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Yoga in Practice (Princeton Readings in Religions) [Kindle Edition]

David Gordon White
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)

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  • Print ISBN-10: 0691140863
  • Print ISBN-13: 978-0691140865


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Book Description

Yoga is a body of practice that spans two millennia and transcends the boundaries of any single religion, geographic region, or teaching lineage. In fact, over the centuries there have been many "yogas"--yogas of battlefield warriors, of itinerant minstrels and beggars, of religious reformers, and of course, the yogas of mind and body so popular today. Yoga in Practice is an anthology of primary texts drawn from the diverse yoga traditions of India, greater Asia, and the West. This one-of-a-kind sourcebook features elegant translations of Hindu, Buddhist, Jain, and even Islamic yogic writings, many of them being made available in English for the very first time. Collected here are ancient, colonial, and modern texts reflecting a broad range of genres, from an early medical treatise in Sanskrit to Upanishadic verses on sacred sounds; from a Tibetan catechetical dialogue to funerary and devotional songs still sung in India today; and from a 1930s instructional guide by the grandfather of contemporary yoga to the private papers of a pioneer of tantric yoga in America.

Emphasizing the lived experiences to be found in the many worlds of yoga, Yoga in Practice includes David Gordon White's informative general introduction as well as concise introductions to each reading by the book's contributors.

Editorial Reviews


"In this volume, which is designed to serve as a course on the historical development of the practice of yoga, editor White brings together many leading scholars to present and analyze twenty significant primary texts drawn from Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism (and a text from Islam). . . . Featuring a useful glossary, this work would be excellent as a course text or for upper-level undergraduate and graduate students undertaking research on yoga. It would also benefit practitioners who want to deepen their understanding."--Choice

"For upper level undergraduates, graduate students, and intellectual practitioners desiring to engage the true variety of yoga, this dense and disparate collection is indispensable."--Lloyd W. Pflueger, Religious Studies Review

From the Inside Flap

"This volume fills a vacuum in yoga studies. An indispensable resource for teachers and students, it is also of immeasurable value to every thinking yoga practitioner. Through an astute selection of key texts, White effectively demonstrates that yoga is a collection of vibrant, disparate, and distinctive traditions, and he also highlights continuities that unite ideas and practices of yoga through two thousand years of history."--Suzanne Newcombe, Inform, based at the London School of Economics and Political Science

"Yoga in Practice deals with a topic of great academic significance and broad popular appeal, and the contributors are solid scholars who know their material inside out. Yoga is a global phenomenon, and this collection provides clarification of key points and careful contextualization of the history of ideas that has produced yoga. There are really no other books comparable in range, presentation, or quality."--Joseph S. Alter, University of Pittsburgh

"This anthology makes available a wide variety of translations of primary sources on yoga, especially texts focused on practice, and places each in the broader context of the Indian traditions of yoga. The volume breaks new ground by including little-known texts and offering new perspectives on more familiar ones. Many of these texts are unavailable in translation elsewhere."--David Carpenter, Saint Joseph's University

Product Details

  • File Size: 895 KB
  • Print Length: 413 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0691140863
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press (October 31, 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0066AAYBI
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
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  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #582,922 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential Reading for Understanding Yoga History February 1, 2013
If you've read any of David Gordon White's earlier work on the histories of yoga, you will appreciate that he approaches his questions as a scholar, which is an all too rare quality across the vast landscape of yoga literature. Here he gives us a collection of works by other yoga scholars sensibly framed in historical and substantive sections.

This book brings considerable light to the multifaceted world of yoga practices and lays bare the myth of one yoga. The various writings reveal both the discontinuities and cross-fertilizations across the long span of yoga's historical evolution while suggesting that amidst such "work of disorientation" we can also discover certain continuities, even as they appear in richly diverse ways.

This book also helps us to better appreciate that the yogas we experience today are expressions of so many yoga innovators, just as today are participating in the ongoing evolution of yoga as we show up on our mat, share an insight, or teach a class.

Here White has brought together deeply insightful writings on the foundational texts and practices of yoga, the influence of different of India's major religions in shaping yoga's ongoing development, the emergence of physical forms of yoga that shape Hatha yoga today as well as more modern innovations.

This book is highly recommended for al serious students of yoga and for any teacher who wants to offer his or her students a more informed reply to basic questions such as, what is yoga and where did it come from?
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not Just a History of Yoga September 6, 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book is a tour-de-force. This book provides a one-stop but comprehensive overview of yoga.

It appears to have it all. The practice and evolution of yoga has an ancient yet complicated history. It can apparently be traced to the Vedas and can be found in every major Vedic scripture and also appears in portions of every major religious belief system. Putting this system into a consistent, unified belief system is challenging, because as explained in the outstanding introduction from David Gordon White, the editor for this book, yoga means different things to different people and beliefs. White so brilliantly summarizes the beliefs and purposes of yoga, that the price of the book is worth having it available.

Each chapter is preceded by an introductioon from the translator, and each introduction contains a short bibliography for further reading and study. This is an invaluable resource book. It contains translations of landmark yogic texts, and other lesser known texts, many times translated for the first time in English. Some pieces are relatively rare and have been infrequently translated. This anthology of this kind is the ideal manner to present these texts, as most are less than fifteen pages and would not ordinarily be available in a separate book. The texts translated contain many insights not easily found in other anthologies. One such gem is a Fourteenth Century account from Persia concerning pranayama, Amritakunda, or the Pool of Nectar, discussing breath control and meditation. Most selections have been translated earlier into English. The book contains representative passages from the Yoga Upanishads, a collection of Upanishads which are not easily found, but provide the philosophical foundation for what is known as Yoga.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent June 12, 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This book is worth buying for it's introduction alone. If you are a yoga teacher, this is one book that should be in your library.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Introductory, and sometimes too brief an anthology February 24, 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The book is a good historical anthology of main texts in yogic traditions of all ages, but some of the main texts are sometimes too brief to get a real grasp at there content. As an introduction it serves it purpose, though.
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1 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars History of yoga May 13, 2012
I just wanted to know where yoga we practice today came from, I mean I would like to know who actually told us all to practice the asanas the way we practice them today. The book covers lots of things, Tantra and yoga and Buddhism, this is good enough for me, and it does read like a text book, not a light read, rather an investigation... I just want a broad view on yoga's roots, and I guess it's a good thing that the book is not written by just one author. The book is a collection of works by different authors.
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