Yoga Studio. She regrets that there is no yoga pose named after the incredible ecosystem engineer, the beaver. Alison lives in Northern Virginia with her husband, Meeko the dog, and Monkey and Gus the adopted budgies. For fun, she reads, gardens, and crafts with yarn. Learn more at http://www.alisonzak.com and follow her on Instagram @animal_asana.
Ever wonder about the dog in Downward Dog or the crow in Kakasana? Rewild your yoga practice by connecting to the animals behind the asanas. From Downward Dog to Cobra, Wild Asana: Animals, Yoga, and Connecting Our Practice to the Natural World invites you into an embodied exploration of the animals that inspire familiar yoga poses. Drawing on wildlife science, anthropology, Hindu mythology, Eastern philosophy, and personal stories, this insightful guide by environmental educator and yoga instructor Alison Zak explores the connections among our bodies, our minds, and the animals that inspire our practice.
In illustrated chapters on asanas like Tittibhasana (Firefly), Garudasana (Eagle), Marjaryasana (Cat), and Ustrasana (Camel), Zak invites you to bring the deep nature of animals into breath and movement. You’ll learn to: respect the monkey in “monkey mind” to honor—not tame—your own wildness; fly like an eagle to move from imprisonment to liberation; embody a pigeon’s stillness and nonattachment; imbue your practice with the agility, flexibility, and fierce commitment of a cat; incorporate asana variations, mudras, and meditations inspired by animal nature; and, practice a lovingkindness meditation that includes the more-than-human world.
With encompassing ecological compassion, gorgeous original illustrations, profound insight into animal wisdom, and the humor and perspective of lived experience, Zak offers a path to deepen and enliven your practice. Whether you’re a first-time student or an experienced yoga practitioner, Wild Asana is a practical and accessible guide to becoming animal on the mat.
“Wild Asana is a great way to celebrate and honor our bodies and our world!” —Sy Montgomery, author of How to Be a Good Creature
“In her paean to the interdependence of the human spirit and the natural world, Alison Zak flows effortlessly between science, poetry, myth, and memoir—reminding us that true yogis are both naturalists and mystics.” —Anne Cushman, author of The Mama Sutra and Enlightenment for Idiots
“Wild Asana is a delight for the body and mind.” —Dr. Erin P. Riley, professor of anthropology at San Diego State University
“This book is perfect for beginners and experienced yoginis alike.” —Cassie Premo Steele, PhD, author of Earth Joy Writing
“A beautiful invitation to seek the wisdom and the power that our ‘more than human’ relatives have to share and own what is truly Yoga.” —Micah Mortali, author of Rewilding
- Human-wildlife conflict & coexistence
- How to coexist with beavers
- Primatology, ethnoprimatology
- Animals and religion
- Incorporating nature into yoga practice/teaching
- Environmental education
- Nature/outdoor yoga
- Mindfulness in nature, nature connection
- Anthropology, wildlife conservation
- How authors can partner with and support independent bookstores