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The Path of Yoga: An Essential Guide to Its Principles and Practices Paperback – March 22, 2011
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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. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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 --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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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.
Being very foreign to the philosophical yoga concept, I love the accessibility of book. It is easy to read. It is easy to use as reference. Hard concepts are clearly explained.
One book to read if you want to get a deeper sense of philosophical yoga is "The Path of Yoga." Enjoy