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Shambhala Guide to Yoga Paperback – March 19, 1996

4.5 out of 5 stars 19 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

For many Americans, Yoga has become just another kind of aerobics, an exercise system disconnected from any religious framework. As a spiritual corrective to that distortion, Feuerstein's guide is an important pointer in the right direction that should also help readers understand the astonishingly sophisticated system that has emerged from a 5000-year-old Indian spiritual tradition. Employing a very accessible vocabulary, Feuerstein's work offers real utility in its overview, its list of what to read next and its identification of useful resources from both Buddhist and Hindu traditions. Most importantly, Feuerstein includes significant discussions of meditation, mantra, Kundalini and Tantra, which are themselves tantalizing recognitions of the transcendent paths within Yoga. As a starting point for the seeker, Feuerstein's book is excellent. The book is also refreshing in its own unpretentious recognition that it is only that.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

Feuerstein, author of more than 20 books about yoga and other facets of Indian spirituality, is adept at presenting accurate and accessible interpretations of these traditions to Western readers. In this welcoming primer of yogic thought and practice, he places yoga within a historical context, clears up common misconceptions, defines terms, and provides concise descriptions of the main branches, or schools, of yoga. At each stage of this fluid exposition, Feuerstein emphasizes how the practice of yoga benefits all aspects of life, including the physical, psychological, intellectual, and spiritual. The aim of all yogic practices, from following moral precepts to refined techniques of breath control, is for the practitioner to live in harmony with the world through transcendence of the ego-personality. Feuerstein uses this goal as a touchstone as he describes the importance of the teacher-student relationship, the significance of asanas and meditation, and yogic "dietary wisdom." As he moves on to increasingly complex and challenging yogic disciplines, Feuerstein retains his lucidity, but, naturally, can only scratch the surface of these profoundly demanding and esoteric realms. Donna Seaman
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 180 pages
  • Publisher: Shambhala; 1st edition (March 19, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 157062142X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1570621420
  • Product Dimensions: 5.9 x 0.6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #127,224 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author


Dr. Georg Feuerstein (born 1947) is a German-Canadian Indologist. Feuerstein has authored over 45 books on mysticism, Yoga, Tantra, and Hinduism and Buddhism.

Dr. Feuerstein offers distance-learning courses on Yoga philosophy and history through Traditional Yoga Studies at http://www.traditionalyogastudies.com

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
When looking for books on Yoga, I had no idea where to start and I didn't want to read some...American trying to cash in book. I saw this book and it seemed real. Wow, I'm glad this is the first book I read on Yoga. Georg Feurstein fully knows and understands the essence of Yoga. The book touches on everything from the history of Yoga to a Yogi's diet. I like how Feurstein always refers back to the old Sanskrit texts of Yogi practices. However, if you are looking for a book where you actually do the postures then look for another book because this book doesn't satisfy that. You should read all you can about Yoga before attempting it, I know my presumptions on Yoga have been changed from reading this book.
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By A Customer on August 22, 1999
Format: Paperback
This book gave me a clearer understanding of Yoga. My greatest compliment is that it sustained my interest enough to read the book to the end. I enjoyed the humanistic tone of the book, and the simple ordering and structure of topics which brought clarity to a potentially overwhelming subject. I look forward very much to reading more of Georg Feuerstein's books.
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This is a good introductory survey of the field of yoga by the man who is probably the most popular yoga scholar around. I emphasize the word popular because I'm not actually sure how much cutting edge research (new translations, scholarly publications, etc) he's actually doing these days. Probably not much, since Feuerstein is now retired, but his books are generally so approachable that for people who want coverage of yoga's intellectual heritage, he is often the go-to man.

This particular offering is definitely for those just getting themselves wet in this area. It covers the basic branches of yoga (raja, karma, bhakti, jnana etc), the guru relationship, ethical precepts, purification practices, diet, breath, mantras and, of course, all the more esoteric stuff about kundalini and left-handed sexual practices everyone loves. Libraries could be filled by the tomes on such fare, so for a book under 200 pages this can't be anything more than cursory, an almost bullet-point like survey.

And that's okay, provided it's what you're looking for. Anyone who wants to do asanas will need to look elsewhere. The same goes if you're interested in some particular facet of yogic practice or theory, say concerning the chakras, or specs on hatha yoga, the yamas, or how to eat according to your dosha, etc. It is what it is-a survey for new entrants-and that's all it is. If you're new and just finding your way around the world of yoga, it's a great book. If you're already pretty well informed and want to start fleshing out some of yoga's more rarified nooks and crannies, look elsewhere--e.g. the author's The Deeper Dimension of Yoga: Theory and Practice.
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I'm in training to become a Yoga teacher. This is a book I will come back over and over again to share information with my students when I start teaching.
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Format: Kindle Edition
Although very informative, it was very difficult getting through this book. This book seemed more than an introductory and appeared very dry. This was not the type of book that would motivate you to become involved in yoga.
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As always I use this book in my classes and I use it for reference when I need to .. The late Georg Feuerstein was an amazing Historian , I have all his books .
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Though I don't practice Yoga, just Qi-Gong. I find this book very informative and a must have to read for those not know much or history of the spirituality of Yoga. All the different Yoga, beliefs, and what you may not know of any of the Yoga you might had/is practicing.
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Format: Paperback
This book is amazing! I learned so much that no one is really about to talk about in a yoga class. The history of yoga was only scratching the surface, but it was still so much to absorb. This is a powerful book.
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