Published by the Bihar School of Yoga in India, this book aspires to be a university-level academic and practical studfy book, acknowledging both Western and Indian health traditions. It is very comprehensive with easy-to-understand step-by-step instructions as to how to perform the exercises, along with clear illustrations. It covers Asana – the stretching exercises (which many people confuse as the be-all and end-all of yoga) – basice, intermediate and advanced, Pranayama – the breathing exercises, Bandha – holding exercises to control the flow of “prana” energy in the body, Mudra – gestures and positions to promote the flow of psychic energise in the body, Shatkarma – methods of physical cleansing of the body (some rather grim) so as to better perform the exercises, and an introduction to Yogic physiological theory – chakras, prana and the like.
I like this book because it does not reinforce the Western body-mind separation inherent in our habitual distinction between Yoga (more correctly Asana) and Meditation, but treats both as part and parcel of the pursuit of holistic health and spirituality. However the book is versatile enough for one to pick and choose exercises as one likes. There is also a very handy therapeutic index at the back which advises which exercises are most appropriate to which ailments.
This is the only book that I refer to on an almost daily basis. I have to admit that I haven’t got an adonis body or achieved oneness with Godhead yet, nor have I even attempted any of the intermediate or advanved asanas, but these things can take time – and I’m feeling better all the time.