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Mindfulness Yoga: The Awakened Union of Breath, Body, and Mind Paperback – January 9, 1993
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From Publishers Weekly
This book by yoga teacher and mindfulness meditator Boccio offers a welcome and ambitious synthesis that is unevenly executed. Relating the Indian sage Patanjali's teachings on yoga to Buddhist teachings, the author invites practitioners of yoga and meditation to experience yoga's asanas, or poses, as occasions for mindfulness meditation. This relationship is both novel and logical. Buddhism grew from Hindu-yoga roots, and yoga, certainly as understood in America, could use a greater appreciation of its spiritual significance. Following a discussion of Buddhist teachings grounded on some central discourses (sutras) and heavily indebted to Vietnamese Zen monk Thich Nhat Hanh, who supplies a foreword, Boccio provides four sequences of poses. The sequences generally repeat poses but are intended to lead the student to new understandings of those poses, thus encouraging growth in the discipline of yoga. As can be the case with yoga texts, this one has problems with its pictures. When poses are given in sequence, the accompanying sequence of pictures can be hard to follow, because not all steps are illustrated. Also, the instructions are not always obvious ("lift your sitting bones up as you drape your torso over your legs"). Because this book tries to do so much, it's not for beginning yoga students or meditators, but those with established practices may benefit from seeing the postures in a surprising and more spiritual light.
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"EDITOR'S CHOICE! Boccio shows that Buddhist practice is itself a form of yoga, presenting a meditational approach to asana practice." (Yoga Journal)
"A must-have for all mindfulness practitioners who also practice or teach yoga. " (The Mindfulness Bell)
"The author invites practitioners of yoga and meditation to experience yoga's poses as occasions for mindulness meditation. This relationship is both novel and logical. .. A welcome and ambitious synthesis. " (Publishers Weekly)
"I highly recommend this book...elegant, lucid, astonishingly comprehensive, thoroughly accessible, designed -- refreshingly -- for real human beings! Bravo!" (Stephen Cope, senior Kripalu Yoga teacher and author of Yoga and the Quest for the True Self)
"It's about time somebody wrote this!" (Jon Kabat-Zinn, author of Wherever You Go, There You Are)
"In Mindfulness Yoga, Frank Boccio inspires us to join those who have walked the integrated path of yoga and mindfulness with a true teacher's voice of clarity, compassion and common sense." (Cyndi Lee, author of OM Yoga and founder of OM Yoga Center)
"A terrific book for both meditators and new yoga students. Highly recommended." (Josh Baran, author of 365 Nirvana Here and Now)
"Clear, intelligent, and much-needed. I'm delighted Frank Jude Boccio wrote this book. I now have something to recommend to my students." (Larry Rosenberg, Founder of the Cambridge Insight Meditation Center and author of Breath by Breath)
"A wonderful and invaluable book!" (Wendy Cook, Yeshe Yoga instructor and director of Kurukulla Center for Tibetan Buddhist Studies)
"Boccio reminds us to focus not just on the physical postures but also on what they teach us about the deepest truth of our lives. This is a welcome approach at a time when yoga is too often seems as just another way to get fit. ... The most erudite of the recent offerings."-- (Tricycle)
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The "mindfulness" as presented in this book is not as typically referenced in modern parlance today. That is, rather than simply speaking of thoughtful concentration, author Boccio presents mindfulness in terms of the Buddha's teachings. I definitely have an interest in Buddhism and find it to be valuable, but I simply did not click with the presentation here, especially when I was looking for more of a yoga practice guide.
The second half of the book does provide yoga practice suggestions based on the mindfulness teachings. Three complete sequences are described; these are explained thoroughly as well as are nicely illustrated with photographs. Unfortunately, as another reviewer mentioned, the three practices are also extremely repetitive. In fact, they are almost exactly the same, with the second and third sequences adding just a few additional poses to the original postures presented.
Obviously, this book may be a better fit for others, but it did not work well for me as a tool to enhance my teaching.
The sequences are very basic and very repetitive -- with the same photographs being used over and over again.
In short, there are better books on the practice of Mindfulness and there are better books on Yoga practice.
If you want both in one book, then this one is OK. Although, personally, I'd recommend Erich Schiffman's "Yoga: The Spirit and Practice of Moving Into Stillness" over this one.
My copy of Schiffmann's book is well thumbed. But I doubt that I will pull "Mindfulness Yoga" off my bookshelf too many more times.