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The Complete Illustrated Book of Yoga Paperback – April 18, 1995

4.5 out of 5 stars 42 customer reviews

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Meditations on Intention and Being by Rolf Gates
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Former US Airborne Ranger, Rolf has structured this book as 365 daily reflections, breaking yogic philosophy into bite-sized pieces. Learn more | See related books
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Editorial Reviews

From the Inside Flap

Since 1960, more than 1 million people have used this classic guide to tap the incredible power of yoga. The attractive new edition, in a new size, will appeal to a wide audience of contemporary yoga students.

From the Back Cover

Swami Vishnu-devananda's 'The Complete Illustrated Book Of Yoga' has taught generations of Westerners to experience the tremendous benefits that the ancient science of Yoga promises for the body, mind, and spirit.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Harmony; Reprint edition (April 18, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0517884313
  • ISBN-13: 978-0517884317
  • Product Dimensions: 6.6 x 1 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (42 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #255,267 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
This book was my first yoga book; as such it is close to my heart. I read it (in another edition) in 1974 and used it as a guide to my practice for many years thereafter. It is not, of course, "complete." No "complete book of" ever is. That is a publisher's fiction. It is however, very thorough in presenting the yoga of Patanjali and the classical Hatha Yoga Pradipika to the English speaking reader. Much of the book is devoted to asana, highlighted by 146 photos of demonstration by an unidentified young man, who is as good as, if not better than (if that is possible), the accomplished and illustrious B. K. S. Iyengar in showing the sort of suppleness and precision that can achieved. The photos really are extraordinary. (As noted in a comment to this review by "louisnapoli" the person doing the asanas is a young Vishnu-devananda.) There is an excellent and lengthy chapter on pranayama and several on the philosophy and spiritual aspects of yoga. Consequently this goes beyond hatha yoga and becomes a treatise on raja yoga, the so-called "king's yoga" or "ashtanga yoga," or "eight-limbed" yoga--the yoga codified and outlined by Patanjali about eighteen hundred years ago. Raja yoga, which is a continuation of hatha yoga, is to be distinguished from the three other yogas of the ancients, karma yoga, bhakti yoga, and jnana yoga, respectively the yogas of selfless action, devotion, and knowledge. (There is also tantric yoga, the so-called "left-handed path," the beginnings of which are lost in antiquity. Following the example of the Bhagavad Gita, tantric yoga is not mentioned in this book.) Raja yoga is sometimes called "the science of mental control," as it is here on page 220.Read more ›
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
As some of the other reviewers have pointed out, no book can contain every point on yoga.

I have been using this large book as an aide to my practice for five years.

For me it has been a wonderful guide. The many poses or asanas are wonderfully photographed, and the lessons section sets out various practice routines and time tables that are appropriate for every ability level.

There is full section on the philosophy behind this yoga and its history, all of which is stated in a very clear and practical way.

It is difficult to be all things to all people, but I think that this book does a good job at coming close!

Enjoy.
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Format: Paperback
In my opinion, each good yoga text has something of its own to aid the student. Though Iyengar's books are tops for asanas and clear exposition, Vishnudevananda's book is particularly useful and complete on the subject of yogic hygiene and nauli kriya, the abdominal exercises, offering good photographs which clarify what text can only somewhat describe.
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Format: Paperback
I was lucky to be a student of Sivaram, a direct student of Vishudevananda. Through Sivaram, I experienced the sweetness of disposition of a true yogi and I was exposed to the enormous esteem in which he was held. The postures and philosopy in this book were taught to Vishnudevananda by his teacher, Sivananda. Sivananda was a medical doctor before he became a "yogi" and great teacher of many who came from India to the West to teach this ancient art. These teachers were "pioneers" of yoga in the West, developing classes as well as lecturing and demonstrating before groups of people during the 1960's. Rather than critiquing their "form" in the postures, one would praise them for opening up the West to the teachings and practice of yoga so that we all may continue to learn and grow in this ancient art and science. Reading this book will help any yoga aspirant to more fully understand the yogic philosophy and introduce the student to some of the 84,000 yoga postures. The postures in the book encompass the major areas of hatha yoga practice: forward bends, backward bends, balancing, inversions, and twists, and so are a complete introduction to the practice of yoga.
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Format: Paperback
Vishnudevananda, the author of this classic guide into to yoga, founded the highly regarded organization for yoga studies and practices called the Sivananda Yoga Center. After receiving the life karma goal from his yoga teacher to move from India and share his knowledge of yoga to those of us in the West, he has written severa book that have become standard texts for both yoga students and teachers. Predating the current craze in only power yoga, the book has easy-to-follow instructions, inspirational teaching, and detailed photos and is a good introduction into yoga practice, as it covers every aspect of the yoga lifestyle, including relaxation, exercise, dietary guidelines, breathing, and meditation. I think that whether you're using it in conjunction with a class or on your own, this photo-illustrated introduction into yoga can help you in your daily practice.
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Format: Paperback
I bought Swami Vishnudevananda's book while on an eight-day yoga retreat at his Ashram on Paradise Island in the Bahamas in the early 80s. My intention was to stay only a couple of days to learn yoga. The effects of four hours of yoga and two hours of daily meditation were so stunning I ended up staying eight days. The sky seemed bluer, the trees greener and the fish and coral more vibrant. I was even relaxed while walking among crowds, noise and traffic in Nassau.
The text and illustrations in Vishnudevananda's book are invaluable for my daily yoga. His chapters on the Science of Yoga are also fascinating. The insights that were the most helpful to me included:
The science of Yoga dates back to pre-historic times and was developed as a method of obtaining Truth. The yoga philosophy teaches that we cannot understand the mind and soul as long as we experiment on the outside. To discover Pure Consciousness we must turn inward, still our thoughts and watch our mind and soul.
Humankind's intellect cannot understand the ever-unfolding mysteries of the universe, time, and the purpose of life. The sacred texts of most religions reveal that Truth can only be experienced when we transcend the senses, emotions, mind and intellect.
All the founders of religions saw God, glimpsed eternity and experienced Truth within themselves and sought Truth through spiritual practice.
Divine knowledge is the realization that the "Kingdom of Heaven" is within and that we are immortal, eternally perfect, peaceful and pure. Many wise men and prophets throughout history have transcended the limitations of space and time. Their wisdom was gained not from belief but through devotional practices such as meditation, contemplation, service, prayer, yoga and the reading of sacred scripture.
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