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on 2 June 2009
The other reviewers are quite correct in mentioning Eric's fascinating introduction of how he came to be "into" yoga and his personal journey. Also there is a very good section on the poses, but for me, the chapters on how to actually feel and get the best out of the poses was a revelation. I started yoga in my teens, I am now over 50 and I have never read any of this sort of information before. It is very in depth, and I often find I have to re-read sections not just once but several times to fully understand, take in and appreciate what I am meant to be achieving with the moves. It is absolutely fascinating to really understand what Eric explains about your feelings in the yoga asanas.

A good analogy would be likening a yoga pose to learning to drive a car. You wonder how you will ever learn to watch the road ahead, change gear, move your foot on the brake, clutch and accelerator, check the mirror and actually proceed along the road. Each asana must be approached in this manner, applying an array of breaths, power & energy lines, intensity and so much more, but, one day it clicks, and you are "driving" automatically, the poses become alive. In chapter 6 Eric talks of the correct breathing techniques in the poses "the wind through the instrument", chapter 7 "lines of energy" and chapter 8 "playing the edge". An absolutely in depth collection of information on, what may feel like an overwhelming amount of things to apply when in each pose.......yet this sort of in depth information, I have never come across before in all of my (large) collection of yoga books nor, indeed, fully appreciated. For me it is the missing link, someone has at last explained what I felt all along was missing from my yoga practice.

This is a very special read, and a book to use for many years to come & refer to daily with your yoga practice (my paperback copy is now looking decidedly tatty!). I strongly recommend the DVD too (originally a VHS tape made in 1994) made with Ali MacGraw and Eric Schiffmann (don't let the date of production put you off, it is still as fresh today as if it were made in 2009), it compliments the book, and to visually see the man in action, hear his soft and hypnotic voice, which then reads the book to you, in your mind as you read it, hearing his gentle American accent. See my review of the DVD too, it's a great practice to put on when you just want to follow someone else and for the days you have not got the energy to do "your own thing". Gosh, I wish he had written another book.... but then he did not leave much unsaid in this, his only book, but he could have done another DVD, that would have been great.

2013:...but he has, visit Erich's website, I have had all his new DVD's shipped over here to the UK, Back-bends, Backyard series, Inversions, all brilliant, so laid back you will be laid flat!
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on 4 May 2017
great, inspiring book.
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on 27 February 2015
Just one word: BRILLIANT!
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on 11 November 2001
This book is great. If you are looking for a yoga book to provide you with clear,understandable information on this vast subject then this book is a very good choice. Unlike some books, you feel very secure with mr schiffmann, and are confident that this book is 'from the horses mouth' and that he really knows what he is talking about. At the start,he explains his personal yoga journey, which I found interesting, before going on to show and explain a whole variety of yoga asanas, breathing and meditation exericses. The pictures, although black and white, are very clear and peaceful.He explains the exercises with step by step instructions and phases, so you can work upon a posture and build up to doing the full version. He also explains the benefits of each exercise in a little section following each one.
This book is very readable. It has a very easy style, and everything looks calm and in control, unlike B.K.S Iyengars Light on Yoga, when he looks very strained and likely to cause himself an injury at any moment! This book inspires confidence. You get the feeling that this is the book that will lead you to the state of quiet inner contentment that Yoga is meant to be all about, where you not only will have a fantastic lean and supple body so you exude outer confidance, but it will also help to condition your mind and help you to be happy from the inside out.
Wonderful, uplifting book.
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This is an excellent book, the author really brings Yoga to life with his inspiring and passionate style. This is a book primarily about asana practice, but Erich's approach leaves nothing to guesswork and this includes the spiritual, mental and physical attitude towards one's Yoga sessions and each asana. I started reading it while I was too ill to practice but I could hardly wait to get better to come alive on my mat. I already have an established personal practice but this book really transformed the way I thought about asana and filled in many of the gaps I have had for years, and has transformed the way I practice as well. I really get the impression that this is a person who's practice comes from a very real place and has been inspired by his inner Self at every turn, many Yoga teachers have clearly started Yoga as a physical activity and perhaps expanded to include the spiritual once they learned more about it. While I think that each is entitled to their own approach, I personally resonate more with Erich's way which it seems is entirely rooted, sprouted and flowered in the Spiritual dimension.

The asanas are demonstrated beautifully, in each picture he is fully engaged in the pose and looks blissful, there are no strained expressions here! some of the pictures are of other Yogis demonstrating the poses, all are excellent. I would love to get a spiral bound copy which opens flat, I find I am using it on the mat a lot!

For me this is the ideal book on asana practice and I have read a LOT of them. The asanas are given with English names, roughly translated from the Sanskrit- the Sanskrit is given, but I find it very helpful that in the routines in the back of the book are given with the English names, I do like to know the Sanskrit but my memory is poor and I have to flap though books with only Sanskrit titles to see which asana is which when I forget the names.

The author provides a lot of background information, and much of this is given before any asanas are demonstrated, inviting the reader to first set the scene with the proper attitude and approach before any physical practice is attempted. Also there is some excellent and insightful spiritual wisdom imparted in few enough words as to have an impact on even the laziest reader. Get this book!
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on 18 March 1999
This book has changed our yoga life! It is very clearly laid out. It breaks down the postures into easy to manage stages which increases your awareness and mastery of yoga. It is a delight to read, not a technical text and gives a new and joyful dimension to your practice. It addresses the spiritual side of yoga and life in simple terms without being esoteric. If you are going to buy one yoga book, let this be your bible.
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on 3 January 2002
This book was one of the first hatha yoga books I bought and it continues to delight and inspire me. In the Introduction, Eric Schiffmann describes his own yoga journey and the development of his personal yoga, which few teachers explain. Then the book goes into the reasons for practicing yoga in all its facets - the principles behind it, the breathing, ways of meditating and, most helpful of all, extremely detailed explanations of the asanas, including breaking some down into achievable stages. The photographs are large enough to be useful when practising too. There are practice routines at the back that I still turn to five years later. My only very minor criticism is that an index of both English and (anglicised) Sanskrit names would have been useful. And I'd like to know when he's going to write another book!
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on 23 February 2001
There are yoga books being published every day, and most of them are not worth the paper they are printed on. This one is special! I bought this book a few years ago when I first started doing yoga, and even though I have bought many many yoga titles since (including 'the tree of yoga', 'light on yoga' and John Scott's "ashtanga manual" which are also excellent), this is my favourite that I keep dipping in and out of. It quite simply is a very inspiring and informative read! Suitable for a complete beginner and an experienced student, or even just for the curious who want to know just what is this thing called yoga? In fact if you ever find yourself in LA seek out Erich Schiffmann (he teaches at yogaworks, santa monica) as he is a remarkable teacher. (His classes are not geared for complete beginners) And if you are used to practising Ashtanga or a similarly 'dynamic' form of yoga prepare to be surprised... All is not what it seems!
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on 2 April 2009
I have recently become interested in Yoga and have been practising with audios and podcasts at home. I wanted to know more about the philosophy and benefits of various asanas.

This book ticked all the boxes, very readable, good pictures and written from the heart.
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on 21 January 2012
This book covers the more spiritual side of yoga, in a way that would appeal to all religions. Some of the poses are quite advanced (and way beyond me reach... for now), but all of them are really well described. After doing yoga for years I been introduced to new ways of thinking about certain poses. This is a great book for the intermediate and advanced (or quite athletic beginner) yoga students alike.
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