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The Subtle Body: The Story of Yoga in America Paperback – Bargain Price, May 24, 2011
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Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
As a book of history, this has much interesting research into the early days of American yoga thinkers and teachers. I thought the focus on Pierre Bernard was excessive compared to other teachers and Gurus (Yogananda seemed marginalized by comparison). The focus also seems very heavy on tantra and sexual scandal, which to me seemed to be there to sell more books.
The later years of yoga fly by very quickly and Ms Syman seems to prefer the media shock value and scandal of the Gurus of the 60's through 80's and miss less dramatic but important developments of the various yoga/meditation movements. I'm tired of the Beatles/Maharishi connection seeming to be the center of Mahesh's career. There Was life after the Beatles for the TM movement
This book is strong on history and source referencing but weak on cultural analysis and makes many bizarre connections. I'm sorry, but I think this person should stick to being a reporter, not an analyst.
I guarantee its worth going over to U-tube to see Elvis sing "Yoga is as yoga does', a gem of a very bad song that Stefanie mentions when citing the media dumbing down and whitewashing of yoga.
So, enjoy it. Take with a grain of NaCl.
The author should be praised for amassing a substantial number of references. However, the errors and omissions in the book would keep me from recommending it to others. For some reason, the author chose to develop individual chapters of the book to the Bernards while only mentioning Paramahansa Yogananda in passing. My view of Swami Prahbavananda, based on reading his books and discussing him with a Nun who knew him was that he was of the highest intellect and morality. In this book he comes off as a chain smoking guy who had some conversations with Isherwood and Huxley.
Certainly, the numerous controversies in which some yogis were involved deserved mentioning. However, the positive aspects of many of the yoga masters described were downplayed or left out. For instance, Muktananda's Siddha Yoga is discussed in terms of Durgananda who left Siddha Yoga on good terms. No mention was made of the several other substantial SY swamis who have maintained their work within the organization.
Of considerable concern is the failure to discuss yoga philosophy and psychology which some feel trump that found in the west. Their is little discussion, if any, of the title of the book. The subtle body needs much more clarification or it seems like some silly fantasy.Read more ›
What was most interesting to me was the perspective provided about the "overnight sensation" that is the yoga we can now find all around us. The book shares details of the struggle that yoga, or any ideas new to our culture, experiences when hoping to be understood whether it source is a person, a people or a concept. It shares with us vital happenings in the history of yoga within the societal context that shapes the events and the people making those events happen. It delivers what is promised by showing us, not a encyclopedic detailing of events, but how the subtle body of America interacted over time with the subtle body that was becoming the cultural concept of yoga we have today. Here in America, we make things that seek acceptance into our culture our own before embracing it, Ms. Syman taught me that we did nothing less with yoga.
I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys reading and words. And specifically to those working today to have energy healing techniques understood more fully. The book will help you see that each leg of work is important even if the goal takes more than one generation.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
While I am glad that this educational book has been written, I am disappointed that Sarah Farmer's entire story was not told. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Zane Ferris
This book would have been greatly improved had the author combined the many details she provides with a thoughtful narrative.Published 3 months ago by R. Seligs
A fascinating look through the history of Yoga in America. Interesting too as a portrait of how any cultural movement starts, grows, loses its way, returns, the cycles of how... Read morePublished 12 months ago by Crisp Pagoda
I wish that I liked this book. It was obviously extensively researched, and I learned some from it but find it suffers from an intellectual jumpiness. Read morePublished 13 months ago by N. Alkire
I stayed up very late last night to finish this book and although I do regret being tired today I do not regret not having to pick this book up again. Read morePublished 20 months ago by Bonita Morgan
selected this book because I am a yoga practitioner, however not hard core postures. it was interesting to get an historical perspective and avoid the contemporary overdone... Read more
Aaaargh. There is so much interesting stuff to be said about yoga in America, it boggles the mind to try to reflect on why this author focused on what she did. Read morePublished on September 6, 2013 by Tokyo Reader
I read this book, The Subtle Body, and American Veda: From Emerson and the Beatles to Yoga and Meditation How Indian Spirituality Changed the West, at the same time. Read morePublished on May 6, 2012 by Rachel W